Here are the results of the “government priorities” poll that I posted earlier this week. The response was good: almost one hundred unique users cast their votes. I’ve ranked them below, in order of descending priority.
But first, some observations and caveats. I’m under no illusion that the poll is a scientifically accurate reflection of Lebanese attitudes vis-à-vis reform. While I tried to prevent repeat voting using a blocking cookie and filtering by IP address, this wouldn’t stop someone from voting again on a different computer. Furthermore, I have no way of knowing how many votes were cast by Lebanese and how many were cast by the many employees of the U.S. State Department, House of Representatives, Senate, Central Intelligence Agency, and Armed Forces who regularly read this blog (yes, I mean you).
With that said, however, I think it was an interesting little exercise, and can’t help but note the preponderance of reforms bearing on governmental structure in the top ten or fifteen items.
The floor is open for your comments, observations, criticisms, etc.
1. Abolish political sectarianism and/or implement the Ta’ef Accord.
2. Fight corruption and improve efficiency in government.
3. Upgrade the electricity sector and promote clean energy.
4. Allow civil marriages in Lebanon.
5. Allow Lebanese women to pass on their citizenship.
6. Establish a new, fair, just electoral law.
7. Reform public schools and implement a unified national curriculum.
8. Improve water infrastructure to eliminate waste and leakage.
9. End the legal disenfranchisement of Palestinian refugees.
10. Improve road conditions and enforce traffic laws.
11. Privatize the telecom sector and promote competition.
12. Improve public health care and social security.
13. Better public transport (e.g., light rail, ferries, etc)
14. Hold a census.
15. Pay down the public debt.
16. Create a 5-year economic plan.
17. Make Lebanon an arms-free country.
18. Reform the industrial sector, stimulate job creation.
19. Nationalize the coastal beach areas.
20. Create more green space.
21. Designate more public land as protected reserves.
22. Introduce education on human rights, sex, drugs in schools.
23. Renovate and protect all historic buildings.
24. Reform the Internal Security Forces.
25. Legalize cannabis.
26. Enforce a no-smoking ban in all public areas.
27. Implement a sustainable agricultural policy.
28. Reform and enforce labor laws for foreign domestic workers.
29. Crack down on littering while promoting recycling.
30. Open public libraries in each neighborhood.
31. Quotas for employing more women in public offices.
32. Increase taxes on cars based on size and carbon emissions.
33. Pass legislation to protect gay rights.
34. Liberalize e-commerce.
35. Subsidize wineries and improve on their touristic appeal.
Now we just have to find someone to implement these policies, any volunteers?
The first 10 indicate that most respondents desire an end to the political discrimination/segregation as a means to bring stability.
The flow of concerns seem natural and logical:
a) Political stability
b) Economic management
c) Social reforms
That is not to say, however, that social movements and civil society should quit their day job. Their work and lobbying is crucial to changing the social mindset and facilitating the necessary political changes that will foster true stability.
Most of the suggestions make sense although some are much more important for a modern society than others. Arguable the cornerstone of such a democratic and vibrant state is a strict enforcement of secular ideas as per #1. But the whay would a “liberal” society need to bother about 7, 16 and 35? I would much rather subsidize bread or transportation rather than wine for the elite; the era of FY plans is so twentieth century and national curriculum would only create another bureaucracy.
Dear QN readers. Please note that there are many varieties of Cannabis. Cannabis Indica is always illegal in Lebanon. Cannabis Sativa is NOT always illegal.
The legal/illegal difference is in the variety of Sativa planted. If it is of the low THC variety (aka industrial hemp or Qinab Shami in Arabic) it is legal. If the seed planted is of the high THC variety (aka Marijuana or Qinab Hindi in Arabic) it is illegal.
The law differentiating the two varieties of Sativa was established in 1957, and it allows for farmers to submit a request for a permit to grow industrial hemp. It is a very progressive law, and one that we are using to establish the hemp industry in Lebanon. Fine health-food, hemp products are already on store shelves now. More to come soon.
To learn more please join the ‘Lebanese Hemp Project’ on Facebook. The official association website is under construction and will be launched soon.