These past two years have been rough on the Lebanese people, in many aspects, and at many levels. With so many life-crippling issues to deal with, and yet they live with the fierce determination to keep going, one would wonder if they are not heroes in their own rights.
Needless to reiterate that the big majority of these crises that are dragging or keep arising are not natural disasters but delivered to the people by the dysfunctionality and neglect of their successive governments, mostly formed from the same ruling parties through the years.
Today, as people around the around write down their wishes for the new year, the Lebanese have their own long list that defies the minds of properly governed countries.
And yet, the Lebanese people do still hope for the best, or for miracles, as their list of wishes for 2022 extends.
Here’s an overview of the Lebanese list of wishes in no particular order.
#1 Justice for the Beirut Blast Victims
This wish, which has been a persistent demand since August 4th, 2020, tops the list of wishes of the Lebanese people for 2022. The nation, along with the families of the victims wants the truth and wants justice. Over 234 were killed by the explosion and ruling politicians continue to interfere to stop the investigation to reach the truth.
The Lebanese strongly hope that this wish won’t take another year to be realized and get to be listed for 2023.
#2 High speed internet
For 2022, the Lebanese wish for a fast internet connection that doesn’t make them feel they’ve regressed to past eras.
In this age of technology, people significantly depend on high-speed internet whether to work, or to study, or to communicate with the world, or to destress with online games, or all of them combined.
The Lebanese frustrations have been high in that regard as they deal with slow loading or internet cut.
#3 24/7 electricity
The Lebanese are sick of having to go so many stairs every day just to turn the circuit breaker back on, or to spend their nights in total darkness, or to pay a full salary for a monthly subscription to a power generator.
#4 Free or afforable healthcare
In 2022, the Lebanese want to be able to seek needed health treatment without dealing with the stress of how to meet the cost or worrying about dying in front of hospital doors. Every Lebanese need free or cheap healthcare.
#5 Easy access to affordable medications
Medications shouldn’t be a luxury that only the rich minority or political partisans can acquire. Patients shouldn’t suffer more than they already do because they don’t have access to medications, especially when their lives depend on them.
The shortage of meds in Lebanon has been brutal on many and the government should consider it a priority to solve that issue. A wish the Lebanese have for 2022.
#6 Affordable groceries
The price of essential goods, including food, has skyrocketed in the past two years in Lebanon due to inflation, and more and more people have been rationing their food consumption.
Lebanon has reached that disastrous stage despite the many warnings previously issued by international organizations to the Lebanese government. Food insecurity has become more and more prominent in Lebanon.
#7 Safety and security that are owed to them
Theft crimes in Lebanon have alarmingly increased by 266% in 2021 according to various reports. The Lebanese people want to feel safe and secure when going about their days or sleeping in their homes. More and more thefts are taking place, even in public places.
The Lebanese don’t want to be scared walking in alleyways or stressed out about their belongings in their parked car or about not finding their parked cars. They don’t want to feel terrified that an unexpected explosion blasts their city and takes away their loved ones.
#8 Rightful access to their money in banks
The capital control imposed by the Lebanese banks has been brutal on the people. Not having access to their own money or being only allowed to withdraw by drops and dots has made the lives of the majority in Lebanon a harsh misery.
To add to their misery, the local currency went crashing and they significantly lost the value of their LBP savings.
People don’t have to get compelled to protest to demand access to their own money as has been the case in Lebanon.
It is the least of their rights and yet it takes a bitter place in their list of wishes for 2022.
#9 Affordable education
“For too many children in Lebanon, school is out for the foreseeable future. Many can’t even afford the fare to get there,” UNICEF just reported.
Lebanon used to be reputable for the education of the large majority of its population. It is no longer the case. Schools and universities have become difficult to afford.
In 2022, all Lebanese children must have the chance to learn, to get access to a good education, and university students should be able to get their degree without taking up loans.
#10 More public spaces for all Lebanese to enjoy their country
It is the least to say that people deserve to enjoy their country without having to pay for simple pleasures like taking a leisurely walk in public parks, or having a picnic with their kids, or enjoying the beach in summer and so on.
