A staunch defender of political freedom and social justice, the Roman philosopher Seneca (Ier century AD) was convinced: “It’s when you no longer have hope that you don’t have to despair of anything.” Easy to say …
Will this very faint hope in Lebanon, where political life has been dominated – plagued – for decades by corrupt denominations, come out of the polls on Sunday 15 May during the legislative elections? On that day, the Lebanese are called upon to renew the 128 members of the House of Representatives for a four-year term.
“We expect to change between 10 and 15% of parliamentarians”
“We do not expect a renewal of the entire political class, but we expect to change between 10 and 15% of parliamentarians,” says Maya Moallem, 40, “even if the opposition, with a hundred candidates, does not present a front unique “.
Long sigh, long silence
When this Lebanese woman, who graduated in 2006 from the Belfort Montbéliard University of Technology (UTBM), is asked to summarize the current situation in Lebanon after the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, he lets out a long sigh followed by a long silence.
“It’s always the same story …” he finally let go. “People are used to it. Deep down, the silent majority wants a change, but they have lost all hope. Young people are not resigned. My generation is trying to convince the previous one, my mother’s, to vote on May 15th. »
Secular clubs have appeared in the big cities of the country, where they reflect on the political future of the country and where they aspire to reform society, to forge a new citizenship. If she has not made the partisan commitment, Maya Moallem has approached one of them.
Dollarized economy and black market
Today, Lebanon is more than ever synonymous with debacle, anarchy, chaos, waste, stagnation. With the cost of living continuing to explode, the daily lives of the vast majority of Lebanese are like an obstacle course, a nightmare. Power outages continue forever, up to ten hours a day.
Director of operations for an engineering company working in the field of technical systems and building fire protection, she manages projects for the German Siemens and the American Johnson Controls, especially in Ethiopia.
With his salary paid in dollars, he says he has a privilege when most of his countrymen live day to day, exhausting themselves trying to cover their basic needs. The Lebanese economy has been dollarized: “One dollar is equivalent to 8,000 Lebanese pounds at the official exchange rate; on the black market, it is 25 to 26,000 pounds. »
“We are no longer invited to the home of others”
He still had to change his habits. “Before, I was addicted to shopping, I traveled twice a quarter, to Istanbul, to Dubai. Everything is in the past. From now on, we buy what we need, no more, no less. »
Lebanese hospitality and the sense of celebration have suffered terribly. “For economic reasons, we no longer invite each other. During Ramadan (Editor’s note: ended 1er May), there are no more big tables, social life is restricted. In the past, there was always a festival in one city on the weekend. Not anymore. No one is happy in Lebanon today. »
“I can’t escape Lebanon”
Maya Moallem, who does yo-yo between spleen and hope, has given up going abroad. “Family, emotionally, I can’t escape Lebanon. Even depressed, I don’t think I’ll be happy anywhere else. My whole life, social, friendly, is here. The solution for my country necessarily goes through politics, but “I’m not dreaming of an independent Lebanon, free of foreign influences, of Iran with Hezbollah, of Saudi Arabia, of the United States. I still want to believe that the elections can bring something positive.”