Monday, May 12th, 2008
By Qifa Nabki
It is tempting to regard the political stalemate that has gripped Lebanon for the past seventeen months – with all of its futile spats and squabbles, accusations and recriminations – as yet another example of the mundane and self-destructive charade of Lebanese democracy. The level of discourse among the political elite has fallen so low that it is often scarcely distinguishable from the sloganeering of propagandists and the taunts of schoolyard bullies.
However, what is often lost in the day-to-day analysis of Lebanon’s current despair and hopelessness, is the extent to which its paralysis stems, paradoxically, from two moments of staggering hopefulness. Beneath the surface clutter of parliamentary sessions postponed, foreign sponsors maligned, and electoral laws rejected, lie two emotional currents of deep nationalist aspiration, two currents which flow beneath the landscape of Lebanese politics like parallel subterranean rivers, welling up and intersecting at various points, then diverging once again and disappearing from sight....