The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Q Nabki on “self-regulating” Lebanon and its pitfalls

I have always had a problem with this formulation below which Qifa Nabki lays out and which he, in part, attributes to Michael Young.

The central problem is that finding solace and functionality in lebanon’s divided, multi polar, self-regulating, and “crossing each others’ encroachments out” system is a particularly narrow, elite view of life in the country.

It does work for Achrafieh intellectuals, for foreigners like myself, for visitors and of course for wealthy people in general.

But the system does NOT work for the overwhelming number of citizens, even if it holds out the rhetoric and reality of some limited personal freedoms and movement. This is one essential problem with Young’s argument in his book – it takes a dim view on the expressed desires of huge segments of the population and revels in the way an elite driven system opens up space for personal freedom.

Q says:

“Finally, our politicians, as odious as they are, hardly constitute a unitary and hegemonic “regime”. For all of Lebanon’s problems — a weak central authority, political and economic corruption, clericalism, foreign influence, sectarian structures and mindsets, patronage networks, etc. — it remains a multi-polar arena, with all the “self-regulating” mechanisms that such a structure engenders. Would I trade this brand of dysfunction for the challenges facing reformers in Egypt, Libya, or Syria? I don’t think I would. Thoughts?

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

September 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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