Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘religious caste system

What socio-political reforms for Lebanon? (Part 2)

Mind you this article was Posted on December 3, 2008

What Republic does Lebanon have? Lebanon has no republic except the official name: Lebanon has no strong central government to spread the general good to all its citizens or impose its laws to all its 18 religious castes systems. (Even all personal status, (birth, mariage, death..) is controlled and managed by the religious sect)

There are various concepts for republics, but the common denominator is that what is good for the largest majority is good to the individual. And there are no such benefit or purposes in Lebanon.

My brand of Republic is to give the citizens choices and opportunities to decide among the public and private institutions that offer competitive levels of services in quality and performance.

Except in education: Religious-based sects should Not be allowed to institute private schools. In any case, every private school is linked to a religious type of ideology, even those claiming to be secular. Actually, in Germany there are No private schools: the State funds and invest heavily on the best educational public schools.

The citizen or family does not have to opt exclusively for public or private institutions such as schools, universities, hospitals, insurance, health coverage, industries…, but he can have a mix of loyalties that relate best to their individual reflection for the present and for the future (availability of opportunities)

What could be considered best now might not project any benefit for a sustainable society.

A Republic should invest enough to compete with private institutions without targeting certain sectors for hegemony. Otherwise, society might be confronted with a heavy elite class of bureaucrats, a long time nemesis in any institution.

The system should be balanced to entice the private sector to compete fairly.  This tag of war between public and private competition for quality and performance is the most beneficial system to achieving stable capacity for development.

Does Lebanon have democracy, which means that the individual is the most powerful element during the municipal and legislative elections?

Not really. Democracy in Lebanon is farcical: individuals follow the caste orders and feudal/sectarian lords. The few free minded “citizens” are no match to what we call “The bulldozer factor” of caste selection for representatives.

The election laws are utterly biased toward the caste system:  the system of proportionality has been rejected again and again.  Most of our political parties are confessionals; the secular parties have hard time overcoming the biased electoral laws.

In modern democracies, claims of communities and syndicates are heard and negotiated under an established and respected Constitution and the laws of the land; not so in Lebanon.

Our syndicates are mirror images of our caste system in their representative system and behavior.

Actually, universities degrees are not recognized until you register into the appropriate professional syndicate. 

There are many professions without a syndicate or a legitimate association for the government to acknowledge them in State institutions or even for stamping the profession on the passport!

What is considered a “majority” in a democracy?

What is the appropriate time span to revise the decision of a “majority?

What are the conditions and situations that forces upon a democracy to revise decisions?

What is the efficient balance between duration to exercising authority and needs to infuse the administrations with new and fresh figures?

What is certain is that when a homogeneous group, caste, party, or syndicate is consistently at odd with the policies of a Republic then, the Republic is not functioning properly because that reflect a tendency that no intensive efforts are invested in communicating and dialoguing with the “minority” groups.

The Lebanese also want to grow up and take on their responsibilities

This has gone eyond suffocation: Traditional “leaders” decided Lebanon to be a “Non-State”

In the last four months, the “Arabic” speaking people grew up quickly:  They decided it is about time to share in the political decisions of the political regimes; they decided to be responsible citizens, to be determined and steadfast in non-violent marches, and violent if need be, to stand tall in shedding blood and sacrifices to have their will come through.  The Lebanese people want to grow up too: They want to be citizens first and responsible for a recognized State.

Since independence in 1943, Lebanon functioned as a non-State.  Lebanon created a facade for governments just to let diplomatic games to be carried out as a recognized State by the UN.  But foreign States knew better:  They were playing the game and getting amused demanding impossible requirements..

Currently, and for a year now, Lebanon has dropped the facade.  The rationale of the traditional leaders is “if there is no government, foreign States would feel totally ridiculous imposing pressures and demands on Lebanon”.

The traditional leaders figured out that “if we have agreed among ourselves that no civil war is to be permitted, the army is strong enough to maintain law and order for the benefit of the upper classes and the mercantile oligarchies to prosper…”

That is how the traditional leaders, backed by the real power behind them, particularly the religious castes and the financial institutions loaning money to the State to function precariously, think this best option for Lebanon to survive as is!  The religious castes own 50% of the land and define our identity from birth to death; the banks loan the State at outrageous interest rates, and the common “citizen” watches the debt growing at three folds the GNP.

The people have a different comprehension of the consequences of this non-State option:  The people in Lebanon are getting smarter in matter of political existence and are realizing that things have to change.  The people is thinking loudly: “If even the facade of a non-State cannot be created, we will rebuild a State from the ground up and eliminate all these parasites that confiscated our responsibilities and treated us as kids, simply because we had refused to grow up”

The youth have been marching with slogans such as “We want to change the religious caste system”  This fundamental and straightforward demand is already outdated. The new slogan is: “We want to be responsible citizens and we want to change our archaic political and social structure as fitting dignified and intelligent people.  We demand the impossible because it is the only way to get what we want, and we can do it.”

Reforming the system, one block at a time, is out the window.  Why, do we have another hundred years to live as a people to wait in patience, indignity, and famine so satisfy our oligarchies?

What socio-political reforms for Lebanon? (Part 3, December 2, 2008)

 Any serious reforms in Lebanon have to be snatched through a grass root movement, working for the long haul.  With the failure of the secular political parties to making any headway, after over 75 years of their foundation, it is paramount that a new secular movement be created under fundamental principals.

Theoretically, we should discriminate among leaders, political and social; we should differentiate among the leader who is secular at heart but act confessional; the leader who is secular at heart but talks confessional; and the leader who is confessional at heart but talks secular.  The bottom line is that all our leaders never dared submit a secular law to the Parliament or tried to form a coalition of secular parties and associations.

The fundamental basis for this movement is to consider the common denominators that the new generations, in most religious castes, are ready to agree with.  The leading value is social and political equitableness, which is the under current of all the philosophical and moral concepts of equality, freedom, liberty, democracy, justice, security and the rest.  Citizens want to be listened to seriously and for their opinions to be considered at their just values after deep reflection and investment in time and energy.

 First of all, the new movement has to declare its loyalty to the recognized State of Lebanon by the United Nations.  This movement should not be used as a platform for discussions on whether Lebanon is a Nation or not a nation or what are the basis for being labeled, Phoenician, Syrian, Arab, Moslem, or the dozen other exotic sources for an exclusive and elusive identity.  Tiny Lebanon is one of over 170 States recognized by the UN that has no basis to be a nation in population or land sizes.

The notion of a nation is real and will still exist for years to come.  I suggest that the study of our nationality be done in study groups of individuals who are interested enough to read, invest time and energy to discuss and dialogue and analyze.  Failure to instituting serious study groups, it is tantamount to return to our current states of affairs of dogmatism and infantile demagoguery.

 Second, the movement should recognize plainly and bluntly the reality of our current socio-political system, analyze it clearly and then never bring that subject again.  The new movement should not be used as promotional medium for the confessional parties to inculcate our religious caste system, through repetition, into our psychic. Consequently, the members of the new movement are not to even indulge public challenges based on caste and confessional platforms or through the audio-visual communication media.  To the general public, we may confidently say that we studied the system, we acknowledged its shortcoming, we set it behind us, and we resumed the struggle according to programs and plans.

Confessionalism, feudalism, sectarianism and all the “isms” will be around for many years.  Approaching and confronting these realities should be done under serious study groups.

 Third, the members are Lebanese who are striving for a modern civil society and central civil status register and working to instituting civil marriage laws and inheritance programs.  Any program that tends to open up the communication lines among castes is good enough to start with.  Any program that facilitates inner trade and association is good enough for a start.




March 2023

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