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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Aoun 's Descent from Reality into the Twilight Zone

While his country remains torn by incompetence, corruption, and the refusal of the establishment to cede one inch of its grip on money and power; while the legislative elections have missed their deadline for a third time in as many years because Aoun's fellow politicians are unable to reach a consensus (because they know that any reform of the rotten legislative process will make them lose their power); while the country's natural resources continue to be raped by none other than the very ministers that sit in his government and the very MPs with whom his political cronies share parliament; while the situation is fast approaching a disaster of wars, failure of government......; somehow President Aoun remains optimistic.

Why is that?

For one, he is old and age has a way to begin altering one's cognitive grip on reality.

Two, Aoun has waited all his life to become president, and now that he is president he wants desperately to convince himself that everything else has become spiffy because he has reached his own goal.

I surmise that, because of these two factors, Aoun is slowly becoming detached from the reality of his own people and the abysmal state of affairs of everything in this country. Granted, one has to have strong beliefs in order to try and make them a reality, but rather than constantly patting his own back every day about how great the country is, Aoun should take firm stances - like the ones he used to take in his early political career - and confront those who persist in sacking his presidential term.

Aoun was a master at letting things reach a crisis point, out of principle perhaps, but also because , as they say in Lebanese, ما بتصغر إلا ما تكبر  A crisis must reach its paroxysm before a solution is found.

So where is Aoun today? Why doesn't he confront Berri and his kingdom? Why doesn't he personally speak out against the barbarity and corruption that are pervasive in the daily life of Lebanon? When Bashir Gemayel (whom Aoun followed as the foremost leader against the Syrian occupation) was elected president in 1982, he sent jolts through the entire Lebanese administration: Corruption stopped, public employees started going to work on time, everyone headed Gemayel's threats that he was not going to tolerate corruption. Why is Aoun not sending the same message of strength?

Aoun is more interested in securing his legacy. He wrote a book apparently. Just today he made a statement to the effect that "Lebanon has recovered its well-being after [his] presidential election and the formation of a government,  and was able to preserve its stability and security in confronting terrorism and the Israeli threat". Of course, the allusion to the "Israeli threat" is the standard taboo that all politicians parrot around to appease Hezbollah. Never mind that Aoun used to feel sorry for the Israelis when they were the object of Palestinian suicide attacks back in the early 2000s, and that Aoun used to say that Hezbollah was a proxy, a pretext imposed on Lebanon by Syria, and that the Israeli occupation of Shebaa (a pretext for Hezbollah's continued existence as a paramilitary force outside the control of the Lebanese Army) was a hoax...

Live and learn, they say. Aoun may be more interested right now in the legacy he leaves behind as he contemplates the last years of his life. I do not expect much of the "strong" president he was heralded to be, because an old man may get increasingly confused.


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