In case you’re living under a rock, Lebanon’s parliament will renew its mandate for the third consecutive time tomorrow, on the anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War.
Of course, this doesn’t come as a shock. There’s been signs of it for months now, especially as elections are to be held in 40 days and our politicians have defined the word failure in their attempt to agree on an electoral law.
Mixed law? Proportional law? Majority law? The law of relativity? Orthodox law? Theory of quantum elections law? Never heard of any of that stuff.
What’s worse is that the collective Lebanese population probably couldn’t care less. You tell them that parliament is going to extend its mandate for an extra year, and that their right to vote which has been taken away since 2013 will be taken for a third time, and the reaction is a shrug, à la: did you expect otherwise?
It seems that our politicians have decimated our democracy so much that we can’t even expect its basic foundation, elections, to ever take place, or for our own people to be as outraged by this as they were by a silly music video where a woman paraded in tight clothes.
Of course there’s going to be protests, and of course a lot of people – even top political parties – will oppose the mandate extension. There’s even a protest scheduled for Thursday, to coincide with the promised parliament session to renew their mandate. That protest is also supported by the supporters of some political parties, especially those that actually want elections to take place.
However, as we’ve learned from all of our attempts to stop the first and second extension, such measures will always fall short, especially when you’re faced with a parliament that is so inept that it can’t even find a way for its mandate to end. It can’t get sadder than that.
So in response to parliament about to extend its mandate for a third time, Lebanese did as the Lebanese do best, which is to turn the depressingly bad situation into a joke. Because let’s face it, with the apathy regarding the mandate extension, it’s probably the only thing that can be done.
The joke, this time, was the hashtag: #آخر_مرة_صارت_الانتخابات, which translates to: the last time elections happened, affixed to a series of events that were “in” back in 2009.
The following Facebook posts and tweets are telling in how this country’s every ounce of “democracy” has been absolutely destroyed. Yes, they’re hilarious at times, but the subtext is horribly sad.
I’m a 27 year old Lebanese person who’s going to move out of the country soon without having cast a single ballot for parliament. That right has been taken away from me twice so far, with the third time coming up soon.
Food for thought: every single Lebanese between the age of 21 and 28 has never ever voted for parliamentary elections. Our current parliament will be nearly 10 years old by the time they’re supposed to hold elections again if the new extension goes through. We’ve never gone this long without elections since the Civil War.
Remember that when you post about #آخر_مرة_صارت_الانتخابات.
I came across your page on accident and I’m glad I did. Especially since this is the first article I read. I’m a Lebanese American living in the states and trying to keep up with what is going on in Lebanon. Thank you for your clear, witty, & entertaining writing addressing these and other recent issues.