They keep us guessing.

photo: The Daily Star

So Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, pictured here, said today security forces were “relentlessly pursuing” the mystery folks that abducted a Kuwaiti national saying the crime was “not politically motivated.” Excuse my ignorance, but what does that actually mean?

Should we be relieved that this kidnapping was not related to the recent spate of tit-for-tat hostage-taking between Lebanese groups and Syrian rebels? Or should we be worried that kidnapping has now  become such a normalized tactic among Lebanese criminals because the state has been unable to put an end to it?

Anyway, how does the government know either way? If they know the kidnapper’s motives, does this mean they know who the kidnappers are?

Above all, why do Lebanese politicians so often provide us with such vague explanations of the problems they are facing? Charbel himself recently criticized the media for over reporting the ongoing kidnapping spree, arguing that coverage makes his job more difficult. But I would argue the opposite. I think we need more, not less coverage of Lebanon’s multiple crises. The more we know about our problems, the better equipped we’ll be to deal with them.

If the government is having so much difficulty coping with reality, it needs to share those concerns with its employers, i.e. the citizens. Vague explanations only lead to confusion and uncertainty. Why keep everyone in the dark if someone might have an idea? What if someone could be inspired to have an idea or contribute to working on these problems?

And where is the mainstream Lebanese press in all this? How does it let officials get away with these incomprehensible answers? If anything, Lebanese TV channels should come up with a daily show called “Mystery of the Day” to hold our authority figures accountable for their remarks and pressure them for better answers.  

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