During the last 45 days of labor, all the ideological crap and the window dressing about two camps and two irreconcilable visions for the future of Lebanon have fallen to reveal the one tenacious political practice that will always bind us together: pie sharing.
Sanioura finally makes some sense when he calls the national unity government 100% Lebanese. The Doha agreement set the rink – even specifying the composition of the government – and left it to the Lebanese to sort it out. And sort they did! After several weeks of punching it out between pro- and anti-government coalitions, the last period was spent bickering over the division of seats within the same political coalition, namely March 14, in what can best be described as family feuds between Hariri’s Christian allies. But of course, when these feuds cross the religion line, we start calling them “politics.”
Other hanging points (such as Murr and Qanso) were concluded with the usual vacuous “everyone’s a winner” for the sake of meeting the “Club Med” deadline and, although I am not sure this was even a priority, evading more bloodshed. Even when that much is evident, some Hariri spokesperson insists on insulting our intelligence by justifying Hariri’s diligent work in smoothing among his allies the acceptance of Ali Qanso, prototype Syrian ally, as minister:
There is an intention to send Sulayman to France without a government, such that the discussion in the French capital between the French and Syrian sides would be derailed into how Damascus can help facilitate the formation of a government instead of looking into the core issues that the international community is asking of the Syrian leadership regarding its relationship with Lebanon.
Apart from the obvious re-emergent friendliness in the emphasis I placed above, how short does one’s memory have to be to forget that “helping facilitate” the formation of a government was one of the “core issues” the international community was asking of the Syrian leadership? And who, pray, intended to send Sulayman to France without a government when both the Syrians and the French are obviously planning to move on? The famous fifth column, no doubt! Syria’s allies, by virtue or vice of their being allies of Syria, cannot be blamed for their coherence in allying with Syria – in the strict logical sense, that is. But to interpret Hariri’s (seeker-of-truth) facilitation of Qanso’s appointment as anything but scoring a brownie point with Assad, who will be sitting ostrich-necked and self-satiated – with one more Lebanese achievement under his belt – next to Sarkozy on 14e juillet, means inbreeding has really gone too far in Lebanon.
To end on a merry note, here is Jean Aziz describing the new government based on a literal translation of the names of its ministers:
جميلة جداً مصادفات الأسماء والألقاب الوزارية في حكومة الوحدة الوطنية. فهي حكومة دفاعها مرّ وداخليتها بارود. صحتها خليفة وطاقتها طابور. تربيتها بهيّة وثقافتها سلام. عدلها نجار وماليتها شطحٌ. بيئتها كرم، ولمهجريها… عودة.
The coincidence of ministerial names and titles is truly beautiful in the national unity government: Its defense is bitter and its interior is gun powder. Its health is in-born and its energy is in queue. Its education is splendor and its culture is peace. Its justice is carpentry and its finance is gone astray. Its environment is generous and to its emigrants… a return.