Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Take Me to the Land of Trickery | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In the manner of the famous Arab proverb, when two Lebanese nationals meet, the devil is their third. Yes, it is that simple. The Lebanese are obsessed with politics, and this obsession has led to a permanent feeling that the entire country is in a permanent “state” of being victimized. Lebanese politicians have fallen in love with conspiracy theories and as a result of this strongly believe that their country cannot take unilateral action without fully submitting to foreign powers. These people believe that Lebanon is “destined” to be a follower, being neither as independent or sovereign as those who chant slogans wish the country to be.

The upcoming Lebanese parliamentary elections are a practical interpretation of this. And so all the “booby-trapped” words used in Lebanese politics, as well as the hidden and overt accusations launched by various oppositional parties against one another with regards to affiliation to a certain party, [ideological] trend, country, or revolution, is all part of the status-quo of Lebanese [politics]. Every event and every piece of news that takes place in the Lebanese arena must be succeeded by political “analysis” to clarify to the public exactly what happened, and its significance. This “analysis” is usually completely unbelievable, but that is Lebanon and its politics!

The recent release of the four Generals who were being investigated in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri resulted in an endless set of explanation and analysis on the significance of this release and its timing. A great deal of emphasis was placed upon a “deal” being made at the expense of one of their [political] opponents, with the belief that one particular political faction would lose out the most. Therefore Lebanon has left behind concepts such as political institutions, the justice and legal system, to settle down to this perpetual “trickery.”

This could have been a historic opportunity for Lebanon to achieve independence, freedom, and liberation by the citizens simply trusting one another, and trusting in the idea of the homeland, rather than letting another speak on your behalf. Lebanon is a strange country that has adopted a wondrous approach. The number of “non-Lebanese” leaders and politicians exceeds the number of [so-called] “Lebanese” figures and leaders. Lebanese political parties have “stately” and wonderful names that are full of hallowed terms, yet the actual practices undertaken by these parties and their leaders are far removed from these lofty goals and noble slogans.

The electoral landscape in Lebanon is tense and nerve-wracking and once again occupies the attention of the Arab world with each new remark and accusation that is reported. Lebanon is a country that has a larger influence and draws far more attention than it deserves; this results in time, effort and money being wasted on the same problems and issues that have been recurring in Lebanon since its independence. These same problems and issues have also not progressed since that time. If the Lebanese people accept this, and have become accustomed to being political followers without having any serious desire for change by continuing to vote in the same figures that have lead them to this stage in the first person, why should the Arabs watch this boring farce and continue to believe that this is democracy?

What kind of democracy is there when the parliamentary speaker shuts down parliament for months at a time without attempt to hold any [parliamentary] sessions or solve any problems, yet then is re-elected? Lebanon we want your cuisine, your weather, and your beautiful scenery, but we have had enough of your politics!