Wednesday, November 22, 2006

the conspicuous absence

The number-one role of the state; the priority that precedes all others. Indeed, the raison dêtre of the state, in both the theoretical and worldly realms, lies in its effective monopolization of the use of force within the territory it claims as its own.

If that condition cannot be met, then it,, cannot be said that a state exists. Using this logic, it is safe to assert that Lebanon is yet to be governed by a state.

Acting as a "middle-man" for Saudi, European and American money intended for use by Lebanese civilians who seek to rebuild their homes following the Israeli onslaught earlier this year is not enough.

Gaining recognition from other states and international bodies is not even close to enough.

Hosting legislative or ministerial meetings that yield legislation, policies, decrees, panels, committees or programs is not enough.

Not even taxation, the provision of services, subsidies, and the employment of hundreds of thousands of individuals is enough. None of these functions, either in-and-of-themselves or as a combined whole, characterize a state.

Rather, the state distinguishes itself from all other governing institutions, by its exclusive ability and right to use force against – and to kill, if necessary - those deemed by the law of the land as enemies of Lebanon. Every other function is secondary in nature.

Members of Lebanon's political elite... for all their purported finesse and wisdom; for all their rumored insight and prescience; for all their apparent shrewdness and cunning, have, thus far, failed at this most basic of tasks.... This priority of priorities.

Should they be given more time? How much more time? Does the incessant killing push them to redouble their efforts? What progress is there to be seen? As a citizen, I want to know – I demand transparency! Is there any progress at all?

Without a state, no one in Lebanon will be safe – neither the peasant nor the "first-tier" politician. Those who are betting on the international tribunal or some other international development or pressure to protect them only fool themselves.

The clock is ticking.


JoseyWales said...


If you are not sovereign over your land, if your laws are not sovereign (camps, amnesties), if you can't define your relation with other states (embassy to Syria), you don't have a state.

Jamal said...

We have sooo much work to do.

Welcome back Raja

Anonymous said...

I agree completely. In fact, I'd add that what makes a state, on top of this "use of force" you are talking about, is RESPECT FOR THE STATE'S INSTITUTIONS by the people.

As long as the people ignore the state's insititutions, there is no state.
As long as the so-called leaders bypass the state institutions, there is no state.

Lebanon has pretty much never really been a state. It's been a loose conglomerate of factions, shoved together into an area and told to coexist.

We have a LONG ways to go before we can start talking about nation-building, a true state, and a true identity.