BEIRUT: Our government’s ineptitude was on full display Friday morning, as Lebanese geared up to a much needed weekend in the wake of the deflating and perpetual government formation crisis.
It's true that “rush hour” has become a distinctly Lebanese peculiarity, but the palpable anarchy displayed Friday can only be described as a national tragedy. A tragedy to which our elected officials should be held accountable for.
Preparations for the military parade marking Lebanon’s 75th Independence Day led to major roadblocks in downtown Beirut and the highways leading to it, causing suffocating congestions in and around the capital.
Lebanese fumed, worried, and vented but to no avail, as many other discrepancies continue to hinder our everyday life, unaddressed and unanswered.
The debacle on Friday morning, in essence, holds a mirror to our current social and political reality.
A reality that closely resembles something out of a George Orwell or Aldous Huxley novel.
Officials' determination to hold these military rehearsals on a workday, instead of Sunday, and their inability to properly inform the citizenry shine a light on their unending carelessness and unwillingness to address deep-rooted problems that continue festering.
Their failure to properly reroute traffic took unsuspecting Lebanese by surprise, who spent a sizable chunk of their morning contemplating their life choices.
“I regret coming back to Lebanon,” a disgruntled man seethed, while his travel companion scorched those in power.
Lebanon’s infrastructure woes have been well documented, with even the slightest of rain showers causing sewer flooding, blockades, and all around paralysis.
Today, roadblocks, coupled with somewhat heavy rainfall, led to just that.
Images of unearthly traffic jams made rounds across social media platforms accompanied by the horrifying ordeals experienced by some.
What was supposed to be a jubilant day for one couple quickly turned into agony, after the woman’s water broke as she attempted to make her way to a nearby hospital.
Instead, she sat in her car, flanked by her husband, and counted the minutes, which turned into endless hours. A small cog stuck in a perpetual state of discord.
To make matters worse, an officer dispatched to expedite her journey further highlighted our own failures as a people. With tensions running high, irritated motorists began merging behind the officer, blocking what was supposed to be a safe passage for the couple.
Tensions also spilled onto the streets, with certain travelers exhibiting a heightened case of road rage after a scuffle between two individuals led to a disgraceful, yet thankfully, non-fatal stabbing.
These drills are also expected to take place on Monday and Wednesday. This time around, however, Lebanese will at least have the privilege of planning their days accordingly, perhaps even finding solace in a valid excuse to take the day off work.
If this year's Independence Day serves anything, it's a stark and scathing reminder of our dismal reality, that Lebanon, in almost all of its facets, is a failed state.
One can't help but wonder why Lebanon, 75 years after its independence, remains unworthy of such a celebration.
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