The Lebanese ‘war of exoneration’ and slander

Mazen Hayek

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He who reads former premier Fouad Siniora's introduction of the book "Slander in the Exoneration Book" - which came as a response to the Free Patriotic Movement's (FPM) book "The Impossible Exoneration" - realizes that the FPM's list of accusations against "Harirism" in general, and the late former premier Rafik Hariri in particular, falls within the context of political outbidding and the "populist" tendencies practiced by the Change and Reform lieutenants, under the claim of "fighting corruption."

The good news is that the Lebanese people know exactly what politicians are made of. Thus with time, as well as experience and practice, they have become capable of differentiating between he who is an expert at falsely debating, launching absurd wars, practicing a rhetoric of despair and pessimism, and blaming others for their failures and scarce accomplishments between he who worked silently, fulfilled achievements and devised national, political, economic, social and developmental solutions to make the impossible possible. This came even if he made mistakes or, to serve the latter’s aims, was sometimes forced to resort to compromise at the expense of the state's logic.

The Lebanese people also know well who abandoned them and who abandoned their allies and the closest of people during hardships! They also know well who taught, built, developed, financed and who stood by them in the most difficult moments until he was martyred for Lebanon's sake. He had rejected submitting to the logic of "tutelage" and its orders, preferred not to be submissive to the "state of illegal arms" and its regional allegiances and worked hard to build the state, its institutions, apparatuses, capabilities and public facilities, instead of "allying" himself with those who challenge the Lebanese state on daily basis and try their best in order to substitute it.

What Hariri accomplished

The "role model" government members, the ministers of the "Hezbollah cabinet," in the past two years have made the Lebanese people realize the value of the bittersweet days when Hariri governed. It has made the Lebanese people recall how Rafik Hariri took over as premier of a country that had just overcome a war, of a country that was torn, destroyed and weak on all levels and by all standards.

They then recall how he succeeded in transforming the dream into a reality, looked after people and rebuilt the country as per the best global standards. Of course, this does not mean that "Harirism" was void of mistakes or that holding officials to account and pursuing them are not amongst the prerequisites of democratic systems. But integrity and bravery call for admitting that Rafik Hariri was capable of reviving the Lebanese people's hopes - residents and expats alike. Throughout the years, Rafik Hariri accomplished all by himself what the "Change and Reform" advocates - and their allies - have not accomplished even when they were united.

In any case, the actual act of holding officials to account does not have to go through launching a new "war of exoneration" and slander! Holding officials to account does not (and should not) include revenge and maliciousness but it must be conducted via state institutions and practiced upon the standards of justice and integrity. Otherwise, the guilty will become a victim and the accused will become innocent and impossible to convict.

This article was first published in Annahar on May 10, 2013.
Mazen Hayek is a MarComms & Media practitioner in MENA; weekly op-ed columnist in Annahar Lebanon, he can be followed on Twitter: @HayekMG

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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