Stories from Afar & Up Close

It would be funny...

… if it weren’t so damn tragic. Today is the last day of the current president’s term. This means that if the current government (pro-Western) and the opposition (pro-non-Western) do not agree on a new guy, by midnight tonight Lebanon will not have a president. Unless, of course, the current president illegally extends his term (yet again), or appoints a military government. The thing with these two ‘solutions’ is that the government and their supporters will not accept that. If the president does nothing, the power is automatically transferred to the prime minister, who can then elect a new guy together with his ministers. The thing with this 'solution' is that the opposition and their supporters will not accept that.

(And here we haven’t even mentioned all the solutions that are unacceptable for the Arab League, Syria, France, Iran or the United States, because apparently they all have to agree on a new Lebanese president too.)

Sietske thinks a power vacuum that will occur because of a lack of president might not be such a bad thing. She writes:

Personally I don’t think this would be a great loss; it would make the current government illegal, and thus we are a country run illegally. This would suit the Lebanese spirit just fine. You may argue over the ‘run’ fact’. I don’t think Lebanese are easily ‘run’. We thrive on ‘lack of rules’ and so no president won’t be that big of a deal. We (the Lebanese) will just keep the show running, president or no president, government or no government. We probably do better without. Let’s see.

I beg to differ. Everyone I know is either ignoring politics entirely (the ostrich-approach: head in the sand and hope it will all go away) or completely stressed out. The Lebanese population pretends to thrive on chaos and hardship, but there is no country in the world where anti-depressants and tranquilizers are standard fare in every household and often available from the pharmacy even without a doctor’s prescription.

As I wrote before, many Lebanese even boast about how good they are during war, how they ‘hold on’ and withstand the crisis, but, as May Kahalé, press secretary and advisor to then-president of the Republic of Lebanon, phrased it: ‘Ironically, I believe this solidarity among the Lebanese people prolonged the war because we proved too adaptable. To survive, we accommodated ourselves too adeptly to each twist and turn that the war took.’ If only for once they would accept that they cannot deal with all the chaos and instability, they might finally stand up against their war-lording politicians and demand some real ‘running’ of the country.