The moral high ground is a cold, lonely and often unpopular place to be. I am marching towards it with uneasy footsteps, mindful as I am that this may not be the time to be heading that way.
I believe that yesterday was the worst day in the history of the Lebanese Republic, and trust me, it's got competition. Yesterday, whatever remnants of decency – never mind legality – that still existed in our body politic were sacrificed at the altar of expediency. Yesterday we prostituted that poor toilet paper of a Constitution yet one more time. Yesterday, the very reason why Rafic Hariri died, was being peddled by his own party – a party that he probably would now disown – as the way out of the current crisis. Yesterday the very same people who were occupying that moral high ground I’m heading for, the very same people who had been presenting themselves as guardians of legality were preparing to tear the law books to shreds. And yesterday the same people who had said they wanted Michel Suleiman as president looked like the same people who will oppose his appointment.
Just like governments all over the world invoke “national security” to cover the various abuses and crimes, the Lebanese will call on that old dog, “ta nokhlass” (to get it over and done with). Because, regardless of that moral high ground, everyone living in Lebanon will tell you that we’ve had enough. So much that we’ll compromise on almost anything to get out of the hole we’re in. That’s why pontificating from the heights of an ivory tower will not exactly make you popular around here. But people get the leaders they deserve, says the old adage. And if we are in this situation, we have nobody else to blame, because we turned off our brains when we listened to Nasrallah, we turned on latent sectarianism when we voted for Aoun and ignored all the warning signs when we brought in Saad Hariri.
Meanwhile, the circus goes on in Beirut. And what a nauseating sight: as allegiances switch (Michel Murr flirting with M14, would you believe it), as principles vanish and laws get furiously re-written, Gen. Suleiman sits smugly, ready to grab the banana republic his election will create. And little does he know, the poor sod, that the people placing him on the chair are also tying Damocles’ sword over his head: one wrong move, general, and the very same illegality that gave you the seat will be invoked to unseat you.