Monday, April 28, 2008

Lebanon is the only country in the world...

Today, majority leader Saad Hariri said, among other useless claptrap, that Lebanon is "the only country in the world that does not have a president. This is a major crime committed against us and against the country."

Let me tell you what else Lebanon is the "only country in the world" for:

- Lebanon is the only country in the world where "one-time only" constitutional amendments happen more than "one-time".
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where the speaker of parliament gets to treat that institution as his own supermarket, to open and close at will.
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where citizens elect MPs to parliament, only to have "dialogue" occur outside of parliament between non-elected people.
- Lebanon is the only country in the world that i know of where government jobs, starting with the President, PM and House Speaker, and all the way down to DMV clerk are assigned based on a sectarian affiliations.
- Lebanon is the only country that i know of where the national ID card includes a field for "Sect".
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where security personnel is routinely detained by private militias, with no shame whatsoever.
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where a private militia can install a parallel telecommunications infrastructure, in the middle of the capital.
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where the people complain about their inability to affect the situation, but keep re-electing and backing the same idiots year after year, while blaming "foreign powers" for all their problems.

Ok. So maybe some of these are slight exaggerations...Lebanon might have a couple of other countries to keep it company in some of those categories (all failed states, mind you).

Most states are made up of disparate groups that don't necessarily agree on everything. But generally, there are a few basic principles that everyone agrees on:

- Allegiance to the state.
- The understanding on a basic set of rules for the political game. No matter what.

In other words, we can disagree on a lot of things, including our vision of what the state should look like, but we all agree to work within the confines of a set of rules. Because we understand that without those basic rules, it's the law of the jungle. And without those basic rules, EVERYONE loses. There IS NO state.

Let me add that to the list:
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where people have absolutely no understanding of what it means to be a state (as opposed to a loose confederation of disparate groups who refuse to abide by the same rules).



2 comments:

Riemer Brouwer said...

Damn, *I* was gonna write about Hariri's statement with exactly the same angle :-)

Great post!

lynne said...

The situation is certainly disappointing, and the worst of it is that there is no sign that anything will change or improve soon. Interesting post!