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I…the Drifter

I…the Drifter

Friday, 9 April, 2021 - 10:00

In the General’s labyrinth, or under the labyrinth General, the country has gotten lost and with it, so have the people. Still, the General, the heroic commando leader and uncompromising human mountain, the strong president, the captain coming from the high seas, the admiral who defeated the pirates of the East and the West, cannot give up or step aside. His finger has been on the trigger since he put on his military uniform. He is ready, prepared at any time and place. A vigilant predator, he lurks; he has everything under control. Wearing the medals and stripes he received from the futile wars he had fought and others that he intended to fight, losing most of them, he did not leave the trench, flee or seek refuge. On the 7th day of the 18th month since the revolution, the “uprising,” he decided to remind us that he is still among us, saying: “I (so-and-so) am the president of the republic, I (so-and-so) am the General that you know. I call on you, not to be with me, but to be with yourselves and with the future of your children, so let us uncover the facts to retrieve the rights.”

Since I am a citizen and have been for over ten years (as my personal status documents affirm), I felt that the General’s call concerns me. I felt that it's my moral and patriotic duty to reply to his excellency, his eminence the tweeter and say: “I, Mustapha Fahs, a mediocre citizen, I, Mustapha Fahs, whom most of you do not know, a humble journalist who does not have any weapon or support any coup or armed group, do not call on anyone to demand anything. I will apologize to my friend Ahmad Kaabour the next time we can meet on a sidewalk that is still standing in a capital, whose doors and windows have been shut in the face of its people.

I will tell Ahmed that I am no longer able to fulfill his call because the man who cried out, ‘oh, the great people of...Lebanon' has squandered the people, its greatness and the homeland. Because I am an individual searching for a homeland of individuals, not sectarian groups, armed and ideological organizations that promote collective suicide, collective grief, collective satiation and collective conspiracy, I decided to deviate from the group, component, sect, confessional affiliation, and identity to safeguard the futures of my daughter, wife, family, and whomever I can of my friends.

During the term of the labyrinth, we will carry what remains of our memories after the nightmare at the port, after the final fall, the total collapse and the harsh collision, to any capital or city that welcomes us. There, I will tell my daughter Nadia that her grandfather asked her to demand her rights as a citizen, not the rights of contended doctrinal groups, in a homeland that her father had lost, and she may retrieve one day. I will tell her that we lived in the Samir Frangie’s era, who, when he returned from his “journey to the depths of violence,” decided to turn the page of the past, which the political class refuses to allow to be in the past. Samir’s words after the 1989 Taif Agreement and after the 2001 “reconciliation in the mountain” remains valid until now. “I am not here to talk about deals struck between political forces on how to share power amongst themselves. Rather, I am talking about a genuine societal reconciliation, which, alone can put an end to half a century of hot and cold wars."

Your excellency, your forensic audit differs from ours. You and those by your side are politicking; you want to limit the audit to specific institutions and groups. Thus, the phrase “an act of virtue that intends to cause harm” applies, and because the ruling clique is the source of the harm, our forensic audit starts off from the insurgency’s golden formula, “all of them means all of them”, applies. The audit that Lebanese citizens want does not exempt anyone, nor does it exempt an institution or ministry, from electricity to finance, passing through Casino du Liban and funds of corruption that you have used to fund the expansion of your influence.

Going over the General I wish my grandfather had a garden; I would not have gotten involved in public affairs and would have opted for an early retirement that I would enjoy with my grandchildren. I would not be worrying about my in-laws; I would be enjoying Gabriel García Márquez’s masterpiece ‘No One Writes to the Colonel.’

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