The most corrupt groups in the region.

“In Lebanon, numbers are alarming as nine in ten people (92 per cent) say that they think corruption has increased. Government officials, tax officials and members of parliament are perceived to be the most corrupt groups in the region” according to the new Transparency International new survey.

“In some countries the situation is perceived to be particularly bad. In Yemen and Jordan three quarters or more of respondents (84 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively) say that they think corruption rose in the 12 months prior to the survey. This rises to over nine in ten people (92 per cent) in Lebanon, which was the highest of any place we surveyed in …. Citizens in Yemen and Lebanon think that the public sector in their country suffers from particularly widespread corruption. More than two-thirds of respondents (68 and 67 per cent, respectively) say “Most” or “All” individuals working in these institutions are corrupt, while a further quarter say that “Some” are corrupt (26 and 22 per cent, respectively). Only one in twenty (5 per cent each) thinks that the national public sector institutions are completely free from corruption …. People in Yemen and Lebanon are particularly critical of government efforts to address public sector graft. In Lebanon three-quarters (76 per cent) rate their administration’s efforts as either very or fairly bad, while in Yemen this proportion rises to nine in ten (91 per cent) …”

Rubbish job: dissatisfaction in Lebanon’s waste services Citizens in Lebanon are very critical of their government efforts at fighting corruption, with over three-quarters saying it is doing a bad job (76 per cent) in this area. Recently, many people have taken to the streets in Lebanon to protest over the government’s failure to dispose of waste in the country’s capital, Beirut, as part of the “You Stink” campaign, and public dissatisfaction is reportedly growing in the country over the extent of alleged corruption. iv Garbage collection services were stopped in some parts of the city in July 2015, after the country’s largest landfill site was closed. It took until February 2016 for the government to agree on a new site for the city’s refuse to go to – while, in the meantime, the growing piles of rubbish are causing a terrible stench and posing a significant public health risk to the city.  Campaigners blame potential corruption and political paralysis for the delay in solving the crisis. In Lebanon, refuse processing can be part of the bargain used by politicians when exchanging favours behind the scenes. The lack of transparency in such types of deals means that citizens can foot the bill for inefficient or expensive service delivery. The failure of the political system to deal swiftly with the garbage crisis has caused greater attention to be turned to such behind-the scenes-deals, as people became tired of the slow response from their elected representatives.

CAN PEOPLE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Citizens in Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon and Egypt are more divided on this issue. Only around a half of the citizens of these countries (from 50 to 53 per cent) agreed that ordinary people can make a difference in fighting corruption, while a sizable minority feel disempowered…  People in Lebanon are the most pessimistic; a third (32 per cent) of citizens there say that there is nothing people can do … The second most common reason why people don’t report more cases of corruption is that they feel that it won’t make a difference, as nothing will be done about it (19 per cent). In Yemen and Lebanon (26 and 30 per cent, respectively) this is particularly the case, which perhaps reflects the lack of government capacity in both these countries.

The widespread extent of corruption in Yemen, Lebanon and Sudan in particular is also considered another factor why more cases of corruption are not reported there. In these countries respondents are particularly likely to say that the reason why people don’t report is that corruption is normal and everyone does it (between 11 and 14 per cent), or that the officials to whom they would report corruption are often also involved in it (between 14 and 15 per cent). When corruption is endemic within communities it triggers a feeling of resignation and apathy, which is why greater efforts need to be made to tackle bribery and other forms of corruption head-on.

Lebanon and Yemen stand out in the region as having the most negative ratings by citizens. Since Yemen was on the verge of collapse when the survey was conducted, these ratings indicate a larger malaise within the country just prior to the civil war and the imminent crumbling of public infrastructure and services. Lebanon, which is divided along sectarian lines, has failed to produce a functioning government since the former president stepped down in 2014.The public sector suffers from high levels of corruption according to its citizens, who are critical of government efforts at fighting corruption…

Way to go my fellow Lebanese. What are you going to do about it? Will you do something about it? When will you? Municipality elections coming up in couple of days, will you start there? I doubt.

