I still remember the first day I met you, when I had just returned from the U.S. with a heart drained out of hope for our country and its people. I had given up on trying to make a change. We were too far behind.
When I asked you that day about the audience you wanted to target in your marketing campaigns and waited for you to give me, as I expected, an electoral base, your answer struck me like thunder awakening me from my long coma.
You were not looking for an electoral campaign, you wanted to talk to the Lebanese youth. All of them.
Since then, with every passing day, I discovered that instead of me being your adviser on digital marketing, you were teaching me about change, about hope, about life.
I watched you answer every person’s tweet, every single private message, with the same dedication and openness without asking about any person’s political background or religion.
I watched you take the time and welcome at your office young people who were doubting your plans. You explained to them with full trust, step by step, the mission, the targets and all the thinking process.
I watched you take smart non confrontational decisions which changed our day to day reality without recurring to politicized speeches and media bickering.
I watched you silently take bullets, which have wounded your reputation and sometimes your close family yet calmly dodging them all with facts, figures and logic.
I watched you doing good deeds, helping orphans, offering furniture to the elderly yet always asking not to disclose your name.
I watched you describe how the Lebanese youth inspire you, with their own utopic, imaginary, clean, creative bubble, away from the reality everyone else is living in.
I watched you free out a full day’s schedule and drive all the way to Koura to attend a student’s graduation after he mentioned on Twitter how much it would mean to him.
I watched your eyes shine as you carried our local success stories to Stanford, Google, Cisco, Facebook and all Lebanese expats in Silicon Valley asking them to support our talents with all their heart.
I watched you walk to your house during a nearby street conflict, without any protection, to send a twitter friend in your own car to his home.
I watched you stand in line at the airport waiting for your ticket, just like everybody else.
I watched you take a rest in the shadow, witnessing all your work being undone by new comers who were chosen to replace you and yet you did not say one word of accusation as you wanted to wait and give the newcomers a chance.
I watched us all, the Young Lebanese Digital Lobby as you like to call us, sitting home, frustrated yet not going to the streets or using the power you had so much spoken to us about, when you were taken out of the Ministry, out of your seat, out of the youth’s seat.
And now I am watching you dust off the rubble and go back to your drawing board so we all continue building, despite everything, the digital ecosystem we all dream of.
I am publishing this open letter without taking your permission as I do for our online activities and events. I know you will not like it as you never asked for fame or recognition. But see Nicolas, most of the time, we get too distracted to spot a super hero who’s not wearing a red shiny cape. Today even if I may be accused of being subjective, I would like to thank you for being our super hero.
Do you remember that book we printed for you when you left the Ministry? It was entitled “The People’s Minister” and contained literally thousands of Tweets and Facebook Messages from people asking for you to come back and telling each in his or her own way how you had changed their perception of Lebanese public servants. You had hid it in your library ever since as you did not want to read it and remember that by losing your position as Minister you might have disappointed us.
Have you completed your mission? We may never know. Media may destroy your image, new officials may undo your plans, our weak memory may forget what you’ve done.
However one thing is for sure, I may not be able to speak in everyone’s name, but I can speak for myself when I say, you have succeeded in a much bigger mission: you have impacted our lives.
Thank you Nicolas
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