The Lebanese definition of right & wrong
Original photo by: Dan4th Nicholas
You can say whatever you want about us, Lebanese, but we know for sure that we’re special.
You don’t have to see us as “special” as we are, and we definitely don’t care, because… We’re special […and you’re obviously jealous].
Everything we have is better. Everything we do is right. We know everything. We interpret things the way we want. We build, destroy, fall and rise again. We’re unique. And we know it. But most of all, we “Love Life”.
[end of sarcasm]
Being so special, our society interacts in the most systematic way ever; our social behavior is governed by a series of equations [and their derivatives], which define mainly everything about our past, present and future.
“Me and my brother against my cousin; me and my cousin against strangers”, Lebanese proverb
A lot of you might be familiar with this quote, as it’s still used; what you might not know, are the invisible expressions that only a Lebanese can identify. And the proverb becomes:
Me and my brother, no matter how wrong he is, against my cousin; me and my cousin, no matter how wrong he is, against strangers.
“No matter how wrong he is…”. This is the Key.
One can argue, that he’ll be standing by his family no matter what [theoretically, depending on how tight those family bonds are], but, the proverb is just a point on a long list of predefined, programmed reactions that dictate the Lebanese behavior.
You can replace “brother” and “cousin” with anyone or anything, and the equation still stands in our community:
Me & my city [Key] against the invaders [people from other Lebanese cities].
Me & my politician [Key] against the tribes [other politicians, parties and their followers].
Me & my religion [Key] against the blasphemers [other religions, believers and non believers].
Me & my company [Key] against the incompetent [other companies and competitors].
… And the list goes on and on and on.
Those equations simply translate to self interest, blind obedience, extremism and stupidity.
There’s nothing weird [to a certain extent] about the above, till one introduces the “Key”.
“No matter how wrong he/it is”.
And through it all, the law is absent. There’s no mention of it. Mainly because no one respect the law. And for a good reason: the law, in Lebanon, is selective, and only applies to those who aren’t connected to powerful people.
Yes, in Lebanon most citizens are above the law. And this is how we wish things to stay. Not because we’re not used to be abiding citizens [check us out abroad], but because the law is written that way [by the people who break it], and because it’s fun to break the law. It gives us pleasure, power, and a laugh at those who follow the rules and obey the law.
[One can easily get away with murder, if he knows the right people.]
We can “pretend” to be smart, but we know things can’t continue like this.
We will fall again and rise… again. But, we will never move forward.
Our irresponsibility, lack of judgement and ignorance will always block our advancement as a nation.
As long as our definitions of right and wrong derive from our primitive barbaric intentions, they will alway project corruption, inequality, extremism and a misinterpretation of what being civilized is.