Dr. Elie Haddad / Translated by Hala Hayek Najjar
President Michel Aoun’s call to the Lebanese people to revolt against corruption reminds us of his call to the people themselves to rise up against the occupation in 1989. At that time, the General presented the situation to the Lebanese people, proposing a revolution against the status quo, and placing himself in the leadership of this revolution, but only if the people agreed and gave him the mandate.
The citizens from every corner hurried in and answered the General’s appeal in an unfamiliar scene to Lebanon, the cedars country, a scene that lead later on to the birth of the people’s house, the birth of the free patriotic movement that lead the General to the victory.
From the beginning, General Aoun knew that the battle of liberation which will be followed by the true liberation, will be much more difficult because it is a battle against ourselves and against society; and now that the general has become the president, liberation remains his primary concern.
However, by virtue of his responsibilities, he is also fighting to maintain civil peace, defeat terrorism, reorganize political and state life, correct imbalances in governance and restore them, all of which are fundamental priorities and which may interfere with one another forcing the president to follow a scaling of priorities.
The president is aware that the fight against corruption is the mother of all battles because any organization and any modernization in the state remains in vain if the epidemic of corruption remains prevalent in the body of the nation. He is also aware, thanks to his patience and his knowledge of the country’s nature that the epidemic is a terminal disease, and its treatment must take into account the general health situation to avoid killing the patient.
When General Charles de Gaulle returned to France as a liberator in 1948, all the occupiers’ collaborators had left, and he was able to lay the foundations of a new, modern state. As for General Aoun, he returned from exile and whoever was an agent or corrupt was able to change his clothes and strengthen his authority and extend his influence in the homeland. All of them were united against him despite their different political affiliations. Today, as president, he needs popular support to complete his libertarian fight against corruption.
The citizen must first revolt on a personal level in rejecting the daily corruption he faces in every department, in every company and everywhere. The citizen has missed the opportunity before him for change in the last parliamentary elections; some failed to vote or voted for others who he knows are corrupt, extending the existing corrupt system. But his awakening today and his decision to confront corruption at every moment and even to hold his deputies accountable can be the ground to change such reality.
The citizen must raise his voice and participate in politics; he must not leave the arena to the corrupt and must not resign from his role. Politics is basically the science of administration, the fight against corruption and the first condition for a good administration. As a result, citizens must make their decision and participate in political life.
Nevertheless, all the associations that call themselves “civil society” have proven to be an attempt to monopolize claims and omit populist slogans that prove their infertility and end up competing against one another and disappearing completely from the public stage. Hence the conclusion that civil action must be deliberate, methodical and non-populist, supported by a strong political decision and a support mechanism and a parliamentary and popular block.
The president did not accuse the Lebanese of corruption, like some small and
ill-intentioned people tried to insinuate. On the contrary, he called on them to rise up and revolt against it and he will lead as he did in all battles. But he needs them to revolt again, and stand behind him and support him in this battle which is their fateful battle, the battle of their children first and foremost.