Nothing about us Lebanese people is average or “normal”; we are simply cooler, smarter and better than everyone else. And so is our Independence story.
We have been invaded by almost every civilization, religion or sect that has walked the face of the earth; we have been divided, united, killed, saved, loved and hated by all of them.
In 1943, after twenty or so years of French mandate and occupation, a bunch of men in a house in Bchamoun looked at one another and said “Enough is Enough! We will draw a gorgeous flag and sign it and change the constitution, and thus proclaim our independence!”
Then a guy said “but dude, the French are still here, I mean it’s kind of weird because if they don’t leave we are still technically occupied.” But the rest said “Chill man, just sign the flag and stop nagging, that’s how we roll!”
And they drew the flag and signed the flag and changed the constitution and the French were like “Oh mon dieu We are still here how do they say they are independent??” And with a little bit of luck and a sense of true patriotism and innocence, we managed to get the French troops to completely withdraw from Lebanese territory on December 31st 1946.
And in honor of our coolness, we decided to consider our independence day to be November 22nd 1943 because… well because we can; and mostly because we don’t care what others think.
We then started our journey as people who are truly in charge of their destinies and liable for their mistakes. And we started to govern this piece of land honoring an unwritten agreement that was called the National Pact (الميثاق الوطني) that, in brief, divides the country and the government into portions based on religion and distributes them around.
Believing that this agreement would preserve each community’s rights, our founding fathers in fact, without knowing, helped divide the country forever. They failed to learn the only lesson worth learning from the occupying French: religion and government do not go along quite well…. Thus the crazy people with guns all over the place…
During the thirty-two years that followed our independence, the gap created by the national pact was widened by ever growing paranoia, fueled by local and international events. Lebanese citizens no longer existed; they were instead replaced by the Lebanese Christians the Lebanese Muslims and the Lebanese Druz. Each with an agenda of their own, and each with loyalty to a foreign country of their own; and suddenly, we stopped feeling so independent.
And so, inevitably, on April 13th 1975, after tough decades that brought along regime changes ranging from Iraq to Syria, the creation of Israel and arrival of the Palestinian refugees to Lebanon; at the tipping point of the cold war between the Soviets and the Americans… On a small land where the green and white mountains of the Cedars meet the Mediterranean sea, all hell broke loose.
Things got so confusing and so irrational to a point where no side knew what the fighting was all about. Men women and children were slaughtered, villages destroyed and families torn apart; millions were displaced hundreds of thousands were dead or wounded. And after twenty years of pain and suffering; no lessons were learned.
So on October 13th 1990, after enough arms dealers made money out of our stupidity, we finally signed an agreement that amended the constitution in all the wrong places and brought an end to the war: the Ta’if accord (إتّفاق الطائف ).
A necessary agreement that left us more divided, weaker and more broke than we had ever been. Not to mention occupied by the lovely Syrians and the gentle Israelis…. Oh, and with absolutely no control over our government, money or security.
The twenty years that followed the Ta’if, leading up to our 67th independence day have witnessed more plots, wars, clashes, assassinations and “Historical moments” than the voyage of Oedipus.
The same murderers, thieves, liars, traitors and cowards that lead the country through its darkest hours are still leading it now.
None were questioned and none were held accountable for their actions. They are instead praised and given divine status’s by the cool smart Lebanese people, who are at the end of the day, better than all the people of the earth.
You are not.
On this day you are celebrating the Independence day of a country that is constantly knocking at the doors of civil war, a country that knows that another large scale war with Israel is inevitable, a country that has more than fifty billion dollars in debt, a country whose citizens sit back and watch as they are being robbed. A country who’s leaders have to get instructions from the Syrians, Saudis, Egyptians, Iranians, Americans, French and many more in order to make a statement.
On this day you are celebrating the Independence Day of a zoo.
We are no longer a country; we are not cool, we are not the best, and we are not smart. We are in fact pathetic, ignorant and nothing more than third world country ignorant fucks.
Happy 22nd of November.