The first lesson we are taught back in our school’s civics class was the following: you, as a citizen, have rights and duties. Voting is a combination of both – it is the only way for you to hold those in power accountable.
We, as Lebanese, haven’t had the chance to hold those in power accountable for more than half a decade now. Starting this Sunday, and for a month, is our chance to do so.
Beirut Madinati is running against the “Beirutis List,” an agglomeration of 24 candidates that represent every single party in power. Yes, every one of them. The Tashnag are there. The Hanshak are there. The FPM and LF, in their new found love in a hopeless place, are there. Berri and the Future Movement are also there.
The Future Movement, which had up until a month ago accused Hezbollah of being the party behind killing their founder and Saad’s father, is now in bed with those same people in Beirut, not that that would stop them from using Rafik Hariri’s memory in all kinds of vote sympathy mongering.
The FPM which was a few months ago calling the Future Movement “Lebanon’s ISIS” is now in bed with them as well. All for one single reason: to kill a movement for the people, by the people, asking for change.
The reason why it is of VITAL importance to give your vote for Beirut Madinati on Sunday is to say that the current situation as is will not be tolerated anymore. As the saying goes: voting for it “zayy ma hiye” will keep the situation “zay ma houwe.” Their electoral tactics are zayy ma hiye: intimidation, fear, hate and sectarianism.
Voting for Beirut Madinati is not a vote for a simple municipal election. It is our chance as a country, through Beirutis, to vote against the establishment that has been screwing us for years. It is our chance to say enough is enough. It is our chance to challenge the entire political establishment that is united in trying to bring us down, again, and our chance to start reclaiming our country, starting with its capital.
If you’ve forgotten, let me tell remind you of the situation you’re living in:
– The city of Beirut currently has no water. It’s only May, and it’s still raining. I literally bought water yesterday to be able to shower. I see this becoming a worse pattern as summer rolls by.
– The city of Beirut is stinking of garbage. Its people are going to hospitals with all kinds of respiratory problems because of the smell. The pollution because of the garbage crisis will take years to resolve.
– Many of the youth of Beirut not only don’t live in Beirut anymore, but have left the country, as is the case with many Lebanese, for better opportunities. Hashtag My Dubai. Maybe we should just keep calling Dubai Madinati instead so el sheikh Saad ma yez3al?
– The city’s Centre, Nejmeh Square, is currently off access to its people and all Lebanese. Why? Because our parliament that is not even working is present there. Spoiler alert: foreigners are allowed to enter.
– You, as Beiruti and Lebanese, are always under the mercy of whichever politician you have the displeasure of encountering. If you’re on the road driving and you come by one of their convoys, they will run you over to move ahead. It is the way things are when entities feel they are always above reproach.
– You, as Beiruti and Lebanese, are worth nothing more than $100 on Election Day for your politicians. They don’t care about planning for a better future for you and your children. They only care about you voting for them on Election Day.
– The situation is so comically sad that clubs in the country are being forced to close the day before each mohafaza votes, which happens to be on the day those places make the most money: on Saturday. The system doesn’t even know how to function without killing your livelihood.
– The political establishment has worked tirelessly to sell your land to the highest bidder, to ban you from going to the beach that is your public property, to wall off Raoucheh from its people to turn it into a construction site, to destroy your heritage.
– The political establishment has made your economy such a mess that your child is born with $15,000 in debt.
– The political establishment has made your reality in such a way that you and your children are limited by where you are born, the sect you are born into, who you know, and how much money you have.
– The political establishment has not been able to give you a president. It’s been two years. It has stolen your right to vote two times so far to keep itself in power. It has not managed to come up with a decent electoral law.
– The political establishment tried to KILL you in August when you protested against their trash. They were not even sorry.
– The political establishment funds its own wars, as was the case in Tripoli, and you’re the last of their concerns. It takes tax money out of you but gives you nothing in return but hell.
Do you want to keep the status quo as it is? Do you want to give the politicians that have been ruining your life a free pass for more years to come? Do you want them to keep running unchecked, aware that no matter how horrible they are, no matter how badly they treat you, no matter how little a bug they see you, no matter how many times you curse them over the years, they can count on you falling in line when it counts, on Election Day?
Say no to keeping the country braindead, and vote Beirut Madinati.
Pingback: Towards a shift in Lebanese political culture | Iain Akerman