Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Losing Hope, While Our Politicians Are Stuck In History!

All this silence on my part...because there is really nothing to write about on Lebanon from this part of the world...

I wonder what all these politicians meeting for the n-teenth time around a round table dubbed a national dialogue do for a living. Really? Have we ever asked ourselves this question. They have so much spare time on them, so much time, to schedule a meeting after another that garners absolutely no tangible results.

And why are we waiting for them to come up with a verdict about our country's future and fate? Sometimes I give up suddenly on politics, even when public policy and politics are what I do for a living.

I've been silent, thinking, trying to answer questions about the way I should view my country. Do I go back to the way I used to be, namely back during the "Syrian tutelage era", where I used to focus on the positive, try to look for ways to improve the country through economic development, trade, and institutional reform, while shunning away the "foreign" and "defense" policies and sweeping them under the carpet because we as Lebanese do not have the power to affect them in any way.

Or do I just become like a Lebanese expatriate, namely give up on Lebanon altogether, except for listening to Fairuz, visiting my family during the vacations, and fantasizing about eating mezze and kibbeh up in beautiful Ehden while listening to the waters running in Nabeh Mar Sarkis. And why am I even talking about Lebanese expatriates, when there are Lebanese living in Lebanon who just survive and live and manage to never watch the news?

I'm afraid of losing hope in my country. For the past year or so, I became interested in Lebanon's "foreign" and "defense" policies because I thought that the Lebanese people for the first time would get the chance to make a difference there. But I'm losing that hope a bit by bit and I'm left confused.

It's taking me time to move away from following the political news religiously to focusing on news items that never get talked about much, issues that really matter to the Lebanese people, such as workforce development, economic development, trade, and business investment, health policy, education policy, environmental policy, social policy, and transparency, good governance, and state reform.

So there's a time lag here. It pains me to admit that I lost hope in the politics, but that's the truth of the matter. Life moves on; our politicians are still stuck in history, back in March 8, 2005 and March 14, 2005.

And I read that if in today's dialogue a verdict about the fate of the Presidency does not come to fruition, Geagea and Jumblatt might call for a return to the streets; I say: please, give us a break, we are not tools. And the same goes for all the other political parties, FPM, Hizbullah, Amal, among others.

I stopped caring about who should be our President. And why should I care when the people do not vote for the President? I don't have a say, therefore, I don't really care. I can back this person or the other, but at the end of the day, the decision will come from some political "leaders" whom I did not vote for because first I was not in Lebanon during election time, and second because for instance the member of Parliament who supposedly represents me, MP Mosbah Ahdab whom I respect his political stands, is not even included on the negotiating table. Oh, remind me, who made the decision about who should be there and should not? Ah, it's Berri! Well, too bad...

And why should I continue to watch the news or read it when I feel everyone is belittling our minds with the issue of the Shebaa Farms and the arms of the resistance? Again, some political leaders around a negotiating table will decide whether the Farms are half-Lebanese, half-Syrian, or all Lebanese, or all Syrian...they will also tell us whether the resistance arms are "holy" or not...and they will also tell us whether we will be "delineating" the borders with Syria or just simply "reaffirming" the borders with Syria (tarsim versus tahdid).

Anyways, my apologies for this sudden loss of optimism in our politics. Let's just focus on the positives, perhaps look forward to Beirut I...that should bring us tangible results more than the NATIONAL dialogue that is not "national" after all....

Update: Just read that the political leaders were deadlocked and decided to postpone the dialogue until Monday. Nabih Berri said that the Presidency issue needs to be resolved not through open sessions, but through behind-the-scenes dealings...Should this statement make us feel good?...

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."


Anonymous said...

Doha, finally!!! Welcome to my club :)
Kelly K

reem said...

Doha, needless to say there are grounds enough to be disillusioned. But better not to go down that road. What will happen if people like you lose their optimism!! I suppose the Lebanese have gotten used to that and just get on with their lives. It had seemed for a while that a new door had oppened, giving us incentives and encouragement to be more active in our country's new debates, but the that corridor seems to lead nowhere for now. Better to stick to what we can do most efficiently...getting involved in useful day to day stuff that might help Lebanon move forward in the right direction.

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

«Geagea and Jumblatt might call for a return to the streets»

Yeah well…back to their roots in many ways: however successful, a pimp always feels the urge to come back to where he started his career!

« The Presidency issue needs to be resolved not through open sessions, but through behind-the-scenes dealings... »

And after all, why not?
We have to give the poor March 14 babes enough time to report to the real decision makers: I mean their Riyadh and TeX-Aviv paymasters.
I’m afraid this time around no dark under-the-table conspiracy will be nefarious enough to break the Aoun-Nasrallah spell

Anonymous said...

Victorino (Dude),

It was Beri-beri who decided to deal with the Presidency issue in a not-so-open manner, not the March 14.


Mustapha said...


Thanks for a very heartfelt post that speaks for a lot of Lebanese who are disillusioned with the political class..

That said, one shouldn't forget the most important legacy of Rafic Hariri: An optimism in the future of Lebanon and a sincere believe that one day things will change for the better..
Let us all not forget: The reason people went down on March 14 is because they want to believe in that dream.

We should not fall for a sense of despair because we would be assassinating the man for the second time. Our role as opinion leaders is to always see the bright side of things and keep hope alife. No matter how dark the present seems. Politicians die, people go and come, but Lebanon will always remain, and our role is to keep the faith of future generations in a better Lebanon..

Economic Reforms are not very news-worthy in Lebanon but apparently a plan was advanced by Seniora yesterday to instigate a 4-6% target growth rate in the Lebanese GDP. Why not see how to make that work?

As for your sentence:
"listening to Fairuz, visiting my family during the vacations, and fantasizing about eating mezze and kibbeh up in beautiful Ehden while listening to the waters running in Nabeh Mar Sarkis"
Oh My God! that could have been me who said that. But I'm a bigger Fan of Al Firdaws restaurant :)

Doha said...


I didn't want to advertise for restaurants, but yes, when I talk about Nabeh Mar Sarkis, I'm thinking of al-Fardaws restaurant :)

Again, I said that I'm losing hope in "politics", not in Lebanon. But of course, it's going to take me time to stop following the useless: they met, they deadlocked, they agreed, they disagreed....Lebanon is more than just its politicians and larger than its political leaders.

Solomon2 said...

It isn't enough just to feel optimistic, is it? One has to determine what needs to be done and try to do it.

The civil war was a terrible experience and I suppose most Lebanese now shy away from the idea of violent internal strife. Such complacency is a minority militia's greatest weapon.

I see no other solution than to take to the streets in great numbers once more. Or else keep muddling along and losing hope with Lebanese accepting that their fate rests in the hands of foreigners.

frencheagle said...

"I see no other solution than to take to the streets in great numbers once more. "
and to have the population's aspiration for freedom and honnesty being once again recuperated by warlords and mafioso ?

no thx

Solomon2 said...

People power can surpass obstacles long enough to dispose of the individual mafiaso and warlords at the top of the vulture chain; from there, the lesser ones can be eviscerated, thought the whole structure might not evaporate. This is the history of the Phillipines and ex-Soviet Europe.