June 5, 2012

Locating Beirut

This part of the world is boiling. Arab spring this, Arab spring that, and everyone has an underpinning theory and outcome scenarios.

Locating our strange and terrible ciTy in the middle of this murky regional state of affairs is intricate. We hold our breath with every burning tire and we summon the gods of composure to bestow upon our fellow ciTizens the gift of intelligent speech. Above all, we keep hoping that the very little we have built so far would not be allowed go up in flames.

Thorny is the road to democracy in this part of the world, which makes us stand out as quite unique in the region: an imitation democracy, a society indulging in the practice of representative government, but utterly inexperienced in the founding principles of such a system.

The lack of job opportunities, the continuous brain drain, unemployment, no sustained economic growth, the underworld of nepotism and corruption, the ever thinning middle class layer, the debt fueled political system - all of which will never provoke an upheaval of the masses. We have our safety valves: guaranteed freedom of conscience, of thinking, of expression, of gathering, of association, of movement – all to a large extent - and of entrepreneurship. Under the feeble cover of democratic practices lies a terrible economic and socio-political dejection. But the grassroots have enough safety valves to let the steam off.

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