Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Seven Questions Asked in February of 2005

Seven Questions I asked in February of 2005 - Exactly two weeks after Hariri's assassination. Let's see how the answers turned out:

1. Will this new optimism and patriotism continue... or will the opposition quench it now that there is no more use for it?

Well, the broad optimism and patriotism we all felt did collapse. However, the collapse did not come about as i thought it would (i.e. a deliberate effort by the opposition to restrain the flurry of patriotism and contain terribly high expectations). Rather, the snuffing of those wonderfull feelings and emotions came about as a result of the fracturing of the opposition itself.

2. I wonder whether this is really a change in the Lebanese mentality and political chessboard. The politicians say that they want Taef to be implimented to the fullest. Will it be so?

The Lebanese mentality will never change (at least in my lifetime). I'm happy I asked that question though because it highlights how euphoric those weeks were. Eventhough we witnessed some big changes in the chess pieces, I don't think that the chessboard itself actually changed. As for Taef, it is too soon to say.

3. I am specifically interested in the creation of "Senate" or Majles al Shuyukh. If it is created, then the sectarian distribution of the parliamentary/"House" seats will no longer apply. I can run as a Lebanese if I wanted to. Ibelieve that other positive consequences will also come about.

I'm not so sure I agree with this statement anymore. I am even more sure that I disagree with the rationale I provided because it was an incomplete one. I meant to say that if a Senate was created the sect would become irrelevant in the House. Furthermore, Historical precedent in both the the US and England proves that Upper Houses are usually more prominent in the early days of their formation, but then lose influence to Lower Houses. I support the creation of a Senate based on the weak assumption that such precedents will apply to Lebanon.

Anyways, this question is related to the last part of question #2 and consequently we have to wait and see what becomes of it.

4. How many Syrian politicians will be thrown out of parliament once real elections take place? I really hope Qandil gets the boot. Ialso hope Qanso gets arrested. But, I am afraid that these two have real constituencies.

This is one of only two questions that have a mainly positive response. Although Qanso is not in jail, he is definitely out of the business of politics (for now at least). Furthremore, the one institution that was most effectively cleansed from Syrian stooges was the Parliament. I also thought these guys had considerable followings - thank God events proved me to be embarasingly off the mark!

5. How long will Lahoud last?

Wow! I wonder what I was thinking back then. Could I have imagined that he'd last this long???

6. Will the investigations continue? Will there be justice?

The investigations have continued. As for justice, I guess it depends on what exactly is implied by justice.

7. Once the political system is purged (if it is purged), will the remaining leaders be able to play the game of politics without Syrian tutelage? It has been going on for so long, and as far as I know, habits do tend to die hard.

Here, unfortunately, I was correct in wondering about the issue of playing the Lebanese game of politics without Syrian oversight and intervention. Considering the bickering that some of the main political players are participating in, and the fact that no agreement can be reached with regards to the security services, I am not so optimistic. Maybe the guys back home need more time.


Ramzi S said...

In regards to number 1. I still think patriotism is still there and did not collapse. It is deep inside the majority of Lebanese. It just needs the right politician to harness it. And that politician will ride a wave of popularity needed to build a new Lebanon.

What disappointed me the most since March 14th is that no leader or politician realized that they can harness that unity to achieve political power and represent all the Lebanese equally.

Our politicians distrusted and did not believe in this new Lebanese citizen. So they retreated back to secretarianism. And the voters also voted along secretarian lines as was expected.

So the question is do we blame our leadership or ourselves?

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Agree, the feeling weakened but did not collapse.

Concerning the senate, it will bring more politicians and keep the sectarian representation: there will be no political change but more corrupted politicians mouths to feed.

I wonder how our analysis will look in one year. I see great turbulences in the next months. Boredom is not a known feeling in Middle Eastern politics.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

I wonder how our analysis will look in one year.

I'll bet we'll sound like pathetic kidos.

Anonymous said...

Lebanon or Lebanese are full of surprise.What they loath today they will love tomorrow.
The politicians work for their personal interest and operate like chameleons.
Everybody criticizes everybody and the more things change the more they look the same.

Lazarus said...

Why won't the Lebanese mentality change? I agree that it will take time, especially with the status quo, but there are ways to deal with that. The main tragedy with the Lebanese mentality is that of tolerance (the lack of) for people outside your clique. How can we deal with that?