Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is The Proposed Lebanese Cabinet a "Tower Of Babel?"

The current structure of the just agreed upon Lebanese cabinet is reminiscent of the Biblical story about the Tower of Babel. What most Lebanese politicians and commentators describe as a major significant achievement in the reconciliation process of what divides Lebanon is nothing more than the individual efforts of each participant to build a tower for his/her personal glory without any regard to the common good of the state. Just like the total chaos and inability to coordinate the construction of the Tower in Babel the Lebanese cabinet as constituted is bound to become a cacophonous meeting place between parties that speak different languages and that have opposite goals and aspirations.
To believe that this proposed cabinet will help establish the democratic Lebanese project on solid grounds is tantamount to a strong and unassailable belief in miracles. Miracles are best described as events that defy natural laws and principles and as such the concept is in essence a code word for fantasy and irrationality. No matter how hard we wish for it, when a human jumps from any height the path will always be a downward one. Humans just cannot fly; it is a natural law that cannot be violated. A belief in miracles might be acceptable in fictional epics but it is fatal when confused with reality. To even contemplate a positive outcome from the attempts at dialogue between those whose strongly held beliefs are in total contradiction with each other and whose aim is to shape and move society in opposite directions is nothing short of a belief in unrealistic story tales; a belief grounded in miracles.
There is still another apt metaphor to describe the inanity of the current formation of the Lebanese cabinet. The pretense of the Lebanese politicians when they describe in glowing terms their achievements in putting together this mélange of cabinet members is reminiscent of the futile efforts by the Captain of the Titanic to save the ship from imminent disaster by giving orders to rearrange the chairs on the deck of the fatal ship.
The Lebanese ship of state has been severely damaged from the tempests that it has had to navigate. But all is not lost. The ship can be steered into safe harbours but not until all the crew starts pulling in the same direction, speaking the same language, ground their beliefs in reality and channel the scarce resources into meaningful activities that go beyond the superficial. What is needed above everything else is the courage to demand a workable political construct instead of the pretence that the same group can be an integral part of the executive branch and yet oppose it at the same time. This combination is bound to fail and the sooner we admit the impossibility of the task being asked of such an incongruous group then the sooner it will be for a responsible and accountable society to get established. To expect Hezbollah to play a positive role in the creation of a Lebanese civil society is to believe in the supernatural and to suspend rationality in favour of miracles.

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