Lebanon’s March 14 coalition will commemorate the anniversary of its launch Friday at a critical juncture in its nine-year history, as it faces challenges on both the internal and external fronts.
Internally, the alliance continues to struggle to establish a fully fledged institutional framework, while its various members have different views on various issues. However, these problems can be addressed fairly easily, if there is a will to make March 14 more of a cohesive political force. In the end, the divisions that do exist are relatively minor ones, compared to the agreement on the alliance’s guiding principles.
On the external front, though, March 14 politicians should realize that for the foreseeable future, a large number of Lebanese do not share their beliefs and demands. Therefore, they should extend their hands to other groups, because no side in Lebanon can cancel out others, no matter how much they are at odds.
The search for common ground and the task of building on this common ground in order to move the country forward aren’t easy ones, but they represent a strategy based on strength, not weakness. Politicians should be secure enough in their beliefs and demands to realize when compromises can be made without harming core principles.
Some people might make unflattering comparisons between the March 14 of today and of yesteryear, but the reasons the movement emerged – the need for sovereignty, justice and coexistence – are still there. The sooner that March 14 figures rely on these fundamental needs of the Lebanese people and create a more dynamic, forward-thinking movement, the better.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 14, 2014, on page 7.