Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to lose (elections) through winning and win (elections) through losing

"If we are victorious in one more battle .. we shall be utterly ruined." These words are attributed to King Pyrrhus after he won his battle with the Romans in 279 BC. I imagine that this is the origin of the expression “to win the battle and lose the war”. But we do not need to be students of history in order to understand what is meant by that concept; all what one needs is to have observed the recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon.
The June 7th elections were won by the March 14 coalition and its allies while the opposition was dealt a few set backs in a number of districts. The final tally was 71 parliamentary seats for the March14 coalition and 57 for the opposition, Hezbollah and its allies. In any other country, all over the world, the winners would have proceeded to form the government, elect a speaker of the house and take steps to start implementing elements of their electoral campaign. But not in Lebanon, that would be too simple.
One of the most important figures of the opposition and one of the most strident voices that fought tooth and nail to prevent the Lebanese Parliament from meeting to perform its constitutional function is about to be regaled for the fifth term in a row as the speaker of the house that is under the control of the political parties that he has devoted his life in opposing and obstructing. Sa’ad Hariri has the temerity to endorse the election of the major representative of the opposition to the second highest office in the land. I wonder whether Mr. Hariri or Mr. Jumblatt for that matter, would have had the courage to share that desire with the voters during the campaign.
But that is not the end of the story or should I say the tragedy. Another luminary of the opposition, Michel Aoun, was an active participant in the illegal occupation of downtown Beirut for over a year and a strong supporter of the “novel” idea that the opposition needs to be represented in the cabinet and to give its representatives the right to veto any and all measures that are not to their liking. Mr. Aoun, the megalomaniac that has his party’s OTV station running promos comparing him to Gandhi, MLK, Kennedy, Einstein and mother Teresa to name a few , is back again with another one of his ridiculous demands. This time around he is not asking for a veto but for a cabinet whose composition reflects the exact proportional composition of the parliament. This demand has not been approved yet by the so called majority but if recent history is a prologue then proportional representation will be offered in the same way that the right of veto was agreed to.
And the beat goes on. Hezbollah under the leadership of its war lord Nasrallah insists that its militia is above the law, its area of influence is outside the reach of the legitimate government, its allegiance is to an Iranian Ayatollah and that the concept of an absolute guardianship by the faqih is a religious one. Yet Mr. Jumblatt and Mr. Hariri are more than willing to establish power sharing with Hezbollah, the antithesis of Lebanese statehood, independence and sovereignty.
So the only legitimate question is why did we all vote and what did we vote for? It is all a crock where the winners of the elections are losers and the losers of the elections are winners. Go figure.q5pmfb7dzg

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As long as we keep on electing the same characters to office then we have to expect the same results. A tribal society run by chieftains and warlords and guided only by personal greed no matter where it leads the state.


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