By Abir Bassam

Lebanon and the vexatious politics

January 24, 2021 - 15:31

We still remember the "demonstrations" that dominated the streets of Beirut on October 17, 2019. It began as an attempt for political and economic reforms.

 However, it shifted its course to become property damage that crippled the country. Later, the course of events proved beyond doubt that the riots were provoked by embassies that have no interests except caring for the security of the Zionist regime and sowing seeds of discord among the Lebanese.

 The "demonstrations", which worsened the economic situation in the country, were one of the reasons for the massive spread of the coronavirus epidemic among the people, in which the risks of infection were ignored, and the health and economic conditions were exacerbated, and the "political malicious" policy emerged.

By the end of 2019, the pandemic, COVID-19, was a heavy guest on Lebanon. And the government of Hassan Diab was about to face two major challenges: the collapsing economy and the pandemic. Lebanon has reached third place in the world in the ratio of victims of the epidemic, after the United States and Britain.

Recently, criticism was sharply directed towards the government and the Ministry of Health over the necessity to play its role in containing the deadly disease. Meanwhile, a provocative political discourse was released. The discourse was used by certain parties that revealed a high level of political maliciousness. 

Actually, the criticism against the performance of the Ministry of Health by several political opponents made the matters worse. The irresponsible abuse of government authorities, at a time that the epidemic was on the rise, and pushing the partisans onto the streets, violating the partial lockdown, and refusing to abide by the curfew, has brought the country into declaring a complete lockdown. 

Criticism campaign was in particular pointed towards Minister of Health Dr. Hamad Al-Hassan. It was led by the Lebanese force’s leader, Samir Geagea. Although, Dr. Al-Hassan has not spared any efforts or means to contain the epidemic.

Al-Hassan toured the state to rehabilitate hospitals to make them affordable to receive patients all over the country. The resigned government of Diab pushed towards opening centers to receive the victims of this malicious epidemic and supervising directly the implementation of health protocols.

The opponents’ malicious political mentality reflected the great crisis manifested by re-portraying the ugly civil war mentality, which the Lebanese people still live under its burden. It is not only a matter of blindly following the political Leaders; it is manifested in the actions that have to do with violating the law and causing chaos. 

Additionally, many Lebanese leaders are pushing through their messages to the masses and urging them to violate the law and undermine the government decisions, especially those related to recommendations on how to protect the people from the pandemic. Unfortunately, some media outlets are contributing, even today, to the escalations as if Lebanon is still living in a civil war phase.

Excessive political bickering and the love of comparison with the West in Lebanon are of the most important reasons for the loss of the state’s prestige! It is built on the basis of destroying the prestige of the ruling, leading to the destruction of the prestige of the state.

Since the Syrians left Lebanon in 2005, the prestige of the state in Lebanon has departed with them. What happened in 2005 in Lebanon is exactly the same as what is happening today after the port explosion. It seems as if the policies of onslaught practiced by some against others, and the policies of accusations, are going on unabated. 

It did not just cause the overthrow of the only government, i.e., Diab’s government, which had worked in the best interest of the Lebanese people since 2005. 

While the previous governments were mostly preoccupied with the dues of the National Debt and paying the costs of international loans that have burdened the Lebanese and brought them to this miserable condition. It is a vicious cycle that some Lebanese leaders want to bring Lebanon back into through the internationalization of the port explosion incident. 

The maliciousness and political strife did not come out of a vacuum. Rather, it is linked to the external support that violators of national decisions in Lebanon receive from outer players that contradict national interests. Since any arrangement that is committed to the interest of the Israeli occupation cannot be considered as a national interest. 

Additionally, in many cases, the causes of disputes are related to the association of politicians and leaders with a class of merchants and businessmen, or they are part of it. It expresses special interests that are not concerned with the development of the state, but rather in holding back the building of an independent economy based on developing industry, agriculture, tourism, social services, and others.

It is a pure heterodoxy that was demanded by Samir Geagea a few days ago. He was demanding the government to assume its responsibilities in order to impose its authority and prevent people from violating rules concerning closure and lockdowns to stop the epidemic. Geagea was one of the instigators of demonstrations since the start of the pandemic until today. He is one of the instigators against the previous government’s lockdowns. By blaming the government for not imposing the quarantine by force, Geagea was throwing a match: one after another to foment the people.

Furthermore, when the explosion of the port failed to achieve its goals of isolating Hezbollah and its allies in the Lebanese political scene, the demonstrations that took place widened the scope of the epidemic. The demonstration forced Diab and some members of the government to resign. The previous steps failed to undermine the prestige of the government. Therefore, summoning Prime Minister Diab to be investigated in the case of the Beirut Harbor blast was another step to undermine the government. This is something that many may not realize, but when the investigation did not include the first responsible persons in the entry of the deadly shipments, Diab must have been targeted in person.

After the liberation of South Lebanon in May 2000, we had family gatherings. In one of the unique gatherings, my father and my older uncles were discussing the function of the recently elected municipality. It was the first municipality to be elected after 25 years of the Israeli occupation. Before the occupation of the South in 1976, the government was completely absent. During the French and Ottoman occupations, the situation was even worse; taxes were the only definition of the relation between the state and the town. The discussion revolved around the mismanagement in the construction sector, opening streets, building services, and water scarcity, which my town has been suffering from since its foundation. The most important synonyms used for criticizing the municipality were: “We are in the Emirates have municipalities that were such-and-such in construction,” and my father’s cousin would reply: “The best is what we have in Canada”, then a third discussed the importance of America in this field and a tenth appealed to the magnificence of France. At a time, no single Lebanese example was present.

The same models are referred to by politicians and intellectuals during talk shows, especially democratic models that they want to emulate in building the relationship between the state and citizens. Each one has a different example to present. Another immense calamity exhibited in the Lebanese talks is that: everything good in Lebanon resembles Europe and the West, and everything corrupted in Lebanon because we are part of the Arab World. The two comparisons are pure nonsense. It is all related to the fact that Lebanon is still confused about defining its identity. The creation of Lebanon in 1926 was an enforced section that caused the loss of its identity. Therefore, Lebanon became a multi-identity state, which is one of the most important reasons for the spread of malicious politics that allows violation of the law. If continued, it will lead to a second Lebanese civil war. Clearly, Lebanon is being pushed to.

Comments

  • 2021-01-25 16:35
    This article accurately reflects the reality in detail

Leave a Comment

7 + 3 =