Lebanon Needs A Truth Commission


By Ghassan Karam Special to Ya Libnan

“If It ain’t broke don’t fix it” is an expression that has spread globally in a relatively short period of time, 33 years if one is to accept that its first popular use was in 1977. The message implied by this idiom is not to be dismissed as being only a superficial statement that is attractively constructed. No siree.  This is a pithy expression that can explain succinctly the forces behind the dynamic for change in any field of endeavour. When things are working and delivering what is expected of them then usually no one devotes any substantial capital, time or effort to reengineer or change the procedure that has successfully delivered a good or service on time and as per specifications. The time for research and development becomes apparent as soon as expectations are no longer met or as soon as there is an obvious flaw in the traditional process. The Valdez led to double hull tankers, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island led to a total review of how to build and run a nuclear power plant, the global financial meltdown of two years ago is leading to all kinds of new regulations and obviously the current two crisis will lead to an overhaul in how to drill for oil at great depths and what kind of metrics are acceptable in sovereign debt.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it but if it is broke then you better find a different and superior way of resolving the problem. Restoring the old order is not an acceptable solution because if it broke once then it will break again.  What we have to do is to recognize the forces that led to the anomaly and thus adopt a resolution that is capable of moving the state of affairs forward.  But this forward evolution is not possible unless those individuals or institutions that have created the problem are held liable for their misdeeds. It is crucially important to realize that those that were part of the problem cannot be part of the solution. Had they been able to be part of the solution then the problem would not have taken place to start with.

What is true of nuclear power plants, tankers, and financial systems is also true of political structures. A young state such as Lebanon has been moving from one crisis to the next ever since its inception over sixty years ago. It has yet to find a stable government that is responsive to the needs of its citizens and that has the power to extend its rule over all its regions, as small as they might be.  One simple explanation for all of these persistent failures in governance is the refusal to admit that the problem is systemic and therefore the solution cannot retain the privileges and power of those that have created the current dysfunctional state.

At times change does not take place because those that have failed do not recognize their failure and so they cling to power at any cost. But, and I say this in all seriousness, it looks that our revolutionary job in Lebanon might not be as hard as many project. Take a listen to the attached video and you might be shocked to hear one of our most eloquent and charismatic political feudal lords confess to the costly, barbaric and grotesque crimes that he and all the other political leaders in Lebanon have committed. He even goes as far as to ask that all of them should be put on trial for the egregious acts that they (political feudal lords) have precipitated.  Lebanon will not know peace and tranquility until all the traditional leaders are removed from office and prohibited from dealing with politics for the rest of their lives.  Nothing short of a total change in the cast of characters and the architecture of the system will do.

Thank you Mr. Jumblatt for your confession and for implicating all the rest (Gemayels, Beri, Geagea, AounFrangieh…)





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