Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

March 14th vows “passage to the state”!

Posted by worriedlebanese on 15/03/2009

14mconfLebanon is assuredly an odd country. Upon taking office, politicians vow the “establishment of a state of law and legal institutions”, and when a national television airs citizens’ complaints, we overhear a grieving or accusatory question: “where’s the State?!” 

And now we have a large coalition of politicians and their “parties” promise that in case of victory in the coming elections, they will work on making Lebanon evolve to a State! 

For a country that was established close to a century ago, this is truly an admission of utter failure. This statement begs two questions:

1- How true is this assessment?

2- Who is responsible for the current state of affairs, and who should be held accountable for it?

Let’s start with the second question because it is easier to answer. If it is true that Lebanon is a failed state, who can be held responsible for it? Well, it’s either the politicians who held office since the establishment of the State, or it is those who actively participated in the two civil wars that tore the country apart. Well, it’s hardly an either or question because one can quickly realise that the two groups are actually one and the same.

Now let’s tackle the first question swiftly (and broadly). The State is effectively the principle distributor of wealth in Lebanon. Through its regulatory power, the most productive sectors of the economy, creating or managing cartels and monopolies (we have seen this in the banking sector, in the advertising sector, in the media sector, in the telecommunication sector, in real estate, and even in the touristic sector…). Furthermore, the State is the first employer, the first educator (largest school network, largest university… providing education for the majority of students in Lebanon).

With those elements in head, can’t one say that Lebanon is already a State… and that it doesn’t need a safe passage granted by a coalition of politicians with a rather grim record to get there?

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