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April 25, 2005

Why Lebanon Matters

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Lebanon in the news, and here is a medley of the latest from the rapidly changing country!

(...) It is not only necessary that the Lebanese rid themselves of the tanks, soldiers, guns and security agents; they must also unshackle the economy and the private sector from the chains of corruption that have characterized the era of Syrian occupation.

Today, as the last Syrian troops depart from the country they have occupied for 29 years, the Lebanese will likely breathe a sigh of relief. But they won't have much time to savor the sweetness of their newfound liberty; they are now left with the task of managing their own affairs, and there is an awful lot of work to be done.

During the course of Syrian occupation, Lebanese society has been deprived of the real experience of responsibility. Over the years, the Lebanese seem to have become almost accustomed to being told what to do. One dares to say that the Lebanese political class in the widest sense (not just the loyalist politicians) became complacent toward Syria's way of doing things.

A key concern now for the Lebanese is that the Syrian domination of Lebanon extended over not just security and political institutions, but also over the private sector, banking, industrialists, trade unions and business associations. The result is that a once vibrant Lebanese economy has slowly crumbled under Syrian mismanagement.

First - Why Lebanon, why should we care?

Lebanon may be the only place in the world where you can buy a necklace with a Christian cross and a Muslim crescent moon fused together as one. What other country would even think of making something like this? I've never seen one before. But now I own two.


(Image from Spirit of America)

Lebanon is approximately 40 percent Christian and 60 percent Muslim - that is if you count the Druze as Muslims, something they themselves don't do. Most people who live here - but sadly not all - have had enough of hatred and sectarian violence. They desperately want to bury the past. They spent the last 15 years learning to tolerate one another without going on rampages. Now they are moving beyond mere tolerance and are learning to like each other. It's so easy to break a truce. Much harder to break a friendship.

Beirut may not be the only place in the world where you can find a church and a mosque right next to each other. But it's certainly a more common sight here than anywhere else. No other country has so Christians and Muslims living in the same place that you'll regularly hear both Christian church bells and the muezzin's call to Muslim prayer downtown at the same time.

Continue reading ...

Hat tip - Jawa Report

Related - Syria nears completion of Lebanon troop pullout (hat tip - inTheBullPen)

Other Lebanon related:
Israel eyes peace with Lebanon as Syria completes pullout

Supporters of LF and FPM clash in Martyrs' Square

Posted by Hyscience at April 25, 2005 8:02 PM

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