Friday, November 8, 2013

Hazmieh municipality and Lebanon's servile spirits.

If you needed an example of the servile spirit that reigns in Lebanon look no further than the ads of Hazmieh municipality currently on the road. The occasion is the opening of the new town hall. It was in the presence of the president of the republic. And it goes downhill from there. "I am a citizen of Hazmieh and I live there" (from the speech of the president of the republic). "Paternity is presence and acts, thank you Lebanon's father", "Hazmieh thanks the excellencies, members of the parliament and ministers, security officers and media personalities and everyone who attended the elected municipal body Hazmieh's wedding".
Let me not even start with the visuals, so horrendous, so badly patched up (obviously the end client had a big say and the designer was only too happy to please). But this ad shows exactly this servile state Lebanese have towards power. They defer to it, respect it, bow down to it, seek it, glorify it, try to emulate it, praise it, be thankful for it, and so on... One of the commonly words used in Lebanon is "wasta" or clientage - that act where a person asks a politician for a favor in exchange of remaining part of his clan, of giving him his alliance and "servitude". A lot of time the favor is a person's right, he can get it for free, but the need to act with humbleness in front of someone else is too big, too overwhelming and so the pseudo-feudal system perpetuates.
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