Batroun’s Politicians – Antoine Zahra, Boutros Harb, Gebran Bassil – Are A Big Fat Failure

It is customary for Lebanese politicians to pay their condolences when someone who has affiliations with their party passes away. That was the case a few weeks ago when a relative of mine died. Don’t worry, the story isn’t about politicians taking the family’s place during the funeral.

Gebran Bassil, arguably Lebanon’s most hated minister, came over to my hometown which lies at a mere 6 km from the main city of my district Batroun in order to offer his sincere condolences to the deceased’s family. Yes, I have Aounists in the family, however shocking that may sound. As he sat with the family in our Church’s hall, both his drivers (one drives him, the other is a decoy) were busy smoking outside. I overheard the following conversation:

- Man, did you see this fucked up road?

- Yes I did.

- Did you tell Gebran about it?

- To be honest, sta7eit menno (I was too shy to tell him).

The main road of the Batroun district which spans from the city to my hometown has been in total ruin since June. By total ruin I mean: breaking your car every single time you go up and down the hill, potholes that spring up out of nowhere, four attempts to fix it so far that have all been an absolute and utter failure, newer asphalt of such bad quality that a drizzle suffices to rip it off from the road. And the list goes on.

This started when an ambitious project to lay down sewage and water pipes started. Of course, both projects had different contracting companies so they dug on different sides of the road. Sewage went in the middle, water went on the side. We also had a third contractor to supposedly fix the road once the work was done. If that’s not a waste of our taxpayer money, I don’t know what is.

This isn’t a post about the project which I believe is a must in the 21st century. This is about Batroun’s three main politicians: its two MPs Antoine Zahra of the Lebanese Forces, Boutros Harb who is apparently now an independent (insert insane laughter) and its one minister Gebran Bassil of the Free Patriotic Movement.

Our three politicians should theoretically use this road very often. It is 1) the only way into the main and big villages of the district (Ebrine, Douma, Tannourine) and 2) the way home for both Zahra (Kfifan) and Harb (Tannourine). Haven’t they heard that the situation has become unacceptable? Or are they waiting until our cars have gone to the repair shop twenty three times before they decide to do something about it, perhaps around April or May, just in time to cash in on those votes?

I’m not even sure my district’s politicians know about the road. They sit in the back of their luxury cars with their dark tainted-windows, totally oblivious to the massacre their overpriced car is going through. They go about their business, shake a few hands, have their asses kissed a few times and then head back to Beirut to their fancy mansions where the woes of their district don’t haunt them.

The least I can expect from my district’s politicians is to care about the people of their district first and foremost as the place that may or may not vote them back in come June 2013. If they’re not aware of the situation of their district’s main road, what does that say about them?

Future TV has already visited the area to document the road’s current state and interview a few people in the hopes they’d pin it all on Gebran Bassil. What Future TV doesn’t know, however, is the following: the fact that the Batroun’s caza main road has fallen into the state of disrepair that I will show you in a few without any of the district’s politicians caring is a reflection on 1) how big of a failure they are, 2) how little they care about us outside of our electoral votes and 3) how little they are willing to work if it doesn’t bring immediate rewards.

Accountability is key. If we, the newer generation isn’t critical of how things are run around our own neighborhoods, what do we leave to those on whom the ship has sailed? I refuse to have my first time voting be nothing more and nothing less than a sheep being taken to a ballot.

I, Elie Fares,hereby proclaim that I will not be voting for any of these three politicians come June if the road is not fixed. As an influencer, I will also do my best to strip all three of them from as many votes as I can. I’m sure this article will reach party officials that have been taking my vote for granted for far too long now. Therefore, consider this: kaleim youssal.

These are the untouched & unaltered (except for size reduction) pictures that I took with my iPhone while driving back home yesterday:

Batroun Road Lebanon - 1 Batroun Road Lebanon - 2 Batroun Road Lebanon - 3 Batroun Road Lebanon - 4 Batroun Road Lebanon - 5 Batroun Road Lebanon - 6 Batroun Road Lebanon - 7 Batroun Road Lebanon - 8 Batroun Road Lebanon - 9 Batroun Road Lebanon - 10 Batroun Road Lebanon - 11 Batroun Road Lebanon - 12 Batroun Road Lebanon - 13 Batroun Road Lebanon - 14 Batroun Road Lebanon - 15 Batroun Road Lebanon - 16 Batroun Road Lebanon - 17 Batroun Road Lebanon - 18

The "fixed" part of the road is a hole in itself as evident by the mini-stream flowing through it

The “fixed” part of the road is a hole in itself as evident by the mini-stream flowing through it

