Lebanon, it's time to take a look at yourself

Lebanon, it's time to take a look at yourself
2 min read
14 Apr, 2015
Comment: The Lebanese have blamed various foreign forces for its myriad problems, including its civil war. Well, it's time to look in the mirror, says Nader Fawz.
Syrian refugees have replaced Palestinians as the bete noir [AFP]
Those suffering from internal conflict could learn much from Lebanon's experience. The Lebanese lied to themselves when they announced the end of their civil war, as if bringing down the barricades ended the myriad feuds.

Large segments of society still believe that Lebanon's civil war was a foreign plot, and most politicians are happy to label it "the war of others on our land" - Palestinians and Syrians fit neatly into this narrative.

Lebanese are strong believers in conspiracy. Today, Lebanese from all sects and political affiliations point the finger at refugees of the Syrian war as a threat to their country.

Christians believe that Palestinian kheffiyeh of the civil war has been replaced by the Syrian flag. The Shias feel threatened because the refugees are largely Sunni. Lebanese Sunnis have also found the refugees to be a heavy burden.
     But there are major disparities between the Palestinians refugees of last century and the Syrians of today.

But there are major disparities between the Palestinians refugees of last century and the Syrians of today.

Even if someone believes claims that the PLO wanted to declare a Palestinian state in the rubble of the Lebanon, do the Syrian people have the same objective in mind today?

They have a state which they are struggling to restore from the Assad regime and the extremists. Such a fear is baseless - no one is funding it, it doesn't have support nor a strong leader, no weapons are arriving in the tented camps where they live.

Still, the Lebanese continue to search for a foreign element on which to blame their conflicts and disputes.

Many warn that certain Lebanese parties are acting as if the country is once again in a state of civil war. Syria has is almost a Lebanese internal affair and thus it is very difficult to evade its fire when it is kindled by a Lebanese faction.

But Lebanon must be prepared to look at itself, rather than search for a foreign plot, to find the answer to the troubles it has today. 

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.