Who remembers? On that day in the mid-nineties, individuals from the so-called “civil society”, and most of whom with good intentions and some with a purpose and a strategy, organized the campaign “my country, my hometown, my municipality”. Funding of course is western and the reasoning is change from through the bottom-up approach. With those of purely good intentions there is no discussion, but for those who claimed they had a strategy and views of change involving civil society and 12 years after the first post-civil war municipal elections, the time is ripe for a serious discussion.
My country: Divided horizontally and vertically between five heads, and sponsored by the Ta’ef and Doha agreements and jubilantly celebrated in the ceremony held at the Syrian Arab Republic’s Embassy in Beirut.
My hometown: No electricity, no sewage, no water, and pollution everywhere. No public schools, no preventive health care, lack of awareness for rights and obligations and no accountability for those elected to the municipal council.
My Municipality: A miniature replica of the public sector and the Council of Ministers with every family being represented by a person irrespective of how corrupt or ignorant he is and with the head of municipality controlling all decisions. The saying goes: “The municipality is a president and a policeman.” Squandering of public funds, outright theft, construction of roads and retaining walls even when they are not needed, and the ambition of families for their sons to be hired as municipality policemen.
The solution? The solution lies in the dissolution of all the municipal councils and the implementation of the laid out and paid for schemes, plans and strategies including (Lebanon’s urban and rural master plan and the strategies of social and economic developments, among others), holding elections after the integration of the municipalities to minimize their number to less than quarter, allowing residents to vote in their place of residence rather than their place of birth and placing them under the jurisdiction of the Court of Audit.
Considering that all of this is not in the horizon, it is therefore recommended to raise Nancy Ajram’s picture in their so-called “municipality palaces” and to start the day with her song “baladiyat”…” literally meaning municipalities or from the same hometown. Following are the lyrics:
“Very very good … I am also naïve, I thank him, there is no one else to make my hours happy … I am a part of him as he is also a part of me … he is also from the same hometown… he is my “baladiyat”.”
Since Nancy is the United Nations goodwill ambassador, we can here celebrate the so-called international legitimacy partnership with the private and public sectors and celebrate our success in raising Lebanon’s name high in the world of art and democracy.
A lie called civil society! Yes, “I am a part of him and he is also a part of me!” as Nancy says.