Editorial

All the king’s men

The Presidential Palace in Baabda. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

It’s the season of joy, reflection and good will, with the air filled with warmth and humbleness, as we hand presents to our loved ones.

In this spirit, we propose that those who wish to see the president and his entourage succeed present them with a special gift: a single volume of the Lebanese Constitution in Arabic, French, English and Armenian, as well as Braille for good measure.

Even a simplified edition would do, so the president’s advisers can light the way for their boss, especially when treading in rarely visited alleys of Lebanese politics, jurisdiction and national unity controversies. It should, in fact, be the bible for senior influencers at the presidential palace.

In fact, it is reputed that decades ago Fouad Chehab, another ex-Army general who at the time was elected president by 98 percent of Parliament, took the Constitution to bed with him.

Lebanon now is suffering from decisions made recently at the highest level that contradict many articles of that book, and are tantamount to political sacrilege.

But although it has caused shock and angst, a simmering storm was contained in order to spare regime in these turbulent times, on the assumption it was an innocent slip of the tongue.

However, violations of the Constitution have become a pattern that threatens to upend the entire system, and as such the president’s advisers are urged restraint lest they burn down the entire house.

Today, Lebanese of all sects are in distress at every level, and they could do without violations that could spark confrontations, shaking the foundations of the establishment and sinking the country even further.

We need our top officials to address the challenges facing the nation with wisdom and responsibility, as statesmen shedding delinquent ambitions at a time when Lebanon is in dire need of respect for our values, transparency, ethics and Constitution.

Otherwise, if the regime, intoxicated by false power, insists on ignoring these rules, then we had better prepare the lifeboats because this ship is going down.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 27, 2019, on page 1.

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