“Only Christians can save Lebanon” Seriously?

Photo: Now Lebanon

The chief irony of this ridiculously sloppy and irresponsible piece that appears in Now Lebanon is that it calls for secularism as the solution to Lebanon’s problems while using an utterly sectarian-based argument–that only Christians are capable of making change and only Christians “own their own words”

The second irony is that while journalism, research and solid reporting could do a wealth of good at combatting the fear-mongering of Lebanese politicians (by actually holding them and their cronies accountable with a detailed documentation of financial transactions and failures to govern), this journalist has utterly squandered the opportunity to practice journalism by resorting to the same shallow sect-based arguments as the politicians she criticizes.

Here is the rest of my comment, posted at the bottom of the piece, which is wrong for a lot of other reasons:

The central problem with this article is that it has no sources and thus offers no basis for its bombastic and irresponsible claims. How does one gauge what “the majority” think? Has this writer done any research on opinion polls or other indicators or does she just claim “to know?” Clearly she has not done much reading of history or current affairs if she believes that Christian leaders do not seek and receive support from foreign governments, which has been a hallmark of political behavior in Lebanon, particularly among Christian movements. 

And on what basis does she claim Christians (all or most?) seek secular governance? What then does she make of the discourse of “Christian rights” which has been heavily promoted by many political parties here. 

Then there is the utterly superficial logic that just because the majority of Lebanon identifies with a certain faith, that faith is at the root of problems. That’s like saying the US and its military is one of the world’s most violent forces because its population is Christian. 

The author is only right to point out the widespread production of fear hinders national reconciliation and facilitates foreign intervention–but Christian politicians are just as much participants in this as Lebanese leaders of any other faith. In fact, the hunt for power by Lebanese warlords, feudal dynasties and businessmen is more about greed and self-interest than secularism or religion. Lebanese leaders act with impunity because we lack systems of accountability. Simply put, you can get away with murder in Lebanon and many of our politicians of all faiths have done so. This is where journalism can play a wonderful role, by demanding and writing about accountability rather than make vague and un-researched claims that promote sectarian arguments. I highly recommend the author and her editor read a great book by Edward Said called Orientalism to become more familiar with the logic of Orientalism and Islamophobia which this piece consciously or subsconsciously promotes.