Lebanon is facing an existential challenge: national stability is threatened, the fear of slipping into sectarian conflicts is increasing day after day, and a dominant stagnation in the decision-making mechanisms is hampering the livelihood of all segments in the country.
Lebanon is threatened …
At the national level … The numerous problems citizens face on a daily basis, and the resulting agony they experience, are most probably the outcome of an “organic dysfunction” within the Lebanese operating system.
At the social level … Lebanese are increasingly tormented by problems in the healthcare, educational and housing fields, and are mainly suffering from the decline in the purchasing power and the lack of public transport. Moreover, they are burdened by the absence of an efficient social protection and an advanced end-of-service compensation that safeguards their dignity.
At the economic level … The fear of a possible economic breakdown is justified now more than ever: Lebanon’s public debt will soon exceed 60 billion dollars to a GDP estimated at 41 billion dollars and with a budget deficit amounting to 13 billion dollars. Two and a half billion dollars are required to cover the deficit in Electricité du Liban (EDL) and about three and a half billion dollars to service the debt. The budget deficit is continuously increasing, growth is declining and the energy sector is deteriorating, not to mention the drain in the competiveness of the productive sectors and the absence of creative solutions
In the infrastructure … Practically speaking, our decaying infrastructure is more fitted to serve the economy of the sixties. Water wealth is either squandered or polluted, projects for dams and lakes are frozen. In addition, electricity generation and distribution services are declining. Transportation projects − such as the activation of airports, seaports and railways, the creation of road networks, and the updating of sewage systems and treatment stations − require immediate action.
In the relations with the Lebanese Diaspora … Despite the fact that they constitute a great support for Lebanon, emigrants, are still, unfortunately, not involved with the Lebanese economic and political life due to gaps in the censuses execution and the eligibility criteria. The delicate balance between the cultural components of Lebanon is essential to the country’s national harmony and the partnership with the Lebanese Diaspora is vital for the resurgence of Lebanon.
A radical solution is needed …
Before reaching the point of no return, we should deal with the facts through structural treatment mechanisms that prevent any possible dysfunction in the constitutional institutions. Our social contract is best renewed through the establishment of a civil state, decentralization and positive neutralism. Only then, will it serve as a pillar that enroots stability, enhances national unity and prevents the calamities of any possible turmoil, turning us into a living example of a Middle Eastern State that ensures richness within multiplicity and unity within diversity. The bottom line here: Lebanon is a Message of stability, justice and peace.
The renewal shall eventually lead to an improvement and a development of the constitution and shall lay the groundwork for a comprehensive social assurance that goes hand in hand with an economic renaissance, an upgrading of the infrastructure, and a strengthening of an efficient partnership with the Lebanese Diaspora at the political and economic levels.
Initiatives should aim at bringing growth and well-being to the underprivileged and less fortunate citizens. Political activities that have other objectives will be labeled as irrelevant.
For a renewed Lebanon …
A Better Lebanon, with its national, social and economic initiatives, transcends sectarianism and the existing vertical divide in the social strata, to suggest a renewed Lebanon that relies on stability and economic growth creating an added value: a 100% Lebanese and autonomous political, social and security protection.
It is indeed an independent national invitation to all the faithful people of the nation – regardless of their political affiliations and sects − to gather together, discuss and urge for a genuine change: a structural change that transcends us from sterility and mutual hatred to a state of excellence and innovation and from a state of latent wars into a nation of ever-lasting peace.
Neemat G. Frem