It is hard to wait for something you know might never happen, but it’s even harder to sit there and do nothing about it. The fight for justice against corruption is never an easy one. In a country where one feels that their life is similar to a pawn on a chessboard, and action might not lead to much, most Lebanese have resigned to the fate of the majority, which is to live in corruption. Yet as Karl Klaus stated “corruption is worse then prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual; the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.”
Sakker El Dekkenne, meaning “Close the Shop,” is a Lebanese NGO set up to combat institutional corruption in Lebanon. The mission of the NGO is to raise awareness about the extent of corruption in order to exert leverage on public administrations and Lebanese citizens at large to refrain from engaging in acts of corruption. Sakker El Dekkene runs guerrilla-advertising campaigns and uses an online reporting mechanism and a telephone hotline to collect data on bribery taking place throughout the country.
Sakker el Dekkene belongs to every concerned citizen and their success is measured by the extent of our participation in change. The initiative was launched due to the perception that corruption in Lebanon is simply a way of life. Lebanon has consistently been ranked among the world’s most corrupt countries, with corruption and bribery taking place from the highest echelons of government and private business to everyday interactions between citizens. By increasing the visibility of the rampant corruption taking place, they hope to raise the issue as a major topic of public discourse and sow the seeds of radical change. Corruption weighs on our lives, limits our access to information, blurs our critical thinking, impedes change and locks us in a vicious cycle of economic and political inefficiency.
Sakker El Dekkene was launched on 15 May 2014, with the opening of “Dekkenet Al Balad” in Gemmayzeh, Beirut. Dekkenet Al Balad was a temporary shop, which was opened by the NGO with the intention of physically manifesting the idea behind the whole initiative: that Lebanon is a corner shop where everything- including our rights- is for sale. They launched a guerilla campaign that included stenciling, creating posters, and even creating an “Anti-Corruption Car” that parks outside corrupt public institutions encouraging people to report acts of bribery that they have taken part in or witnessed.
Today is today, until tomorrow. One day soon we may see our last today. We must learn to change our way or watch our tomorrow turn to utter despair. Writing the past is what we choose, yet its being written by untrustworthy hands. Despair, a constant companion, corrupts any confidence, insulting our intelligence, forbidding us from improving, and denounces us as unworthy. Amongst all the negativity and few actions against what’s happening, Sakker El Dekkenne, are Lebanon’s warriors and guardians. This NGO is the lebanese’s uni-source of hope because the fight against corruption is successful if you fight corruption taking place in the first place.
Our Lebanon deserves to be fought for, because Lebanon “will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything” (Albert Einstein).
To my Lebanon, we fight on this Saturday! https://www.facebook.com/events/1126287567390874/