Lebanese politicians should address expats in the Gulf

Nayla Tueni

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Qatar's new emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani confirmed that the Lebanese presence in Qatar is "guarded" and that the Lebanese there are among their people and that they commit to the laws of the state of Qatar and respect them. He also commended the Lebanese people's developmental role in all fields in Qatar.

This is perhaps the best piece of news I heard on Sunday. As our politicians argue among each other, the Lebanese people suffer whether they are in Lebanon, Africa and Europe while those in Gulf countries are extremely worried about their future there.

The Gulf is the most prominent region where Lebanese people spread not because of the money they make and send back to their families or because of the security they enjoy or the language they get to maintain for themselves and their children. Traveling to Arab Gulf countries is a different type of immigration experience than traveling to Europe, America or Australia.

Lebanon: On the inside

The latter immigration causes losses for Lebanon on the level of losing cultural connections with younger families and youths. The West also benefits from the competencies of Lebanese immigrants in a manner that prevents Lebanese citizens from benefitting. This leads to neglecting land in Lebanon or rather abandoning it for the sake of looking for a dignified life.

Good relations with Gulf countries have always served Lebanon's interests.

Nayla Tueni

Following up on the Lebanese people's affairs in Gulf countries is more important than local disputes, that are mostly silly in the eyes of the world, malicious in the eyes of the Lebanese people outside Lebanon and fatal in the eyes of the Lebanese inside Lebanon.

Good relations with Gulf countries have always served Lebanon's interests. It's enough to pass by southern towns to see the generosity of Qatar after the 2006 July War. Can we even pass through the international highway in Beqaa without noticing the banners commending Kuwaiti contributions that helped build this highway? What about the kingdoms that have always helped Lebanon's economy and prosperity? All this is being met by ingratitude, and some only thank Syria which occupied Lebanon, humiliated its leaders and people who never stopped calling for independence and sovereignty, robbed its resources and loosened its borders.

This article was first published in Lebanon-based Annahar on July 1, 2013.
Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni

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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