I Fear For My Country, I Fear For My People…I Fear a Hashtag
A story of People and their story.
“The Military Court sentenced former Lebanese information minister Michel Samaha, who was being tried on terror charges, to four and a half years in prison a judicial” source told The Daily Star. Michel Samaha would be, by law, a terrorist and a traitor. But his lawyers managed to get him a 4 1/2 sentencing, in which most of it has already been served. One might consider this injustice compared to the brutal crime he was convicted of, one might even consider some corruption in the legal system. But it is not. It was the hashtag.
Social media brought many advantaged to Lebanon when it was first introduced early in 2015 by the Ministry of Internet and Orbiting Satellites. For the citizens of this land, it was a tremendous introduction and a stepping stone to a whole new dimension of opportunities that was with holding back every established, growing, and emerging industry in the country. But looking back at a year and half of mass social media engagement, it has impacted the Lebanese culture and its love for life in the most negative and unexpected way imagined.
Let’s go back a few years in time, to give the uninformed and the unfamiliar reader some history of the land that brought the alphabets to the civilized world, and didn’t make any financial profit doing so.
Up until 1990, Lebanon was fully occupied and controlled by the Greek Republic. It was nothing less than the bravery of 18 religious sects and some non-religious groups that fought the Greeks out. At the time, the country was an utter mess, broke to the bone, with no leadership or vision. Then a display of unparalleled patriotism emerged, the people wrote heartwarming letters to all of the 18 sects, urging them to accept the role and responsibility of rebuilding this country.
In a humbling ceremony in mount Lebanon, the people appointed the new leaders and crowned Rafic Harriri as chief chancellor. Half way through the ceremony, all appointed leaders refused to swear allegiance to the country unless a just evaluation system has been implemented in order to keep them in check as servants of the people. After 90 days, a full draft of an evaluation system was implemented. Each politician, based on the new system is required to (due to the length of the draft, here are a couple of pointers only):
- Get the people’s signed approval that he/she is allowed to run for office.
- 12 public debates must be conducted to present and argue his/her agenda and program
- Once his/her term is served, the politician will be evaluated by a jury of commoners to decide if he should retire peacefully or held accountable for under performance or failure.
The system was met with a unanimous decision to approve it. The system was hailed by many westerns as The Book. The system is now being translated to several languages to be implemented in all Northern hemisphere countries and kingdoms.
For 15 years, the country was a construction site; infrastructures, highways, communication, museums, universities, stadiums, libraries, towers… Every part of the state was on the full speed. There was a driving urge by everyone to ensure the education and the medical system take full precedence. A healthy and educated population can perform wonders. Lebanon mounted to the top 15 best countries in education, and the 2nd globally in medical care and benefits. Lebanese scientists discovered a gene that causes racism and sectarianism, and successfully eradicated it with a special local engineered pill. This discovery was made free to all with unlimited access (the pill only worked for 2 weeks at a time). 2005 also marked the reporting of the first case of rape in the country. A Lebanese housewife raped her female in-house helper for refusing to get a day off and enjoy the weather outside. (The tribunal sentenced the housewife to 20 years watching nothing but local TV stations, so that she can return to her real Lebanese values. The in-house helper was made the first lady of the household)
It was in 2005 that a milestone brought light to what Lebanon was missing. Chief chancellor Rafic Hariri was assassinated. Theories and rumors came forth, and the groups behind this criminal act are still at large (one theory is that Hariri provoked a Swiss design mafia due to his excessive usage of the color blue and the word MED in all his work and establishments, a methodology that the mafia considered a cliche for a Mediterranean country). It was then that the Lebanese people discovered a breach in their society; the absence of proper media and information. People demanded information, people required communication, every Lebanese has the right to be informed, and maybe then such crime would never have happened (it was rumored that 2.5 million people took the streets demanding their rights, and later joined by 19 million from abroad in the weekends). But first, a new chief chancellor had to be elected. The elders recommended the son of Rafic Hariri, and the people had to consider him as an option. Saad Harriri went through 9 months of endless public debates explaining his program and agenda. It was just then that the people voted, and a new chancellor was appointed. Saad vowed to cut the use of the color blue to a minimum, but the people demanded more, they wanted a new typeface. As servants of the masses, the elders took a knee, and changed the typeface.
5 years later, Lebanon was a whole new country; 109 TV stations, 300 newspapers, 2 radio stations, 834 mags, 5002 mosques and 5001 churches, and 1 Scientology church.With access to the media, and western civilization, Lebanon transformed all its shortcomings, including the following:
- Equal wages and opportunities (including animals in showbiz)
- Women’s rights and Men’s rights were merged into one; human rights (including the right to nurse in movie theatres, men and women)
- Education was free for all and mandatory (including the Elders and the chief counselor)
- Citizenship became a birthright (including giving birth on-board an airplane inside the Lebanese airspace)
- Sexuality was declared a natural human activity within human behavior (an annex was added later to punish those who dress and talk sexy, but proven to under-perform in the bedroom)
2010 also brought an end to funding any military institutions. Lebanese people found less interest in carrying a gun and shooting someone from a distance. Instead, boxing and karate was adopted, as they will induce discipline and self-defense all within a substantially lower budget. The remaining budget was successfully invested back in the people, for a whole new era to come.
