Social injustice in Lebanon
Social injustice is a problem getting worse day after day in Lebanon. The gap between the poor and the rich is becoming wider each hour, and there’s a general unfairness that is becoming more present and visible in the Lebanese society.
And what’s making the problem worse is that social justice as an issue and a concept is totally absent from the Lebanese political life and remains unaddressed by both the government and the political class. The civil society itself is dormant and unstirred by such problematic issues; nothing moves the Lebanese citizen in general except populist notions that have a shallow sectarian nature.
Not only there’s a lack of vision and policies to address this problem, there are policies, laws, systems and privileges that deepen this problem instead of finding solutions for it. So let’s look at few examples:
- Ever heard about the Lebanese university professor who sends his/her kids to an expensive private university and gets more than 50% of the tuition fees reimbursed by the Lebanese state i.e using all Lebanese tax payers’ money? Same applies to teachers in public schools, you have the public high school principal who puts his/her kids in an expensive private high school and the Lebanese state pays a high percentage of their tuition. A middle class Lebanese citizen can only send his/her kids to the Lebanese university and low quality public schools run by those who send their kids to better schools/universities.
- Ever heard about the public sector employee who signs in at 8am and leaves and 8:30am to his private business then comes back to sign in at 3pm to get paid as an overtime employee, without working 1 single hour?
- Working hours in the public sector are generally way much less than in the private sector, the salaries however are not.
- The nature of employment in the public administration is for life and beyond, they don’t get fired except for criminal reasons and even with a lot of fraud crimes they are protected and continue with their jobs that offer them numerous benefits (health insurance etc.), and additional cash from bribes, while in the private sector employees are not protected and can be fired easily.
- Public sector employees have retirement plans and big amounts of end-of-service compensations while this doesn’t necessarily apply to the private sector. Professional orders for engineers/pharmacists/ Doctors etc. can offer such schemes but lower profile professions, self-employed people don’t have any protection or retirement plans whatsoever.
- Public sector employees have historically had an easier access to loans from public sources especially for housing.
And there are many more examples that show how a public sector job is a privileged job while private sector employees and self-employed people are left for their hard work and luck to live their lives. Needless to say that this is the reason why people die on hospitals' doors, live in buildings that are on the verge of collapse, get humiliated when they become old and weak even after a life full of hard work. And this unbalance/injustice between the lucky who can get a job in the public sector and those who are self-employed or in the private sector is why the whole public sector has become a fiefdom for the corrupt political class, they have the power to appoint people in the public administration and give them these privileges, they have the power to remove them too, so they enslave people, and run the public administration the way they please as if it’s their private property.
We need a serious change in regulations and policies to create a system that respects all the Lebanese citizens in a just manner, it’s every citizen’s right to benefit from the public money to which he/she is contributing, fiefdoms and islands of privileges should be abolished if we’re looking to evolve and become a respectful prosperous country.