The Lebanese National Bloc Party launched its political, developmental, and social program in a ceremony held at the Bloc's headquarters in Gemmayzeh. During the event, Secretary-General Pierre Issa confirmed that Lebanon’s “situation is very tragic, but not incurable” because “solutions exist and are not difficult. We do not wait for them from outside Lebanon.” He stressed that citizens have the solutions, “depending on our choice between the ‘State of statelets’ or a true State, all over again.” The ceremony featured a presentation of the National Bloc's program, which is based on 9 issues and their possible solutions, along with an interactive website.
Read the full transcript of Secretary-General Pierre Issa’s speech below:
Welcome! Today, we are not here to talk about the parties in power, the sects’ parties, and their compromises that destroyed Lebanon, and are still destroying it. Today, we are here to launch a project that highlights the difference between the ‘State of statelets’ and those who are responsible for it, and building a true State, all over again.
Obviously, in the ‘State of statelets’ they know how to take power, but apparently they do not know how to govern. By their fruit you will recognize them [...a bad tree bears bad fruit]. The proof is the bankruptcy we are experiencing and suffering from today.
The true State has a project of government, not a project of power. I will explain the difference in practice. They are relying on sectarianism, not citizenship; on clientelism, not the rule of law; on corruption instead of integrity; on dependency on foreign powers instead of sovereignty in its proper sense; and finally, on the logic of Zaim [political master] instead of democracy.
Let us give some examples. Everyone suffers from health problems, no medicine, no hospitals, no health coverage... How such matters are being solved? I can tell you how: by Wasta [political string-pulling]. They use it to admit people to government hospitals. They put pressure on private hospitals. However, all this is called humiliation, a humiliation endured by all those who needed them. All what an organized political party can do is to build a medical dispensary.
As for us, we are not here to build any dispensary, nor to provide any medicine, nor to help you to be admitted to any hospital by Wasta. We have a Healthcare Card and a Health Coverage programs, equally to all citizens.
How do they solve the problem of unemployment? The figures differ considerably because we are in a country where there are no accurate figures, but unemployment is between 40% and 60%, and it can even reach 70%. Everyone suffers from unemployment. What are the solutions provided by the ruling parties? Their solutions are based on clientelism to gain access to State jobs, which has led to an overemployment in its public administrations and institutions. The Salary Scale Law that they approved on the basis of electoral corruption before the parliamentary elections. We have gone bankrupt because of this project. Indeed, these are their solutions. As for our solutions, they are devoid of promises of employment inside and outside the public administrations, and of a similar Salary Scale.
Our project is an economic program based on a productive economy that creates wealth and job opportunities, unlike the project of the ruling parties, which is a rentier economy project that does not create job opportunities or wealth, but rather rich people. When we create wealth, we can distribute it fairly, unlike what sectarian parties are doing today, which is an unfair distribution of losses.
Let us talk about fuel. We are all humiliated these days at gas stations and there are victims because of problems in the queues, which is instilling hatred between people. What are their solutions? “Come at night, I will fill up your car,” or “We use Wasta to secure gallons of gasoline,” or “We will allow you to cut the waiting line because you are from the ruling parties, thus you have the priority!” We do not supply “gallons” of gasoline and do not rely on clientelism. We have a project to control the borders and stop smuggling. We support the goods that need to be subsidized for those who are most in need, and we lift the subsidy on the goods that should not be subsidized.
We gave 3 examples that are part of our complete plan. This is our project. The suffering is immense, and if we want to talk about it, the list will be long.
They not only failed, but also went bankrupt, and they blame the private sector for their failure and bankruptcy. They talk about the monopoly of goods, and they incite the citizens against the traders. It is not true that all traders are monopolizing goods. It is not true that hospitals and pharmacies are behind these crises. They want to make citizens think that the different sectors are the cause of the problem. This is not true. The people in power are the real cause of the problem, as regulating each sector and ensuring oversight and accountability is their responsibility. Stop inciting people against the different sectors, because had it not been for industrialists, hospitals, pharmacies, there would be no country today. The country is “still standing despite this very precarious situation,” and this is certainly no thanks to them.
Certainly, everyone is tired and this pain is common across the country, from South to North Lebanon, in all age groups, social classes, and even political inclinations.
Whoever knows me personally, knows that in all my life I have faced the cases that society considers as incurable, but it became clear to me that there are no incurable cases. Our situation is very tragic, but not incurable. Solutions exist and are not difficult. We do not wait for them from outside Lebanon or from a foreign country, whether it is a friendly country or not. We have the solutions, depending on our choice between the ‘State of statelets’ or a true State, all over again.
We, as the National Bloc party, have a well-known history since its establishment with its principles, positions, programs, and achievements... and the list is long. Certainly, this party is the project of a nation, not a party project; a State project, not a political Zaim project. The party is just the means, and today we have carried out reforms in order to reorganize it. We are a national, non-sectarian, non-regional, non-familial, democratic party. All positions inside the party are elected. We are a modern party, a youth party, and a party that mainly has a vision and a program.
This is our vision and this is our program, which will be presented to you shortly. We developed this program with many specialists, and we hope that you will participate in it as well. As you watch, you will see that this program includes an interaction, and we hope that you will give us your opinions, suggestions, and comments to improve the program in order to revive a true State, all over again.