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Lebanon’s government needs to grow up

April 2, 2008 @ No Comments
Lebanon’s government needs to grow up

By Ghassan Karam,
Special to Ya Libnan

There comes a time in the life of individuals when they pass that very specific stage in life when they are no longer treated as juveniles but as adults who are responsible for the consequences of their acts.

The same is true for nations. Nationhood is a privilege that carries with it immense responsibilities the least of which is the ability to govern and demonstrate a strong commitment to law and order. Unfortunately the current Lebanese government has failed, thus far, to demonstrate that it ought to be treated as an adult.

Some facts are incontrovertible and are clear to all. The Syrian presence in Lebanon has been costly in human, economic, political and social terms. Actually, an argument can be made that Syrian hegemony has robbed the Lebanese state of 30 years of development and has thus contributed to the existence of the dysfunctional state that Lebanon does not feel capable of overcoming. But such an argument must be deemed to be faulty.

The logic for the inability to recognize right from wrong is similar to offering those brought up in poverty and trying circumstances a justification for doing the wrong thing. The reverse should be true. Those that were exploited and those that were taken advantage of must rise above the temptation to get even and have a special obligation to do the right thing. It is easy to take revenge and it is easy to demand a pound of flesh but what is needed is the ability to transcend these primeval, base and sinister motivations. What is needed is the ability to grow up, act responsibly and take a stand for what is just and what is right.

Pan Arabism is your father’s ideology, and to expect a toothless Arab League summit to muster the resolve to come up with a solution to what is essentially an internal affair is an exercise in futility. How can we possibly expect outsiders who do not understand the dynamics of the domestic Lebanese crisis to come up with a lasting solution is laughable and boggles the mind. How can we expect autocratic authoritarian regimes to come up with democratic solutions? Do these leaders understand what a democracy is and do they have an interest in nurturing one? Of course not.

We have said this before but it must be said again. The only way to offer a permanent solution to the Lebanese crisis is to have it homegrown and truthful. The Lebanese state cannot withstand half-solutions and meaningless gestures any longer. It is time that we face the hard reality that sectarianism is the problem and that one cannot pretend to be on the side of law and order and yet act against the letter and the spirit of the law.

berri - speaks- house.jpgGeneral Suleiman might be a very capable individual and a committed patriot but he is prevented by the constitution from seeking the office of the presidency. March 14 and others should just cast their votes for someone else. But in order to hold presidential parliamentary deliberations the Chamber of Deputies must be in session and no individual, not even Mr. Berri, should be allowed to hold a nation hostage. He must be removed from office. Mr. Berri does not seem to understand the simple fact that the Chamber of Deputies is a separate branch of government than the cabinet. Even if he is right that the Cabinet is illegitimate then he is obligated to correct that error through parliamentary discussions in an open Chamber of Deputies instead of one whose doors he has ordered padlocked.

The process of presidential elections must be opened to all Lebanese irrespective of sect, gender, national origin or sexual orientation and obviously the presidential elections must not be predicated on the allocation of ministers in the new cabinet or on who the PM designate is to be. And last but not least Hezbollah must not become a party to a project that it opposes. Their place is in the opposition until such time that they can muster enough votes to form the government. All what is needed to resolve the Lebanese impasse is a group of politicians that believe in democracy, trust the people and have the courage to be guided by what is good for the country. If we fail to deal with the above then the long term prospects for a country called Lebanon are dim at best.

Ghassan Karam welcomes your correspondence at

Source: Ya Libnan

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