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The Master - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Lebanon, that small wonderful country, is still able to surprise the world.

Lebanon has produced geniuses such as the unparalleled cardiovascular surgeon Michael DeBakey, the actor Danny Thomas, the poet Gibran Khalil Gibran, the successful CEO Carlos Ghosn and his colleague Jacques Nasser, the great novelist Amin Malouf and the legend Fairouz. Each one of them, with their unique style, contributed to making the world a better place. However, Lebanon also gave birth to Nabih Berri, the country’s parliament speaker, who is contributing to aggravating the political situation, widening the gap between different parties and hindering any possible political solution. He refuses to open the doors of parliament and to use this active institution as a tool to solve the political problem through the elected members of parliament, marginalizing democratic succession and political glory because of a personal standpoint.

Nabih Berri embodies the democratic crisis in Lebanon and the inability of leaders of armed groups from the days of the civil war to move away from the “militia” mentality whereby only one person makes the decisions, towards the idea of political action based on the constitution and respect for the opinion of the majority. This is a simplified interpretation of the concept of democracy upon which most countries in the world have agreed.

This definition might seem old-fashioned for the “master” who believes that the time has come for an alternative! Lebanon is no longer a purely Lebanese issue; it has become an Arab, regional and international issue at the request of its leaders. However, the Lebanese problem resembles a time bomb that will cause serious damage to the countries of the Middle East. The drums of war are being beaten and the rhythm becomes stronger as statements and indications about the merciless war that is about to be launched increase.

Nabih Berri’s negative position is a clear and direct contribution to eradicating Lebanon of its republic status where there are some features of democracy and popular participation in the political decision-making process and it is the reinforcing of guardianship and the bringing about of an end to Lebanon’s identity and independence.

The truth is that the position of Arab parliaments and unions is beyond comprehension since their silence towards the closure of one of the most important of Arab parliaments is unacceptable, and their failure to deal with this issue and to demand that this futile situation is brought to a close is odd.

Nabih Berri may have “overstayed” his position as speaker of parliament whilst there is continuous activity and change regarding other susceptible posts in Lebanon such as the president, prime minister, army commander, ministers and members of parliament. Accordingly, a change in parliament’s top position that is befitting of the post-civil war stage (so that there is a change to the old-fashioned mentality) may be essential to solving the critical situation in Lebanon. One part of the solution is Nabih Berri’s departure since he has become a part of the problem and is behind the deepening of the crisis instead contributing to the necessary solution.

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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