Not until my brother started popping up recently on this blog and asking us for thoughts on this or that. My brother of 20, who suddenly was interested in reading what we write on this blog, who wanted to discuss and respond and debate about politics in Lebanon...
I owe it to you Aboudy; I also owe it to this blog, and to Lebanon. I owe my optimism to all those optimists. For you Aboudy, I will write, because you represent this wild Lebanese youth, this youth that is just starting to be shaped and molded by the realities on the ground. If I can create a space for debate about Lebanon here, then I can say, I have paid a contribution somehow to Lebanon by promoting liberal ideas about governance and citizenship.
If I can touch one person, then I can say I made a difference.
You might ask: where did this renewed optimism come from? Simplistic as it may seem, it came from a reception I attended yesterday in honor of PM Fouad Seniora here in DC.
I took a break from the daily rat race, stopped a routine, to attend an event which helped me see that Lebanon is not yet a hopeless case. After Seniora's moving words in closing: You are Lebanon and Lebanon is you!, I looked around me and saw a group of Lebanese professionals, women and men, of high caliber, rubbing shoulders and talking. Interestingly, most of them are AUB alumni.
We were all there, not a sect, not a region, not a party...we were there as a class of educated professionals. Professionals who have an interest in a Lebanon that can host them back, a Lebanon that creates jobs for them, and a safe haven for them and their children. This is why we were all there listening to Seniora. Our Lebanese citizenship was not the only binding characteristic; perhaps what brought us together was a yearning for an "accepting" Lebanon.
And in the midst of all that big-picture optimism about what is and can be for our country, President Lahoud preached today on TV about his clean hand, about how because he's a clean guy, some corrupt groups are out there to get him...the rest becomes irrelevant. Then we see Aoun and others wasting air space to spew careless remarks here and there....
My political thoughts after this break? I personally have become sure that I would not like to see Aoun as president. He loves petty politics, loves the tit-for-tat dynamic and misses the big picture. Lebanon now is not about a presidency; it's about a way of governing, a vision for the future, a welcoming greet so all of us could flock back to contribute. Aoun reminds me too much of the past; a past that knows no stepping down after ruling, a la democracy, a past that is marred by blood, the rifle, and your sect.
In Lebanon, I realized, what is needed is not a strong leader who imposes ideas and policies on other Lebanese or simply represents the Lebanese through electoral politics, but a leader who acquires his strengh from channeling ideas and policy options from others, acting as a facilitator, bringing every asset Lebanon has and putting it on the table to bear.
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."