Some elements to understand the nuances of the Lebanese context

The Lebanese political context today is led by spokespersons of communities and confessions and not by statesmen. This sad reality translates on the ground into a loss of sovereignty and progressive democracy and a return to a tribal logic. There are certain nuances which must be understood by the Lebanese citizen who wishes today to stop this deterioration and put things right. These nuances are crucial in knowing how to navigate the political, social and religious contexts so intertwined in this small country.

1- Lebanese citizenship is multicultural and multi-confessional: any political movement, any political action that leads to the sustainability of the interests of a community or confession at the expense of the interests of all Lebanese citizens is a dead end that leads to community tensions and to a direct return to Lebanon’s bloody past. This disqualifies the majority of political actions today which are tinged with a pronounced communal and confessional character. Today, we observe the birth of certain multi-community and multi-confessional coalitions, but these movements remain rather timid due to mistrust of form which remains stronger than the presence of a common cause among the member parties of these coalitions.

2- There are only two paths that can be taken today: I) Building bridges with those who want a sovereign state and an effective democracy beyond any other local or external community or non-community cause. II) To give voice to all those who wish to continually nourish the disputes of the past and whose only goal is to set themselves up as heroes of the community above all. This path taken up to the present day is paved with a feeling inherited from the post-civil war period, which is the feeling of survival and of wanting to “constantly protect oneself from the other”. But alas, it is behind this very feeling that corruption has taken refuge throughout these last years in Lebanon. The shield of corruption has always been communal or sectarian in nature. Revealing the corruption of this or that other person is an attack on the rights of this or that other community. Wanting to put an end to corruption in our country means first of all wanting to put an end to the existence of this feeling of general mistrust towards another community and reaching out to anyone who wants to build beyond their faith. This openness must translate practically into the active abandonment of the abusive community character of our political parties and our political actions to brandish above all the state interest.

3- Establish the difference between the insipid national agreement and the gathering around a legitimate cause: indeed, opening up to others around a common state cause is very different from the agreement with everyone independently of the cause that unites. It is that the latter, if it avoids intercommunity tensions, it remains however insipid, because it is an agreement which is not based on a common project but on a common fear (the fear of avoiding a confrontation). It is not the common understanding that we need in Lebanon, this artificial understanding which has been practical in recent years but which has not been able to create a strong State, but a gathering around a common cause placing above all the interests of the Lebanese multi-confessional citizen. In other words: “Building bridges with those who want a sovereign state and effective democracy above any other local or external community or non-community cause. »

4- The difference between a statesman and a spokesperson for communities and religious authorities: the constant return of our politicians to the religious authorities of the country before any important decision gives supremacy to the interests of the religious authorities over the political exercise which must above all be of general interest and take into account the interest of all Lebanese citizens. The religious character in Lebanon is sacred and must remain so, but the abusive influence of religious authorities on the exercise of political power and on the Lebanese leaders (who become agents and spokespersons of these authorities) is contrary to the message of the Lebanon for all. When a religious authority finds its interests and its power threatened, it appeals through its “spokesperson” to the power, to the sensitivities of belief of the Lebanese to block the exercise of democracy and create confusion in the mind of the citizen who agrees to abandon democracy and national interests to once again brandish community interests. This is contrary to the Lebanese Constitution which by its spirit and its message was intended to diminish this denominational hold on political power. But instead of it being understood in this sense, our leaders, either by intention (to maintain control) or by ignorance, have made the opposite choice, namely to establish their political power by setting themselves up as supreme defenders of religious community interests before even to defend the interests of the Lebanese citizen. By making this choice, they changed the very spirit of the Constitution, namely to place the authority and the interests of the religious communities before the national interest, making themselves spokespersons for the religious authorities and not spokespersons for the people who elected them. It is here that the abuses of power in Lebanon reside. This is a crucial nuance to understand for anyone who wants real change. And this is also the profound message of the movement of October 17, 2019.

Religious diversity and the religious message in Lebanon are a wealth that must be preserved. The religious message of our country must be a message of peace and tolerance between the different religious communities; but this should in no way give way to exploitation by some of the sacred message to block the exercise of democracy and public service in our country. It is an act of blasphemy for religion and for the Lebanese people.

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The Lebanese political context today is led by spokespersons of communities and confessions and not by statesmen. This sad reality translates on the ground into a loss of sovereignty and progressive democracy and a return to a tribal logic. There are certain nuances that must be understood by the Lebanese citizen who today wishes to stop…

Some elements to understand the nuances of the Lebanese context