Prestige issue 62, July 1998
It is with a discretion that Mrs. Myrna Murr joined the Union of Municipalities of Metn including 30 localities, to preside over this entity, while she is also Bteghrine municipality’s president. This simplicity fits perfectly with her character, a young woman with a shy smile, but with a determined self- expression.
«My first priority is to improve the quality of life of the Metn inhabitants.»
Myrna Murr knows what she wants. The daughter of the Minister of Interior, mother of Nayla and Michèle, was very soon faced with public life. During the«Quiet days», the family received at home about twenty visitors. Myrna got used to it. One day, she felt that it was time for her to enter the public domain, through the municipalities linked to the everyday life of citizens. A life she wishes easier for all. Responsible mother, Myrna Murr is aware of the importance of the issue. Her program is in line with her image: an apparent simplicity, achievable. It aims above all else to the wellbeing of the inhabitants of Metn.
What links Myrna to the Metn, is almost a love story.
She was born there and spent most of her life. That’s why she cherishes this proud mountain. «My priority is a balanced development to make people more attached to their region.» For Bteghrine and the other 29 locations of the Metn, Myrna Murr strives for major projects ranging from reforestation to the multiplication of open green spaces, where children can circulate safely, besides the creation of many cultural centers. The new president attaches great importance to cultural activities, which occupy young people, providing cultural and spiritual assets to these villages.
As president of the Metn Union of Municipalities.
Myrna Murr has no intention to interfere in the management of each locality. «I will put the projects under study. I will encourage each city council to achieve them to the extent of their means.»What’s important is to have a coherent regional policy of municipalities. For matters of general interest, the voices of Metn municipalities must be unified and therefore more effective.
However, she might confront old school people, hostile to modernization, doesn’t she fear obstacles? With her smile, we guess what she will say: «The challenges do not frighten me. The difficulties either. I even want to convince more cities and towns to join our Union. I know it will not be easy. It is almost impossible to satisfy everyone in a single municipality. The union is a kind of association. Our work is based on dialogue and consultation in the public interest.»
Teamwork is key to success.
Is she not afraid of lacking experience with veterans of municipal action? «Experience is acquired. The whole thing is to be full of goodwill. The difficulties result from the fact that the municipal facilities have not been renewed for 35 years. The files have accumulated.» This young woman, placed, despite herself, in the limelight, is unconditional of teamwork. Her team is already functional, made up of specialists and experts in development. Her priorities? She states them firmly: «I wish above all to facilitate the administrative formalities for citizens. These must be achieved quickly. It is unacceptable for a citizen to wait days or even weeks to obtain a permit, an official stamp. This slowness of the administrative machinery is unacceptable. We will try to lighten it in accordance with laws and regulations.»
Her second priority is respect for the environment.
«Metn is a very beautiful region. I wish it to keep its peculiar charm while driving it on the path of modernization. It is thus necessary to preserve the Lebanese-style houses and to promote this traditional architecture in the new construction projects. Reforestation and development of green spaces, or shaded places within the villages, and above all a modern infrastructure, indispensable to our time.»
Her third priority is to educate citizens about «municipal action».
Myrna is very keen on this concept. «In my opinion, the inhabitants also have duties and responsibilities towards their place of residence and they must be aware of it. My concern is to «involve» the citizens in the protection and safeguarding of their environment, especially for matters relating to hygiene. It is, for example, to accustom them to place their garbage at a fixed time in front of their doors before the passage of the buckets; to nurture their attachment to trees and nature, in short, to make them feel concerned by the ecological future of their locality. The problem of sewage systems also needs to be addressed a little later. Of course, all this can not be achieved without dialogue. «We cannot impose anything by force, especially to the Lebanese.»
«My father advised me not to make promises that I can not keep.»
What was the role of her father Michel Murr, in her new position?
«Exactly, people’s expectations are very high on me because I am his daughter. This does not put me off and I will try to meet this new challenge. So far, my dad has just advised me to stay consistent and not to make promises that I can not keep. If people can sometimes forget the good we do them, they always remember the promises that were not kept. You have to keep that in mind to stay credible.» As soon as Myrna Murr talks about her father, her voice fills with emotion. And if the public image of the vice-president of the Council is that of a strong and powerful man, through his daughter, he becomes again a loving and attentive father.
Myrna lives at home with her two daughters and she tells with a tenderness that her father treats his granddaughters as his own children. «With my mother, Sylvie, born Abu Jaoudé, he managed to surround us with love and preserve our family intimacy despite the fact that our house was always full. As far back as my memories go, I remember a totally full house. Friends, parents but also and especially people I did not know and who came to ask a favor to my father.»
The importance of family
Despite this constant commotion, the Murr were able to surround their children, Myrna, Léna and Elias by love and security. «Our education has been strict, rigorous, and traditional. I have tried to instill the same principles in my children. Their father and I have always been committed to providing the best education based on the core values of tolerance, openness, and respect for others. Obviously, times have changed but I try to adapt. I will not tell you that the generational conflict does not exist … And it is no longer as easy to educate children as in the past.» But Myrna believes she has so far succeeded.
«By the way, if I was slow to get into the public domain, it was because I was first a full-time mother, not to mention the fact that I did not find an area in which I could really blossom. It was only when there was the talk of holding municipal elections, there was an opportunity for me to act for development.» Myrna Murr says that her brother Elias has been very supportive. «We are a very close family,» she says. In all of Myrna Murr’s statements, there are some traces of the love she is surrounded by, which will undoubtedly enable her to carry out her mission. Interviewed by Bariaa Sreih.