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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Thursday, August 11, 2005

3 Significant Events, 3 Bravos for Seniora

Amidst the usually negative, absurd and typically depressing Lebanese political circus, 3 recent events took place which show some progress towards the future.

1- The cancellation of a 1993 law that imposed limits on political parties
2- Lebanon’s declining to attend the Syria-Iran “summit” (Lebanon would have been there in spades if Syria was still in control)
3- The formation of a new electoral law committee headed by the very respectable Fouad Boutros (putting this fragile law in the hands of (more honest) legislators and not politicians is a good thing)

These 3 events were seemingly minor in headline grabbing, but much more significant in setting precedents in confirming that Lebanon is taking control of its destiny, finally.

I do give full credit to Seniora’s government for pushing them forward. I am beginning to sense that Seniora is the anti-hype person, i.e. someone who under-promises and over-delivers. I think he knows that his Ministers aren’t all “A-rated", but he will get things done, despite of that. I am not putting words in his mouth, but my interpretation of his style would be close to the military cliché: “The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a while longer”.

These are the 3 significant events that point that Lebanon is headed in the right direction, slowly (but I wouldn’t say surely, yet).

While there is much work ahead, we must celebrate the small stuff as well!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Can Lebanese politicians learn how to 'really' work together?

On the heels of Michael Young’s article with a shocking headline “Lebanon’s Christians must manage their decline”, Nayla Moawad made a precedent by attacking General Aoun on the ownership of March 14th. This marked the first serious bickering amongst Christians. She even indirectly took a shot at Geagea by saying that it was the March 14th gathering and the alliance with Hariri and Jumblatt that contributed to his release. I hope this is the last time Christian politicians attack each other in such a way.

While Moawad got her “15 minutes” of headlines, I am very disappointed by this cheap shot, designed to bring more attention to the Qornet Shahwan gathering rather than serve the national interest.

I am also disappointed by Aoun’s persistence in taking too much single handed credit for the Syrian’s departure and the March 14th demonstrations.

Why can’t we all acknowledge that this was a collective effort that all Lebanese people and parties proudly take ownership in, without lessening the role of the others?

An objective analysis will surely reveal that Syria’s departure and the re-birth of freedom in Lebanon was the result of several factors and circumstances that all coincided around the same time, the same place and were accelerated by the assassination of Hariri on February 14th.

We have to learn to work together and stop stabbing each other in the back with the mentality of always trying to make the other person look bad. Political differences aside, the Lebanese still have a lot to learn regarding how to ally themselves around issues that are of benefit to the whole country in an even, and unselfish way.

This is an important part of the secret sauce of nation-building.

Note: Re: Michael Young's article, I don't agree with the last paragraph "Michel Aoun made a mistake in segregating himself at a moment when Christians need to be more involved in policy matters. However, his decision to remain outside the governmental game, and the fact that the system is functioning normally despite this, demonstrates that Christians, or at least the more influential leaders of the community, are not as essential as they used to be."

Believing that the "system is functioning normally" takes a stretch of the imagination. The fact is, the system isn't functioning normally, and not because Aoun isn't part of it. However, Aoun seems to be the only one who is objectively critiquing the flaws in the system.