FLAG_NAJIB_851_315 Thank you Gab for the flag!

Every now and then, we have a new controversy that keeps Lebanese busy for a few days. No matter what the topic is and how meaningless it may seem, everyone wants to get involved and express his opinion on the matter, either by tweeting, posting statuses or images on Facebook or maybe uploading videos. Of course that’s a good thing and sometimes it helps put pressure on the concerned parties, but at the same time, it wouldn’t hurt to sit back and rethink of what you’re about to post or share before doing so, or at least focus on the important matters instead of investing all our energy on useless topics. Moreover, the way we react to events happening around us is often rushed and irrational and doesn’t help the cause we’re trying to promote, which is why we have to be more responsible and mature in our approach.

I’ve learned the hard way that I should not rush posts and look at the bigger picture, because that’s the only way I could make sense out of my post and get my points to the largest number of readers possible. I could easily write inflammatory posts or bash and curse people but I’ve taken a decision years ago to go for the calm and rational approach. I may be wrong, but I think that’s the best way to reach out to more people and convince them of your point of view.

Moving on to the topic at hand, Lebanese have been arguing for the past 4 days over the burning of a Da3esh flag in Sassine square by some kids, specially after our Justice minister decided to legally pursue those who burned it. Needless to say, his decision is a wrong one and there’s nothing to argue about here. Anything Da3esh-related has nothing to do with Islam and should not be associated with Islam at all. This being said, any Lebanese who believes otherwise or hints at defending Da3esh (ISIS) in anyway should be jailed, specially after the recent beheading of a Lebanese army soldier by ISIS savages. There are no politics involved, no comparisons that are valid when it comes to dealing with such people. Moreover, the only flag that should matter to ALL of us is the Lebanese one, so stop worrying about other flags and this country will become a better place.

As soon as the ISIS flag burning trend was done (and the ALS Ice Bucket challenge of course), Lebanese were all shocked by some document (sent by fax) and signed by the Lebanese authorities that asked for the banning of 6 websites that are promoting child porn. Personally speaking, I am against censorship of any kind but I know for a fact that blocking porn is impossible and stopping 6 websites is ridiculous so I didn’t bother comment on this matter. The only thing we should be worried about is how the Lebanese authorities decide which websites to block and on what basis. However, what’s (pleasantly) surprising was seeing all these Lebanese online bashing the decision and against banning websites in general, but I wonder if they’d react the same way when someone mocks their religious or political leaders because censorship can’t be selective (and I am talking about ALL sects and parties here).

Sadly enough, the arrest of 27 presumed homosexuals in a Turkish-style hamman in Beirut a couple of weeks ago barely made it to the news or to social media. This is even worse than censorship as it’s a clear breach of human rights. Why aren’t we making a fuss about that? Isn’t it more important than burning a flag? Add to this case women rights, domestic violence law, Roumieh prison and many important topics that somehow no longer are relevant.

There’s no denying that Lebanon is going through a critical phase these days, which is why it’s crucial to always look at the bigger picture when we comment or react to any incident around us. We can always support the Lebanese Army but there’s no need to ask for a military regime. We can refuse alcohol bans but there’s no need to label a whole city as Da3esh-friendly. We can condemn censorship but there’s no need to turn it political. We can hate one politician but there’s no need to bash a whole community or religion because of him. We should always keep our eyes open on the things that matter the most, which are our liberties, our dignity, our rights and safety, keeping in mind that freedom is ALWAYS more important than security. We should show respect to other Lebanese and dialogue with them with reason and common sense and we should hold accountable those who do us wrong, no matter who they are.

These are the things that will keep our country intake and our people united behind one flag. I don’t think it’s too much to ask everyone one of us to think before tweeting or posting and try to cut down on the hateful and sectarian comments and be constructive for a change. Keep in mind that the only thing that will bring ISIS into our towns and cities is division among the Lebanese.