Of Politics and Education

Did you ever ask yourself why developed countries don’t have wars on their soil?
Did you ever wonder why developed countries are actually developed?
Did you ever wonder why are we still followers?
Did you ever wonder why very few of us ask questions? And even fewer seek answers?
If you answered “no” to any of the above, you’re on the wrong blog. If you answered “yes”, keep reading.

My theory is simple, so simple in fact, that we always look for answers elsewhere. Let me tell you a story:


There was this family of farmers living in the remotest area possible. They had none of the modern life facilities; no electricity, telephone, television and certainly no Internet. Mom and dad had 12 children. All were raised in the fields. All the children learned and knew was about plowing, seeding, harvesting, feeding, milking and waking up at 5 in the morning (just to make sure the rooster was doing its job!)

Twelve children in the field, mom in the kitchen and dad overlooking the operations. He sells what they did not consume and makes enough money to… well fill the mattress. Every morning of every week of every month of every year was the same… Checking if the rooster was doing its job.

All was going great, the same routine, the same productivity, the same way of life. Dad was the only one to go to the city, and have all the fun. At home, a strict regimen was applied, which insured the daily sequence ran like clockwork.

One day, the eldest of the children asks his dad about the city and wished he could visit one day. Dad was categorically opposed, then reluctant. Eventually he bowed to the pressure and the begging looks of mom. He took his son with him to the city. The boy was amazed at the lights, the streets, the bookshops. He was overwhelmed by the cellphones, cars, and sharp-looking people. Restaurants, high-rises, small delis, all seemed like a different planet for him. Dad was finalizing a transaction and left his son standing next to a newspaper kiosk. The young man started staring at the plethora of magazines, newspapers, comic books… Everything seemed different from the life he had.  He could not read, but he was smart enough to tell that he, and his siblings, were living in a different era, and missing a lot. Not that he hated his life, he simply could not. He never had a yardstick against which to benchmark the life he’s living. For him, that was it, the daily routine, with his dad on top.

Now the boy wants more.

Back home, the young man started asking his dad questions, and telling his siblings about the newly discovered world. He aroused their interest so much that they all wanted to go visit the city. Dad said no and pledged to never take anyone to the city again.

It was too late, the “harm” was done.

The “city-son’s” life mutated for ever. The vision of what he witnessed overshadowed the fields and the sunrise. His dreams were invaded by the city sights and he never woke up at 5 anymore. His routine turned into a cycle of boredom… And he doesn’t check on the rooster anymore.

He wanted more. He wanted change. He rebelled. He kept telling his brothers and sisters about the city and how they should visit to understand. He felt that his understanding and knowledge have attained a level far beyond his family’s and even his dad’s.

Then, his dad stopped being on top.

The boy understood that his father was the ruler not because he knew more, but because they knew less.

The boy ultimately fled home, went to the city and managed to bring in few of his brothers and sisters. Those who stayed back did so because they were either afraid or simply still believed that what they had is better, and those were the very few. Productivity was affected dramatically, the family starved, dad died… on top, leaving behind a starving wife and a couple of children who were forgotten by time, until a development project forced them to sell what was left of their land and relocate to a small shack next door.

There was my story.


I believe that countries should not be ruled. They should be guided. But to guide means to explain, and to explain means to educate, and to educate means to provide knowledge. Knowledge means power, and power means vision, and vision means insight, and insight tells you if those guiding or ruling you are good or bad, and that; is very bad.

The one single most powerful weapon used in non-developed countries is education. You can’t starve an educated population. You can’t make it follow you blindly. You can’t trigger a war and get re-elected with an educated population, and you can’t be uneducated and rule either. You can’t establish religion as law with an educated population, and you can’t establish a law as sacred either.

Lack of education is the real weapon of mass destruction. You want proof? Look at the Internet! In a country like Lebanon, nothing is censored but you can’t get it because we still have speeds equal to dial-up, and in the Gulf countries speed is high but you can’t see anything because of censorship.

Look at most schoolbooks where children learn about the French revolution but not the Cedars revolution, you learn about world wars but not Israeli invasions, you learn to read and write and then are taught to never dare read or write…

That’s how war was started here, and that’s how it was won. That’s how the status quo was kept, and that’s how they’re keeping our mouth shut.

