Lebanon’s bloggers have been turning their attention to their government’s chances of rebuilding all the civil infrastructure destroyed by the Israeli Defence Force. David Rogers listened in
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As you might expect, the Lebanese blogging community has had a lot to write about of late – at least those members of it who still own computers. And now that the F16s have gone, the question of reconstruction arises.
Even before the bombs started dropping, a number of postings on lebanesebloggers.blogspot.com were cynical about the Lebanese government’s ability to do civil engineering. “The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation could well be the most important ministry in Lebanon,” says one, “but thanks to a incompetence, corruption and manipulation, it is one of our weakest.”
So much so, in fact, that the government set up a parallel body called the Council for Development and Reconstruction to take care of foreign loans and grants given to improve infrastructure, and this “reports directly (and conveniently) to the prime minister’s office”.
Another blogger tells us a little more about this money. “Over the past couple of months, the CDR has launched $1bn worth of projects. They were supposed to have been completed by now, but that $1bn has just been sitting there, waiting to be spent for God (uhhum, I mean Nasrallah) knows how long.
“Anyways, if you would like to know what that $1bn finances, I am aware of three big projects: The first is the installation of traffic lights in 250 intersections across Beirut. The second is 17 overpasses. The third, and most important, is a meticulously planned effort by contract managers to refurnish their apartments, and buy new cars and LCD television sets.”
Despite what might be going on in the upper echelons, the Lebanese on the ground have been impressed by how quickly the infrastructure was patched together after the bombs stopped falling. A blogger writing at colddesert.blogspot.com on the day of the ceasefire commented: “Yesterday, all Saida was in the dark and we didn’t have tap water. Today, the power and the water pumps are on four to six hours a day with six hours from the power generator in the neighbourhood; this is quite good taking into consideration that the ceasefire took place at 8am.”
And, sensing that recording one’s feelings in a blog was not quite adequate to the enormity of what happened, one man has turned to music, to which you can write the lyrics. A blogger at www.bloggingbeirut.com writes: “My project is to produce a rap song about the current events in Lebanon and broadcast it free over the internet to mobilise public opinion. Log on to www.myspace.com/n2oula, have a listen to this track, and please send me your lyrics (rap, spoken words or solo voice) in MP3 format. I will try to manage to put together a nice track of it!”
We’ll let you when it comes out …