If these don’t make people seek change, what will?

lebnon-flagA parliament that extends its own term. A paralysed government. A constitutional council that colluded with an unconstitutional extension. A Vacuum in the presidency for more than a year. A disabled country due to a disabled government. No electricity. No water. No jobs. A garbage crisis. A corrupt system from top to bottom. Traffic crisis. No jobs. Crime on the rise. Over 1 million Syrian refugees in a country of only 4.5 million people. Sectarian division, terrorist cells, armed groups, …. Yet the average Lebanese is not revolting. He keeps following his traditional, religious and sectarian leaders even if he has to starve to death.

I thought after the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, the people will wake up, throw away those who took him to war, kept him under Syrian occupation ….. Instead, at the first opportunity, they voted those leaders in power. But hey, the Lebanese are proud of being the smartest in the region and defenders of democracy. Eh Ahlen.

Rise Above Lebanon

You have to rise above Lebanon to see its beauty. I had mixed feelings when I watched this video. I loved every scene and region (couples were left out). It reminded me why I have this deep love for this country even though when there are times I feel like I hate it with passion and lost hope in it. On the other hand, I felt sad and angry. We have a beautiful country and instead of enjoying and make it better, the Lebanese are following corrupt leaders and are divided by their sectarian sects. I still doubt that one day we will have a decent country without corruption, religious division, hate, and Zbeleh – garbage (be it real garbage or political garbage). Enjoy this short touristic ad about my beloved country and maybe one day the children of my children enjoy it from the street level and not from above.

LF-FPM Declaration of Intent

Finally, Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea met today and revealed the declaration of Intent between both parties. After the meeting Samir Geagea said:” I’m happy to be here in Rabieh (Aoun residency) … We should have this meeting years ago … The LF and FPM are the largest two Christian groups in Lebanon, if they meet they can offer a positive outcome to Lebanon … this is point zero and now the dialogue starts …. we both want a strong president for Lebanon … we both agree that special session for the parliament should start with new election law as well as Lebanese citizenship law …” From his part Aoun said:” … I can’t repeat what Geagea said but I support it … It is a positive day and a gift to the christians of Lebanon … The decision is in our hands and we don’t want to damage the relations with others …”.

Well it is a great start and I hope that the two men realize that their unity is needed now beyond anything else. They must put aside their respective parties political interest and focus on what Lebanon need instead. I hope this will not be the last meeting and things progress faster between the two parties. Maybe these guys can prove me wrong one day but so far more is needed from them. A positive step in the right direction but it’s too little. A major step must be made fast to save what is left ….

The following is the LF-FPM Declaration of Intent:

  • We stress the need to endorse an independent foreign policy while building honest ties with all countries. Israel is an enemy and we reject normalization and call for a two-state solution.
  • The two parties call for the election of a strong president who is embraced by his community and capable of reassuring the other components of the country. The two parties agree to strengthen state institutions and resort to the law to resolve any sudden dispute. They agree not to resort to arms or violence and to support the army because it is the institution that can preserve sovereignty and national security.
  • The two parties underline their commitment to the Document of National Accord that was endorsed in Taef and call for avoiding anything that would manipulate the stipulations of the Constitution.
  • The two parties stress commitment to the approach of dialogue and underline their faith in Lebanon, the coexistence formula and the Constitution. They agree to endorse the principles of sovereignty in tackling the regional issues.

Violence against Women: He shot her 20 times

She filled charges against her husband for allegedly beating her over 20 years so he emptied 20 bullets in her body. Ali al-Zein killed his wife, Sara al-Amin, using an AK47 in the suburb of Dohat Aramoun, about 10 kilometers south of Beirut.

One of the sons told Al-Jadeed TV his father had kicked his mother out of the house over the weekend following a quarrel presumably linked to her pressing domestic violence charges against him earlier this month. He said his mother returned overnight before the murder and got into a fierce argument with her husband, adding that he and his siblings woke up to the sound of gunfire, only to find their mother lying on the sofa soaked in her own blood with their father still holding his weapon. The son said his father “had been beating my mother for 20 years,” adding: “We want justice.”

How many women need to be beaten and killed to put down rules to protect women? How many deaths are needed to develop a national strategy to educate people about violence against women? Family Violence is the most common form of violence experienced by women in Lebanon.

When will this chauvinist society understand that a real man doesn’t hit a woman with even a flower????

