At a time when everyone and their mother is still talking about the irrelevant Marine Le Pen and the headscarf that could have been, NASA unveiled the single most important news of the year so far – even trumping Trump – with their discovery of 7 habitable planets in a solar system 30 light years away.
So as NASA leads the world onto new universe frontiers, and inspired by a tweet from Adeela, I decided to come up with a short list of how stuck this country is:
1. An electoral law:
To quote Titanic: “It has been 84 years….” Maybe it hasn’t been that long but it sure feels like it. Parliament has extended its mandate TWO times because they couldn’t agree on an electoral law to replace the current one and even though elections should be held towards the end of May, they still have not come up with one and by the looks of it they will never do so. Bl 3arabe, ma fi at3as men hek.
2. 24/7 electricity:
At a time when almost every modern country in the world provides its people with the basic requirement of 24/7 connectivity to the grid, Lebanon not only has failed to do so, but the situation is getting worse as the demand for power increases while the supply stagnates. What’s worse is that our current Secretary of Energy decided the reason we don’t have electricity 24/7 is the presence of Syrian refugees, because logic? Bref, te3tir.
3. Internet that is fast enough to stream NASA’s live video without buffering:
At a time when Canada has declared 25Mbps internet and up is a human right, the average speed of Lebanese internet is still 1/25 that much and it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve anytime soon. It’s so ironic that our internet is so slow that most of us couldn’t even stream the NASA live video announcing their astonishing discovery without buffering.
4. Continuous running water all year long:
It was only recently, and by recently I mean December, that we stopped needing to buy water for our apartment in Beirut. We have more water supplies than almost any other Middle Eastern or North African country and yet we still have water shortages because of our severe inability to use that resource. Even Israel – with its recurrent droughts – has found a solution to water shortages. Not us, though.
5. A modern public transportation system:
“Service” cars and buses that are so random and disorganized they’d run you over to get to their next customer is not a modern public transportation system. If only they knew how much traffic they’d cut off by devising and enforcing a system people would want to take and use instead of their cars. Just have a look around you when you’re stuck in traffic: thousands of cars with one person each.
6. A secular political system:
If you’re sick of being told what you can’t or can do in governance because of your religion, clap your hands!
7. Politicians whose pride and ego aren’t as fragile as the status quo they love:
Over the past few weeks, American senators and congressman are being humiliated by their constituents at town hall events across their states and congressional districts as they get bombarded with one question after the next about their policies, to the point where Trump called them “paid protesters.” Bless him, he’s so Lebanese. You will never ever see that here. Not only that, but when some of our politicians’ pride is hurt, they send their thugs to wreck havoc. The latest example is barely a week old.
8. A solution to the trash crisis:
9. The fascination and complete adoration of some Lebanese for far-right politicians in other countries:
I know most of our politicians would be considered right-wing. Even our socialist party is right-wing. But with Facebook pages for Trump’s Lebanese friends and a new Facebook page for Le Pen’s Lebanese friends, as well as utter adoration of some parts of our society to these politicians, and many more, I guess we’re taking it to a whole new level. What can you expect though from a people who love Hitler and still paint swastikas on buildings?
10. More green spaces in our cities:
Just look at that picture of Beirut from space and let’s play a game of “find a green space other than AUB and Horsh Beirut.” You probably can’t, because for Lebanese urban jungles that make them money are more important than them being able to breathe.
Bonus: A solution to Gebran Bassil’s aspirations:
#StopGebran2017. Make it happen!