I have written countless posts about my sentiments on the topic of bashing or supporting our country and its self-destructive behavior. If you want another dose, it’s all summed up in this particular post from last June. Upon reading some other old posts of mine, I realized that I’ve also written a lot about the internal battle that the Lebanese youth face, the frustration we experience when returning from a visit to another city, and the decision to stay being about more than you alone. As I go back into the archives, I see that Bambi’s Soapbox is more of a diary than a soapbox because it’s all feels, most of which haven’t changed – heck, they haven’t shifted a millimeter.
I’m trying, once again, to formulate the argument for staying but I can’t find the cinder blocks that will support such a weight. I am here for my family and the enterprise that we are building together but I want to feel like I haven’t made this ridiculous tradeoff by choosing Beirut one more time. It’s my city but am I its child?
When the Ministry of Tourism came out with the latest video of a beautiful Lebanon, a friend of mine shared it on Facebook and appropriately added, “When will we deserve you?” This was what came to mind while spending last Sunday morning in the Bekaa. With all that natural wonder, you don’t know whether to be proud that exists or disgraced that it’s being thrown away.
Holding up a mirror to someone who’s chopped off their hair while telling them, “it’s bad but it’ll grow back” is taking a situation, admitting it’s a disaster, and presenting how it will be fixed. This is how I (and others) try to write about the status quo without defecating all over an entire population. The options are black & white: you can complain, leave, or do something about it.
Beirut Madinati is a volunteer-based campaign that is presenting technocratic candidates for the Beirut Municipality elections in May. Once elected, these people will work for the people because they are OF the people: qualified citizens who have the know-how to address the countless issues on the table.
Even if you can’t vote in Beirut, the participation in such a movement could still create a butterfly effect. It may inspire the Lebanese as a whole, not just those in Beirut, to believe that we can be active members in pulling Lebanon out of the garbage-filled gutter. I understand reluctance to take action because of so many failed attempts in the past. Plus, a Municipality’s ability to create real change may not feel like enough but it’s a first step. If we fail, then nothing changes so where’s the risk in trying?
Our problem is simple: we’re not braindead, we’re heartbroken.
But Beirut is my city, isn’t it yours too?