During the first week of the holy month, citizens found themselves before a concerning situation, starting with the terrorist attack on the Intelligence office in Baqaa, on the first day of Ramadan, through social violence, all the way to other crimes, and arrests for counts related to narcotics, followed by confrontations with the authorities in Ein el Basha.
Naturally, news of sorts unsettle people. Meanwhile, we need to see through these partialities unto the big picture, to understand social transformations, their direction, and inclination of threat; whether or not we happen to be facing a natural or exceptional, abnormal situation, factored by specific conditions.
The disparity is in the fact that the State has been capable, the last two years; of restoring order and retaining authority, after things nearly spiralled out of control over the first three years of the Arab Spring (2011-2014). During the years 2014-2015, auto-theft dropped social and student violence decreased radically, in comparison, and finally, general examinations were regulated, after violations that went through the roof, became a threat that almost discredited the whole education process.
The State initiated security campaigns to put an end to rebellious behaviour against the law. The State went even beyond restoring prestige and authority, to fixing imbalances that preceded those, in terms of water, electricity, and land transgressions, as well as to lawless foci. Citizens touched on the difference that came through calculated steps taken on the highest levels, under the umbrella of law enforcement. This formulated an unannounced priority for decision makers.
Nonetheless, the recent duration emphasised three, highly dangerous social threats, as opposed to years before. One, is the spread of narcotics among youth. Two, the spread of extremism among them, enabling ISIS to polarise youths and recruit them, to become radical opponents of the State, who believe and condone violence.
Thirdly, and not so explicitly discussed; the spread of administrative corruption, and the permeation of favouritism and bribery, which leads the culmination of dangerous epidemics that starts with festering education, all the way to destroying the everyday state-citizen relation.
Truth be told, the Authorities did succeed, the security campaigns and ruthless enforcement of the law, coupled with clear specific plans, in retaining prestige and facing traditional crimes, from theft to violence. But drugs, extremism, and the dismantlement of the social values system; these require remedies of a different kind, more complicated and difficult, beyond instantaneous legal procedures to cultural, religious, and political discourses in general. Above all, special attention must be given to the youth, who form the frontlines of defence against extremism, drugs, and deviation.
What is the nature of the measures necessary to face these pristine threats? A question for officials, elites, and politicians to ponder at. Beforehand, it is important to investigate variations, figures, and givens; to understand whether we’re facing natural social and behavioural shifts common with many countries around the world, as some say it is, or are we facing a concrete concern? We need to figure out how to contain its effect and implications; this unfolding reality leads us unto an even more dangerous future, should nothing be done about it!
The measures of which we speak, need to entail reforms on a multitude of levels; politically, through the expansion of democratic process; media-wise, to broadcast and communicate the concepts of citizenships, law, and pertinence; and religiously, to communicate enlightenment and moderation, and pose the important question: why are we losing the battle with extremism? As well as on the educational and cultural levels.
In short, we need to realise that reformation is a national, societal, political necessity.