We have to admit that Lebanon is a failed state. Other states have already taken this path, while some Arab and other neighboring countries are suffering from financial, economic and social collapse, threatening them with disintegration. Perhaps the most serious of these is the suffering of Iraq, Syria and Jordan. Egypt, Turkey and Israel, meanwhile, have almost ended up like us here in Lebanon.
It is ironic that large countries in crisis have set out to deal with crises affecting failed states, like doctors who are sick but still cure other people. The most important of these is that of the United States, which is likely to experience high inflation following the recent passage by Congress of a law to raise the public debt ceiling by several trillions of dollars. dollars. Nonetheless, the White House intends to launch an old coordinating position with France on Lebanon and impose sanctions on failing politicians. “We don’t want to see a failed state in the Middle East and indications are that Lebanon is heading for failure,” US officials say. However, they did not say that most of the ousted politicians facing sanctions were among his old and new allies.
Coincidentally, a more realistic and flexible voice emerged from New York. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the Lebanese people upon his arrival in Beirut last week. “I am deeply concerned by the difficulties you are facing and the trials you face today,” said Guterres. “The [2020 Beirut port] The explosion injured some seven thousand people, leaving many with permanent disabilities. He destroyed thousands of homes. I know the Lebanese people want answers and I hear your demands for truth and justice. “
Perhaps the most important point on which he focused is that “lasting solutions can only come from within Lebanon” through “efforts to promote accountability and transparency and to eradicate corruption”. The UN chief continued by stressing that “it is essential that the leaders give priority to the people and implement the necessary reforms to put Lebanon back on the right track”. In doing so, he has come full circle and we’re back to asking sick doctors to treat sick people. The Lebanese leaders Guterres calls on to “implement the necessary reforms” are the architects and beneficiaries of decades of corruption. It is not in the interest to implement reforms.
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The truth is that what Lebanon complains about is the same as what the rest of the Arab and Islamic countries in crisis in West Asia complain about: societies ruled by sects and civil and military doctrines, with deeply rooted leaders and greedy for power, involved in corruption, and insisting on being the men of all times, good and bad. They have no responsibility; it is the sinners and the reformers, controlling the reward and the punishment that coexist forever.
So what should be done? Faithful citizens, leaders, trade unionists, professionals and intellectuals committed to the cause of the fatherland and its people respond with one voice. We must not despair or falter, they say. We must rise up, confront and resist with all our ability. We existentially care about what our people are suffering from. We are worried because our future is in danger of disappearing.
These are beautiful and logical words, but they are old and outdated and remain good intentions and legitimate wishes, but not accompanied by concrete answers, initiative and determination to succeed. The curse of national political action in Lebanon is a chronic failure to overcome selfishness in the face of the dangers and challenges facing the country so that we can generate and develop frameworks for coordination, cooperation, integration and development. productive action.
I do not intend to discourage anyone, but want to sharpen and motivate our collective will, correct its course and activate it. Corrupt rulers are always united by their selfish interests, while their opponents and revolutionary colleagues are always divided. We need to change that.
Given the enormity of the task, the time has come for those calling for changes and reforms to work tirelessly to agree at least on an interim program. It should cover the most necessary and urgent priorities, and the most effective popular activities in the context of confrontation with corrupt political and economic cliques. Our country’s losses must be curbed as we stop the collapse. It is a reasonable and realistic request.
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An in-depth study of the situation in Arab countries in crisis suggests that what is necessary and possible at the current stage, especially in Lebanon, is a broad alliance between the forces calling for rescue and change and for people to work seriously. for them . This alliance must study the existing situation in order to agree on a common diagnosis, at the end of which the most necessary and urgent priorities can be determined. Public action must rise above regional loyalties and sects. The sectarian quota system must be challenged in order to introduce radical reforms that benefit the vast majority of the Lebanese population.
It is true that a comprehensive national consensus is difficult to achieve in pluralist societies, of which Lebanon is a part, but it is not impossible, even if it takes a generation or two. Lebanon has a rich heritage on which the future can be built, with legitimate interests and aspirations. The challenges are many, to be sure, and the struggle will be long. It takes courageous and persevering heroes and fighters to win. Their hour has come. Lebanon must not be a failed state.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Quds Al-Arabi on December 19, 2021
The opinions expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.