Wandering Thought # 96

In a dictatorship or a totalitarian regime the election is only formal, and serves the purpose of giving popular legitimacy to the system in place without allowing any fundamental change to the policies and forces of governance. A people’s belief in the election would actually hinder any real change, and only preserve the status quo and power balance of the system. In Lebanon, any election will be ineffectual in bringing any real change, since the country is governed by an oligarchy of sects, and the actual power is concentrated not in the parliament and not in the cabinet of ministers but in around six sectarian men, with each having his own external alliances and his own internal agenda. The oligarchy is as powerful as the central government is weak and ineffectual. The current political system incubates corruption as a way to survive and to proliferate itself. The current political system recognizes no citizenship and no sovereign individuals, but only subjects who must be used as fuel for war among themselves. In Lebanon there are no left and right parties, but only a form of tribalism that calls itself a democracy. So long as people believe in the illusion and do not stand in solidarity with each other around a shared ideal, change will be impossible.

Wandering Thought # 39

It takes more to giving than giving in to the initial impulse of pity. If a man is hungry, instead of giving him food, teach him how to farm, or how to fend for himself. That will be more difficult to achieve than the easy gesture of giving him something of which you have in excess, and which aim is ultimately your own self-indulgence, indulging your own pity. And the opposite to this is true as well: instead of going the hard way, of learning how to fend for himself and controlling his future, a hungry or poor man is wont to stir the imagination and conscience of another into giving him what he needs.