If we can rarely enjoy a day in Lebanon without countless and extensive electricity cuts, can we ever expect to see the light at the end of the tunnel?
A day in a life of a Lebanese is a dichotomy between everything that is wrong in our small little world and every way to make it better. The light at the end of the tunnel is our hope for the better life we aspire, our dream of the better place we deserve, our faith in the good will of everyone else to make it happen.
But imagine how our lives have evolved in this long and rusting tunnel:
For longer than we care to remember, the excuse for being in this interminable tunnel has been the war. But the war ended 22 years ago!
For years, solutions to our many problems, such as basic infrastructure in the hands of the government, or shameless attitudes towards one another or foreigners, in the hands of every individual, is to run around in circles to avoid a solution. And our current system does nothing to break this vicious circle.
For too long, we have induced breaks in our tunnel to get to see some of the light we long for: Our shimmering Downtown gives the illusion of prosperity. Our political system gives the illusion of democracy. Our shared Lebanese citizenship gives the illusion of unity. Our humor and joie de vivre gives the illusion of peace of mind and feeling of overall security.
But pointing the blame at others has not bore us any fruit, and complaining has not lead us anywhere near what we desire. Instead, maybe it is time to point the blame at ourselves. Instead of complaining from dusk till dawn, maybe it is time to raise our voices and make everyone else hear. We have waited too long for things to get better, thrown our hopes unto people and a system that has failed us far too many times. It is time to change our tactics.
Many have realized that it is time to take matters in their own hands, where change is something to be fought for and apathy no longer excusable.
And many have already picked their battles. From women’s rights to workers’ rights. From the fight to combat human discrimination to the fight for a healthy tobacco-free environment, and the fight for a secular society in between. These battles and more to come, initiated by a small group, joined by many more to come, are the small acts of resistance that will “make the invincible crack, the unchangeable change.” Because resistance isn’t always about force, and doesn’t have to be…
If the Arab Revolutions have taught us anything it is that change from the bottom is possible. Change isn’t easy, change isn’t fast, and if we think it is impossible, it will be just that, impossible. And if we are to take away just one thing from these revolutions, it is that we never had our own revolution. If only considering the most basic definition of a revolution: “sudden, radical, or complete change,” a “fundamental change in political organization; especially: the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed.” Where is our “complete change”? Where is our “fundamental change”? Where is the “renunciation”? Where is the “substitution”?
If the Occupy Wall Street movement was inspired by the Arab Revolutions, with its tactics and conviction in the power of active change, there is no reason why we cannot do the same thing too. The only prerequisite is to believe in this change and realize that the time has come to act.
For whatever cause, whatever reason, sign that petition, go down to the streets, scream it out loud, spread the word on Facebook, write to raise awareness, retweet that plea on Twitter. Occupy Your Mind. The Revolution Begins Within.
For too long, we have lived in this country like there is no tomorrow, yet have seen that no matter what we do, that tomorrow keeps coming back at us again and again. Let us start living and acting so that our tomorrow is a one we want to look forward to.
Without fighting a battle, we can never claim victory. So tell me, what battle have you chosen to fight for?
[This piece was initially posted on LBC Blogs]