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EDITORIAL: The time for change in Lebanon is now

The time for change in Lebanon is now

There is an old English saying … those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it.

For Lebanon, there is real meaning in these words as it fights hard to extricate itself from what can be called a mess, made worse by a global pandemic.  In every sense of the political, financial, health, moral, military and any other word, it’s a mess.

The explosion that ripped Beirut Port apart last year seems to have blown the lid off on a “pot” that plenty of people wanted to keep shut. Efforts by the judicial investigator to determine who is to blame have already run into a political storm as efforts are made to block political immunity for MPs and employees in the search for the truth. The investigator needs more powers but is not likely to get it. That’s a problem.

Lebanon’s so-called politicians have been found sadly lacking, once again. The sectarian nature of political power-sharing is no longer acceptable if it ever was. To survive day-to-day, like looking for food in rubbish bins, is not enough; it wasn’t enough back then and it’s not good enough today.

Lebanon’s political leadership is failing and now is the time to look for alternatives. There is too much talk about doing what’s right for the country. But talk without action is just that – empty words that achieve nothing except to anger those who are suffering the most.

Take the search for yet another caretaker PM to form yet another government. Appointing yet another former PM is no longer acceptable; the people are angry. And starving. They want change. They want someone who can lead based on merit, not their political beliefs.

But the country’s political woes have been compounded by its economic ones, fuelled in no small part by the corrupt behaviour of those who have stolen from the public purse time and time again. The steadily widening gap between the social classes, and the steady disappearance of the middle class, is a threat to society.

Then there is the civil war in Syria which drove hundreds of thousands of families into Lebanon and whose presence is now a source of increasing economic and social tension.

And above everything now lies the shadow of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. This threat cuts across all sectors of society, it doesn’t discriminate. It needs a similar response.

All these crises require creative thought backed up by action. Now is the time for change. Politicians of all sects talk about their duty to the national cause. Now is the time for them to prove it.

Editor in Chief



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