Tsunami Tsuennemi

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Many of you have mentioned to me that I have been rather silent lately. That is because I am literally speechless. There are things that are happening in the political arena which I find absolutely confounding, not to mention revolting.

Words don’t count, actions are for nothing, protests are wasted, reason doesn’t matter, common sense is ignored, foresight is neglected, decency eradicated and honor exists only among thieves.

Four years ago I returned with energy and hope to be part of a process of change for the better, only to find that during this period, things have changed dramatically for the worse. Of course the neighboring war in Syrian has contributed greatly to this decline, but mainly it has been due to the rigid behavior of the leading political figures and groups and their disrespect for the constitution and the exercise of their own responsibilities. All these elements have led to a failing state, a flat and dangerously declining economy and non-existent social welfare.

In addition, most of the institution are functioning on life support aside from some mitigated upward ticks of the functionality barometer, such as the recent municipal elections where voter turn out was only on average at 40%. This tells us that the majority of the results obtained are partial at best, and not representative of the whole population as some claim. In fact, the only thing that such a low turn-out represents is the overall disappointment and rejection of the population of the existing leadership whether Sunni, Christian, Chia or Druze, and though it was refreshing to see new movements of dissension arise, it was equally depressing to see them overcome everywhere by the habitual format of political outcomes.

The worst therefor is not what is happening but the sense of inability to change anything, and for the last four years we have witnessed this imposition of inertia dominate the political scene especially in the failure to elect a President. This inertia is the symptom of a greater cause which is the ruling classes’ entrenchment and reluctance to change anything, even when confronted with revolt, as during the summer of last year, when the waste management crisis was at its peak.

So not only is there no recourse but lately there has been a complete degradation of affairs with our leading political figures all dancing to the tune of their own drum and creating such a cacophony that nothing is worth hearing anymore.

I personally feel that we have descended to a new level of political and moral decrepitude. Politics is supposed to be built on convictions and the belief in a social perspective that shapes the visions and leadership of politicians.

Based on this definition can we call many of our leader figures politicians? Or are they just mavericks acting on their survival instincts with no regard for the nation nor the cohesiveness of our society as they make volatile choices based on their sense of opportunism?

How redeemable is the latest reconciliation among the Christian Juntas? How stable and lasting is it or can it be when it is wrapped up in the personas themselves? Has it helped matters? Or just muddied the waters?

It seems that what it has done is create a lot of confusion and disorientation embellished by the warm and fuzzy propaganda of reconciliation, which is like oil floating on the surface of a glass of dirty water.

In the municipal elections it was easy for Aoun and Geagea to appear to share the pie, and they made the battles appear to be about politics, when in fact, all they did was create more divisiveness even within families, and this has left a lot of negative sentiment towards both men on a very local level.

However, when it comes to Parliamentary elections where the seats are limited and confessionally specified, it remains to be seen how eager these two players will be to pander to each other and share those precious positions. After all, parliamentary blocs are not to be relinquished easily.

Samir Geagea will be forced to poach from the Christian independents in his own Future camp where the latest municipal elections have polarized his previous allies against him, and though weakened some, they have strengthened others.

As for the promised Christian Tsunami, it seems that the two concerned parties have conducted themselves in the community in such a way that their “tsunami” is everyone elses’ “tsunennemi” and they have disturbed the waters in the Lebanese pond, where many have now lost their moral and ideological compass.

The only thing that these individualistic leaders, will agree on today will be to proceed with Parliamentary elections based on the law of 1960 which guarantees that their hold will continue.

The danger therefore is not them, but the electoral law which will perpetuate them!

If Lebanon is ever allowed to emerge from the stagnation it is facing it will only be through the arrival to power of a new political class. I believe that are three ways to do this:

1-) Make elections mandatory for all Lebanese between the age of 18 and 80 in order to force people out of their lethargy and resignation.

2-) Bring back the number of deputies to 108 as specified in Taef and remove the 20 deputies added during the Syrian occupation which are not representative of their constituents.

3-) Enact an electoral law based on proportional representation with one large district to break the geographic and confessional hegemony of the za’ims and make the election nationals and not local, reflecting the more accurate role of legislators.

If the present rulers are allowed to proceed with the law of 1960 I guarantee you that the inertia will persist and there will be no recourse to bring about change. This means that the country itself will just deteriorate further, and with all the uncertainty around and the dangerous security matters we are confronting I do not recommend that this be allowed to happen.

The big battle ahead of us now is to say no to the majority law and to fight for the three solutions outlined above.