- Ministry of Secularism, Religious & Communal affairs
This ministry is certainly the trickiest of all. Its basic mission is to set the record straight about Lebanon’s secularism and its commitment to the recognition of religious communities and their rights.
Wouldn’t Ziad Baroud be great in it? Sure, our current Minister of the Interior has made quite a blunder on this particular issue with his decision to allow people to cross of their communal membership on the civil registries (a sloppy decision with a very muddled legal justification). But he is a fast learner, and he can be quite flexible…
- Minister of Civil liberties & Rights: Now this ministry would have the important task of fighting censorship (replacing the censorship bureau with a rating bureau), putting some order into the Personal registries and modernising them (giving each citizen a personal number instead of a family number linked to one locality, reinstating the obligatory mention of communal membership, reinstating the mention of place of residency), and proposing legislation for the protection of civil liberties and privacy. This ministry should equally insure that all residents in Lebanon benefit from the legislation protecting and guaranteeing civil rights and liberties. And this legistlation should also encompass a broadening of our legislation on political refugees from the Arab States, if Lebanon wants to truly become the beacon of democracy and free thoughts.
Who better than Nizar Saghieh could do the job? This lawyer is one of the founders of Hurriyyat Khassa (Private Liberties), a Lebanese human rights organization founded on October 1, 2002 (not sure it’s still active). He has published widely on such topics as reform of the judicial system and the memory of war (in Arabic).
- Minister of Defence and Human Security: A Lebanese General. Not really familiar with the Kaki world. Does anyone have a person in mind?
- Minister of Palestinian Affairs.
This ministry is certainly the most “explosive” new ministry I have suggested, both metaphorically and literally. Palestinian affairs” are a very sensitive issue in Lebanon. After all, this group was singled out in the 1990s as being responsible for the civil war. Moreover, if you want to terrorize a Lebanese Christian, just mention the possible naturalisation of Palestinians… This fear runs so deep that the preambule of our constitution sees it fit to explicitly state “NO to naturalisation”. And this is used as an excuse for rampant discrimination against a population that is mostly born in Lebanon (and has never been anywhere else).
Finally, the Lebanese Army and Police still respect the Cairo Accords (though they have been abrogated), and refuses to enter the Palestinian neighbourhoods or settlements (called “camps” to emphasise their ephemerality) and the Palestinian training camps (now these are usually quite far from palestinian settlements).
Chibli Mallat is a lawyer and a professor of law. Director, Centre for the Study of the European Union. He currently teaches in the US. He considers himself left-leaning and supportive of Palestinian rights. He was candidate to the Presidential elections in 2004. Nobody really took him seriously.
- Minister of Municipalities and Decentralisation
Karam Karam. No, not the old one, the young one! He’s the one sitting next to Ziad Baroud in this picture. He is a researcher in political science that had worked a couple of years ago on the Municipal Elections. He used to be close to the IFPO (French Institute for the Near East) and now works for the LCPS (Lebanese center for Policy Studies). He is also an active member of LADE (The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections).