On the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day observed on December 9th each year, and with the presence of representatives from Transparency International and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Haigazian University Political Science Society organized a panel discussion entitled “Together against Corruption”, on December 7, 2015, in the University Auditorium.
Three panelists were invited to discuss the issue from different perspectives: Dr. Khalil Gebara, advisor in the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities was there to present the government; Mr. Lucien Bourjeily, writer, director and co-founder of the public “You Stink” movement shared the civil society’s viewpoints; and Haigazian University Political Science student Najib Safieddine shared the youth’s obsessions and opportunities for change.
Dr. Gebara saw it as necessary to ensure a system of immunity to fight corruption, through modern legislation and accountability. According to him, this can be achieved through citizens’ proper access to information, and the elimination of political deadlock. Gebara emphasized on the importance of bottom up accountability, encouraging the youth to be more active and responsible in municipalities elections.
For his part, Lucien Bourjeily accused the government and the politicians of severe corruption, especially by being remunerated for duties and services not rendered. To him, corruption starts when a politician gets paid for what he/she does not do. He believes that citizens are victims of politicians who still enjoy some support, although they fail to provide the basic needs and services. Bourjeily reiterated the importance of accountability and the system of checks and balances, being the cornerstones of democracy and anti-corruption.
Najib Safieddine urged the Lebanese youth to create a new political alternative and collective identity. This can be achieved by getting unified, capitalizing on commonalities instead of differences. He further considered that the ability to change lies in correct policy making, self-evaluation and uniting the different forces and groups fighting for a better, and uncorrupt Lebanon.
A rich and interactive Q & A session followed.
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