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Changing the Lebanese Political System: What are the Alternatives to the Present Sectarian System

Rafidi

Legendary Member
Agree with everything, except that secularism was never a weapon used by Christians. Christians used to talk about secularism because they saw it as a solution against islamization, while giving Muslims equal rights to Christians.

Christians don't want secularism anymore, because they realized it is Muslims who will use secularism as a weapon. With a "one man one vote" system that does not offer sectarian protection, Muslims can effectively take all the power under the guise of secularism.

A Shia forumer once even said that he prefers an Islamic state, but if he can't have that, he'll take secularism over a sectarian power sharing agreement. Because he knows very well that a sectarian power sharing agreement will safeguard the Christian's share of power, while secularism won't.

In any case, all this talk is useless. The country has sunk so low that it would take a miracle to make it liveable again.

With a secular state, religion takes a backseat. And a position will naturally have a head and a deputy from the two religions to depict coexistence and tolerance.

I really dont understand how the present apartheid governing system makes the life of the average christian more amazing than that of the average Muslim. Its a mess for everyone.
 

Dark Angel

Legendary Member
When you speak of "our"... You forget that you are a second class citizen even among your fellow Christians. You are an armenian. You are more or less a lesser citizen than the other lesser citizens in this retarded political system in Lebanon. You are not only lesser in terms of religion (being a non-maronite), you are also seen and treated and considered lesser in terms of ethnicity (being non-Arabic). Even among you as " Christians", the masters are the maronites. You are just a sheep.
aremenians are very well respected in Christian communities, they are appreciated for the role they play in our economy and for the unblemished dedication to the Lebanese interests, they are even presented as the model citizen, not to mention the empathy and the admiration they receive because of their plight and how they overcame it. i am not sure where that idea of yours comes from, but it is only reality in some backward and militia like circles, it is the very frowned upon exception. this leg of your argument, the one i read, is definitely wrong.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
If I can have a country with a good economy and a good living standard and good life in general, without the need to go abroad to work, please we can have a president with executive powers (not a cardboard president) from any religion, and all the twenty four ministers from the same religion, if that would guaranty the prosperity of the country and fairness for all without religious discrimination. Everything should be merited.
 
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Rafidi

Legendary Member
aremenians are very well respected in Christian communities, they are appreciated for the role they play in our economy and for the unblemished dedication to the Lebanese interests, they are even presented as the model citizen, not to mention the empathy and the admiration they receive because of their plight and how they overcame it. i am not sure where that idea of yours comes from, but it is only reality in some backward and militia like circles, it is the very frowned upon exception. this leg of your argument, the one i read, is definitely wrong.

Yes. And I do respect them too. But the point is institutionally, they are disrespected and relegated. The country has laws in place that are an affront to every community, including the Maronites, Sunnis and Shia. No one is happy, other than the za3im. That's why you see everyone in the same government and everyone blaming that same government in which he is part and parcel. Its ridiculous.
 

LiNk

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
The question of "popular maturity", as you call it, is exactly what sectarian warlords and politicians use to ensure a continuation of the sectarian system in place. That is only an excuse. Those mature among the people must put the needed pressure on the sectarian icons in the state to make the needed change and normalize the polity and government institutions in Lebanon to build a viable state for all citizens based on equal respect, opportunities and acceptance. If the pressure is not exerted and the sensitization is not made, we will live for another fifty years and claim we are not mature enough. It is time to accept that we are mature and what is required to lead the country is being lebanese and not coming from one religion or the other. The main stumbling block could be arms outside the state. And even that can be solved with a defense strategy that would institutionalize the resistance to occupation as a major concern for citizens who live in the south and to round up all weapons outside state control. In the first place, it is this governance based on racism and divisions that led to a part of the country feeling marginalized and neglected and seeing the need, vacancy and urgency to pick up weapons and defend the land.

Good points. What I'm calling popular maturity is linked to the extent of popular participation and investment into the system and obviously the very important issue of trust. or the lack thereof to be precise. I guess you would agree that a minimal amount of trust is central to any such agreement that could push things forward.

Solving the issue of Hezbollah's weapons is the biggest example. What are the conditions that could motivate Hezbollah to embark on such a path? Why would Hezbollah trust other parties and share with them decision-marking, with many having close relationships with its regional enemies? Unless a major deal happens in the region and they are forced to compromise, that doesn't sound realistic at all.

I focused on Hezbollah because it is of first-order importance and as it seemed most relevant to you. But in the same manner, other communities have similar issues of trust as well. @JB81 's comment is an example. In short, I believe that a step by step approach built on respect, the acceptance that we might have different views and without contradicting major regional considerations, would be more realistic.