Batroun Road Lebanon - 20 Batroun Road Lebanon - 21 Batroun Road Lebanon - 22 Batroun Road Lebanon - 23 Batroun Road Lebanon - 24 Batroun Road Lebanon - 25 Batroun Road Lebanon - 26 Batroun Road Lebanon - 27 Batroun Road Lebanon - 28 Batroun Road Lebanon - 29 Batroun Road Lebanon - 30 Batroun Road Lebanon - 31 Batroun Road Lebanon - 32 Batroun Road Lebanon - 33 Batroun Road Lebanon - 34 Batroun Road Lebanon - 35 Batroun Road Lebanon - 36 Batroun Road Lebanon - 37 Batroun Road Lebanon - 38 Batroun Road Lebanon - 39 Batroun Road Lebanon - 40 Batroun Road Lebanon - 41 Batroun Road Lebanon - 42 Batroun Road Lebanon - 43 Batroun Road Lebanon - 44

36 thoughts on “Batroun’s Politicians – Antoine Zahra, Boutros Harb, Gebran Bassil – Are A Big Fat Failure

  1. Hope you wont vote to any irrespective of what happens. As much as we will look at our individual benefits, we will creat opportunities to these people to take advantage of esp prior to the elections. Thus we are letting these shitty people come back to the parliament every time.

    Reply
    • This isn’t an individual benefit as much as it is a matter for the entire region. I am not the only one affected and I’m sure there are other people in Batroun who feel the same way about all three, regardless of political affiliation. It is their job as representatives to serve the area from which they come – failure to do so should have consequences.
      On the other hand, if they end up doing a good job why should they be penalized as well?

      Reply
  2. > I, Elie Fares,hereby proclaim that I will not be voting for any of these three politicians come June if the road is not fixed

    While I appreciate the sentiment… this only means they will get your vote lamma yzaftou kam tari2 right before elections… Same old story.

    I on the other hand, vow that NOTHING they do during an election year will affects my vote. I already decided none of those three stooges is worth it even if they get the roads fixed right before the election. Even if they try to scare me at the last minute with hizbollah or with the salafies boogy man.

    Luckily this election it seems there are alternatives… I am voting Take Back Parliament coalition.

    Reply
    • Well, in all fairness, out of the three I don’t mind Zahra for example. However, I still wouldn’t vote for him if the road isn’t fixed. And by the looks of it, I don’t think it will.

      When it comes to the Take Back Parliament folks, I’m more than apprehensive. I more often than not do not see eye to eye with any of those who are running it. Besides, if the Orthodox Law ends up passing they won’t run.

      I didn’t know you were from Batroun btw.

      Reply
      • Sorry took me a while to check back the page…

        Frankly I just want an alliterative… so that those in power know we are not stuck with them no matter how bad they are.

        Can you point me to some specific ways that you disagree with the Take back Parliament people? Is it their way of working? Their political platform? Is that something that can be fixed?

        Reply
        • I don’t agree with the way they handle every single time an artist who has performed in Israel and comes to perform here. I don’t approve of the way they want to remove secularism.
          I don’t approve of empty slogans that go, similarly to “change and reform,” that yeah we want to fix this and this and this (in their case, the economy, women rights and social rights) without a clear plan.
          They want me to vote for them based on a platform and based on them being a “better” alternative? I haven’t seen a convincing platform nor have I seen them as a better alternative.

      • Fair enough…
        I guess not approving of removing secularism is a biggy, so you should not vote for them if you don’t agree on that one.

        About the rest though, I have not seen them take a public stance of the boycott thingy, I know for fact some members approve of it and some don’t but I am not sure what they group’s official stance on that is, is it stated anywhere? (btw I don’t care for that issue either way, just have not seen it posted…)

        As for their slogans of wanting to fix this and that… I’ll use the example you gave for women rights, their stance is very practical and they have been working for a while ever on it for outside parliament. The project for the law has already been proposed (and modified ) by the current parliament, they want to pass it as it was originally done. They are doing the same for other issues, trying to find law propositions made in the past by civil society that change things for the best and push for those to be implemented, outside of the march 14 or 8 dichotomy / deadlock.

        Reply
        • I don’t disapprove of removing secularism. But from what I gathered based on what they said, they want to turn it into a near-overnight thing. I’m against that.

          Many of the heads of the movement are the people who approve of the boycott and who champion it. They’re the ones giving the image. Cultural terrorism of the sort is a deal-breaker for me.

          The women rights law is all talk. How will they get parliament to pass it? More specifically, how will they let some MPs which have made it known how they want women to keep being oppressed to accept such a law? The problem isn’t with the deadlock – it’s with the mentality of the other MPs being voted in.
          But fair enough – they want to pass a law for women.

          What about the economy? Based on the politics of the people involved, I assume their economic policies would be leftist in nature. Another deal-breaker for yours truly.

          I know I’m being harsh – but if they want my vote based on a developmental platform, this is the type of criticism they’re gonna get. Either way, do they even have a “viable” candidate for Batroun?

      • > they want to turn it into a near-overnight thing. I’m against that.

