How can we establish a better Lebanon?
Perspective of a Lebanese immigrant
by Dr. Abdallah Hayar*
CDL | December 26, 2005
[Text in PDF]
Who should be the next Lebanese President continues to be a matter of wide
disagreement among the Lebanese. Even among Lebanese immigrants, there is no
general consensus on who can best serve and lead their country. Young Lebanese
are especially frustrated by the stalemate in Lebanon and cannot see the light
at the end of the tunnel, despite some recent good events that raised their hope
that a better Lebanon is emerging, especially after withdrawal of foreign troops
from their homeland and the return of their leaders from exile or prison back to
the political scene. However, there does not seem to be any Lebanese personality
at this time that can capture the Lebanese imagination or rally all Lebanese
public support. If we analyze the political events within the last 30 years
since the start of the Lebanese war, we note that the Lebanese people often
rallied around strong leaders or parties that were against foreign occupation.
Aoun gained a lot of support when he opposed Syrian occupation and Hizbollah
gained the support of all Lebanese including Christians when it resisted and
fought fiercely to force the Israeli to leave South Lebanon.
Sadly, we all realize that the war in Lebanon has not ended yet and will
continue to be an unending saga as long as the relatively two giant (military
and geographically) countries that surround Lebanon are still heavily involved
in the Lebanese political scene and they will never stop meddling in the
Lebanese internal affairs. The only option remaining for a young Lebanese who is
fed up with this continuous political and military invasion by the 2 surrounding
countries is to look at the horizon over the Mediterranean Sea and plan to
immigrate toward a land that promises more peace, more freedom and equal
Lebanon will always remain weak until a strong leader comes to power, a leader
who is capable of purging the government from corruption and from agents that
still protect foreign interests. Unfortunately, our Lebanese leaders are still
suffering “Post-Occupation Stress Disorder”. They fear assassination, jail, or
exile and rightly so if they dare to speak the truth or if they dare to
criticize the corrupted Syrian regime in Lebanon.
Like Israel in Palestine, the Syrian intelligence in Lebanon is monitoring every
corner and working continuously to identify new targets and to assassinate any
person, whether religious or politician, who opposes Syria’s interests. The
Syrian regime has panicked after its military forces were forced to leave
Lebanon; the outspoken free Lebanese Media, now uncensored, can become out of
control and expose the realities of the Syrian Regime.
Lebanon now needs a complete rehabilitation after we got rid of two occupation
powers that invaded and violated every aspect of Lebanese economic, political
and social life. Unfortunately, most Lebanese were, and may still be, taking
advantage of the chaos that dominated Lebanon. Blackmail, bribes, theft and
administrative corruption are still widespread in Lebanon. The law needs to be
enforced and discipline needs to be reestablished and moral and patriotic values
need to be re-learned. The right person should be appointed in the right post.
The tax code and collection must be reformed to rebuild the Lebanese
infrastructure, pay the debt and reduce dependence on foreign aid.
We do not need more politicians; we just need better ones. We need to
rehabilitate them and their political parties to break out their confessional
and egocentric molds and get them to represent and work for the interest of the
Lebanese People. Only in these conditions, can we appeal to the Lebanese abroad,
exiled from their homeland by a dire economic and widespread corruption, to come
back, invest and contribute to the prosperity of Lebanon.
A lot of changes and reforms need to take place in Lebanon to satisfy the
aspiration of Lebanese young men and women who dream about a better Lebanon. The
Lebanese scene, under the influence of occupation until recently, is undergoing
rapid changes. The Lebanese people have now more freedom to express their
thoughts despite the many assassinations of key political figures.
It is time we elect new representatives and a new president that are proudly
made in Lebanon. We need representatives that put Lebanon first above
individual, party or sectarian interests, leaders who represent the average
Lebanese citizen still struggling to improve his/her socio-economic conditions
devastated by wars and occupations. We need more democratic political parties.
The classic political leaders, especially those who were part of the Lebanese
civil war, need to step down and allow free elections to take place within their
We need a new president who works on unifying the Lebanese from all religions
and all political affiliations.
* Dr. Hayar is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences
at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He is recipient of numerous
international awards including two from the National Institutes of Health in the
USA for his work on the cellular neuroscience of special senses. A native of
Akkar, Lebanon, he received his undergraduate education at the American
University of Beirut and a Doctorat en Sciences from L’ Université Louis Pasteur