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RISE With the recent elections in Lebanon, a question should pop out in the mind of those who really

believe in the true meaning of social democracy. Is what were witnessing by the actions of the political elite the right image of the democratic country that were proud of? In democracy, the people elect their representatives the people who will represent them and take proper decisions for them. However, what we saw in the late municipality elections in Beirut, illustrate the opposite. How can a municipality coalition that got only around 25% of voting represent a whole district, not to say the capital of the country? Where is the right of the other 75% of the population? The 75% of the population that didnt vote, dont they represent the majority that either do not support the elected ones, or are just not interested? Since in democracy, the majority wins, shouldnt this also be applied to the voting aspect that the 75% that didnt vote should actually win over the 25% that voted, because they represent the majority in the population? On the other hand, the question of whether the elections were legally acceptable or up to the democratic standards give rise to a more important question, and that is whether the people are well informed about their social-political rights, or they only act according to a certain person a leader - that tells them take this paper and put it in that box. Both aspects are actually related; since, when people lack social & political understanding, they follow any leader that they feel represents their society. Here rises the problem of what that leader actually represents to the people, that they blindly follow every single decision that he takes. Is this the democracy that the Lebanese people are proud of? It is not wrong to follow a party, because a party is based on values and principles. When people do what their party says, they do it because they believe in its ideology, but when people do what their leader says even if he is pretending to be the head of a party then they believe in his capabilities and opinions only and thus they are giving authority to him that could eventually lead to dictatorship by that leader. In democracy, there is no leader that leads a party; there is a party that leads its believers. Still, this doesnt mean that a democratic party does not have a leader at the head, however, the difference is that when the head of a party remains the same person without democratic elections by the party members, this turns into dictatorship. The leader now is not elected by its party members; rather he is the party himself. Moreover, a party in a democratic state will have members, while a party with a self-proposed leader will have only followers. Thus, the first decision the people need to make is to decide whether they follow an ideology or a certain person. An ideology is a fact, when a party adopts its ideology, it almost never changes, because it is the basis of the party. While, when a person adopts a certain point of view, it always changes because that person would make certain his position is always safe in all circumstances. Second, people should understand that their ultimate choice in elections affects their overall life standards. Thus, they need to vote! Even if they dont agree with any of the

parties or the coalitions made in a certain election, it is always better to vote with a blank paper than not to vote at all. For, a blank vote is still a vote saying I do not support any coalition and I do not want them to represent me. While not voting at all would send the idea that the people actually do not care, so why not just take advantage of the situation and take the control of the government. Actually this is the current scenario in Lebanon, because either the people dont care about their rights or they are afraid, or they just do not want to have their rights for some reasons not understood by common sense. For example, when a leader asks his followers to demonstrate, they immediately respond; while, when a situation like increasing taxes, fuel prices, real estate prices occur, no one responds as if this doesnt concern the people and doesnt affect their life standards. Where is the common sense here? Finally, because of the irresponsible actions of the people, the country is in chaotic state, represented by dictators under the democratic umbrella. More than half of the governing body is present only in body, and you rarely see them take any decisions concerning the people who they are supposed to represent, because of whom they get paid thousand of dollars. While more than three quarter of the people live under the average level of life standards, and what they only do is complain without actually taking certain actions, which is in fact their legitimate civil rights. At the end, what people are only doing is living today and thats it. Rise!