Lost in semantics

File - Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, center, meets with lawmakers at his residence in Beirut, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament Website, HO)

As Friday’s ninth policy statement meeting drew to a close, without conclusion, the Lebanese were left wondering what difference the drafting of such a document will make either way.

Having taken 10 months to form a government, a task that realistically could have been completed within 10 days, those in power are now stalling once again, playing with words and semantics in attempt to win the most ground for whichever party or side they represent.

But everyone knows that sooner or later the policy statement will be drawn up, a task required by the Constitution, and it will then be passed to the Parliament for a vote of support. And similarly, everyone is sure this document will represent a compromise: It is not possible for each side to achieve all their wishes.

As inevitable as this outcome may be, this current procrastination is dangerous, and the government cannot afford to stall any longer. Just as the tardy formation of a government brought the country to the brink – in terms of security, the economy and international relations – this current stalling threatens to do the same.

The country cannot afford to tread water and wait for the government to do its job. All ministries need urgent attention.

The policy statement itself is virtually meaningless. To look at all the statements over the years is to see a list of almost fantastical hopes and dreams; aims and designs rarely carried out, if even genuinely set in the first place.

So let a policy statement, no matter what it says, be drafted soon, so that at least some of the mountain of everyday problems facing Lebanon can finally be addressed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 08, 2014, on page 7.




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