Minorities in Lebanon must rebuff that label

With the exception of Jordan, the Middle East is riddled with peculiar variants of status quos, all of which are unsustainable in the long run.
by Ziad El Sayegh

3 April 2019 | 11:51

Source: by Annahar

  • by Ziad El Sayegh
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 3 April 2019 | 11:51

A Church and a Mosque stand side by side in Downtown Beirut (AP)

BEIRUT: Who determines Lebanon's national interest and that of its people in the absence of a national strategy that transcends regional alliances of rival political parties?

And who defines the country's strategic choices in the lack of functioning state institutions and a faulty government framework?

In days gone by, the myriad of challenges that a nation faced could have been solved by a strong leader, yet this is no longer the case. What is now needed is a collage of sustainable policies to shield Lebanon from the volatility of the Middle East. 

Lebanon now finds itself at a crossroad, faced with an existential threat that could destroy its identity. What most analysts seem to miss is the complexity of the threat, which is not merely tied to mass migration and the refugee crisis.  

The threat lies in our distorted understanding of reality while political infighting is increasingly becoming part of our national identity and linked to regional dimensions. 

It could be argued that this bickering is merely a means to an end, to divert attention from what is really plaguing Lebanon and an attempt to maintain the status quo which is bound to collapse.  

With the exception of Jordan, the Middle East is riddled with peculiar variants of status quos, all of which are unsustainable in the long run. 

Lebanon is currently being injected with beliefs that were foreign in the not too distant past, most notably the notion of the alliance of minorities,

Another is that of Russia being viewed as the savior of Christians in the Middle East, which is a facade of its greater goal. A goal of reclaiming the glory of its past while breaking the hegemony of the west. It is also far from being rooted in a political ideology with the aim of streamlining a style of governance similar to that of Western liberalism.

Simply put, Russia's intervention is one of economic and geopolitical nature.

Yet the Orthodox Church should have drawn on the mistakes of its Catholic cohort, which blessed the crusades almost a thousand years ago. 

Christian in the Middle East and Lebanon, in particular, should not seek protection as a minority. Lebanon is home to Christians, Muslims, and Jews who oppose Israel's aggressive tendencies. 

Lebanon's charter of 1948 casts aside the notion that minorities need protection from global powers, be it the West or Russia. 

Stoking sectarian fears is an assassination of Lebanon's spirit, and leaders from across the board have an obligation to reject the notion that Israel represents today.


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