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Do the Lebanese Deserve Lebanon? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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With composure and focus, professionalism and obvious expertise, and within a short period of time, Dubai Police announced that it had discovered the identity of the assassin of Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim who was brutally murdered in a crime that was meticulously committed. Dubai Police followed the tracks of the killer who had settled in an Arab country after having fled Dubai an hour and a half after the crime took place. He is now being held by the state authorities of that country.

These noticeable developments received the approval of some politicians in Lebanon who commended Dubai’s security authorities for its ability to track down the suspect in record time.

Antoine Zahra, member of the Lebanese Forces party commented on the matter after having expressed his thanks to Dubai by saying that he hoped that Lebanon would one day reach “such a level of efficiency in pursuing crimes that take place on its territory.”

These comments raise an embarrassing issue for the Lebanese government, which has witnessed a series of major crimes on its land whose victims, stars of both the media and political worlds, have died, or almost died, without the identities of any of the assassins or the criminals being revealed. It is almost as if these incidents took place on another planet.

It is obvious that in Lebanon the state is weaker than the public; a businessman of high standing or a religious figure has more influence and power than an official and his systems. The state of indifference has transformed; there is now a lack of respect amongst citizens for the Lebanese government and this became one of the main causes of the lead up to disintegration in Lebanon and the strengthening of a pessimistic approach towards the future.

Lebanon and its politicians do not tire of discussing democracy, liberalism, rights and the constitution yet these same voices are eager to fuel sectarianism and strengthen the class system and the futile concept of hereditary transfer of power. The extent of these “self-generated” political complications in Lebanon, which has become a key feature of it, is embarrassing and shameful.

In demonstrations, the Lebanese carry placards and posters, which correspond with their numerous identities or sects and seldom does one see the Lebanese flag itself.

All states and governments experience crises; their situations vary and so too do their problems. However this does not mean in any way that these countries should not seek to escape their situations and insist upon clinging to the very causes of these problems without plucking up the courage to solve these issues with “unpleasant” solutions even by force.

There are major and blatant defects in the “formation” of the current Lebanese state and it is a model that is unsustainable; the Lebanese themselves are aware of this before anybody else. Yes the Lebanese do have unique circumstances but it is unique circumstances that have transformed into a deadly blight elsewhere that afflicted Iraq for example and there are many countries that could suffer the same painful fate.

There are some within the Lebanese structure that believe that they are part of a larger “brotherly” state and others who see that there is nothing wrong with having close relations with “our cousins”. Meanwhile there are those who believe that a large regional neighbor is their real backbone of support and we must not turn a blind eye to the groups that believe that a “geographical mistake” took place and that Lebanon’s real home is by the countries of the European Union and not neighboring countries “of these kinds.”

Lebanon’s problem is that it is a “good idea” but its citizens are yet to grasp it. Or would it be more apt to ask a more difficult question: Is Lebanon a good idea that its “citizens do not deserve?”

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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