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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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lebanon: The Tipping Point

Lebanon: The Tipping Point

30 days of a devastating war later, and we are now entering a critical phase where Lebanon is once again at the fork on the road. Two choices: 1) a once-in-a-lifetime chance to re-dress and get back in shape on the path to peace and progress, or 2) fall back into the abyss of a downward spiral, basically heralding the end of Lebanon, as we know it.

Let’s go back to pre-July 12th. Lebanon wasn’t perfect, but at least it was peaceful. However, deep inside, a number of factors were brewing, which reached what is commonly called the “tipping point”, and in this case, contributed to the “perfect storm”, a situation where all forces heighten their contribution towards a disaster.

Only a few weeks ago, I was thinking that wars were irrelevant in Western societies because they don’t accomplish anything. Much more is at stake from an economic point of view than anyone would be willing to give-up. But in Lebanon, this logic doesn’t seem to apply because we are being led to believe lies, such as,-- that war will achieve “liberation” objectives, or that the burden of the entire Middle-Eastern conflict in all its ramifications rests on the shoulders of Lebanon, or that Hezbollah is the ticket to defeating Israel, etc...

There is reason for worrying. I’m afraid that so far, it appears that Hezbollah has won the outcome of this war. Just by standing still and keeping their arms, they have been truly emboldened. Not a single Lebanese politician in the government has dared to challenge them, or even declare that Lebanon must turn the page now, and look forward to the future, instead of being dragged into the past. Only Jumblatt, Gemayel and Geagea are sounding the alarm bells on the dangers of letting Hezbollah dictate Lebanon’s future. Lebanon's Druze leader says Hezbollah agenda will lead to disaster, Gemayel here, and Geagea here.

The Hezbollah agenda is sending the country on the path of destruction and irrelevance. Israel is on a course to “teach Lebanon a lesson”, and they will not be deterred by the destruction that precedes reaching that objective. On the other hand, the more destruction Lebanon faces, the more Hezbollah will thrive, because it vindicates their raison d’etre.

The root of this whole problem, and its solution rest in having a STRONG LEBANESE GOVERNMENT that not only asserts its authority across the entire Lebanese territory, but also in being a truly functioning, highly effective, sharply coherent, and corruption-free government that leads Lebanon with the right vision while commanding the respect of the international community.

It’s very simple. Lebanon fell into the 1975 civil war when the Lebanese government was so weak, it allowed the Palestinian state-within-the-state phenomenon to become bigger that all of us and it created the tipping point for that perfect storm. Today, the same symptoms of Lebanese government bickering and inaptitude of the past few years have brought us to yet another tipping point: the Hezbollah state-within-the-state phenomenon, where the tail is wagging the dog and pushing the country to a disaster that is brewing.

We have a choice. We can learn from the lessons of history, or we can watch passively the country sink.

Is this too much to ask for? Wake-up Lebanese people! Let’s take our country back!

Or, they will take it from us.

(Note: I’m back to blogging. One year after I stopped. One year after I had given-up hope that independent voices like mine don’t matter in influencing the future of a better Lebanon for all Lebanese.)


Blogger Ms Levantine said...

Good to have you back. I don't know if we can have a strong/robust/decent Lebanese government any time soon. We should at least aspire to have decent institutions using grassroot mvts, the media, and a budding civil society. We need to learn how to crawl before we can walk.


9:33 AM  
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Well, i don't agree about the speed at which this is neeeded. what's missing? The lessons are all around us. Can't we learn to walk and run now? Too many excuses will not cut it. Those same people in government all have travelled the world, dress in Zegna suits and pretend they are "worldly"- why can't they apply the same world-class standards inside Lebanon?

10:26 AM  
Blogger Ms Levantine said...

Dressing and behaving properly is not enough. Our politicians have been doing it for decades, and we never acheived a strong government. Look at pictures and speeches from the 40s, 50s... Articulate wordly individuals messing up.

Lebanon has huge structural problems and a few good intentioned individuals at the top will not be able to change things.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for pertinent and dispassionate blog. I hope all the best for Lebanese.

11:48 AM  
Blogger mcreider said...

Hope one day you will get a real Gvt - strong and functional. I believe that Lebanon is a beautiful country with a great potential. Reading your compatriots' blogs I have met quite a few intellectuals, quite a few people of vision and dignity. Let us pray that the civilized thought will eventually emerge as a winner.

My heart is bleeding for the Lebanese casualties, whose only fault was they were caught in a struggle, and so do my many compatriots. I am not going into discussion here of why the Lebanon Gvt let the Hizb to thrive - hope it will end all over, Hizb will become just a history and you will open a new page in your history.
Best from Tel Aviv (which, as many say, is quite similar to Beirut),

12:52 AM  
Blogger lior haifa said...

I am Lior from Haifa.

First of all I want to share with you and everyone else who reads my comment my sympathy and regret of all human life lost and suffering from both sides in the past month: Israelis and Lebanese altogether. It is difficult for me to say that of the Hezbollah people, since I know them just as cold blooded murderers who say that Israel should be wiped of the map of the Middle East calling us dogs and pigs thus giving the righteousness to kill us (Even though I think dogs and pigs have also the right to live).

I think that we both our countries are in a very delicate crossroads. We can use it to make things calmer, ending the constant fighting and killing, letting the other one live it’s life; Or we can lose our faith at ever having peace “on our times”, look at the other one in righteous eyes, finding the reasons why the other one is the fault for the current “storm” (“Lebanon hasn’t taken responsibility over the territory and let a terrorist organization take control and start murdering Israelis” or on the other side “Israelis are bullies who think that they can force people to do what they want because things are not going their way”…).

Let’s for once not look for the blames, but see if there is a way to stop the bloodshed.
I hope that someone feels like I do.

It should start from every one of us, stating our minds in blogs like this one, sending the message that there is a side here that believes in ending the hostilities and living side by side.

If we will not be heard, we will not make a difference!
Please join me and do whatever you can to make that change, none of us wants to wait another 20 years for the next chance!!!!

Peace on all of you, Lebanese and Israelis.

11:09 AM  

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