Those rejoicing over the results of student elections at AUB, which incidentally is my alma mater, need to stop and think twice about it all means. For this blogger, this is not a lesson in democracy or democratic governance, this is transposition of feudal and sectarian politics into a college campus. Casting ballots to pick someone based on their affiliation to outside parties with no agendas relevant to student life is unfortunate. AUB officials ought to protect the student body against this kind of theft of democratic principles. The leaders of tomorrow need to understand that improving the conditions of their constituents, not those of the lord outside the gate, should be their platform. One person interviewed by Now Lebanon echoed this well:
"The initiatives of one party tend to be turned down by another just because of the national political divide," Katz added. "There's less of an emphasis on platform and more of an emphasis on simply which Lebanese party you side with." She said the political divide created by student candidates who represent national parties also "creates problems after the elections, breeding an atmosphere of hostility and hindering the capacity of students to work together."
Nobody is saying students can’t have political affiliations. But what kind of message are we instilling in the new generation when we allow their student life to be polarized and paralyzed even before they are let out into a society they are entrusted with enriching and improving?
Of course, when even March 14 leaders hail the results of student elections as a “message” that validates their political agenda, there is little hope that one day, change will come to this little country, in a form that will preempt the kind of events that have rocked it since its inception.