Lebanon’s presidential elections: between shameless and shameful

Lebanon is not having a presidential race, it is a circus! Except this one is dark and scary; no fun here

Octavia Nasr
Octavia Nasr
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It’s a presidential race in a country that cannot come together or agree on anything. From the minuscule and mundane to the gigantic touching on national security issues, Lebanese politicians bicker along party lines, supporters cheer them blindly without questioning or criticizing or holding them accountable. Yet, they demand with the most severe tones full accountability, harshest judgments and absolutely no leniency towards their opponents regardless of whether they were actually guilty or not. Their crime is simply daring to be a foe.

This is not a country, it’s a madhouse where the most insane, the most unreasonable, the loudest and brutes hog attention and abuse it to the maximum extent possible.

With every political battle, Lebanon and the helpless victimized population it has left, sink deeper into an unavoidable demise they have barely escaped too many times over the past decades.

A reminder to the Lebanese with a severe case of Alzheimer’s or flat out senility, that their leaders have proven over the course of time their inability to lead or make an intelligent decision on your behalf or that of your fellow countrymen. An emergency government was barely agreed upon after a year of failed attempts to form an official one that merits its cabinet posts. Although some ministers and other parliamentarians play the game as if they are legitimate, it is no secret how they came to power and what determines whether they stay or go.

This is not a presidential race, it is a circus! Except this one is dark and scary; no fun here

Octavia Nasr

Samir Geagea’s presidency bid shakes things up which makes some uncomfortable. The narcissistic former General who once proudly declared, “I am Prime Minister and five ministers at once” now faces the moment of uncomfortable truth. Could Lebanon not want him for President and choose his nemesis for the post instead?

This is not a presidential race, it is a circus! Except this one is dark and scary; no fun here, only fear of the unknown while plotting takes place in shadowy corners. It takes guts to run for President in Lebanon for those who dare go against the current and make waves.

Samir Geagea is not shameless to throw his hat in the ring; it would actually be shameful if he did not. Geagea like Franjiyeh, Aoun, Gemayel, Kattar and other hopefuls for the Maronite presidential seat, has every right to run that race. If he wins, it would be only on merit. Lebanon might actually succeed in electing a president without approval from Syria or Iran for the first time since Bashir Gemayel.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on April 7, 2014.


Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.

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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