It was the year Lebanese people made to the international news. Not as a life loving people, not as utopian society, nor as a successful sales rep, but rather as an all-action-no-bullshit community. Entrepreneurship has emerged as the leading title for any action or statement. It was then when the Lebanese people and values were put to the trial. Jealous neighboring countries hated what Lebanon and the Lebanese people became to be, and evil plots started to roleplay in.
The No Smoking Conspiracy.
A horrible conspiracy was slowly infiltrating the country. A group of foreigners secretly advocated the need for a ban on smoking in public places. It was entirely due to the wittiness of the Lebanese people, the proper invested education, and the backing of the Lebanese businesses and government institutions that the plot was uncovered and removed. Credits were given to the Lebanese law makers who protected the freedom to smoke under My Body My Decision, and to the society for noting that second hand smoke is not a menace due to the free medical. The Lebanese sex — appeal was protected as well.
Sport is a religion in Lebanon, and so does human rights. In 2014 both of these sacred elements were effected. A foreign country, a jealous state if I may add again, took offense that their state gets no snow season. Jackie Chamoun (Lebanon’s sweetheart) was competing at the 2014 winter Olympics, when an evildoer published some pictures from her calendar shoot, where Jackie was posing for shots, well, in a way only the woman should pose. While all the Lebanese were glued to their seats watching Jackie performing in the Olympics, while the ministry of ski and ski motor vehicles finishing up all the public ads and Tv spots promoting Jackie, and while every journalist and report was covering the event, the evildoer hacked the system and published a hate statement that struck everyone by surprise. Lucky the ministry was quick to react and resolve the issue and direct the focus back where it should be. The Lebanese people also used up a homemade initiative, where 3.7 million people took the streets in protest of the jealous foreign country (that country has been denounced since then by the U.N.). #stripforjackie became a national day, celebrated every year at midday and observed by all private and public sectors.
A strange streak of incidents emerged in Lebanon, people being beaten and killed by their mates. Lebanese, and although they denounced violence since 1990, remains a hot blooded race of humankind. The moment those cases surfaced, the government and all its Elders convened at the mountain top to discuss what should be acted before the public is aware. Thankfully, the harmony between the public and the Elders was proven on that night; every Lebanese citizen climbed the mountain and encamped outside the cave, where the Elders were assembled. It only struck one hour for the Elders to emerge with an action plan titled Every Human Remains a Human after Marriage… and Before it (the copywriter was absent that day). But its title doesn’t matter, it was the actions it enforced on abusers, medieval to say the least on how rough they are. Until this day, not a single incident of abuse was reported, and the Lebanese youth has at once been fully educated and aware that hitting a fellow human being is naughty.
A reader by now will assume the country is in good hands, and the sun will forever shine on Lebanon, but I fear for my country. I fear a challenge to do, and we as a nation can’t overcome. We were lucky in the past 25 years, but we have no harsh times to benchmark with, we have no history to learn from, I fear all our technological advancements, educational system, and community fabrics will now fail us.
In the past 5 weeks, social media really kicked in, From Yahoo Chat and all the way to Bing Lets Talk, and we seem overwhelmed. We are busy learning the new technology, and slowly wandering from what is on the ground. I look around us, to the jealous countries, and wonder what will befall if we are to face their challenges now! Are we all prepared? I am not, and it scared me.
This is a land of good men and women, you see them everyday in the street, you talk to them, to listen to them. But they are humans after all, we all are (scientifically speaking). Humans are ruled by emotions and instincts.
What will happen if a successful plot takes over, a conspiracy, or even a bad joke!
Turn on the news (international) and see what's going on, doesn’t frighten you to imagine that such can happen here, here in Lebanon!
What will happen if we end up a country without a leader? A country governs by corruption? A country not ruled by Elders, but by individuals with hidden agendas? What happens if all our public transportation systems collapse? What happens if we allow cults and organized mafias to rule our institutions? What happens when we fail our children’s right to proper education? What happens if we our medical system become a business and not a service? What happens if a man hits a woman, or two, or a hundred? What a brother kills his fellow brother over a bad T-shirt logo? What if religion becomes a tool? What if people in elected public offices don’t know the public? What if nothing in public offices answers to the public? What happens if we introduced stone over wood? What if our food is subject to poor inspection? What happens if you need to know The Man in order to get a job? What happens when your job barely pays your rent? What happens if your rent is 3 times your paycheck? What happens if the media is a tool of propaganda? What happens if laws are subject to personal benefits? What happens if free speech and insults become one? What happens when a bullet can kill and idea? What happens when businesses become tyrants? When Tyrants become rulers? What happens if your neighbor is without money to feed his family? What happens if the youth starts carrying heavy guns instead of lightweight books (iPads Air)? What happens if we support and demand our soldiers to go fight, then abandon them when they and their families need us? What happens if leaders leave their country and rule remotely? What happens if our democracy is hijacked by a handful or people? What happens if one leader burns the country if he is not elected? What happens if another burns the country because he know more karate than you? What happens when a corrupted law frees OJ Simpson but jails Rubin “Hurricane” Carter? What happens if your world is within a 5.5 inch screen, with enough power to alter the world, what happens then? Do you use it? Joke about it? Tweet about it? Hashtag it? Work to change it?
I believe such scenarios might happen to us, and I fear we will be too busy to notice, but will hashtag it once it's popular. I am personally busy writing this anyway. #Ifailedyou