Mr. President of the Republic,
Your Excellency, General Michel Aoun,
Faced with the current crisis in Lebanon, exceptional measures must be taken.
In 2017, when you came to power, you called together the main economic and monetary officials and players to discuss a plan to overhaul the system with discussions already concerning CEDRE and the McKinsey Plan, then, a few months ago, you declared a state of economic emergency.
Were present, your Prime Minister, the President of the Chamber, the ministers concerned such as the Minister of Finance and that of the Economy, the representatives of the banks with the association of banks of Lebanon, the representatives of industrialists, unions and other vital forces of the Nation.
From this meeting, measures were decided which the population waited for a long time for the effects, until they could not bear things. And for good reason, 1.5 million Lebanese live below the poverty line set at less than 6,000 LL per day and face many hassles daily, with parallel racketeering systems organized, or even legalized in a certain way in some. regions, in the electricity or water sectors, for example, but also in relation to the air they breathe, which is now polluted, endangering their health, without mentioning the unemployment rate.
Faced with this situation, many mothers see their children leaving, building their lives abroad instead of seeing them in Lebanon and participating in Lebanese life. This human wealth is the main wealth of the Land of the Cedars and not the pecuniary wealth constructed in an artificial way because of the debt of the State.
Many politicians, for their part, appear to be in good health financially and display an opulence, grandiose weddings, luxury cars, visits to the most highly rated hotels in the world so as not to evoke the riches they display. daily in Lebanon itself, an attitude on the verge of effrontery in the face of the desire of the population who simply wish to be able to live in dignity and not at their expense through corruption, this gangrene which ravages public administrations.
It is not the small civil servants who are responsible for the discrediting of the current political class where are present people of which one can wonder about the origin of their fortunes.
Have they been acquired via the theft of public funds, via insider trading, confidential information which they used for their own benefit, embezzlement, via conflicts of interest by mixing the hats of political leaders? and businessmen?
It seems difficult to believe that a display of such fortunes acquired in such a short time from their accession to their positions of responsibility is of legal origin in view of the difficulties of each to survive.
In normal times, justice would have time to investigate but we are today, even if it means repeating it, in an exceptional moment when it is necessary to act quickly.
Obviously, faced with these facts, the population cannot question the origins of these fortunes which they consider to be doubtful. This is how the Lebanese divorced, for lack of confidence, from politics for years, before suddenly waking up and starting a spontaneous movement which could in turn be exploited by the adversaries of Lebanon.
Mr. President of the Republic,
There is still time to act and save the situation and thus both restore the image of politics and also give a boost that will ensure that your mandate at the head of this country is considered exemplary. We do not wish to see President Aoun, the one who was the very symbol of National Sovereignty, by his struggles, be tarnished.
At the end of the 1980s, during your mandate as Prime Minister, you did not hesitate to summon the officials of certain public administrations considered to be corrupt and even to question them on the origin of the funds that made the purchase possible. luxury cars with which they arrived at the Presidential Palace, even if it means making them leave on foot if necessary.
This is what we need to do today.
We are in an exceptional situation which calls for exceptional measures outside the normal legal framework. Lebanon is in danger, as you have pointed out many times, and our economic weakness and the resulting crisis could reopen the way for foreign interference, if this is not already the case.
Your fellow citizens do not have the luxury of waiting for the transition to fiscal year 2020 and are calling for immediate measures. It is for this reason that the protests continue.
You declared a state of economic emergency and today it is a question of applying immediate measures to safeguard this country.
Several red lines were crossed but the people who put forward what was to come were also not heard when they weren’t attacked and called all names, when there was still time to act for a landing smoothly and avoid the current crisis.
Today, harsher measures are unfortunately needed.
The systems which have led to this extraordinary indebtedness, mainly benefiting certain private institutions and in particular economic and monetary policy, need to be reviewed. It is a system of generalized fraud to the detriment of the population first crushed by the tax system and the State by its indebtedness which has been in place for 25 years. As long as the inflow of currencies, attracted by an artificially maintained parity and consequent interest rates, was maintained, this system continued. The crisis, even though the conditions were previously in place for it to erupt long ago but postponed by various subterfuges to create the illusion, came to light when the inflow of foreign currency began to decline.
The entire local financial system needs to be reviewed. Sacrifices must be made.
Likewise, how today can we trust institutions that are considered by the people to be slush funds, such as the fund for displaced persons, the Council for Development and Reconstruction, the Council of the South? Even the Bank of Lebanon is not exempt from criticism.
As long as these tools and these men are in place, the confidence of the people cannot be established and, moreover, no one has questioned this system during previous conferences. This system seemed untouchable and the population was also aware that red lines protected high-level political figures, contributing to popular discontent until the explosion.
But above all, it is important to target the old and new responsible people in their respective positions and that the population is there to know that you are our bulwark.
During your inauguration speech, we made the fight against corruption one of the major axes on which the People will have to judge your Mandate. So far, little seems to have been done on this ground.
That top-level politicians, former presidents, former and current prime ministers, former and new senior officials, those responsible for monetary and economic policy, public enterprises, and even economic and monetary officials, be audited, not only in relation to their bank accounts but also to the consequences of their decisions on our situation. A general audit of economic and monetary policy is necessary.
But the people cannot wait today.
It is also necessary to take action in what is now called Accountability, that is to say to face up to their responsibility, when they are or were in business.
It is advisable to present already the culprits to the people, people whom one knows protected or who are considered as such, like a former Prime Minister, who was publicly implicated by his former chief of staff, and by a deputy. Other people have also been named by popular retribution because they seemed until now to be untouchable.
A person is innocent until his judgment. Only justice has the right to exonerate him or to find him guilty if necessary in the face of these charges and does not have to benefit from various protections which establish red lines around him.
Mr. President of the Republic,
You had always been considered, throughout your career, from the battles of Souk el Gharb, to the operation of the Dawn of Jurd, as the person who, in exceptional circumstances, knows how to take the decisions that are necessary. impose in relation to the moment to save this country from the abyss.
You had transformed the political system, you dreamed of independence for us during the darkest days, you made us love a country that we no longer loved and that we thought we should leave, you changed a state of mind when we thought that everything would stay as it is in this past.
Today this is the role that you are again called upon to play. Make us love this country again, make us proud of it by not hesitating to act!
Francois el Bacha