Lebanon: Infinite woes - GulfToday

Lebanon: Infinite woes

Shaadaab S. Bakht


Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for Tehelka.com, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.


The ordinary suffer as politicians play games. The woman lost her husband to the Beirut explosion.

As if the rampaging barbarity of COVID-19 wasn’t enough, as if the killer disease’s infinite assaults weren’t enough, the country, led by an irresponsible leadership, had to invite its complete destruction.

Yes, invite. The explosion that happened in Lebanon was for years waiting to happen and could have been avoided.

Since 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were off-loaded and stored unsafely in the Beirut port, two presidents and four prime ministers have been in office. They didn’t do anything concrete to secure the dump.

In well-run countries, presidents and prime ministers accept ultimate responsibility for what happens. The bigwigs in Lebanon are different. They shrugged off the blame for the massive blast at the port, which wiped out entire families and residential blocks.

What is their sin? That they were born in Lebanon and don’t enjoy political clout

“Passing the buck” has long been the Lebanese way of dealing with incompetence and negligence.

It is significant that a former Arab League diplomat stepped down as foreign minister shortly before the blast. He argued, “I participated in this government on the basis that I have one employer named Lebanon, and I found (instead) many employers and conflicting interests.”

Lebanon is becoming a “failed state” and if the political players do not join hands to constantly nurture and protect people’s interests the slide could become unstoppable. Residents are already bartering garments for baby food, news reports said. It can’t get any worse. What is their sin? That they were born in Lebanon and don’t enjoy political clout.

It is heartwarming that Sharjah has launched the Salam Beirut campaign. When blood-spilling instability causes tears in a nation’s polity the stable should move in. And Sharjah exactly did that. Therefore, let us be lavish with our salutations to Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher, who started the much-needed campaign.

Even the Emirate’s Ruler His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi called on the Arab countries to support the Lebanese people. Lebanon was and is still a part of the Arab nation, he stressed.

But the real healing touch has to come from within. The people who are managing the affairs of the country have to inject utterly uncompromising morality into politics. That may be too much of an ask as far as Lebanon is concerned, but it has no way out. The country has become a sewer of bankruptcies and the only answer to the stench is the razing of ethical bankruptcy.


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