Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Hypocrisy, Betrayal and Why We Need New Blood!

Lebanese the world over had hoped that the elections that went on in Lebanon post-Syrian withdrawal would mark the beginning of a new political renaissance in the “Paris of the Middle East”. To say that those hopes were not realized would be the understatement of the century. In fact, these elections were not unlike any other election held in Lebanon in the last 30 years. The arrogance, posturing, rhetoric, backroom deals, and blatant disregard for the needs and wants of the electorate were all present as were both hypocrisy and betrayal.

The most stunning personification of hypocrisy came from General Michel Aoun. Aoun, who has spent the last 15 years damning the Syrians and their Lebanese lapdogs, returned to Lebanon a month ago and promptly allied himself with Pro-Syrian factions in order to secure relevance in the elections. It should be noted that Aoun was not the only one who allied himself with former enemies. Hezbollah and the Amal Movement (who have never been on the best of terms) allied in the south of Lebanon to insure a pro-Syrian victory.

The election process in Lebanon this time around (like every other election) has been nothing less than a farce with the same names and faces popping up (with the notable exception of Saad Hariri). The hope and goodwill projected towards the opposition since the death of the Martyr Rafik Hariri have long since evaporated in the face of the opposition sniping at each other instead of working together. Lebanon’s savvy electorate stayed away in droves with a miniscule 27% showing up to vote in the Beirut and area elections. Other areas did have a higher turnout (some as high as 40%), but that turn out has been marred by allegations of vote purchasing and intimidation.

With all of the infighting going on, people quickly became disillusioned with the entire process. They looked and saw the same people arguing about the same things. To look at it from an insider’s view, everything changed yet nothing had changed where it mattered. Sure, Syria is gone, but what does that matter when you still have all of the old guard in power? What does it matter if you have a group of people who are willing to do anything (and have done anything) to keep power and money all for themselves? None of the protesting, none of the unity, none of anything matters if we do not have real intrinsic change.

Truthfully, Lebanon did not need these elections. What Lebanon and the Lebanese need are some fresh new faces and names; people who are not from some political family that has had power since forever. Lebanon is long overdue for a political overhaul. All of the old political families need to be ousted (forcibly if necessary) and people who have the best interests of the country and it’s populace at heart need to be voted in. Unless this happens, Lebanon will remain as politically stagnant as it has been for the last 30 years for the next 30 years.


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