The mere fact that Lebanon has managed to gather 50 different parties, including major states and international organizations, at the CEDRE conference in Paris is no small feat.
Rather, that such countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, the United States, China and Japan among others are participating in an undertaking geared to rescue and revitalize tiny Lebanon is a reflection of the potential these nations see in our country.
This could very well be a once-a-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as underscored by the efforts made by the Lebanese government toward producing a program that could jumpstart the economy and create tens of thousands of jobs, and for which no alternative has been offered despite the litany of criticism.
But support from these savvy potential donors will not come blindly. The Lebanese must abandon the old ways of doing things, embarking on a new path that embraces reforms, eschewing all that is dubious and obscure, completely eradicating corruption and reining in unfettered expenditures. And this will be only the beginning,
Leaders who have long advocated for reforms without ever actually taking a single step forward must now go forth in leaps and bounds to turn their slogans into facts on the ground because we cannot expect a helping hand from our international friends and partners unless we ourselves make an effort to lift our country out of its morass.
Unlike the Lebanese populace, which has looked on helplessly as endless promises of change have amounted to little, the international community is not one to suffer deception, and unless it observes irrefutable sincerity and tangible reform in every aspect of governance, it will refrain from risking any investments in a country that can’t respect itself.
We are at a crossroad, one that can either lead Lebanon toward prosperity and economic stability, or toward a steep downward slope from which there is no return.
At this critical juncture, especially with the parliamentary elections just around the corner, our leaders must recognize that it is time to set aside their pointless bickering and reckless brinkmanship and join ranks with the purpose of raising Lebanon’s standing to one worthy of respect and admiration.
We have the ability, we have the means and we have the friends who can help us reach our aspirations.
We need only to demonstrate the will and the veracity, key factors in embarking on this journey that can prove the salvation of this nation which has already endured far more than its share of hardship and uncertainty.