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Monday , November 29 2021

‘We’re not cleaner than others’


It is not easy to talk about cleanliness and why our communities do not care about this issue in spite of our religious teachings that urge cleanliness or washing our hands or body parts seven times a day to ensure complete cleanliness.

We always criticize the Westerners for not being clean, compared to us, but if we look at  the shops, offices, streets, homes and clothes of a majority of Europeans and Westerners in general are cleaner than ours. So can we say we are cleaner than them?

Is it because they do not use flushes, for example, in their bathrooms? And since when did we know them to blame them for not using flushes? Have we forgotten about cleaning ourselves after defecation? My relative returned from a pilgrimage half a century ago, and when I asked her about her impressions she complained about the level of cleanliness. She went on a pilgrimage after 25 years and I asked her the same question and her answer did not differ and complained about lack of cleanliness in toilets. This is almost the problem of all the capitals of our countries, rich and poor.

At the Shiite holy place in general, conditions outside are really miserable, both in the days of Saddam before and after them. All complain dirt almost everywhere, especially on religious occasions, and a small part of the reason is the absence of garbage containers, for example, or decent public toilets.

A few days ago, a video clip in the social media showed much litter was left behind by airline passengers, and in our own region in particular and how it has become a disturbing phenomenon to the Kuwaiti Airways for example, and the source of complaint even from senior officials.

Dirt is not only what is thrown on the ground, but the food leftovers  on the tables and dirt in the bathrooms. In Lebanon, in spite of a mix of sects Shiite and Sunni and Druze and Christians and other sects this does not exist even in residential areas. This is something beautiful which even the civil war did not succeed in having a toll on the environment especially the capital Beirut and the mountain resorts in spite of all the sectarian displacement that has taken place

Thus, the religion or doctrine of any region or area or venue can be identified by one of two things – The nature and quality of the names of streets and shops of the village or the main village, or main venue or the quality of partisan slogans and electoral images attached to the street light poles and others. 

 The level of cleanliness in the area and its main streets, as for our streets, the conditions are very clear.

I spoke with some senior party officials about the cause of the chaos in specific areas. I told them that I understood their refusal to pay for the electricity and water consumption bill to the state, their encroachment on state property and others, street chaos and traffic violation, all of which may be a reaction for the negligence of the state, and part of the political process and partisan attraction.

However I cannot understand how much dirt and garbage are left in these areas. Is it part of the personality of the inhabitant or the culture of the area? Why don’t the leaders intervene to impose cleanliness on everyone, while it can easily impose more important and more dangerous issues on all?

The answer is always either a yellow smile or a meaningful nod without uttering a word.

e-mail: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

By Ahmad alsarraf

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