To be practical, pushing for a fair representation of those who were disenfranchised during the Syrian era was a first good step as it partially re-establishes trust and increases participation. Introducing a proportional element into our electoral law, in spite of its flaws, is another example of a positive action because it breaks the hegemony of larger parties and resizes them to their fair dimension.

Another element that enhances trust is being open to publicly discuss any vision regarding the Lebanese system without being treated of an "irreligious bastard" or "Zionist scum" - this includes secularism and federalism.

Building trust also starts with the behavior of each of us. It can also start on this forum with a proper discussion culture. So thank you for that.
 

!Aoune32

Well-Known Member
I think the goal should be a functional governing structure. If giving back the president some powers would be aligned with that goal, so be it.

In a functional structure, I think all three positions - President, PM and Speaker - could be subject to rotation. There's no reason for Christians to gain favorable treatment, especially if there's a higher authority voted based on the Orthodox law and supervising major strategic decisions.

The power struggle between the top 3 positions is amplified due to the religious affiliation of each and the pressure that arises from that confessional representation. The assumption I'm making is that rotation would reduce political friction and transfer it to somewhere where it could be on the long-run more productive - for example to the council of ministers.

I don't see how the points you've raised regarding parliament would be linked to implementing rotation. In my opinion parliament should stay as is until we achieve an acceptable leap forward in terms of political and social culture.

I disagree to be honest. This is the only place the christians are strong politically. Rotating the Presidents will just get rid of our power. We need the head of state to stay christian with some powers and the head of the senate kameina. There can be a rotation between the PM and Speaker if need be.
 

LiNk

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
I disagree to be honest. This is the only place the christians are strong politically. Rotating the Presidents will just get rid of our power. We need the head of state to stay christian with some powers and the head of the senate kameina. There can be a rotation between the PM and Speaker if need be.

I understand your point but the President is not really the head of the state anymore. We've all witnessed a minister openly challenging the president and the latter couldn't override him. Actually, no one is heading the state and there is no real chain of command. A Syrian masterpiece to keep their foothold as a referee within our system. As they say: ضايعة الطاسة

My observation is that each of the top 3 positions, in addition to key ministries such as the interior and finance, have a direct impact on the exertion of executive power. I'd rather be regularly represented in any half of such top positions than only have a voice in a powerless president that is not empowered to impose any kind of decision.
 

!Aoune32

Well-Known Member
I understand your point but the President is not really the head of the state anymore. We've all witnessed a minister openly challenging the president and the latter couldn't override him. Actually, no one is heading the state and there is no real chain of command. A Syrian masterpiece to keep their foothold as a referee within our system. As they say: ضايعة الطاسة

My observation is that each of the top 3 positions, in addition to key ministries such as the interior and finance, have a direct impact on the exertion of executive power. I'd rather be regularly represented in any half of such top positions than only have a voice in a powerless president that is not empowered to impose any kind of decision.

Hence i am asking for some powers of the President to be returned. :)
But I am with the President to have 1/3+1 of the gov to block any decision.
For me the President should be christian and 1 power needs to be returned. That is he can return any law or machrou3 to Parliament and they have to review it not this 30 day bullshit. The constitutional council needs to be disbanded.

The senate if the President is given this power I wouldnt be against a rotation between the catholic, orthodox, druze sects with half christian half muslim. Parliament drops to 100 and no sect allotment.

Aslan even now no one is really in power. It is a gov of ALL and nothing is done without everyone agreeing.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
Good points. What I'm calling popular maturity is linked to the extent of popular participation and investment into the system and obviously the very important issue of trust. or the lack thereof to be precise. I guess you would agree that a minimal amount of trust is central to any such agreement that could push things forward.

100℅ correct.

Trust is very important.

I think to promote trust, certain measures, which are not primary but secondary need to be enshrined into law. A new, progressive and modern constitution is needed. The current set of leaders/warlords and politicians are the main obstacle to a progressive Lebanon. A law placing age limit on govt posts is very much needed. We cannot afford to have a speaker who serves for forty years or a prime minister who will serve for life. Take for instance both hariri and berri. Berri has served as speaker since 1992. Hariri snr, if not assassinated could have still remained a contender for PM post. His son has been in the limelight for the last thirteen years. And come to think of it, someone like him thinks he has moral ground to criticize bashar al Assad. Saad will likely not mind to be PM for the next thirty years!!! Is there no sunni deserving to lead? There is even need to regulate political parties to prevent political inheritance and parties turning into family business ventures. They are all after having a strange hold on the life of the country and the freedom of the people. That has to stop. The people are taken for dummies. I wonder why during the taef accord, when it was accepted that the president serve a single six years term, that was not applied to the speaker and PM.it is only with constant change that the country can move forward and grow. Otherwise we would all remain stagnant. And coming back to trust, I dont trust most of the current leaders to make any drastic or important change that would reduce their grip on our necks.

