Should I leave? Should I stay?
We hear it on every mouth at every corner of every street: Emigration. Emigration has become the highlight of Lebanon’s list of achievements for the past decade. Everyone knows that immigration hurts. It hurts the emigrant who’s leaving his/her native land; it hurts the emigrant’s family as it hurts the country in its socio-economical situation. Everyone knows indeed that emigration hurts, yes, but everyone is also willing to handle the pain. And why is that you wonder? Well simply because, despite all the difficulties out there, the price to pay is less than that of staying in the country.
20 years ago, Wadih el Safi sang “Ya mhajirin rja3ou” and Zaki Nassif “Raje3 yet3ammar Lebnan”… Today, Zein el Omar is singing “Chou 3meltelle bel balad“ and Najwa Karam “Leish mhajar”! Even artists acknowledged finally the fact that Lebanon’s situation is hopeless and their message matches perfectly the people’s demands:”If you want us to stay, help us to stay. Don't just tell us not to go. Give us other options instead.”
When Neila Tueini first wrote her article entitled “No for Emigration” right after the July war was over, I wonder if she knew at that time that her father will not be the last martyr and that the country will enter an infinite loop of political distortion! Four months since the July war ended, and what has changed? What argument could I possibly give in order to convince someone … anyone not to leave Lebanon? Is there something really still worth fighting for?
Many critics compare the act of leaving a country to that of abandoning a ship without trying any rescue attempt. In my opinion and in others’ as well, it is unfortunately too late for salvation missions for the ship is going down on all cases. It’s just a matter of time. The only thing that’s probably postponing the inevitable is the existence of Lebanese people abroad who have seeded the earth, from Brazil to Australia without ever renouncing their nationality. They’re proud of whom they are and they’re the ones who’re giving Lebanon its finest image! In here people are plainly breathing corruption, theft, piracy, and mostly hating each other! Out there they’re like brothers and sisters. In here we’re Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, Druze, “Fictitious majority” and “Clean Opposition”! Out there we’re just Lebanese.
Today’s Lebanese youth is being suppressed by harsh economical, social and political conditions. Our country has become an open land for assassins, mercenaries and all kind of soldiers of fortune! Our economy has witnessed its worse decline ever, partly because of the accumulated debt, partly because of the Hizbullah-Israel war, and finally because of the most recent events (needless to spell it)! Politically there is nothing that can be done! Or is there??? Well it depends on what you can do when some are striving to make Lebanon the new Hong Kong (with both its positives and negatives) and others are doing their best to make a second Hanoi out of it?
How can anyone ask the people out there to come back in this case? And what’s more odd, how can anyone ask the people in here to stay?! If we can do more good by leaving the country and building our future elsewhere, why not do it then? This has absolutely nothing to do with moral values or treason. It’s about doing something with your life, succeed, and this is what will help our native country. What’s the point of staying here for instance; depend on your parents till the age of 30 then if you get lucky you find a job, which is not even well paid or you don't get paid on time. On all cases, nothing functions correctly. You can never sleep assured for you never know when that “nephew” or “cousin” pops up in your life and gets the position you’ve been dying and working hard to get. This is Lebanon. You’re not protected. What am I saying? Nothing here is! You cannot guarantee your rights; in fact you can’t guarantee anything.
When I first started writing this post I wanted to make a point that we shouldn’t simply emigrate… but now after listing a tiny number of the problems I don’t know what to say? Personally I’d rather be in Lebanon than any other place. I dropped my fully funded PhD at UF and came back here simply because I couldn’t live in another country! At least for me the vision is clear I am stuck here! For good!! I am happy in Lebanon, and I believe that all these hard times are some sort of a special life experience! But what about those who are miserable in Lebanon and cannot find comfort elsewhere? What about them? Are they doomed to roam this world looking for happiness which should have existed in their country but someone else stole it from them? Who among you (living outside Lebanon) is happy and doesn’t want to come back? I would like to hear it from Krys, AM , Mirvat , Traffic, Coco and all the others!