Opinion articles

Break the chains

Watching the fifth masquerade of national elections since my return to Lebanon, I cannot help but recall Amin Maalouf’s masterpiece, “The Rock of Tanios.” In Maalouf’s tale there is an Ottoman sheikh of a mountain village who collects taxes and recruits the able to fight the empire’s wars. In return for his allegiance to the

Taxes 101

As evidenced by recent surveys and public polls, Lebanese are disenchanted with their overall tax system and consider their obligation to pay taxes a burden. But they are decrying the many defects of their tax system without even understanding it. According to a national survey conducted in 2012 by the Institut des Finances Basil Fuleihan

This won’t be easy

This month, Lebanon will send a delegation of state officials to Paris to pitch an infrastructure development program dubbed the Capital Investment Plan (CIP) to the international community and private investors. Alongside the CIP officials will also unveil an economic vision, fiscal discipline measures, and structural and sectoral reforms. Of the four, Executive has only

L’espoir fait vivre

On March 27, before addressing an auditorium filled with our best scholars, academics, researchers, journalists, intellectuals, and experts who have dedicated their lives for this nation, I asked if any of them was granted access to or had seen or even touched one page of the Capital Investment Plan (CIP) CEDRE project—the answer was a

Mother Lebanon

Beirut is depicted as a woman by many renowned artists, like Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali, who—during the 1982 Israeli invasion—drew a caricature of his iconic character Handala offering a flower through a hole in the wall to a woman that he named Beirut. She is the patient carrier of our painful history, she is the

A tale of two worlds

Lebanon’s election season has begun. With it comes hatred, spite, segregation, animosity, and the most vicious deception imaginable. Desperate to sway votes in their favor, our narrow-minded politicians have one strategy in their playbook: isolate and manipulate. Playing on ignorance and fear, they further divide our already fraught communities. Last month we witnessed just how

Lebanon needs to clean up its act

Lebanon is once again staring down a waste management crisis, with news that the Costa Brava and Bourj Hammoud landfills will reach capacity in 2018—two years before the government’s initial estimate of 2020. In response, the cabinet is reportedly considering a proposal to reopen the infamous Naameh landfill, whose closure in 2015 sparked a crisis

Enough empty promises

Their crimes must not be forgiven again. For 11 years, Lebanese politicians spent some $130 billion without an audit. To pass the 2017 budget, our lawmakers defied the constitution by promising the audit will come next year instead of now. I’m not holding my breath. Let’s not lie to ourselves: Audits can be manipulated. We

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