I’ve spent the past 24 hours in the mountains. Apart from the fact that it has rained for 24 hours straight, I’ve had like a total of 138 minutes of electricity. Government electricity, that is. How do these people accept this? They pay their taxes. They pay their mecanique fees, they pay the 10% VAT. Yet they get a lousy 138 minutes of electricity. Out of 24 hours!!
We have a new housekeeper. From Ethiopia. A country you probably associate with poverty and hunger. One of the many underdeveloped nations of Africa. Yet she is astonished at the frequent cuts. “Shou haida?” she says in surprise, as the lights all go out. Again.
You probably wonder where I have been all these years. All these power cuts are nothing new. But in Beirut, I live in the proximity of some high government official and as a result, our power cuts are infrequent and according to schedule. And whenever we do not get any government electricity, then the building’s generator kicks in. So you barely notice the pathetic electricity situation.
But here in the mountains, far from anyone who’s got some cloud on a government level, it’s a different ball game.We’re almost cut off the grid here. I have been fumigating pretty muc th entire neighborhood with my very smelly and noisy and highly polluting generator. It is either that, or sitting by candle light half the day. Very romantic, I agree, and I can sort of understand now why in the old days people had big families.
|Some mountain people . . . ohh wait, it's family!! Well, some of them.|
But it is totally unacceptable. We’ve got 19-year old kids driving around town with Hummers, everyone and their grandmother has a housekeeper, we sell 1 million dollar apartments, and yet we cannot provide our own people with 24 hour electricity?! For god sake, the Syrians get electricity around the clock! But not us. It’s just too bizarre for words. Some 21 years after a civil war. Some 5 years after a war. Some 3 years after an ‘internal’ conflict, we do not have 24 hours electricity.
The only time I’ve experienced long stretches of electricity in the mountains this past month, is at night. Now how useful is that? It could of course heat up your water. That is, if there is any, because that commodity doesn’t come 24/7 either.
I get it why we do not have an Opera House, a Beirut Symphonic Orchestra, public neighborhood libraries and white lines on the road. But no electricity and water? Why is no one getting upset over this? I think it is time for a revolution.