The absurd and the healthy

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Taken by Geroge Khoury during the celebration of President Michel Aoun in Batroun

Don’t waste your time ranting against Aoun. Instead, spend your time accepting your new president and start creating the change you’re expecting.

After more than two years of harmful political vacancy, Lebanon finally has a president. Having been a few steps away from a deep and painful fall, we finally regained consciousness before taking our own lives. For that, we deserve credit where it is due.

Many of my friends, acquaintances and followers are questioning my supportive stand with our newly elected president. I’ve been actively calling against the corruption going on in this country for the past two years of my two-decade life. I still aim to do so but I am a realist. We can’t just put down a whole government and construct a new one in a night, month or even two years. We tried that and we failed. The major political upheavals that have happened in the past 6 years have attracted only a handful of the population and been put to sleep. Change has to happen in baby steps and the first step is unity.

We’ve seen political discourses in Lebanon over the past decades that have divulged us into blood-sheds and hatred beyond words. The most absurd discourse so far happened recently when the two most influential Maronite leaders, who are also notorious for being life long enemies, shook hands after years of abomination between their respective parties. Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea have finally met on a common ground. This leaves our country 10 steps away from a civil war and 10 steps closer to recovery. It is by far the only healthy political discourse this country has seen.

This alliance leaves us at a very clear and logical notion; Aoun’s dream-turned-reality of becoming president is reviving the presence of all parties in the rule. Aoun would’ve never made it alone which means he isn’t the only one claiming victory. He’s now sitting on that presidential chair physically but in reality, Geagea, Suleiman Frangieh, Dory Chamoun, the Gemayels, the Hariris, the rest of the 8th of March movement including Hezbollah are all in that chair now too. Some might picture this as scary. It is, but the numbers speak and these names do in fact represent the majority of the people. So for once, the president truly is the populations choice .

Unlike our last president, Michel Sleiman, this time the man who fills the presidential void is in fact the will of the people. He wasn’t forced upon us by some bulls**t accord imposed by Qatar nor was he appointed by one party. Aoun was the choice of the MPs the majority of the people put in power. Better so, he is the choice of the majority of parties. Luckily, he also has the support of international powers and regional figures. This leaves him with no large opposition, thus, no political tension to waste energy on and so much time to fix a country.

When was the last time you saw the Lebanese Forces, Hezbollah, Future Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement wave their flags alongside the Lebanese flag simultaneously under the same sky? This isn’t a scene we should appall from. We’re supposed to rather commemorate it, write it down in history and hope that the rest of the political parties eventually join in.

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Some might argue, as I did a few weeks back, that there is hope for a secular government without the presence of warlords and corrupt faces. No, there isn’t. At least not for the time being. There is a reality that we should face away from our utopian dream of freedom. To reach a secular government we should strife to unite. This is our first step and even though we’re not completely there, it has not yet failed so we might as well celebrate while the peace lasts.

I was very proud of the people from the Amal Movement who attended the festivities honoring Aoun’s victory in Martyr’s Square on Monday night. Their political leader, Nabih Berri, was against having Aoun as president but thus they came down to the streets with their flags and their carefree smiles. This win is for Lebanon. We’ve finally got rid of a political vacancy which once left us as a face of weakness in front of the West and we’ve filled it united. If that doesn’t call for cheers I don’t know what does.

Another factor that should put your fears to temporary rest is the fact that Aoun’s support team consists of some of the most cultured and educated people of this country. Alain Aoun, Ghassan Moukheiber, Nicolas Sehnaoui, Elias Bou Saab, to name a few. These men have prestigious degrees and undeniable productivity on the ground. I am not turning a blind eye on the corruption allegations some of the FPM ministers have been accused off but let’s look at the real picture, every party has corrupt faces pulling it down. Corruption exists and unfortunately it prevails but this does not discredit the accomplishments the above named men have done and plan to do. I am not saying we could sleep sound at night knowing our country is in safe hands, no. I am saying we could sleep knowing it isn’t in the worst hands and that some of the hands carrying it are clean.

What’s next?

Let them cozy up to each other for their personal benefits. While this lasts, first we accept instead of complain. Then, we test them. We ask questions. Is this alliance real? We observe. Where is it taking us? We work on the change we need. We look out for the good guys and re-elect them in the coming months. We watch the bad guys and we eliminate them one by one and not all at once, because we can’t do that. We can’t play god, we are not a higher power. We are a people who settle with less in exchange for promises of more. We are learning and growing and the biggest proof for that is that we are the only nation in the region whose people can still keep their blood for themselves.

The expected move now from this new coalition is forming a united and fair government that commits to putting this country on the required steps back to survival and hopefully, revival. They have the means but do they have the will? We shall wait and see. 

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