Only in Lebanon

Only in Lebanon …. Terrorism trial for suspects in the Sidon clashes between Army and militants delayed because one of the suspects is sick and the other is in a football training camp with the Lebanese national team. Source: Daily Star

It is to note that the battle of Aabra – Sidon occurred  on June 2013, and involved the Lebanese Army and Sunni militants in the city of Sidon, Lebanon. Clashes between the followers of militant preacher Ahmed Al-Assir resulted in the deaths of 17–18 soldiers, 25–40 al-Assir gunmen and two civilians.

 

Another September 14

Its September 14. Its our yearly appointment. Both of us far away from the homeland. Both sad and disgusted to where our country ended up. I’m not like others who write pages and pages about you, your character, your dream and vision. On every 14 of September, I have my small chat with you and I remember. I used to renew the promise, but not this year. You have to excuse me not to renew it this year. So let us begin our chat as usual.

Bachir: Tell me what happened to our land?

Me: What land? The one you loved and gave your life for? The 10452 Square Km? The one you dreamed about uniting? 32 years had passed since that ugly September 14 and nothing has changed. The land is still divided, small Islamic emirate here, another wilayat Faqih there and the farms that you hated, are still there but this time the small farm owners had changed. Our land still reeling under the press releases of unity, sovereignty and empty words.  We are still 10452 years away from your 10452 Square Km.

Bachir: How about the State?

Me: What should I tell you? The State been without a President for some time. You remember your friends in arms: Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun? Do you remember when I told you about the war of brothers and how thousands were killed during that war? Do you remember when I told you about the imprisonment of Samir and the banishment of Aoun to France? Do you remember when Aoun returned and Geagea was set free? Do you remember what I told you? They will continue their own battle till the last Christian standing in Lebanon and the region? (Christians are almost vanished in the region and soon in Lebanon). This time both are engaged in a presidential battle till the last Christian standing in Lebanon. Their allies are using them to make sure that at the end of the day, the Christians of Lebanon stay weak and divided.

Bachir: How about the Land?

Me: Still being violated by many. Borders are still open to whoever wants to enter. Recently ISIS, Nusra and their sisters … who they are? Do you remember why you stood up and fought for? What groups? Remember your speech in which you said: “We will not “Ashmil” and our bells will stay up … . Well this is the newest version, more aggressive and barbaric. The Syrian army as you know left. But now we have a different Syrian invasion. We have over a million Syrian refugee. Don’t be surprised and yes we never learned the lesson. I know what the Palestinian refugees saga led to at the end. The Lebanese so called politicians did the same mistake. The results of the Palestinian refugees were felt after a decade or two, the Syrian one was felt after a year. Your dream of a unified 10452 square km is still a dream. You have armed groups all over the country. Some called Resistance, others Ansar al-Mouqawama, others Nusra, ISIS, … As for the army, ah well the same old story, never allowed to get equipped so it will not make a positive change in the country. What happened to the money from selling the LF weapons? Hmmmm, let me pas this issue it will upset some people in the organisation you built. One day I will tell you.

Bachir: How about the people?

Me: More divided than ever. Some say more complicated than ever. But I tell, and honestly, they become less intelligent. Majority are blind followers of this leader or that one. Ready to kill each other. Some divided on the political level. Others on the sect level. And it goes on an on. Yeah we are in the 21 century but the people are stuck in the 19 century as it seems. Some they want just live and many are barely living. But be sure, none of them will rise and say enough is enough, we want our dignity and lives back.

Bachir: How about my rifa’, my comrades?

Me: Oh your rifa’ … some everything stopped with your death. Others as I told you over the years, kept fighting each other to inherit what you have left behind. Some stayed clean and decided not to have their friends bloods on their hands. The way of labeling others traitor still going on and on a high note. When one of them can’t face the idea of the other or has a different opinion than his, automatically the “Tikhwein” starts. Many still talk in the name of the “cause” but they are on the opposite side of it. Some became linked to this “service” or that “service”. Money is flooding and for sure not from the party they are doing for fundraising. Very few are still loyal to the cause, their rifa’ and the martyrs. They kept working silently and helped silently. Many started to think of a change to do something to set the record straight. They think they owe it to you, your rifa’ the martyrs and those still living.

As you see nothing has changed since last year. Don’t get angry at me. You asked and I answered. But hey they keep saying: “Bachir lives in us”. It seems the one who lives in them is the dead one and not the one that we knew.