They refused to take us to the city, but when some of us finally woke up and did manage to visit, we simply swayed the balance, threatened the equilibrium and threw away the blindfold.

And what did we discover? People on top but not at the top, people who rule, not people who guide, people who know what “they” want instead of knowing what we need.

The drawback? Now, we lost both the green fields and the city.

So, next time you hear a rooster, think of it as your wake up call.

© 2010 Ibrahim Lahoud



7 Responses to “Of Politics and Education”

  1. November 15, 2010 at 12:51

    Great post ! If ever the rooster will crow again and someone actually listens; it will take at least 3 to 4 generations before we are on the right track. But we have to start sometime soon !

  2. 2 Alina
    November 16, 2010 at 15:17

    Great post!
    The story reminds me of Ceausescu’s Romania.
    We didn’t have much, TV was only 2h/day, “supermarkets” were nearly empty and could only find local produce which mind you, were very good quality… We had ratios for sugar, oil, meat products… meat, was scarce, we’d see oranges and bananas only for xmas, and I remember doing my homework at candle light.
    We had no clue about the outside world and we were living happy in our ignorance…
    The visit in town for me was in 1995 when we got access to cable tv… CNN and 3 amazing journalists Octavia Nasr, Christiane Amanpour and Jim Clancy, took me on a journey and showed me what world is about with it’s good and bad parts.

    I love your blogs, keep it up


  3. 3 Hasnain Rizvi
    November 17, 2010 at 07:06

    I really like the way you express yourself. Simple but so true! This unfortunately has been the plight of many nations that had the potential of development but have been marred by more developed countries by either wars, sanctions, political unrest.

    What is usually missing is leadership and education to guide and move forward!

  4. November 19, 2010 at 17:53

    “I believe that countries should not be ruled. They should be guided. But to guide means to explain, and to explain means to educate, and to educate means to provide knowledge. Knowledge means power, and power means vision, and vision means insight, and insight tells you if those guiding or ruling you are good or bad, and that; is very bad.”

    You are incredible. This is, by far, the best post I have read on this blog. You keep me coming back for more.

  5. 5 Alia
    November 20, 2010 at 16:41

    We since the very begining were born here to be lazy! we rely on our families to get ahead. If daddy/mommy don’t have it, you can’t get it!
    Such jerks are just here to hang out, knowingg nothing about civilization but break down the education system for those who want exchange cultural ideas and learn! Such people will never leave the country that’s for sure you know why? cuz this is their home country !! We encourage such people instead of throwing them out! Oh yeah i forgot they’re bilingual..
    We are too materialistic, we lack strong moral values and are very superficial,we care about appearances “Haifa is still our chapeau bas”
    We spend a lot of money and get nothing out of our education and health care. I WONDER what health care system it would be..
    In most developing countries “like ours of course” people learn to enjoy reading books and newspapers. Here we believe that moving from calss to class, from subject to subject is conductive to learning.. If you can’t stand in a country where living is more important than UNDERSTANDING then your loss!
    People don’t agree with one another at all, they just live next to people they hate now. (chou h7elou) I can’t honestly describe the “HUGE” amount of unity we have here!! Our true “SACRIFICE” made a clear impact on the world and there’s still a great amount to be done..bas you know it needs some time…This is something u nearly never hear about in the history of other countries, we should be PROUDDD!
    Speed Limit is the new trend nowadays! H7aram all they care about is our safety hence the unlit highway..but still they do, and we should appreciate their effort!!
    lol kind of funny really..

  6. 6 Sean
    November 22, 2010 at 14:33

    why do they keep voting for those people/politicians again and again? how come they don’t understand that power is for the people, by the people…. it just amazes me…

    I will never vote until someone is worth voting for…. I am not convinced by any. and people who say I do nothing to change the current situation , I tell them we need a new deck of cards… I know what my next hand will be… and it’s a loosing one… remove you “blindfold”

  7. 7 Ali
    December 21, 2010 at 09:18

    very nice thoughts 🙂

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Reason To Believe by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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