Websters dictionary defines the word “citizen” as: a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman. Clearly; we got it wrong.
The point of this article is not to criticize or patronize the “citizens” of our beloved country, since some (I know two), are, in fact, aware of the non Lebanese global definition of the word at hand. But seeing as we all agree that this is a country in need of hasty and urgent change, it would be a good idea to start by setting an ultimate goal which is the transformation of the current Lebanese “pittyzens” into Lebanese CITIZENS.
In order for us to grow as a country we ALL need to be a part of this country, to fulfill our duties towards this country, to accept each other and set a clear plan (lets call it THE plan) that insures a steady future for our children and grand children. And it all starts with people like you and I; college and school kids who if not yet “corrupted” by the failed mentality that resides over this piece of land; look into the future in such a “naïve” way, that ANYTHING is possible. In short we have to be real CITIZENS.
There is no use in talking about and analyzing the problems and obstacle that face us. We all know that song by heart and it goes like this: We just got out of a devastating 20 year long civil war (well it ended in 1990!), the government is corrupted and the members of parliament and the ministers are liars and thieves (how about you vote for someone else?), we have accumulating debt (well I’m sorry but Nagging is not a financial and economical strategy), we have cultural and religious differences (well annihilating one another did not work, plan B?) .
So step one of THE plan is: STOP NAGGING!
Step two is: DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND RAISE AWARNESS!
Journalism majors and enthusiasts please start writing articles about what needs to happen, about what needs to change, about the opportunities that await, about the people that are trying hard to inspire and change the “pittyzens” of this country. Do not get sucked into that subjective, unprofessional, cheap type of reporting in order to back one side of the story. If it weren’t for BOTH SIDES we wouldn’t be here.
Photographers, painters and filmmakers; honor the 200,000 dead and injured of all the wars that sucked the colors out of Lebanon. Show us why it should never happen again, make us hate it and show us the lessons we never learned. Shoot films, documentaries and ads about it; write songs about it and paint the walls of Beirut so that we never forget about it.
Lawyers, economists, political science and social science lovers; Pave the way to a better future! Fill the gaps that tear our constitution apart, work on social programs that would bring the young minds of the north and south together and let your voices be heard, point out the problems we are facing and create a working system.
Business men and women, we all want to go green; but how about your businesses support the Lebanese youth, education, inter-religious academies and countless organizations that would make a huge impact on the local scene with the right type of endorsement and funding.
Independent College students who do not agree with any of the degrading political parties that affect your campuses; Do not be afraid to let you voices be heard. Do not be afraid to stand against the waves of sheep and clappers in you yearly elections.
Step three: JOIN A CAUSE AND MAKE AN IMPACT!
There is no excuse for not being active in your community. Find the time and change someone’s life. But let’s get one thing straight; if the cause you want to join involves you or someone else blowing up, I would highly recommend something else. So please know what to fight for.
If its fighting against poverty or child abuse, if its fighting for women rights or gay rights; if its fighting for the people with cancer or the prisoners in jail; if its fighting to save the trees and the animals or fighting drugs and car accidents; you are on the right track.
Step four: ALWAYS, DARE TO DREAM!
A just cause is an eternal flame; it can never die. It will eventually light its torch. Martin Luther king died, but Barack Obama is now president of the United States. Europe was overtaken by tyranny during world war two; it stands now as the cultural and global example for freedom in the world. There are countless of other examples, but the one thing they all had in common was a rare phenomena that Nelson Mandela perfectly shaped into words; and that is the courage to “dare to dream of changing the world into a better place”.