PM Mikati Holds Consultations with MPs, Blocs Over Govn’t Formation Gallup Poll: World’s Angriest Country is Lebanon Kinopolitics and the Myth of Borders
PM Mikati Holds Consultations with MPs, Blocs Amid ‘Urgent’ Need for Govn’t Formation This week, Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati held several rounds of non-binding consultations with various parliamentary blocs regarding the formation of a new government. [Naharnet] While most Parliamentarians stressed the urgency of forming a new government amid Lebanon’s debilitating and worsening economic crisis, other MPs denounced any configuration of a ‘national-unity’ government, stressing instead the need for a ‘government made up of independents’. [L’Orient Today]
The unwise bickering among parliamentarians and with government officials better stop before it’s too late. This country will be bankrupt within a year if compromise among various competing groups is not found. There are several important issues which must be addressed in the coming weeks – IMF priority legislation, maritime border negotiations, formation of a caretaker government, and parliamentarian coalitions coming together to move legislation forward. While avenues toward Lebanon’s recovery and reform still exist, policymakers of all stripes better wake up by putting their country above their political ambitions and allegiances – and soon. If not, this failure will be on their hands.
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel
Gallup Poll on Global ‘Emotional Temperature’: World’s Angriest Country is Lebanon Based on figures published through Statista, Gallup’s Global Emotions poll observed that Lebanon is the world’s angriest country, followed closely by Turkey. The data used in the report came from surveys of 1000 individuals across over 100 countries, aged 15 and older, in which respondents were asked whether they had experienced anger in the past 24 hours, alone. In Lebanon, 49% of all respondents answered ‘yes’. [Statista]
Well, wouldn’t you be angry too, considering nothing has gotten better? The elections have been a source of both hope and frustration. Energy is projected to be better in the spring – doubling from 4 to 8 hours, depending on who is doing the calculation. The maritime negotiations continue dragging on, Syria continues shipping drugs to Lebanon as an intermediary for markets in the Gulf and Europe, and the judicial system is effectively torn between politics and justice – not very promising. Come on, Lebanon! The people want positive actions to rebuild trust and hope.
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Kinopolitics and the Myth of Borders: How Ukraine Shapes Lebanon’s Refugee Landscape Jasmin Lilian Diab highlights how the Russia-Ukraine conflict has not only led to new refugee crises, but has exacerbated existing ones, especially in the greater Middle East region. For Lebanon in particular, the more than 23.4 million people in need of humanitarian aid – which includes vulnerable Lebanese, Palestinians, and Syrians – have been hard hit by the overwhelming economic ramifications of the war in Ukraine on the global food and energy markets. Moreover, Diab makes a larger observation about the erratically shifting focus of the international community on humanitarian crises across the globe, and the unhelpful partialities that emerge when some groups of refugees are characterized as ‘civilized’, while others are overlooked and forgotten. [Wilson Center]
The costs of the war in Ukraine have gone far beyond its borders. Syrian and Palestinian refugees as well as the Lebanese are collectively facing growing food scarcity and declining international assistance as funds are increasingly diverted to the more than 6.8 million Ukrainians displaced by the war. On top of their humanitarian needs, the issue of human dignity again becomes critical as the new refugees, the “civilized” ones, are pitted against those from largely Muslim countries who are otherized. People -all people – deserve to be protected against the ravages of largely man-made disasters, especially in these challenging times for so many around the world.
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.