At the start of the year, from my terrace on which the cold prevents me from sitting too long, I look at the briefly snow-capped mountains in the distance and in front of them the closer hills muted by urbanism, and I wonder like anything one each what awaits Lebanon in this new year. I remember the words of a French writer staying in Beirut and according to whom this country summed up in him all the problems of the contemporary world, and that it was enough for one of these problems to be solved here for it to serve as a model. solution for the rest of the planet.
→ REPORT. Christmas in Lebanon, hope but no more hope
Despite a troubled history, Lebanon will have been the laboratory for some of the great political and social experiments of modern times. Built on an alliance of many religious communities forced to live together, this country has sometimes been defined as an example and sometimes, like what John Paul II said, as a “Message”. Community belonging is experienced more as a cultural identity than as a religious affiliation and the communities, despite fears and mistrust, have always been open to each other on a daily basis, exchanging a number of cultural traits and carrying out processes of acculturation. and completely original crossbreeding, both in religious practice and in linguistic and culinary customs, modes of behavior or the relationship to time.
The management of this pluriculturalism has also given rise to a singular type of government called confessionalism, which consists in distributing all the positions of the State, from that of President of the Republic to that of the simplest orderly, according to an equitable distribution among the various groups. This system will certainly have had the serious flaw of entrenching community differences. But it will have made it possible to guarantee democracy and freedom of expression, which in turn allowed the flourishing of an opulent liberal economy. Above all, all of these factors have prevented any autocratic tendency, no individual being able to claim to appropriate power or restrict freedoms without threatening the general balance of the structure, both political and economic. This denominational balance game was also conceived as a springboard towards a more secular democracy, and in this sense Lebanon will have been a laboratory where the process of transformation of traditional affiliations (clan, family and community) into citizen membership was repeated daily, where the very genesis of any democracy was replayed in small format and as if under a bell.
It all seems to be a thing of the past. If today Lebanon is starting to serve as an example again, it is unfortunately in a negative sense, because of the bad governance and the corruption of its recent ruling class, bad governance and corruption which could in themselves constitute a case. school. By perverting the old confessional system to make it an instrument for the patronage of citizens on a community basis, the Lebanese leaders have created the most accomplished model of the transformation of an entire political regime into a mafia construct. Their confiscation of the administration, which has become an instrument of pressure and gratification, will also have consecrated the definitive absence of the State in the lives of citizens, in accordance with the dreams of the most hysterical neoliberalism. Poor financial governance, finally, due to a group of bankers complicit in the political caste, could become a valuable guide to the irresponsible management of investments and risks in the financial sector.
→ EXPLANATION. Lebanon on the brink of financial collapse
Faced with this rogue hyper-liberalism, which is not based on any political will but on mere carelessness, and in the face of the state’s mafia becoming, the Lebanese were forced to invent themselves, day after day. day, original forms of regulation of social and civic exchanges in the absence of higher authority to do so. For several decades, it was believed that this could also represent a model, before understanding the misfortune represented on all levels by the absence of regulatory authority and control of economic, social, urban, ecological life, and a a world where corrupt and lax banks allied to great fortunes claim to manage the lives of citizens by depriving them of any state recourse. In this sense again, the recent history of Lebanon and its collapse could serve as a warning sign for the whole planet.