There are certain things that need to be put into place in terms of laws. Politicians shouldn't have dual citizenship for instance. Also, with the discovery of oil and gas, in the coming four or five years that should boost our independence. There can be a law for example that prohibits political parties or individuals in government positions getting foreign aid directly or indirectly. Then this would definitely lead us to the question of resistance and Hezbollah.

The weapons of the resistance can be settled when there is trust like that between President Michel Aoun and SHN. Thankfully, it is Aoun and not someone else who is president today and that will have huge positive impact on any solution or no solution. Setting up a defense council can be strategic which runs in parallel with the armed forces. Iran for example has the Iranian army, the revolutionary guards, the basij etc. Importantly, they are state recognized and institutionalized bodies and protected under the state patronage. And when you have such, the state should be able to fund and arm its forces including providing weapons and training and money to aid the resistance to occupation and to protect it as a deterrence against Israel. You cannot ask for responsibilities as a country that you cannot fund or you are scared of carrying out because your regional commitments would frown on you.
 

Achilles

Active Member
Agree with everything, except that secularism was never a weapon used by Christians. Christians used to talk about secularism because they saw it as a solution against islamization, while giving Muslims equal rights to Christians.

Christians don't want secularism anymore, because they realized it is Muslims who will use secularism as a weapon. With a "one man one vote" system that does not offer sectarian protection, Muslims can effectively take all the power under the guise of secularism.

I don’t even understand what does Secularism means when it come to a Country like Lebanon. Lebanon is already secular in some way since it does not recognize any official religion to the country. So how to we make it more secular ? By removing the confessional quotas and introducing the civil marriage and forbidding any party from having a religious status?


Enno the Turkish ruling party has on paper a secular name, and I don’t think the whole Christians concerns and the solution to it is because civil mariage isn’t being implemented or because of the sects 50-50 shares.

Except for civil marriage, sects shares in parliament and other position and the fact that the law on successions applied to Muslims is the religious sharia law all the rest Is secular. Are the main Christians concerns magically gonna be solved if Muslims law on successions becomes secular, if civil marriage is implemented and if the 50-50 shares rule is abolished?
 

Achilles

Active Member
I still beleive that secularism is used as a Scarecrow by Christians hoping that every point of a secular project will take ages to be accepted by everybody.

But let's say Muslims accept immediately to move toward A FULL (I insist on full not sectarian in disguise) secular state. Let's say that Surprisingly they agree on the civil marriage, they agree to use a secular law on their succession, they agree that Hezbollah and Jamaa Islamiya should change their names (Hezb al Haqiqa, Jamaat al Saleeheen etc.) now what? Lebanon magically becomes a secular country and we can remove the 50-50 shares ? (You can't have a confessional Senate in a full secular country). People who thinks so are really delusional. This is why I am advocating federalism over wishful thinking and mind games.
 

Death To Google

New Member
I still beleive that secularism is used as a Scarecrow by Christians hoping that every point of a secular project will take ages to be accepted by everybody.

But let's say Muslims accept immediately to move toward A FULL (I insist on full not sectarian in disguise) secular state. Let's say that Surprisingly they agree on the civil marriage, they agree to use a secular law on their succession, they agree that Hezbollah and Jamaa Islamiya should change their names (Hezb al Haqiqa, Jamaat al Saleeheen etc.) now what? Lebanon magically becomes a secular country and we can remove the 50-50 shares ? (You can't have a confessional Senate in a full secular country). People who thinks so are really delusional. This is why I am advocating federalism over wishful thinking and mind games.

Sectarianism is tribalism... it has little to do with religious ideology. This is why atheists can also be sectarian.
Lebanon can have a successful transition to "secularism", which in Lebanese context means "anti-tribalism", it is one that could take few generations before it is safe to fully abolish sectarianism from politics.
During this lengthy transition, both the social fabric/culture and the political system have to be reformed in parallel.
For each step in one of them should be parallelled with a step in another.

For example:
Civil marriage & personal status laws is step on the social fabric/cultural front... this can be paralleled with a step in politics such as removing sectarian quotas from low positions (random example).
In some time, another pair of steps can be taken... etc. Depending on the success and progress of the previous steps to everyone satisfaction.

