Assuming Bahjat Rizk had the dangerous intention of asking for our opinion, we, the flowers of that bouquet? What would we have to say? Firstly, that the ‘ Lebanese bouquet is but an advertising slogan, that it is more of a garden where only cacti grow, that he was only allowed four channels or specimens, when in reality we are surrounded by a multitude of thistles, nettles, brambles, hawthorns, not to mention Christly Thorns … That all colors are available, sky blue through orange, red, black, green, and yellow as well. Finally, that his experience is incomplete because it didn’t take him to watch four channels to know whether or not some convict was arrested or released … For here, we find our daily truths and lies beyond those channels… Following Lebanese news through television or the press is the most perilous exercise out there. It is similar to an obedient acceptance of a small daily dose of brain wash. So it is better to follow the majority, choose a chain or daily and adopt it, believe, think and speak as it does. Even if, as a result, we feel the difficulty of communicating with others!
The analogy that Bahjat Rizk gives us a glimpse of with the City of Light is instructive. In France, we play to scare with daily protests that group less than 0.1 % of the population but which are described as the new May of 68. Here, we are indeed fearful, a real fear of multiple forms that radiates throughout the body and reaches all minds. There, red berets left the pavement with the advent of a new century whereas here, black beards with their Black-Pete looks are preparing for their golden age. In Paris, meetings, governments, Parliaments, Brussels, political parties, trade unions, and citizen initiatives come and go with no result, but at least it moves. Here, politics are flat, and some predict they will lower its curve?
There, clients of prostitutes are penalized; here, these are replaced by women jihadists who dream to achieve their jihad for free. There, is the attempt to reverse the unemployment trend. Here, we ignore it, cloaking it with new businesses such as militia bodyguards, traffickers or with simply disguised multiple-task jobs, deliverers of all kinds, valets for parking for the lucky ones, and subscribers to food stamps for the others, including the million refugees…
In Lebanon, there are subscriptions to a number of channels that pass through sub-contractors that do not necessarily pay their subscription. This allows us to zap local channels and allow us to breathe an air of collective recklessness constituted of false problems compared to those we really face.
But the original question remains: should we recommend to Bahjat Rizk dropping his Lebanese channels bouquet? For my personal opinion, it is a resounding yes. Let’s each keep a personal idea and vision of Lebanon, but make a habit of dialogue, first with those on our side so that later we can widen the circle. Suppose, finally, that we could cancel all the Lebanese bouquet, leaving our channels, our newspapers, our social networks, alone, without readers, just for a week; and I’m sure that this therapy would be of a great benefit to everyone.