It was Gibran Khalil Gibran who said “do not try to guide the course of love, for if it finds you worthy, it shall guide your course”. This is also the case for ‘knowledge’, but unfortunately in Lebanon, tribalism, confessionalism and individualism are a trinity that prevents both.

Tribalism is a persona for individualism, while confessionalism is a persona for tribalism and nationalism is a persona for confessionalism. This is the Lebanese formula that has resulted in economic waste and moral deterioration.

For the debt service to arrive at a figure of $24 billion or 70% of the public debt; for power plants to be set up without the appropriate energy source and transmission lines; and for the state to establish 1.7 million fixed lines while overall subscribers do not exceed 650,000 (while some villages have an oversupply of lines and others have none at all), the environment must be conducive. These examples are a manifestation of a much deeper problem - we live in a society that has lost the hope and will to acquire, store and use ‘knowledge’, leaving a gaping black hole, like a well that does not hold water and can only host malady.

Major challenges ahead of us in the year 2020 include making provisions for a population of 5.6 million, which includes a student population of over 1.1 million. This will require infrastructure, housing and water, among other resources, at an overall investment estimated to be in the region of $15 billion. Add to this the pressing need to provide employment opportunities, and what have we prepared so far? A black hole!

A society without hope is a society without memory, planning, knowledge or future.

Jawad Adra