A White Ballot
Like the regime of the Syrian Arab Republic, Lebanon’s regime has lost the ability to stand its ground and is only resisting collapse thanks to the push and pull forces that secure its balance. Therefore, any talk about the electoral law would be considered charlatanry and a deviation from the main subject.
But for the sake of amusement, let us allow to ask the following:
- What is meant by what one has called “components of the Lebanese society”? Do the Maronite, or the Orthodox, or the Sunni, or the Shia’a make a one component each? Does a Shia’a citizen elect Shia’a peers due to sectarian bias or to specific preferences and needs pertaining to security, interest, and fear for the future? What is it that connects the Orthodox in Koura to those in Marjeyoun? Is it the shared concern about the pollution induced by the dust and dynamite of cement companies? Are the smoke-billows emitted by the Zouk power plant an exclusive honor awarded to the Maronite of Kessrouan, or rather to the environment of Lebanon at large?
- What does “fair representation” imply? That, according to the Orthodox proposition, a Shia’a husband or wife would not be able to elect his/her Sunni spouse, for “fair considerations” that we fail to understand?
- Statistics published in The Monthly in issue number 62, September 2007 on the “Fall of Maronite Nation and Rise of Sunni and Shia’a” reveal that the number of registered Christians in Lebanon is likely to continue its downslide to less than 10%. Which electoral law would ensure their representation in that case?
- What about the Sunni of Beirut who once felt sick at hearing the name “Jean” at the Mourabitoun checkpoints? How will they react when prevented from proving the purity of their Arabian blood by electing Nadim Bashir Gemayel, to spite the Shia’a?
- Why has the electoral law been changed 8 times since 1943?
- What if Lebanon’s Parliament was dissolved and replaced by a Senate consisting of 7 princes or Zu’ama?
- What if the norm was reversed and the “Muslims” elected the “Christian” or vice versa?
- What have the successive parliaments accomplished since 1991? Can we trust an authority standing helpless as to calling the government to account or stripping it of its constitutionality for failing to live up to its most evident duties, such as approving a public budget or finalizing a law to curb encroachments on coastal property?
- What if the elections were held on a yearly basis and the economy flourished thanks to the consistent funds pumped to fuel the electoral process?
- Who would represent those who removed their sect from their IDs or chose to succumb to the sect of Lebanon only? Why can’t we give those the same right accorded to the rest of the sects, knowing that they outnumber the Druze and Catholic minorities?
How do we survive at a time where not one Za’im speaks out his willingness to build a state, even at the cost of losing his seat and NGOs prove incapable of uniting their vision? How do we survive in an era where the SSNP and the communist parties have become sect-oriented transgressors and the intellectuals turned into puppets manipulated by the rich? How do we survive at a time where our youths grow ignorant of their language and history and where we all evolve into jokers performing pathetic plays on a stage destined to burn down and send us all to inescapable doom.
The matter is simply a matter of which nation we want, away from a void rhetoric extolling false virtues of a mythical representation. Let us persist in our quacks and delusions if what we aspire to is heinous wars, rough roads, poor electricity, mediocre education, medical and engineering malpractices, flagrant violations of the law and the environment and rampant corruption of the souls and minds of people. However, a sound and solid state requires a Parliament free from sectarian representation as postulated in the Taif Agreement. Otherwise, have enough nerve to call for an alternate constitution and outline its provisions.
As long as citizens are treated as a herd of cattle, the white ballot shall remain the choice of those who have none or rather those who choose to hold their heads high.