The London Olympic Games ended and the flame moved to Brazil, which will host the competitions in 2016. In Beirut, everyone remained busy with the high politics, the game of nations, security issues, police stories, bank accounts, elections...
The country’s Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karami, meanwhile, was busy “greeting the Lebanese youth” on the occasion of the International Youth Day, saluting “their scientific, social, cultural, and sport achievements despite tough conditions,” and urging them “to arm themselves with awareness and knowledge in order to form a youth defensive front possessing the immunity needed against the disease of sectarianism and laying the foundation for a Lebanon that is strong by its youth.
His honor’s talk is excellent! However, it is the right and obligation of the Lebanese people to ask their government and their youth minister: Why Lebanon did not win any medal, except two gold ones in “arts,” during the last Olympic Games and other international sport competitions.
What has the minister done to learn lessons, by acting not talking? And what has he done to prompt change in his ministry and to realize a much needed quantum leap in cooperation with educational institutions and agencies, the civil society and the private sector?
What has the “government of the swing majority” -- hesitant, confused and incapable -- done to lift national sports to international levels in accordance with Lebanon’s role and message and the ambition of its citizens? And where are the government’s procedures required to encourage creativity and professionalism and give incentives and lift the morale, and invest in the existing skills and abilities of the of young people.
What has the government done to honor and award the achievers among the youth and encourage them to maintain their performance and encourage others to practice sports from early age and demonstrate sportsmanship and fair competition toward success and achievement? Are we going to see the day when “traders of politics” will pay attention to the Lebanese youth, which is educated, creative, successful, life-loving and globalized, and which has become, due to their practices, backwardness and disputes, frustrated and pessimistic and dreamy about a new horizon, a double nationality, a travel visa...and a one way ticket!?
The problem is not exclusive to the performance of the youth minister and other ministers and employees of the public sector. It is also neither in the lack of vision, plan and ability for achievement and accountability, nor in the shortage of academic sports institutions. The problem is in the fact that the Lebanese state has collapsed, in the failure to keep up with our era and to build the future...and in the mentality of forming government coalitions, which carry the seeds of failure because they are reliant on personal loyalties and sectarian, partisan, regional and class partitioning, at the expense of scientific standards, efficiency, integrity and merit under an administration that is aged, empty, corrupt and unproductive.
Is the youth and sport flame going to be lit again, or will the game end with the loss of both the camps amid distraught public, spread of injustice ... and darkness?
The Arabic version of this article was published on the Lebanon-based Annahar newspaper on Aug. 17, 2012. Twitter: @HayekMG