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Lebanon: The Godfather Part Four - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Anybody who hasn’t seen the ‘The Godfather’ trilogy has not missed anything if they have been following up on the recent events taking place in Lebanon today. ‘The Godfather’ defined for the seventies movie-going public the Mafia’s methodology of physical intimidation and the assassination of opponents.

What is happening in present-day Lebanon qualifies as the fourth part in the series.

While the doors of parliament remain closed, constitutional amendments take place on the street. Instead of employing electoral methods to secure the victory of the presidential seat in Lebanon, opponents are eliminated one after the other on the streets. When journalists write a critical article they are immediately “taken out”.

Complications in number and quorum in the constitution are closely followed by the assassination of an MP here and another there; I do not think that the assassination of parliamentarian Antoine Ghanem will be the last.

This is the current state of affairs in Lebanon… and those are the means employed by the Mafia to eliminate enemies. This has nothing to do with democracy or elections  let alone the interests of the state. This is equally far removed from the characteristics of statesmen or those who are loyal to the state and reconciliation efforts.

It is fitting to recall the famous saying that summarizes much of what is happening in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Arab world: “the politician is someone who thinks of the upcoming elections, while the statesman thinks of the state’s future.”

Notwithstanding the death of innocent people in the assassination operations in Lebanon, it is invariably portrayed as a tax on democracy and under the notion that free states are sustained on blood. However, it is absolutely certain that the Mafia tampering with Lebanon would eliminate any man that attains the presidential seat if it does not approve of him. It would be just another assassination in a long line of leaders who were murdered in Lebanon.

Perhaps the solution to the situation in Lebanon can best be epitomized through an old fable that also imparts its own wisdom: A man living on the outskirts of the countryside discovers that his hoe has been stolen, so he gathers his children around him and urges them to go after the culprit to bring back his hoe and teach him a lesson. His children laughed and replied, “Do you want us to wage a battle for the sake of a hoe?”

A few days later, several chickens are stolen from the father so he calls his children again and tries to persuade them to find the thief. Again, he is met with a similar response and his children take no action. Shortly after, the man’s daughter is raped. Her brothers go to their father fuelled by vengeance and evil and vow to kill the man responsible for the act. The old man laughs and says, “There is no need. If you had returned my stolen hoe, the chickens would not have been taken and the criminal would not have violated your sister.

Based on that story, it may be said that if the martyred Rafik Hariri’s blood had not been spilled years before, the situation in Lebanon would not have reached the stage it is engulfed in today. The criminal offender’s persistence is the reason Lebanon’s Mafia has come to resemble ‘The Godfather’ movies. Killing has replaced constitutional amendments and the whole country has fallen hostage to gangs that hide behind a variety of names. The problem in Lebanon and the Arab world is that no one pays the price of blood and destruction.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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