Any Lebanese native who has spent significant time abroad, be it for an education or a career, has heard the same chatter again and again. We are the lucky ones who supposedly “escaped the mess” of our troubled homeland in pursuit of green pastures and greener paychecks.
This narrative fits an alarming pattern. Lebanon is arguably the world’s primary example of a “brain drain”, AKA the permanent emigration of skilled professionals across all industries away from their home country.
Lebanon’s notorious capital flight crisis has sprinkled the entire world with success stories. We have produced all manner of successful individuals, including business figures, renowned artists, financial mavericks and even NASA rocket scientists.
An unfortunate stigma, however, is that this success is only attainable once we leave Lebanon behind. As things stand today, the rising success of our compatriots abroad is contrasted by increasingly deteriorating conditions back home.
It has not been easy for us Lebanese emigrants to go about our daily business while the situation back home escalates. Our cubicles are tidy, our routines are set, and our responsibilities are consistent; however, our hearts and minds are elsewhere. Despite the impending sense of helplessness, our hands are not at all tied.
As the Lebanese people flirt with the opportunity to turn a fresh page in history with the recent uprisings, there is an evident need for our most skilled citizens to come back home. Granted, it is no simple feat for most of us to leave behind what we have built abroad and return home.
While success and comfort are far from assured, there is no doubt that Lebanon would greatly benefit from the skills, experience, and progressive perspective that we are equipped with.
President Michel Aoun
You said that those who don’t like the government should emigrate.
I am doing the exact reverse. I left 43 years ago. I am now in transit to Beirut, just to make sure YOU emigrate.
#LebanonProtests cc:@Gebran_Bassil #لبنان_ينتفض pic.twitter.com/yM2vZybypr
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb (@nntaleb) November 13, 2019
We can only hope that returning home becomes an easier choice to make. A competent government should contribute to an infrastructure that motivates us to repatriate.
With individuals in power seemingly encouraging those who are critical of local politicians to do the exact opposite, an uncertain road lies ahead.
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