Amid the disinfection procedures the whole world is implementing to combat the COVID 19 pandemic, Lebanon is undergoing a totally different type of disinfection and purification. The government is working on purifying its image, and presenting itself as the saviour, the hero that will lead the country, despite all its people’s maladies, to safety.
This campaign has been launched of course, through all the cheap TV channels and their mercenary guests, in cooperation with their intelligence websites, run by the state’s institutions and parties, that continue to publish fake achievements, and groundless international acknowledgments of the performance of the Lebanese government in facing the crisis. This is in addition to the worthless campaigns launched by NGOs that hide behind cliché slogans, that are run by the Lebanese oligarchic families ruling the country.
Unfortunately, some people who have been inclined to trust such a government and believe it, as a psychological defense mechanism facing the epidemic, participate in such campaigns. In times of terror, people hang on to any hope, even a false one, forgetting how this government was formed and why, and what their real achievements are, at a time when the minister of health is flaunting himself among reporters and cameras without gloves, or even a mask to cover his face and protect them from him.
Let’s begin with the government’s latest achievement, that people have tipped their hats to: Securing the return of some Lebanese expats into quarantine, in exchange for unbelievable ticket prices, in US dollars, at a time when the banks are preventing them from withdrawing their dollar savings from their Lebanese bank accounts. This is simply exploitation, classism and impertinence.
This brings to mind the Hadley Gamble interview, which warmed the hearts of millions, with the current government’s ‘Supreme Leader’ Gibran Bassil. The interviewer asked Bassil that day, “How did you get here? Did you come on a private plane?” He replied, “I paid for my trip, I didn’t cost the public treasury one cent.” But he was shocked by the second question: “So this means that you paid using family money?” Bassil stuttered, because he knew exactly the meaning of the question: “No, it was a gift from some of my friends”. This led the Dutch Foreign Minister, former coordinator of the UN in Lebanon, to intervene, saying, “When we are in government, we are not allowed to have such friends.” We have the right to ask, as we are scattered around the world, fleeing the tyranny and corruption of this era, who are Bassil’s friends, and where are they and their precious gifts now?
What did the “Samidoun” (“we are resilient”) government decide to do in that respect? It decided to start the Bisri Dam project on agricultural land, despite the inevitable dangers this involves, endangering people, the environmental and archeological sites, as well as squandering the state treasury’s money, in a country that is already suffering a severe economic crisis, as a result of the greed and brutality of its rulers!
Let’s take one step backwards, to another type of achievement by the government, when the military court released the famous Israeli agent Amir Fakhoury, who kidnapped, tortured and killed Lebanese citizens in prison. The reason behind his release was, according to the court’s statement, “the expiry of statute of limitations”. Did they stop at that? No they definitely didn’t. Speaking of airplanes, the government secured the landing of an American airplane, equipped with medical equipment, to pick the spy up from the embassy, and secure his safe return, triumphant and honored. Afterwards still came one of the government’s worst instances, when a group of activists were arrested for protesting in front of one of the Beirut banks that is withholding donation money and people’s savings, leaving the Lebanese to face their destiny against a virus which the entire world has failed to combat.
Apparently if we talk about this, we get called “hideous”, “The most hideous type of human beings on earth” in fact, according to one of New TV’s correspondents, for example, who compared us to the corrupt thieves that are robbing away the country’s resources. What a shame!
We should thank the government for calling on the people to wash their hands repeatedly, while cutting off the water from their homes, or in the very best case, supplying them with filthy water. We should respect a government for asking people to stay home where there is no electricity most of their days and nights. We should bow to the government for praising the elderly today, who are more likely to die from coronavirus infection, while depriving them of their basic social security rights tomorrow. We should raise our hats to the Minister of Health, who earned his position as a reward for his famous speech in Baalbek, when he described the October 17 revolution as “a doomed movement, and the result is going to be doomed, if it were not for the intervention of the patriotic and Islamic parties, who care about this country’s security”. At that time, the parties he referenced were beating people, breaking their bones, burning down their tents, muddling their dialoguing platforms with their chanting: “Shiaa, Shiaa”, “Fuck the Revolution” and “The People Demand a New May 7”.
It is a failing government, no matter what they do, even if this fact does not appeal to those who are afraid to lose their privileges. The number of members of this government is equal to the number of demonstrators’ eyes that were gouged out in the streets. It is a delusory government against a delusory opposition, that was formed in such a way after consensus that one government that includes them all will make the opposition pure and popular, like the one that ignited the spark of the October 17 revolution, against the chant: “All of them means all of them”, without exception! It is a government that summoned activists, reporters and revolutionaries to interrogation, while spies were being honored and taken care of instead.
No matter how loud the voice of hypocrisy is, it will not cover our people’s moans in their beds at night. Our country is filthy, ruled by the filthy. Our government will always remain, no matter what they do, merely a defective product of the sectarian political system in Lebanon, which is the cause of our misery. It will never gain our confidence, even if they offered us gold, because that gold was stolen from us.