Replying to Samy Gemayel

I never thought I’d reach a day where Samy Gemayel gets on my nerves. I thought he represented a future of young MPs who could possibly get our voice across. He had stood up to his family establishment and established his own movement. He had his own voice. Now, the only thing I hear is some very nasal rhetoric that presents absolutely nothing new, is completely unfounded and that people obviously eat up.

He was the MP who advocated the most apparently to increase Lebanon’s MP total to 134 (click here). And he took it to Facebook (click here) to explain his point of view.

Here it is:

Good evening dear friends,
I just wanted to explain my point of view regarding the creation of a seat in the parliament for Lebanese syriacs.
1-This community has 26700 voters and are not represented in the parliament while others like Alaouites (26100) have 2 seats and protestants (11000) have one seat… So as long as the sectarian system is still in place, this Lebanese community deserves to have a seat in the parliament. That is why I proposed to add a seat for them to be represented. I hope one day we will be able to get rid of this sectarian quota in the parliament which can only be achieved through a reform of the Lebanese system. Decentralization, creation of a Senate, neutrality and some reforms of the constitution are our only way out of this corrupt sectarian system. Till then we need to have the best representation of all the Lebanese groups so everyone will feel represented as he should and we will be able to move forward in reforming our political system.
2- The problem is not that we have too much MPs but that most of these MPs are doing nothing for the people. It is normal for a country like ours to have 128 or 134 MPs. What is not normal is that most of them are inactive! They are inactive because they were elected just because some “Za3im” sectarian leader took them on their list and not because people wanted them in the parliament to achieve something. That’s why few months ago I officially proposed a draft law proposing to take off 250.000 LP from an MP salary for every committee meeting he doesn’t attend. So if they don’t want to work people shouldn’t pay them any salary. This way, taxpayers will pay for MPs who are really working.
3- We will keep working for an electoral law that can provide the best representation for all the Lebanese groups and individuals. There are a lot of good solutions. I’m sure it will be a happy ending for all 🙂
Good night

I felt at I, as a Lebanese citizen who is irrelevant compared to Mr. Gemayel, should reply to this utter none sense. I am lucky to have a relatively read platform to voice my opinion and I hope this speaks to those who share the same frustration.

1) Dear Mr. Gemayel, one moment you proclaim that it is detrimental to Christians in the country to go around using the numbers game because we have officially stopped counting with the whole “equal division” affair. One moment you’re using those numbers to show support for “minorities.” Should the sects that got new representatives be represented? Perhaps so. But definitely not through new MPs. Let’s talk a few numbers. The country currently has 700,000 Maronite voters who are represented by 32 MPs. The country has around 900,000 for each of the Shia and Sunni sects. Each one is represented by 27MPs. Maybe those new Christian MPs should have been given out from the Maronite share to bring it closer to what it should be given the over inflation it currently poses? But of course not because that wouldn’t work at all with those many MP voters. For instance, Tripoli currently counts 4000 Maronite voters. Those 4000 voters have an MP to represent them. Isn’t that overdoing it? Why not give that seat to Syriac Orthodox? I’m sure you can find two other seats all over the Lebanese map which you can re-allocate as well.

2) Are you serious, Mr. Gemayel? We are a country of less than 4 million. We have now 134 MPs that represent us in parliament. That’s a ratio of 30,000 people per MP. Let’s consider the United States. Their population is, according to the latest census, 316 million. Their congress and senate combined have over 535 members. That brings their ratio to almost 600000 person per MP. And since the United States may not be a sufficient example, let’s look at other countries. Switzerland has 200 MP for 8 million people. That’s 40,000 people per MP. And Switzerland has arguably similar “diversity” to us. France, a country of 65 million, has a combined congress and senate of 925 members which translates to 70,000 voters per representative. I can go on and on with examples. But I guess this suffices to make the point quite clear: yes, part of the problem is that we have too many MPs. Another part of the problem is that none of the MPs, including you Mr. Gemayel, are doing their job at legislation. And your proposal to remove less than $200 from a salary of several thousand dollars for MPs who don’t attend the many many numerous meetings that our parliament has is not only laughable, it’s you insulting our intelligence. Those extra MPs will cost taxpayers much more money than any of your sanctions would bring back. But that’s not a very appealing idea for voters now, is it?

