Another day, another innocent school student writing a letter to the Minister of Education in hopes of getting their "urgent" demands met. Only this time, when Aya Jaber sealed and sent off her letter, it actually got a response.
"My name is Aya Jaber, and I'm in the third grade. I'm coming to you with a very important request, which is giving us 3 days off and 4 days of school per week," the young Lebanese student wrote in a letter addressed to newly appointed Minister of Education Tarek Majzoub on Jan. 23, 2020.
"Because we are young, and we need to rest and sleep," she argued. "School, studies, books, exams, notebooks, exhaustion... ufff all of that?!"
Jaber found the amount of things she has to think of and worry about now that she's a third grader to be too overwhelming, so she decided to find a solution. "We are all awaiting your response," she concluded her letter.
And indeed, a response is what she's received.
"I read your letter and I recalled my dreams that match yours, and I wished the vacation was 4 days instead of 3," Majzoub wrote back, "but time has taught me that the road to success requires sticking to the current schedule."
"As for my promise to you, it is that I will do everything possible to make these 5 school days more fun and easy for you and all your friends. And this promise will be acted upon and not just empty words," he signed off the letter.
And what better messenger than the writer himself? Minister Majzoub showed up to Jaber's household in Yanouh, Tyre, out of the blue on Sunday morning to deliver the note.
Not only did the minister deliver the message, he also sat down to have a talk with Aya and was taped giving her a motivational speech. The little girl, sitting on a chair beside him shyly, looked starstruck and mesmerized by everything he's saying.
Is Majzoub trying to gain the Lebanese public's trust?
Twenty new ministers were elected this month by recently appointed PM Hassan Diab in what the country's people were hoping would be a technocratic government, made up of experts only. After the Oct. 17 revolution, citizens of the Levantine country took it upon themselves to make their voices heard among politicians, including not wanting them to rule Lebanon anymore.
Majzoub, a lawyer and judge in the Shura Council in Lebanon, is trying to win the trust of the Lebanese following his appointment.
Photos circulating online of the education minister taking a number ticket in one Lebanese bank was considered by many as a sign of a humble and decent man who doesn't think of himself as better than the general public. People have been reportedly standing in line for hours at banks just to receive the weekly dose of dollar bills.
Another photo, this time of Majzoub's car - from the looks of it an old Mercedes-Benz C-Class W202 - also circulated online, though the source of the photo remains unclear.
Who is Tarek Majzoub?
"Quality and flexible education for all," announced Majzoub as the slogan of his ministry during a handover ceremony. "I had been teaching at universities since I first graduated, before joining the judiciary," he added, speaking of his background.
But there's more to his experience than teaching. Born in Saida, Majzoub got a degree in law from the Lebanese University and a B.E. in engineering from the American University of Beirut. He later got a doctorate in law from the University of Rennes in France in 1993. He has since taught in many Lebanese universities and is a judge at the State Shura Council. He was also an advisor for many institutions and businesses in Lebanon, including UNDP, UNESCO, and the World Bank.
During the handover ceremony, a clip of Majzoub slipping during his speech was shared numerous times online. Asking the Lebanese public for a chance, he accidentally mixed up and said "hopefully our work will be words and not actions," instead of the other way around. The Freudian slip will definitely be one the Lebanese will refer back to years from now.
Is Majzoub up for the challenge? Will he prove worthy of his position and actually listen to the people for once? Only time will tell.