What the Lebanese Can Learn From the Arab Revolutions

I think most everyone around the world can agree that this has been an extraordinary spring in the Middle East. Things I never in dreamed would happen have happened not only in one, but in two, three, four and more countries. And no one knows when or where it’ll end.

Yet, no matter how happy I am for the people of Tunisia and Egypt, I can’t help feel a tiny bit sad for the Lebanese. And not (like a friend of mine commented) because suddenly they’re not the centre of attention. But because I feel that the Lebanese could actually learn a lot from the Arab revolutions.

So Lebanon does not have a dictator. And the elections are fairly free. And the goods of the country are distributed in a more even way among the different sects and not kept in the hands of a ruling elite. But that doesn’t mean Lebanon couldn’t do with a revolution.

The Lebanese need to revolt against the sectarian system that has kept the country in a paralyzed state for decades and decades. They need to demand of themselves and others to be judged not by religion or family name, but by the fact that they are Lebanese, who work hard to make a living and who want what’s best for their country. They need to demand the right to civil marriages, so that two Lebanese can get married even if they don’t belong to the same religion. They need to demand the right to choose a parliament, which they feel is the best to lead the country – not the best within a certain sect. If for no other reason, then because no serious political issues have been dealt with for the past many years because the parliament has been too caught up in a “he said – she said” sectarian strife.

Are these demands simple? They should be. But I know that for the Lebanese this would mean a complete change in way of thinking and in life that is just as earth shattering to them as it was for the Egyptians to get rid of Mubarak. And just like the Egyptians face a long and hard road ahead of them, so will the Lebanese should they choose to stage their own revolution.

But I hope that the young generation of Lebanese will find courage and inspiration in their peers in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen… Personally I would be proud to join them. Until then all I ask is: When will we be Lebanese?

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