Open Letter to Mr. Le Drian: Help us set up a "Marshall Plan" that directly benefits Lebanese villages

Municipalities, villages, and citizens have developed many local initiatives and projects capable of re-booting the economy, developing the national output, and slowing down the rural exodus and emigration.
by Fouad Abou Nader

21 July 2020 | 17:57

Source: by Annahar

  • by Fouad Abou Nader
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 21 July 2020 | 17:57

Beirut, Lebanon (Photo by Maxime Guy on Unsplash)

Mr. Minister,

The Central Government of Lebanon is paralyzed by sectarian, partisan, and foreign loyalties and by conflicts of interests with the business class, the financiers, and the bankers. Hence, the much-needed reforms that you desire -as well as we do- regarding the “public transparency, the regulatory authority for the electricity, the fight against graft and corruption, the restructuring of the financial and banking systems” are obstructed. “Nothing moves” as you said. This perdures for over 30 years.

The Lebanese aspire to erect a Nation-State. This would repose on freedom, a citizenry (with a unified civil code for the civil personal status), law and equality, meritocracy, security (with the State having the monopoly of bearing arms over its national territory whilst securing its borders), dignity and, constructive and permanent neutrality, recognized and guaranteed internationally, as well as, an advanced form of decentralization (regionalism). To fight graft and corruption and recuperate the stolen public funds, we hope that a forensic audit, noted in the government’s program, will be implemented and extended over all ministries, governmental agencies, administrations, the Central Bank and all commercial banks. To reach full transparency, it is imperative that we reach a governance level of 2.0, meaning e-government and an e-administration.

However, this true « Revolution » cannot be induced except the bottom-up, i.e., at the local level: municipalities, villages, and citizens especially, women and youth. Those are ready to “move” (to use your words) immediately, without waiting for the Central Government to act. You have called the Lebanese to seize the “initiatives that are indispensable for their rebound”. Here we offer one such initiative. This initiative is led by municipalities, villages, and citizens who respectfully ask you to put together a “Marshall Plan” or rather a “Drian Plan” that is directly in their favor, whilst bypassing the Central Government.

The French Ambassador has already declared France’s direct support to 53 schools that have a French curriculum in Lebanon, emergency funds to non-French families in 46 of these schools, as well as, the direct financial aid of AFD to local projects.

To palliate the shortcomings of the Central Government, we can act at the local level because we are directly concerned and because we will implement all necessary decisions.

Municipalities, villages, and citizens have developed many local initiatives and projects capable of re-booting the economy, developing the national output, and slowing down the rural exodus and emigration.

In fact, we can create employment opportunities thanks to projects relating to agriculture, the fisheries industry, manufacturing, power generation, water, eco-tourism, religious tourism, local permanent education (including training in new techniques, languages, artisanal works, arts such as music and certain vocational jobs such as nursing), innovative technologies (including digital and numerical ones), the environment (including the collection and treatment of waste), sustainable growth, health insurance, and health care services.

In this Centennial anniversary of the declaration of Great Lebanon, after 401 years of Ottoman chokehold, help us, help our municipalities, our villages, and our citizens in a direct way rather than through the Central Government. This initiative is not only economic and social but cultural as well: the “Francophonie” shall be at the heart of this “Plan”. Nothing is more vivid than this old and deep-rooted institution, which for so long, has permitted us to exchange, in the same language, our views and ideas about freedom, which has been at the very foundation of our countries and, that we can sustain and promote by pairing various French towns with our villages.

We remain at your disposal to discuss this initiative or any other that can achieve our “rebound.”

Respectfully yours,

Fouad Abou Nader, President of the “Nawraj” foundation, and mayors Menhem Mehanna (Rass Baalbeck- Bekaa); Bashir Matar (Qaa- Bekaa); Milad Kehdi (Koussaya-Bekaa); Dr. Jean Maacaron (Rayak- Bekaa); Abdo Makhoul (Qobeyat –Akkar); Dr. Elie Abou Nakkoul (Kawkaba, Hasbaya); Pierre Attallah, (Rashaya Al Foukhar- Hasbaya); Elie Loukas (Debel-South); Jean Ghafari (Alma Al Chaab-South); Imad Lallous (Ain Ebel-South); Elie Mushantaf (Abra- Zahrani); Nader Makhoul (Ain Al Mir- Jezzine); Habib Fares Bkassine- Jezzine); Joeseph Azouri (Azour- Jezzine); Fadi Romanos (Lebaa-Jezzine); Chehade Maalouf (Kfar Okab- Matn); Jean Maalouf (Kfartai-Matn); Elias Noujaim (Kfartai-Kesrouan); Samih El Khazen (Bekaatet Kanaan-Kessrouan); Roukoz Al Rahi (Ghabat- Jbeil); Bachir Afram (Mazareeb-Jbeil); Georges Alam (Baskinta-Matn); and Ernest Eid (Mtolleh- Chouf) along with "Moukhtars" Georges Karam (Zabbougha-Matn); Pierre el Haybe (Machraa-Matn); Rachid Hajj (Ain el Kabou-Matn); Antoine Nakad (Wadi el Karem-Matn); Adel Atieh (Bkassine-Jbeil); Bachir Abdeljalil (Saïfi-Beyrouth); Mounir Hobeika (Baskinta-Matn); Georges Karam (Baskinta-Matn); Elias Khoury Hanna (Baskinta-Matn); Adel Abou Haidar (Baskinta-Matn) and Nabil Ghosn (Khraybe- Akkar).

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