While some people oppose this transition on religious ground, others oppose it because they do not want to alter the social fabric of their community. If religious ideology is preventing Muslims from embracing secularism, fear of losing the tribal (rather than national) identity is preventing Christians from doing the same.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
I don’t even understand what does Secularism means when it come to a Country like Lebanon. Lebanon is already secular in some way since it does not recognize any official religion to the country. So how to we make it more secular ? By removing the confessional quotas and introducing the civil marriage and forbidding any party from having a religious status?


Enno the Turkish ruling party has on paper a secular name, and I don’t think the whole Christians concerns and the solution to it is because civil mariage isn’t being implemented or because of the sects 50-50 shares.

Except for civil marriage, sects shares in parliament and other position and the fact that the law on successions applied to Muslims is the religious sharia law all the rest Is secular. Are the main Christians concerns magically gonna be solved if Muslims law on successions becomes secular, if civil marriage is implemented and if the 50-50 shares rule is abolished?

I think you misunderstood me. I am not for "secularism" in general...but especially not in Lebanon. Those who speak of secularism are either naive or have a hidden agenda.
 

!Aoune32

Well-Known Member
PMA needs to get these parties together and get the ball rolling. Implementing Taef (decentralization and a senate). An electoral law similar to this one but with no sect allotment and HA arms to be given to the LAF.

Each district looks after its populace and they are not dependant on the state except for Foreign affairs and the defense (Army, ISF etc).
The district pays the central gov a tax like 10% for these services and everything else is taken cared of by the local MPs or a local elected government. Other than that this country is a failure. It was created as a failure and will continue to be a failure unless something is done.
 
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!Aoune32

Well-Known Member
An alternative also is to administrative decentralisation. Each district deals with its financial situation due to the taxes collected from the people in that district. We have one Army who takes cares of the whole nation and each district places money for defense. We have elected state government just like Australia and they are elected every 3 years. They could be the MPs of the area. The government is dissolved.

Lets get real. Each MP is concerned with his area and what funding he can do for it to get projects happening. Local state governments will make the MP more accountable to the populace and not having to deal with the central government. All these solutions needs to be talked and I hope PMA tries to solve them in his term. There wont be a President metlo who has people behind him and a big block supporting him.

There are many issues that need to get solved. There is no sect happy with how the country is going. People are leaving by the thousands....
 

Lebanon_not_Arabic

Well-Known Member
Supporters and defenders of a foreign theocracy trying to convince Lebanese in general, and Lebanese Christians in particular about the benefits/advantages of secularism and the disadvantages of sectarianism and tribalism, in the most tribal and sectarian country of the Middle East.

Am I the only one to see the irony of this?
 

!Aoune32

Well-Known Member
Supporters and defenders of a foreign theocracy trying to convince Lebanese in general, and Lebanese Christians in particular about the benefits/advantages of secularism and the disadvantages of sectarianism and tribalism, in the most tribal and sectarian country of the Middle East.

Am I the only one to see the irony of this?

Khaye go with it. The regime wont be changing.
 

Ice Tea

Active Member
When you speak of "our"... You forget that you are a second class citizen even among your fellow Christians. You are an armenian. You are more or less a lesser citizen than the other lesser citizens in this retarded political system in Lebanon. You are not only lesser in terms of religion (being a non-maronite), you are also seen and treated and considered lesser in terms of ethnicity (being non-Arabic). Even among you as " Christians", the masters are the maronites. You are just a sheep.

Lol you obviously don't know anything about Maronites. First of all, the ethnicity of Maronites is Maronite. It's an ethno-religious identity. The ones who are seem lessser are Arabs, not Armenians. It's actually refreshing to know there are still Christians in the country who haven't adopted a fake Arabic identity. So if anything, it actually bounds Maronites and Armenians, as well as other Christian minorities (Assyrians, Chaldeans etc). Have you ever wondered why Maronite-Armenian inter-relations are much more common than Maronite-Orthodox? Well there's your answer. Armenians get it.

You see, this is exactly what I don't get about Orthodoxes, why some of you (assuming you really are one) are still so attached to these pan-Arabist ideologies, 'we're one big happy family' way of thinking, and seem to be content with a dhimmi status. I mean, just take a look at the Syrian Orthodoxes, did it work out for them?! Orthodoxy and Christians as a whole are literally over in Syria. Literally finished. Lebanon is heading to the same direction, unless all Christian groups and even other non-Islamic groups like the Druze unite. Federalism is indeed not the perfect answer, but it gives the basis for an eventual secession. Now that's the one and only solution, otherwise the same fate of Iraqi Assyrians and Syrian Christians awaits.
 
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