Crying will do Lebanon no good at all
Considering the country’s rich history of crises, the vacant presidential post has become an issue of national shame
We cannot deny that this years’ Maronite celebration of Mar Maroun Day carries bitterness which even non-Maronites and people other than Christians must understand since the presidential vacuum concerns them most, as the position is supposed to be allocated to a Maronite. The Maronites’ special history and cultural heritage is something that cannot be separated from Lebanon’s history and its reality cannot be denied. Despite that, we recognize Lebanon as a state, system and country of diversity and plurality.
We do not deny that Christians and Maronites are a rich source of Lebanese plurality and diversity but we can see today how Lebanon’s other Christian and Muslim sects are in a critical position on the patriotic, political and moral levels and even on the religious front. We are all in the same crisis. Perhaps Mar Maroun Day is the best occasion to address the prevailing issue to highlight that the presidential vacuum is harming all of Lebanese society and not just the Maronites.
Eight months of a presidential vacuum has proven, beyond doubt, that there’s no place in Lebanon for any constitutional or forced coup because Lebanon’s Shiites cannot be like the Houthis- who staged a coup in Yemen – even if a prominent party among became involved in the Syrian war. Lebanon’s Sunnis as well cannot be the alternative. Christians themselves are not, and will not, be the only “victims” of this vacuum regardless of whether they are the source of the problem or whether certain parties and countries share this responsibility. The entirety of Lebanon has become a victim and the Christians, or the Maronites in particular, cannot be the only party lamenting the presidency when the crisis is now an existential threat. If there are any positive aspects to this open and expanding crisis, it’s that in this brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) era, Muslim sects in Lebanon adhere, more than ever, to the Christian Maronite presidency.
This does not mean that we are underestimating the gravity of Christian fears. We are also not underestimating the Christians’ Muslim partners’ responsibility in dispelling these concerns especially considering that some of these partners’ foreign connections are the major cause of the country’s problems. Considering the country’s rich history of crises, the vacant presidential post has become an issue of national shame which cannot be reversed through tears alone.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on February 12, 2015.
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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