Posted by worriedlebanese on 19/03/2007
In the Middle East, the concept of “demographic threats” or “demographic timebomb” is a basic component in political discussions in two countries only: Lebanon and Israel. One can remark incidently that these are the only democracies in the Middle East, but of a particular type. The democratic factor explains the fact that these issues are in the public debate. The particularities of these democracies could explain why demography is perceived as a threat. They are both communally based democracies: Israel based on one dominant group seen as the “raison d’être” and one of the defining component of the State (hence the qualification of “ethnocracy”), while Lebanon is based on a power sharing forumla (hence the qualification of consensus democracy or “concensocracy”). Demographic change can in effect threaten this main feature of each country (the jewish character of Israel and the power sharing forumla in Lebanon).
In Israel, demography has become a security issue. Oddly enough, in Lebanon, hasn’t been analyzed in these terms withstanding the fact that demographic change has been used by several actors to define or redefine the main characteristics of the State.