Lebanon: Meanings and Consequences

This week's summary is a selection of posts that focus on meanings and on repercussions. For example, what does it mean to be a modern man or a leftist in Lebanon and what is the aftermath of not caring for rural communities and of not developing agriculture as a means of production. Other topics involve the new poverty rates in Lebanon and how political bickering is taking its toll on young students.

On Meanings:

Ana Min Beirut posts on what it means to be a modern man:

I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstructionist that is politically, anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been uplinked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond! I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive.

Jij writes on what it means to be a leftist in Lebanon (and about much more):

What does it mean to be a leftist in Lebanon? Notwithstanding the four or five remaining members of the Democratic Left Movement, I believe that being a leftist in Lebanon is centered on three basic (forcibly ideal) tenets: 1- Promotion of a secular society, where an individual’s social, cultural and historical identity is not pre-defined and absorbed by his tribal belonging. 2- Support of an economic strategy whose highest goal is bettering the lives of its most underprivileged elements (as opposed to making the super-rich even richer), and unequivocal opposition to savage and devastating neoliberalism policies. 3- Opposition to neo-colonialism and to all its agents in the region.

Bech explains that the events happening in Lebanon are a classical case of power shifts:

Now if you come to think about it, what happened in Lebanon in the last few years is a classical example of shifts in power poles. One need to look at changes happening at the level of organizations and institutions (of the state and related) that deal with security issues, especially if one wants to understand the political deadlock which we are slowly sinking in.

On Consequences:

Abu Ali writes on the effect of the decline of the rural society and the roots of inequality

Lebanon’s cultural and environmental heritage is deeply rooted in its rural society. Our food traditions, our folklore and our landscape are kept alive by small family farmers. As rural people become impoverished and marginalized, they leave their lands, and our culture, society and environment erode. This has tremendous implications: poverty creates despair, which is conducive to political violence. The dissolution of the ties between people and land creates nations of passers-by, countries with employees but without citizen. This is a great part of Lebanon’s problem.

EDB posts about how the political situation is affecting students to the extent that an innocent school trip becomes a rehearsal for a civil war (the post contains other topics too):

My friend R., a teacher at a snazzy private high school, recently took his students on a paint ball outing. Instantly they organized into political factions– PSP and Future versus Hezbollah and FPM. “It was like a prelude to the war,” R. said with characteristic exasperation. Whenever a student was hit by a paintball and — as per the rules– had to leave the game, his fellow party members would instead use him as a human shield.

Siestske in Beiroet writes about a recent study on poverty and on what it entails to be poor in Lebanon.

According to a recent study carried out for the Ministry of Social Affairs by the UNDP (The Development Agency of the UN) 25 % of the Lebanese now live below the poverty level. Being poor in Lebanon doesn’t just mean your income is below a certain level, but also that you don’t have access to running water, schools and shelter. This is seemingly good news, because some ten years ago, this was about 30%. The quote for shelter, education and water went up, but the income dropped almost 9% for these people.

That's all for now, stay well till our next update.

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