Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Striking the right tone for the New Year, eh?

It’s a tall order in Lebanon, especially for those of us who struggle to keep a level mind. Different people struggle, each with their way to maintain mental health and filter away the national insanity. Aside from nasty side effects or risks of recuperation, not drinking from the crazy well has its costs.

Still, I do not relish the bitter taste of pessimist pie, and I can find even less reason to endure the saccharine-laden ignorant bliss of the optimist’s offering. To both, I prefer to remain from Missouri, not least on all matters Lebanese.

Show Me

… And what do all the parties involved have to show for all their efforts since 2005? Nothing.

They are all bankrupt.

Financially, Lebanon is all but bankrupt. Or even beyond that. But this is not the worse of it; some numbers we can fudge. Others are far more stubborn.

And what makes it worse is that the moral and political bankruptcy of all “sides” of this new phase of the Lebanese conflict. Ever since the demise o

f Fakhreddine, our country has never really been settled; the periodicity of conflict is such that any peaceful period is only a “pause”, where the different sectarian interests regroup before jumping back again in the ring.

The sectarian interests can always play and cause trouble, but all the bluster and bravado is useless; they can never really win. Having grown to “conquer” their sect, the different leaders invariably find themselves prisoners in them, unable to “grow” their support towards the middle ground. In Lebanon, a politician consolidates his base only to find that he acquired a new set of concrete shoes. And this time, they will struggle to stay above water; the playground has expanded beyond their means, and the environment may be changing. But I fear there will always be enough idiots on this earth to feed the cannons of the sectarians. And i Lebanon, they are masters at obfuscation and delaying...

The non-sectarian, secularists fare no better, and the mostly secular Mount Lebanon Christians and Beiruti Sunnis have become irrelevant politically. Having evolved beyond sectarianism, they are unable to play a secular game; neither in a Lebanon increasingly divided across religious lines, nor in a “democratic” Syria. This remind me of a friend from Sarajevo; when the war started in her homeland, she was not sure what she was supposed to be, with her Serbian Moslem father, Albanian Catholic mother, and Croatian husband… So she moved out, since her brand of secularism was not selling anymore…

Silver Lining?

Still, there is a silver lining. The thing about bankruptcy is how much you owe; if you owe enough money, rather than the bank owning you, you own the bank.

And politicians are masters at this game. The Lebanese no less...

The presidency may still be an option, in spite of wasting the army’s great sacrifices to hollow-out a victory and let criminals live to kill another day.

Political Bliss is still possible in spite of criminally amateurish unscrupulousness that not only undermined us, but also endangers one’s own by reinforcing terrorists.

A first-class reception is still guaranteed, in spite of studiously cultivated irrelevance.

… And a place at the table is still possible, in spite of all the incompetence, corruption, terror, obfuscation, obstruction, parasitism…

So yes, creditors will hold their nose and fund this ride, at least for a while. The reckoning(?) will come soon enough.

Just not this year...

Yes, the Syrians are running out of cards. But they still have a few options, and besides, they are not the main player in this game. The main players, Iran and Israel, are still regrouping and licking their wounds, preparing for the next round. But in the mean time, one of the battle terrains is ready for the upcoming festivities...

1 comment:

Super Dude said...


Great post to start the new year.