A Lebanese Abroad

Opinions from an opinionated Lebanese abroad about Lebanon's politics, business and the future of a United Lebanon.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Why doesn't Lebanon have a Rudy Giuliani?

When Rudy Giuliani arrived at the September 11th scene in New York City and in the days after, he really showed the world what leadership was about.

At a time when the world's greatest city reeled in shock and horror from a devastating terrorist attack, Mayor Giuliani stepped into the searing void of grief and took upon himself the weight of millions of New Yorkers' pain. He did it without regard for his own safety, and then, without regard for his own needs, sought out all who suffered in all parts of the city for 20 hours a day or more. He visited Ground Zero two to three times a day, picking his way through the rubble of both World Trade Center towers and half a dozen other collapsed buildings. He trekked to hospitals and relief centers. He consoled widows, widowers and survivors, and anyone suffering from anxiety and fear. He spent every day like a true New Yorker, jumping out of his official van to grab a slice of pizza for lunch or dinner, or a cup of coffee for breakfast, all while keeping up a whirlwind pace, all day, every day.

Giuliani stood steadfast, unequivocally in command, showing a daily mastery of the details of rescue and recovery, while keeping a worried citizenry informed about the pace of the work, and the rising toll of victims. In the days that followed, he became a ubiquitous presence at funerals, wakes and memorial services, not only in the five boroughs but in communities up and down the Hudson River and across Long Island. Some days, he attended as many as eight or nine services, trying ultimately in vain to do what he had always done, attend every funeral for a fallen New York City firefighter or policeman. He even appeared on "Saturday Night Live," the New York-based comedy television program, to issue a declaration that the city was back in operation. He also spoke to the U.N. General Assembly's meeting on terrorism, calling the attack a "direct assault on the founding principles of the United Nations itself." A New Yorker by birth and blood, he became the voice and the soul for all New Yorkers, and for all Americans, and for all those citizens of the world who love the city as he does.

What does Prime Minister Mikati do when he arrives at the scene of Samir Kassir’s killing? After he almost fainted (and reportedly put a handkerchief to his mouth), he starts “condemning” the perpetrators, then he gets haggled by the by-standers, then he leaves the scene, and nobody knows what specific action he took, except ordering an immediate investigation. Big deal, right?

What does Prime Minister Mikati do after the slaying of George Hawi? He is "stunned", "blames conspirators", “denounces the crime”, which “is aimed at destabilizing Lebanon and turning attention away from democratic achievements”. Duh?

Lack of Leadership = Lack of Confidence = Lack of Security

Why doesn’t Lebanon have a Rudy Giuliani?


Blogger Doha said...


I don't believe that Mikati can do much right now. The assassination came strategically at a time right when the government has resigned and all the Ministers are in a caretaker position until a new government is formed. It is definitely a destabilizing message.

9:24 AM  
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Ok Doha, but I am talking about "leadership", which is what he says, how he says it. (btw he knows he'll be the next PM 90%) So why doesn't he rise-up to the occasion?
There is no excuse whatsoever. We look-up to him.
Giuliani was 3 months away from "retirement" when Sept 11 happened. He rose up to the occasion. That's what I am talking about.
Leadership inspires confidence. Lack of it has the reverse effect.
I know he probably can't do much, but he can try, and he can say something different, instead of condemming the assassins. He's still in charge. This is an "emergency" situation.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree with you about Mikati taking on a larger role here come on. He condemns, but we see no action. This is the second assasination on his watch. When are the Lebanese politians going to wake up and stand on their own feet and take on their responsibilities. This is serious!!!

4:44 PM  
Blogger Dan Irving said...

Thinkingman - I don't mean to offend you. If I do please accept my sincere apology. I'm not very knowledgable about your region's history which is one of the reasons I read your blog.

That said I think the reason why you don't have a Giuliani is because Mikati is not an American. I don't mean this with arrogance. Historically, America has looked to certain character traits when electing it's leaders. People that aspire to power in my country know that certain things are expected of them. A certain template is is adhered to. Of course you will have deviances, but for the most part our elected officials exhibit the same, core, character traits.

This may not be the case in your country. Im not saying this can never be the case, but I don't think your leaders have had historical figures that exhibited the character traits you are now expecting. My theory (and I may be way off base) is that leadership in the west, specifically the U.S., is of a "Lead by example" variety whereas leadership in the Middle East has always been deferred - tribal leaders, elders, immams, etc. Im not saying either case is better than the other. There are many types of sucessful leadership styles.

It seems you want a "Lead by Example" type of leader. In that case you may have cultural norms working against you. With perserverence you can change all of that. Elect and support officials that fit the mold you want and promote the traits you admire.

Again, apologies if I offend or am way off base - I truely am trying to educate myself on your perspective.

5:20 PM  
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Dan, thanks for the very logical explanation. No offense taken. [Note: I live abroad and work as part of the American system- but I am trying to jolt the Lebanese a bit more and aspire for higher standards than before].

So if Lebanon wants to become a modern state, this is one of the tests for its politicians- can they lead by example, by visioning, by leading...period. Or not? That is the question.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Dan Irving said...

That is a good question. I wish I had the answer.

You have to speak with your vote and encourage others to do so as well. Also speak through assembly and protest. The Cedar Revolution showed the world the Lebanese people wanted change.

You have to use that same voice to show your goverment what standards you now expect. And be patient - because it may not happen in this generation.

3:37 AM  

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