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Is Lebanon manageable? One can argue that Lebanon can only be mismanaged and can only operate in a state of lawlessness. Forty-four small pubs and clubs in the Monot area were recently fined and three were closed because they are not appropriately licensed. But if we apply for licenses, they say, we will not be able to operate.

Banks are making money; on the average, they bring in $240 million in annual profits, mainly due to treasury bills. Banks should be lending to the private sector, not the government. But if we are to do that, they say, we will not be able to make any profit.

Cement factories are protected with a 75% customs duty. Their selling price per ton is much higher than the international market. But if this fee is cancelled, they say, we will not be able to make any profit.

Beach resort owners infringing on seaside properties and selling one square meter at an average of $1,000 continue to block the passage of a law in parliament regulating the sector. If you pass this law, they say, we will not be able to make a living.

A handful of companies monopolize the import of fuel into the country and continue to operate in defiance of a law prohibiting that. But if you implement this law, they say, we will not be able to make any profit.

In addition, 30% of households, companies and commercial units do not pay their electricity bills. But if we do, they argue, we will not be able to make ends meet.

Quarry operators with licenses to operate use illegal methods of quarrying. With present codes, they argue, we cannot survive.

Politicians who violate the law declare: We are obliged to in order to win votes, while citizens who break the law say : We cannot survive if we don’t.

Breaking the law makes money, applying the law makes a country. The Lebanese have apparently made their choice - organized chaos is the synthesis.

Jawad Adra

 



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