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    The Lebanese Need Action, Not Rhetoric

    A quick journey through the country’s media on any given day is enough to provide us with a picture of our politicians as they encourage us to head for the nearest travel agency, and book a one-way ticket out of Lebanon.

    Our media is filled with accusations and threats, as well as statements of cynicism and pessimism, about the state of affairs we face today.

    Our politicians are world-class experts at outlining our dismal situation; since many of them actually hold public office, it’s depressing to hear them go on and on about our problems without offering a set of workable solutions.

    Instead, we hear absurd or abstract ultimatums – the Lebanese must do X before there can be any progress – and in the end we are drawn further into despair and resignation. We become convinced that we’re living in a failed state, and in such a situation, looking for a visa and a way out become the only logical options.

    If not for the perseverance of the Lebanese, and their built-up immunity to such negative rhetoric, most people would have left the country already. There are some bright spots in our political class, but they truly stand out as exceptions.

    There are a handful of ministers and other officials who take their jobs seriously. Some of them appear to be so exhausted by their official duties, tackling “non-political” matters, that they have little time to contribute to our daily political circus.

    Some officials are actually traveling around the world, to both defend Lebanon’s interests, while working to counter its appalling reputation abroad as a non-performer.

    Despite these efforts, we are now moving from our unofficial status as a failed state to the prospect of becoming officially labeled a rogue state.

    This will affect everybody in the country, irrespective of class or sect. It’s a time for the utmost level of teamwork in our Cabinet, and our political class as a whole. The country will go nowhere if one group of people does everything it can to pull the cart one way, while another group is determined to pull it in another direction.

    We face a critical situation and our politicians and officials simply must exhibit the kind of professionalism and creativity that help us see our way through. Cynical rhetoric, defeatist assessments, bombastic threats and counter-threats will get us nowhere.

    Politicians must give Lebanese what they need to confront the situation, and avoid the media storm unless they put forward something positive and feasible. This is what the person in the street needs from our politicians, and not their punditry on the latest rumor and polemic.

    Jamil MROUEH
    The Daily Star
    04.11.2010

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