Creating people's geographies
It has been a beautiful autumnal day in Beirut today, the first day Lebanon is without a President in nine years after Emile Lahoud’s term has expired, with the Parliament failing to reach a consensus vote on his successor that is acceptable to both the parliamentary majority and the opposition. The next vote is scheduled for Friday Nov 30, significantly after the Nov 27 Annapolis
While my country of ancestry–Lebanon–is without a President, my country of birth– Australia–has just elected a new Prime Minister; it is with much satisfaction that I see John Howard’s government booted out.
As I am doing quite a bit of traveling throughout Lebanon, my internet access is currently patchy but a longer post on Lebanon is forthcoming.
Post-script: I am bemused to see the otherwise worthwhile Fisk (see ‘Darkness falls on the Middle East‘, among others, couch this constitutional crisis in unduly apocalyptic terms. I don’t think we’ve quite reached that point, and a political vacuum does not a catastrophe maketh.
Yes, the climate is tenser, but life goes on more or less as usual for most. Power cuts are routine and many–if not most–areas have their own generators which kick in; and I personally don’t know of anyone leaving their homes “like Iraq”.
Other reports of an increased troop presence on the streets are also dramatised: the main result of the slightly increased number of Lebanese Army checkpoints has been to only slow down traffic, and members of the Lebanese Army have been among the most courteous and helpful I’ve ever encountered. Going through one usually involves simply being waved on.