26/11/2010

Lebanon: when the independence?

On Monday, November 22, Lebanon celebrated the 67th anniversary of its independence. In the presence of Presidents of the Republic, Michel Suleiman, of the National Assembly, Nabih Berry, and of the Council of Ministers, Saad Hariri. The celebrations were marked by a military parade organized in downtown Beirut. The Lebanese were proud and united behind their flag and anthem. They believed in the sovereignty of their country, they acted as if the political instability did not exist, as if their Lebanese identity took precedence over the rest. They also tried to escape the memory of the events that marked the sixty-seven years of independence: fifteen years of civil war, thirty years of Syrian occupation, twenty-two years of Israeli occupation, about 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in precarious conditions and being a source of tension, not to mention the so-called confessional troubles characterizing history of Lebanon. On this day of national celebration, political instability seemed to take second place, the hope of a peaceful and sovereign Lebanon seemed to have taken over.

But for many Lebanese columnists, skepticism remains to agenda.
L’Orient-le-jour editorial pointed the confessional political system that has created instability since its inception. This system, instead of promoting understanding between different communities, rather exacerbates sectarian tensions. The other is not considered a partner for construction. Power sharing is seen as an entitlement and not as an opportunity for everyone to participate, each position being considered the property of a particular community. Therefore, the system leads to tension between communities.

The Dailystar, in its editorial on Monday, put, meanwhile, focus on regional and international forces that have threatened the sovereignty and security of the country. The newspaper also blamed Lebanese political forces, far from denouncing these intrusions, to use them as instruments of power in the internal power struggle. These external affiliations allow third countries to avoid direct conflict and resolve their disputes on Lebanese territory. Lebanon seems to be a « buffer state » that does not control its future.

The two columnists consider Lebanon as totally dependent and lacking effective sovereignty. In this context; they refuse to rejoice in the celebrations.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, that is expected to publish its conclusions soon and may cause trouble in the country, seems to be an illustration of the dispossession of country’s sovereignty by the great powers. Shouldn’t the assassination of Rafik Hariri be a national matter to deal with internally? In front of this threat, President Michel Sleiman has launched, on the eve of the celebrations, a solemn appeal to all political and religious leaders, students, associations and civic organizations so they do not leave their country become a battlefield where internal forces tear away.  »

Iman Bahri