We’ve been told that both young and old have fought and died for us to get to where we stand today. They sacrificed their lives so that the country remains free, independent and protective of its people, all its people, without any discrimination. However, if we had the chance to look at those heroes in the heavens, odds are their eyes would be filled with tears and not pride; shame at our political fissures, the rampant corruption afflicting every nook and corner in the country and the flagrant foreign intervention in our internal affairs, to name but a few. How could they profess their pride in such a Lebanon, so alien to the one they paid their lives for at the altar of martyrdom, and left it with their heads held high?

The freedom of Arabs in general and the Lebanese in particular is sadly suppressed by the corruption plaguing their country. But freedom comes at a price: martyrs must fall and blood must be shed, and this is exactly what our heroes did when they sacrificed their lives so as to pave the way for freedom. But look at us today! Look at the frivolity we are wallowing in! Take a moment to think about the occupied and oppressed Palestine and the agony that the Palestinians suffer daily. Hundreds of lives are claimed every day, while the Arabs continue to attend to tight selfish interests.

Lebanon is part of this Arab World and performs a critical role on the Arab scene. How could the Lebanese compromise their freedom by drifting into the wrong political current? Where has the freedom of belief gone in this country? Where is my freedom as a human being when I see brothers pitted against each other and fighting one another while politicians chill in fancy palaces and nightclubs with no concern except that of expanding their wealth and accumulating piles of money in their bank accounts and treasuries. Meantime, national representatives convene at the Arab League to battle their material and political interests, oblivious to the core cause that prompted them to meet in the first place: Palestine.

Is this real independence? This is corruption, havoc and vanity in a country that was 60 years ago an infallible haven, but lost it all due to the mismanagement of the current heirs entrusted with its protection. Where has the beautiful Lebanon gone? Where are the values and principles of Lebanon? Where is the responsible freedom? Where are justice and equality? Everything has been compromised.

Nour Hwaily - Ahliah School- Grade 11