November 21, 2006

The Myth of Sisyphus.

Pierre Gemayel was assasinated in Beirut yesterday. And so we wonder, is this the spark that will trigger the fights between the pro and anti-Syrians coalitions in this country? It is symbolical, really, that it was an attempt on the life of his grandfather, also named Pierre, in 1975, that signalled the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War. So the circle is round; we are back to square one.

I get the feeling that most Lebanese, apart from being uneasy, are disgusted by all politicians and the state in which they got us.
I read this wonderful post of a blogger named Ms. Levantine on what the Lebanese get what they deserve. And so I 'stole' it for your entertainment. Enjoy it.

The Myth of Sisyphus.
According to Greek Mythology, Sisyphus was a bright but crafty individual, breaking the rules, fooling the Gods, and refusing to respect the natural order of the universe. He even tried to get back from the underworld. As punishment, the Gods condemned him to eternally push a rock up a hill, only to see it roll back to the bottom every time he got close to the summit.There is a strong parallel to be made between Lebanon and Sisyphus: we do not come close to respecting the basic rules of nation building, we claim that we are different, and that we are a unique country that marches to the beat of its own drum; as a result, every time we think that we are about to succeed in creating a successful nation, the whole structure collapses and we are left to pick up the pieces and try again.We keep hearing that everything is different in Lebanon: we do not need strong institutions, the economy has always been a mess so why change it, most of our laws are still medieval, and the goal of each and every citizen is to constantly beat the system. If you stop at a red light, you might get screamed at by a policeman for blocking the flow of traffic. Even the basic laws of physics and optics do not apply in our country. My favorite example is a downward slope in the Chekka area: if you park you car there and loosen the breaks, your vehicle will actually roll UP the incline. How more unique can we get?We learned in high school that Sisyphus was the "absurd man". Obviously, we have managed to create the "absurd country". We refuse to play by the rule of modern nations, we are incapable of respecting the law, building institutions, and separating religion and state. The consequence is predictable: the rock we are pushing keeps rolling down every time we are about to reach the top.This brings me to the lastest episode of our rock rolling down the hill, the July War. Its political ramifications have been analyzed in excrutiating details. What has not been sufficiently noted on the other hand, is that in a country that was definitely not prepared to handle 800,000 refugees, nobody died of hunger, people were housed and fed, doctors and nurses did not flee their hospitals thus abandoning their patients, and deserted villages were not looted. As usual, we dwell on the negative aspects of the crisis: tensions with the refugees, misplaced aid that ended up in private hands...Yet in chaotic situations, problems always occur. Comparing what happened in Lebanon this past July to Hurricane Katrina in the United States - the most powerful and civic-minded nation in the world - we have to admit that the Lebanese civil society reacted remarkably, far better than the American one.We have to give credit where credit is due: the Lebanese citizens accomplished the overwhelming majority of the relief effort. With all due respect to international organizations, most of them were at the Movenpick hotel wondering when things would calm down so that they could actually help, or get evacuted. It is the Lebanese Red Cross who responded to the bombings and the Lebanese citizens who helped refugees, whether as members of political parties, NGOs or as simple individuals.The response of the Lebanese civil society to the July War is infinitely more important for the future of our country than anything that happened on March 14, 2005. We urgently have to build on these achievements as our only hope of survival as a country at this point is the strengthening of our civil society. NGOs in Lebanon need to be supported at all costs, they need both volunteers and funds (an area where expatriates can particularly help). Change will only happen from the bottom up. Instead of always lamenting our catastrophic situation, the time has come to do something about it and to reform the "absurd country". To quote Martin Luther King: everybody can be great because everybody can serve
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6 comments:

loverofsisyphus said...

Sisyphus is like totally my hero I LOOOOOVE HIM!!!!!

haterofsisyphus said...

you psycho Who would ever love sisyphus

Anonymous said...

u guys are fuckin crazy

loverofsisyphus said...

NO IM NOT!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yea bitch ya are

haterofsisyphus said...

Hey yo i may hate on the sisyphus dude But if that bitch loves him whatevs yo Step off