On World Conversation Day, the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications and Information reveals numbers of politicians on billboards throughout the country, urging them to engage in dialogue with one another.
This year, the day held special significance in Lebanon. On July 12, citizens woke up to discover their streets overflowing with numbers – not just any numbers, but precise and personal phone numbers of their own politicians.
In a groundbreaking initiative titled ‘Khallina Nethawar’ (Let’s Have a Conversation), the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications and Information collaborated with TBWA\RAAD to convey a concise and unequivocal message to both Lebanese citizens and politicians: the time for dialogue has arrived.
Lebanon, a nation grappling with despair and corruption, yearns for a lifeline. While many Lebanese view the election of a president as the initial step towards stability, the public finds itself in a state of limbo after enduring over six months of waiting for politicians to engage and reach agreements. As a result, the presidential seat remains unoccupied.
To commemorate World Conversation Day and emphasise the significance of two-way communication during this critical period in Lebanon, the Ministry of Telecommunications provided politicians with free sim cards as part of the campaign.
Each sim card featured a dedicated number and was accompanied by a letter urging the recipients to initiate meaningful conversations with their counterparts.
The ministry also distributed a list of numbers to all politicians, further underscoring the urgency of the situation. Outdoor advertisements strategically placed near the residences of politicians and throughout adjacent areas directly addressed each politician by name, encouraging them to call their counterparts from opposing parties with whom they needed to engage in conversation. The contact numbers were provided in the ads.
For the general public, the ministry extended an offer of over 1000 free calling minutes on July 12, irrespective of their cellular network. Additionally, 50 extra gigabytes were provided for all landlines, aiming to motivate all Lebanese citizens to pick up their phones and initiate conversations.
For once, on World Conversation Day, with the free numbers, free minutes, and direct callouts, the Lebanese political class are finally left with no excuse not to pick up the phone and have a conversation.