3) It would have been more honorable, Mr. Gemayel, if you and your MP friends had actually agreed on an electoral law to elect those extra MPs and the original 128 before you actually increased the number. You keep talking, Mr. Gemayel, about elements to be applied of the Taef agreement while that agreement specifically called for much less MPs than we currently have. Wasn’t the number 108? Let’s not hide behind our fingers and say that everything will have a happy ending for us, the people, because it won’t. The only thing you and your MP friends are attempting to do is come up with a formula to bring you back to power, to enable you to turn your speeches into an auction to attract people by making them believe you are fighting for their rights and to make us pay for more people who have nothing better to do than fight with each other, racing the country in a Maserati down a dead end street.

Good morning.

I find it sad that an MP as educated and young as Mr. Gemayel cannot come up with better arguments as to the increase of the MP number. What a hopeless future we have ahead of us.

The Samy Gemayel Assassination Attempt

When I heard the news that Lebanese security forces thwarted an assassination attempt directed at Kataeb MP Samy Gemayel, I was shocked on two accounts.

1) Our security forces actually managed to do something and that, by itself, is something to make your jaw drop in shock. How about that something being thwarting an assassination attempt? Do we applaud them for a great effort or do we simply shrug it off as them doing their job for once? It’s up to you.

2) I thought the whole assassinations in the country were, at least for the time being, behind us. If you thought about it, the Syrian regime is too preoccupied with killing its own people to stage assassinations in Lebanon but still remain politically influential. The politicians in Lebanon who are prone to getting assassinated, such as Samy Gemayel, have almost no political say in the country. The government is not with them, the parliament majority is not with them – and even if they had both parliament and government, it’s not like they were going to do much with all the hurdles thrown at them primarily by FPM’s Michel Aoun and Hezbollah in the background as the master puppeteer.

So why was there an assassination targeting Samy Gemayel?

The answer goes back to Syria. It looks like, even though they’ve got their hands full, their feet are still stretching across the border and still able to play. An assassination of a political figure with a lot of promise, like Samy Gemayel, would instill disappointment in many people who believe Gemayel has the potential to be a major player on the political scene. It will also instill fear in those who believe the Syrian regime’s reach is decreasing. There will also an unsurmountable amount of rage amid Gemayel’s supporters.

Couple a Samy Gemayel assassination with the current mess the Lebanese government is finding itself in, and you’re set for true chaos in the country. In fact, one can look at the recent crisis amid Lebanon’s one-sided government as either a play between allies for power or it could be a last hope attempt by the Syrian regime to bring Lebanon down with it. I’d go with the latter because if Syria wanted to calm things down amid yesterday’s friends, who also happen to be its allies in Lebanon, it would have taken a simple phone call from Damascus to tone it down. But that’s not happening anytime soon because the Assad mentality, as he loses the diplomatic and tactical wars, is fast becoming that of a suicide bomber. “Bring down with me as much as I can.”

The whole situation can be summed up in simple terms: if the current government crisis is the bomb Syria is using to make Lebanon explode, the Samy Gemayel assassination would be the lit-fuse.

At least the lit-fuse was turned out. I’m sure Syria will find another way to light the Lebanese scene though and for that, I truly hope our politicians who are currently in power rise above their pride and think about the mess we will be in if they don’t.


MP Samy Gemayel Supports the Metel Ma Shelta Campaign

Behold, Samy Gemayel has supported the Metel Ma Shelta anti-littering campaign, which I blogged about a few days ago:

Moreover, LBC News has also written about the campaign on their website.

I’m very glad the campaign is gaining traction. The number of likes for the Facebook page, as of the time of writing this post, has exceeded 1900. Here’s hoping the support of Samy Gemayel, and hopefully other MPs soon, results in the formulation of a much needed law to help keep our streets clean.

You might be interested in checking out their teaser video as well:

This campaign is shaping up to be quite big. Hopefully the circumstances help it assume its full potential.