Lebanon has long ago stopped to be a candidate for reform… I started accepting the country as it is. Many things have found their way to organization in an anarchic way without any interference from the state, as anarchy and the law of natural selection allowed the Lebanese to find the best ways to survive their daily catastrophes. A simple example is driving against traffic on Monday morning in the direction of Beirut in Ouzaii to avoid traffic congestion while the state fails to find any alternative. I believe that the citizens’ unconscious collaboration in the presence of good will has helped invent many ways to replace the absence of development, rule of law and reform.
Most of the times when governments interfere to “regulate” anything their only regulation would be imposing more taxes or passing a law that grants a new business deal for ministers or their close ones. With each new law published I remember the story of the cat and the mouse:
Seeing the mouse falling down, the cat rushes to her saying: “Oh, dear are you OK?” The mouse answers: “Yes, I am OK when you leave me alone”.
We have enough reasons to think that any new law that passes in the name of “development and improvement” is an attempt to steal people money and peculate the last pennies from the state’s treasury.
Do you remember the fines set for cars without fire extinguishers? Do you remember who their importer was? We all know the taxation law that applies on each citizen who inherits an amount of money or real estate. Do you remember how was it modified to allow the successors of a top politician escape paying taxes (the Lebanese treasury lost $500 million)?
In a country where corruption is beyond any imagination, a new traffic law threatens to detain a bicycle if its breaks are not good enough. While you can see in Beirut tinted cars with half opened windows from which Kalashnikov guns stick their heads.
The new traffic law is full of points on the duties of pedestrians, car drivers, (even donkey drivers) but not a word about the duty of the state to keep our roads safe and navigable – they are actually navigable for boats in winter.
No doubt, the new law will be used to collect more money for the bankrupted state, but will apply only on un-backed people. It will only be a law of discrimination and division in the light of current situation.
We are all the way managing our lives with the shortage of power, drinking water and security and the bureaucracy of the government as an additional load. If reform should start somewhere, let it start but not with confiscating my bike parked in the backstreet near my grandmother’s house.