Thursday, July 06, 2006

We are dying!

Three days ago, a relative died in a car accident. She was 24 years old, and a recent university graduate. One could say that her life had just begun.
The irony of her death lies in where the accident occurred. She died on the jewel in the crown of Lebanon's road network: the airport highway. An immense stretch of pavement that is one of Lebanon's most modern structures and, one would think, among its safest. Instead, it is a death-trap. One that, in a good year, claims lives on a monthly basis.
If any particular issue highlights how politically swindled the Lebanese population is, it is road safety. More Lebanese die and suffer sever injury on roads than anywhere else. And since life precedes even material concerns, you would think that the number-one issue on the Lebanese political agenda would be road safety. But it isn't.
Politically, the most prominent issues on the average Lebanese's plate are: 1) Lebanon's "strategic alignment" in the region, 2) Protecting or Confiscating Hizballah's weapons 3) Relations with Syria, 4) and all the other mumbo jumbo that we watch on TV and read on the newspapers every day of our brief existence on this planet.
It is clear. It has always been clear. For all the talk of democracy in Lebanon, politics in this country is very much an exclusive game for the zu'ama. The citizen's only role is to obediently support the za'im he or she was born to support - and die for that za'im, if necessary.
Well. Apparently, we are dieing every day. Discretely dieing as the country's top political honchos play their game. On that note, I wish to make a humble request. I do not know who's going to read it, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway:
Dear Head Honchos:
Every sovereign country needs to figure out where it stands with regards to its immediate and not so immediate neighbors. But managing the affairs of a State goes beyond foreign policy. We need your attention. We need Representatives; not thieves, or a parliament filled with wannabe foreign ministers. Today, we're not dieing because of your immediate decisions, but we're dieing nonetheless. We are dieing because of your incompetence!
Humble Citizen


frencheagle said...

first of all condoleance

hope your relative didnt suffer too much.

second thing, well i m feeling that you are starting to become more realistic since u came here about how the situation is in real...

Anonymous said...

Raja, I am sorry for the tragic death of your relative.

I personally blame the people's driving habits. No one respects the rules. I would never sit behind the wheel in Lebanon. I almost had a heart attack each time I rode.


Lazarus said...


my sincerest condolences.

- m.

Ghassan said...

I join the previous bloggers in expressing my condolences for the tragic loss of the young lady relative. Death is always traggic but especially so when it strikes those that are near, dear and young.

I also echo the call for the pols to get off their behind and deliver on their promises because the state is dying. Some have already pronounced it dead!!!!

It might come as a surprise to many but if international statistics on Motor Vehicle Deaths are to be accepted as reliable then Lebanon is one of the safest, in some regards it is the safest in MENA.Please note that in 1994 Lebanon had only 328 motor vehicle related deaths. This translates into 8 deaths per 100,000 population and only 2 deaths per 10,000 Motor Vehicles. Lebanon is also the most heavily motorised country in MENA. Go figure!!!

jodetoad said...

Sorry for the tragic loss to you and your family.

kachumbali said...

just a short remark: I was a German exchange student in Lebanon for the past 2 semesters. A lot of people everywhere in the world asked me if the security situation didn't concern was Beirut, after all, and every now and then another bomb made the headlines.

My answer always was and always is: Beirut ist one of the safest places I have ever lived, and I feel safer there than in some German cities. Virtually no crime, no fear being hijacked (I lived in Kenya and Tanzania for 11 years), no fear when entering into some obscure dark alleys...but one thing remains: If there is one place you are likely to die in Lebanon, it is not by the hands of someone or some bomb, but by the crazy traffic. A lot of Lebanese seem to feel that it is very manly to drive as fast as they can and as reckless as possible.

Well, here's the news: it's stupid, it's reckless, it gets people killed totally needlessly. I did my driving licence in Nairobi, a city with traffic (and mentality) patterns comparabel to Beirut, but at least over there there are other reasons (like really old cars and bad roads) which contribute to the high accident figures.

And one last thing: buying a licence doesn't mean you can drive, and I would say that 50% of Lebanese drivers shouldn't be let onto a road with a car.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about Tania.

Firas said...

I heard the sad news. May she rest in peace. My thoughts are with her suffering family.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry Raja. I know this road and the guy who designed it should be in jail.