Government-run libraries and museums should be also free for the Lebanese who, after all, are paying taxes for a reason.
#11 An end to gender discrimination
Despite what Lebanon looks like to the outside of a free country, gender discrimination continues to be a major issue. It is entrenched in the laws that rule family affairs, like divorce, a mother’s rights to her kids’ custody, alimony, mothers’ rights to pass on their citizenship to their kids born from foreign fathers, and on and on.
These laws have been creating immense torments in the Lebanese society, and it’s past due for just and fair changes.
In addition, Lebanese women have the right to have their voices heeded in the government where they are barely represented. No official has the right to claim anymore that women are not fit for ministerial positions just because they are women. It has become a ridiculous and ignorant statement to hear.
#12 A healthy, unpolluted environment
Lebanese people want to be able to live in a healthy environment. They want to breathe without worrying over what they are breathing. They want to consume non-contaminated food and water. They want to walk in their city streets without having to cover their noses from the stink of piled-up garbage.
In 2022, the Lebanese people wish to live in a healthy environment and have the diseases ensuing from pollution eradicated.
#13 Honest and conscious politicians that focus primarly on Lebanon’s interests
Needless to say, things have been chaotic in Lebanon with politicians focusing on their interests first and/or their alliance with foreign governments or external causes. The Lebanese want people in power that put the nation’s interest first and foremost, an all-inclusive and functional ruling body.
#14 Better and wider access to mental health
The Lebanese people’s mental health is as important as their physical health and the government should give it more attention, providing free access to it across the country.
With all that the Lebanese have been enduring, having free professional centers are crucial as is the eradication of the stigma around mental health. In 2022, mental health should cease being a luxury and become a necessity affordable to all.
#15 Higher minimum wage
The minimum wage in Lebanon is still 675,000 LBP (less than $50) despite the hyperinflation and the devaluation of the local currency, and people have been unable to have ends meet.
#16 No more celebratory shootings
There are still people who persist in firing their guns at weddings and funerals, and special events like the New Year. The authorities haven’t managed to date to stop that highly dangerous custom that has caused several deaths this year alone.
A law should be issued to penalize celebratory gun shootings, without any wasta to intervene on behalf of the perpetrators.
#17 The Lebanese Army to be the sole defender of the country
Unlike the propaganda that has been going around for years, the Lebanese Army is very well equipped, trained, and more than capable to protect the country. They don’t need any militia to do their jobs.
It is the wish of the people by the majority that the Lebanese Army recuperates its full authority above any armed party and in all Lebanese territories without any political and ruling party interference.
The Lebanese people don’t wish to see any more armed party partisans roaming their country’s streets, intimidating civilians with their show of armed power.
#18 Wide support to local brands
The Lebanese market has seen the rise of local brands and businesses, especially during the economic crises as people are doing their utmost best to cope while providing ethical and sustainable products.
Their wish for 2022 is for more and more people to support their endeavors, and help as such the country’s economy.
#19 No more flooding streets in winter
The Lebanese want to see the officials assuming their responsibilities and fix the cause of the annual flooding of the streets instead of blaming each other. They just want to commute on safe roads.
#20 Public transport
During the upcoming year, most of the Lebanese people wish they won’t have to suffer the long lines towards gas stations with the hope that there is some fuel left. They wish there are more availability of public transportation, which is cheaper, but also more eco-friendly, and reduces traffic jams.
#21 Reliable and transparent elections
The Lebanese people are eagerly waiting for the elections of 2022, which outcome could decide whether the country will get out of its darkness or continue its collapse. They want reliable and transparent elections that could bring in independent technocrats that will truly know how to manage the country’s affairs.
#22 The Lebanese Pound to regain its power of purchase
It has become a dream for the Lebanese to hope that the Lebanese Lira regains its power of purchase, yet they do wish it to become a reality in 2022.
#23 The right to speak up
The Lebanese wish that in 2022 they won’t get arrested and imprisoned or get beaten up anymore for demanding their rights, or for speaking up their minds or expressing their opinions.
In a country said to be democratic, that citizen right has been all too many times crushed. For too long, expressing their frustrations was the only thing left to the people and yet that also was taken away from them.