Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Lebanon: No country for young men

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly

If the William Butler Yeats poem said "that is no country for old men", Lebanon, today is no country for young men (or women, or non-binary if they identify as such!)... But I digress. I read a recent statistic that 70% of Lebanese dual nationals have already left Lebanon. Good for them truth be told. What the other 30% are doing is beyond me to be honest. It seems 2500 doctors and nurses have already left Lebanon - not sure how this translates but I also read that 40% of doctors and 30% of nurses have left already. Half of the 72,000 engineers registered in Lebanon already work outside.

In the creative industry - anything from advertising to audiovisual talents - the situation is no better. A friend trying to finish his film tells me that editing, sound design or coloring are taking enormous time since there are very few talents left in Lebanon and they are all overwhelmed with work. 

But again, why stay? Truly, why stay? And please the "patriotic" answer is not a good one - come up with a better answer. Honestly, I cannot even imagine what it is to be a young man/woman in Lebanon today... I am sure they are all dying to go out, to have a normal life, to escape power failures (or any other kind of failures at large!). My generation cheated death too many times (see here), theirs was supposed to be the one to have the ripe fruit of peace. 

We were supposed to have endured all this so that they can carry on with a calm, organized, civilized life. How wrong we were. 

Truly, what are these youngsters thinking? I know, I know. Dubai, Qatar, Canada, US. When most of them only know Turkey where they went on those pre-packaged tours. Actually, if they are thinking logically or not is beyond me (a lawyer I know said her brother in Belgium could secure her a Schengen visa in one week, and then she'd go and override her allotted maximum 90 days. Fact check: Schengen visas take 20 days to be issued, breaking the visa limits, can lead to very serious consequences mind you). Plus, Lebanese underestimate what it is to live in a different society (another fact check: wearing a seatbelt is not optional as it is in Lebanon despite the law somewhere that makes it mandatory).

And still, I cannot blame anyone wanted to go out, especially young educated people. Brain drain and all that, fine. But truthfully, to anyone staying here, let me offer exhibit 1: