Lebanon: does the rule of the jungle reign?

Nayla Tueni

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Who said that individual acts of violence, which have become one of the worst threats to haunt the Lebanese people, are less dangerous than local and foreign security threats which Lebanon also faces?

Last week, the Lebanese people confronted a shameful chapter in their history with a crime that can only be described as savagery against a man guilty of nothing but loving a girl of a different sect. Lebanese media reported that the family of Rudayna Melaab cut off the penis of her new husband, Rabee Ahmed, after they discovered the couple had lied about his sect in order to get married.

The murder of a Syrian activist in support of the Syrian regime in Lebanon's Sarfand almost turned everything upside down, leading people to suspect they were responsible, but it was quickly revealed that family reasons were behind the crime.

Lebanon risks a reputation as a barbaric country

How long will the Lebanese people wait to have a state that consistently, and not only occasionally, addresses crimes and reveals their truth?

Nayla Tueni

We need not drown in analyses and academic explanations of the sociology and psychology of these people. However, we must speak out to say that Lebanon is on the verge of a disaster if such crimes are seen by the international community as characteristic of Lebanon. The world today does not differentiate and takes these examples as a model. So how will it be before Lebanon's record of wars and sectarian and civil fighting - whether among parties or individuals - blight the impression it gives to other countries totally?

Furthermore, Lebanon still struggles to form a government. What is the point of all these lies about political dialogue at a time when not a single official spoke out to voice fear of what threatens Lebanon the most: the country becoming categorized as barbaric, a place where the rule of the jungle reigns and all restrictions and values diminish?

We also do not know if many of those concerned realize what it means to be ashamed of your identity once it becomes linked to this shameful characteristic - the trait of the brutal, violent individual.

What will remain?

We do not know what will remain of any political stability if the state, the civil society and all political parties do not act to save Lebanon from sliding towards the "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" rule.

We thank the army for revealing the truth of the Sarfand crime in less than 48 hours because by doing so it put an end to all interpretations and protected the country from possible security violations. This was a decisive example of how disciplined security alone protects the society and the state and of how only truth liberates us

But what about the rampant violence resulting from sectarian partisanship and chaotic implementation of law? How long will the Lebanese people wait to have a state that consistently, and not only occasionally, addresses crimes and reveals their truth? Or are we going to listen to the same old tune of holding dialogue as we wait for the situation to worsen either through individual acts or organized ones?

Between individual and organized acts lie schemes aiming to completely distort Lebanon's image and categorize it as a country stricken with all types of violence, wars and disasters. This image must be avoided at all costs.

This article was first published in Lebanese newspaper Annahar on July 22, 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

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