May 1st, 2006: Where are we from the suffocating unemployment epidemic in our country?
Even today, on Labor Day, we will see the March 8 and March 14 groups gathering in separate venues to preach and/or rant about justice and equality. On every single issue, politics and empty slogans get their fair share of representation.
Would anyone bother to ask about percentages and numbers? If we are to ask these questions, I believe that everyone in the political sphere in our country will get an F. Because, there is nothing being done to date to solve the biggest and most entrenched problem in our country, which is unemployment.
Unemployment leads to apathy and emptiness, apathy leads to a fatalistic outlook on life, which in turn leads to youth that carry polarized and extremist world views…and of course we’ll witness from the comfort of our couches, a race to arms and confrontation.
The enthusiasm harnessed from youth on the eve of March 14, which was conveniently used by politicians, has been easily transformed from a peaceful enthusiasm to a monstrous enthusiasm to conquer, subdue, and win over.
And those young Lebanese who do not have an appetite for conquering, subduing, and wining over, have been packing their bags and leaving the country in search of better prospects, while their parents bid them farewell with a smile, happy that their children are out of the danger zone.
Beirut I, Aoun’s aspirations, Lahoud, Hizbullah’s arms, the Shebaa Farms, the Hariri investigation, Syria, Israel, Iran, the debt, the national dialogue, the Maronite representation crisis, the Shiite-Sunni rift….and nowhere do we read, see, or hear about a comprehensive strategy for workforce development and employment.
Let’s start first with those forgotten Lebanese youth who still live in Lebanon, and then those living abroad can return and bring their brains and/or money along.
But when I write "Let's", who is "us"? Does the "us" have any power in Lebanon at the moment? Perhaps instead of going around the country collecting signatures to impeach President Lahoud, a campaign that turned out to be useless and futile at best, Lebanese journalists, politicians, and wives of politicians should have toured the country to collect signatures for a petition that reads:
"AS A LEBANESE CITIZEN, I DEMAND FROM MY STATE BASIC JOB SEARCH ASSISTANCE, JOB PLACEMENT SERVICES, AND JOB TRAINING TO ASSUME A JOB...IN MY COUNTRY."
(Note: And for those who ask, I'm not in any shape or form advocating replacing market mechanisms, but advocating for a more "facilitator" role on the part of the state, within a public-private partnership framework, to help move the country and its people forward. Just think how simple it could be to install computers with internet access in some remote towns in Lebanon and provide access to Lebanese with a country-wide employer database, a job bank of sorts, to help facilitate job searches, and in turn, employers would be benefitting from that service as well by being matched with a pool of Lebanese applicants.)
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."