        You mean they are going to get 65 seats in the parliament on june 17th 2013 and remove sectarianism on june 18th ?
        I think every single person of T.B.P. is aware that removing sectarianism will take years and decades to happen ( if we are lucky ). Can’t fault anyone for wishing it will happen tomorrow.

        Oh well, as I said aside of personal opinions of people, I don’t think the movement itself advocate either way, but I find it strange that asking people not to go to some concert is a deal breaker for you ( considering the atrocities some of the current big nominees for the seat have done ).

        Their economic plans are more on the social democracy kind of ideals ( universal health coverage, higher taxes on the rich … ) so yea if you don’t agree with that I get your concerns.

        Anyway the point is, don’t let them take your vote for granted, or for a handfull of zefet, even if not T.B.P…

        Reply
        • It’s not about a concert, it’s about the idea behind banning artists, books, articles, etc…

          Elections are on June 17th? I heard they’re on June 9th.

      • I had the same protests, but after talking to some people, turned out the “B” stands for boycotting not banning (which would have been bad). The idea is not to ban work as you are saying (and I was thinking), but to pressure and ask for people to boycott the work. That’s a HUGE difference, which made me think I don’t mind if they do that, and made it a non issue for me.

        I just pulled a date to illustrate my point… I have no idea when the election will be held if at all :-)

        Reply
        • Elections are on June 9th if they’re not postponed or if they’re going to happen.

          Have they found someone to run in Batroun? The poor fellow needs to start working :P

  3. I hear your frustration, and understand that taking most advantage of the elections is a fad, but I have to agree with your commentators: good roads should be a simple consequence of a good job. For me, they need more than fixing this (or any other) road to gain my trust & vote. For now, I’ll be a white ballot.

    Reply
    • Agreed. The least we could have is a decent road. However, the road was actually decent before the works started. Now that the works ended, it doesn’t seem like anyone cares about fixing it. That’s where this comes from.
      I think that out of the three I mentioned, two aren’t bad at all when it comes to services in the region. However, this is a deal-breaker for me.

      Reply
  4. I’ve written similar posts about failures of politicians (You can check out my blog when you have the time about Sehnaoiu) and have found out that it is the opinion of most Lebanese that these 8 and 24 politicians are all failures. They hold these positions due to their sect and sectarian powers, and not because of their qualifications.
    I also tweeted this article to your dear friend. Let’s see if he can break the aforementioned minister’s record of utter disregard to a popular article and opinion.

    Reply
    • Yeah we are in agreement on how they got to their seats and this is why almost none of us has a chance of successfully running for office one day: we don’t fit into their mold.
      Each region has its woes I believe and if enough people manage to express them, why not get that region’s officials to tackle those woes?
      Can you link me to your article?

      Reply
  5. The 5th photo is just in front of my house and yes Batroun’s roads and politicians are a mess! And I hereby proclaim that wont be voting for any of them disregard if the roads were fixed or not. Hoping to have an alternative this time.

    Reply
    • The problem with the alternative is that it isn’t much better – they are the people who panic whenever an artist who previously sung in Israel wants to perform here and who live in neo-utopia which is completely in their heads.

      Reply
    • Yeah I didn’t go into the inner streets of our towns and cities on purpose. The pictures would become endless – this, however, is the only way to connect Batroun to the villages. It’s more vital.

      Reply
  6. We should pout the blame on the right people.
    why you dont call Minister Ghazi Aridi and ask him about that.
    Personally I know why. And we can meet any time and I will explain.

    Reply
    • Hey Chadi.
      Your elected officials have a duty towards keeping things like the one documented here from not happening. In Lebanon, some non-elected officials can happen to find themselves in a position of power as well. All of these people have a duty towards their own region and the citizens that they represent to make sure that other ministers, such as Ghazi el Aridi, do not slack off in the way that they are doing here.
      So as far as I am concerned, they are to blame as much as Ghazi el Aridi.

      However, I am not voting for Ghazi el Aridi. If I call Mr. Aridi and complain, I’m sure I would fall upon deaf ears because Mr. Aridi doesn’t need me. It’s not supposed to be the case but alas it is. These three, however, need my vote and the votes of many people to win.

      Reply
  7. Blame the town’s municipal council.

    Not even Zahra nor Harb are responsible for this mess (surely not Bassil).

    This issue falls under the municipality’s jurisdiction and responsibilities.

    As far as Bassil and FPM are concerned, they are providing municipalities all over the country with their respective telecom money (hundreds of millions in LBP) which has always been wrongfully kept from them.

    Reply
    • Not true.
      The projects that led to the deterioration of the road were the sewage and water systems which were ministry-projects. We even have/had the yellow sign announcing it. Therefore, it is the ministry of public affairs’ job to fix the road and bring it back to how it was, as Chadi said.
      However, it is my region’s officials’ role to make sure that slacking ministries do their job by raising their voice and personally contributing either by influence or by their means to fix the road.

      Reply
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