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Reading beyond the ominous signs

Where to look for virtuous directions and omens of hope?

by Executive Editors

Lamentations over the state of the world, the ongoing extinction of a Mediterranean conurbation, and the mass murder of a populace in our corner of the Middle East are currently ubiquitous on the world’s streets and in virtual public squares. In the global market place of opinions, minds are bombarded with both constant protests against war and genocide and constant hue and cry lambasting the parties bearing the blame of the ongoing armed conflicts. 

From the vantage point of our small geopolitical neighborhood, this has the perverse effect that apparently vote-seeking philippics about concrete wars, genocide, and everything and everyone that is – verily or presumably – not adequately functioning in the global system, currently are detracting from giving what it takes to meet this troubled region’s urgent need for radically new, sustainable and long-term solutions. 

Such detraction is all the more tragic under the Lebanese socioeconomic perspective. Any valiant effort for a full national reboot, the need of which has been stated openly and unmistakably for seven consecutive years by the economically literate in this country who trusted this magazine as their forum, is today forced to confront the bickering, self-centered of the country’s political class and their external beneficiaries. Additionally, all calls and efforts for producing solutions to the Lebanese economic dilemmas are now drowned out by the political maneuvering, fake news and propaganda assaults in the massive info-war that has been raging since last October on multiple fronts around Lebanon. This is nauseatingly counterproductive because the crisis of the Lebanese economy is not solved in the least. 

A horizon hanging full of mourn 

However, before it is conscionable to discuss if and how the worsened Lebanese situation, heightened national security, and persistent economic threat level can be rationally addressed, it is a human obligation to acknowledge that Lebanon, while suffering, is far from being as bad off as the Palestinian territories, long the nexus of universal suffering in this part of the world. With the Palestinian pain at a tortuous and wrongly justified historic peak level, it must be expected that nothing other than dirges will become the emblems of living in Gaza and all of Palestine and that those Arab dirges will for years be sending their worthy message to the world. 

This outlook on future perception of the Palestinian cause is diametrically opposed to the way how, in the global battlegrounds of opinion manipulation and mind twisting, it is today impugned as barbaric and disgracious to open one’s mouth, asking for example what delineates genocide when the stage is Gaza, or “coldheartedly” compare what percentage of Gazans have been killed in five months with the percentage of civilian casualties during two years of warfare over Ukraine. But most depressingly, and regardless of the inevitable rectification of the current vile rage against calling out the mass extinction of Gazans and deliberate “inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about a group’s physical destruction in whole or in part” for the genocide it is, the stories of monstrous suffering and unbearable pain in Gaza will only lead to the eternally unanswerable question of “why?”. 

“Why” is the essence of lamentation, whether one searches today, 7 decades, or 27 centuries ago. And even if one dirge were to ask, “where are signs of hope and peace?”, such a question’s indisputable answer can only be the negative affirmation: not with terrorists, not with the tyrants of power, and – with 99 percent certainty – not in geopolitics

And yet

However, an equally indisputable fact about the future of what is today the world’s most concentrated war zone, is that the there will be a “day after.” Even as no one can predict how many more needless deaths it will take for the power of atrocity raging in Gaza to finally wane, it is a fact of history that wars do cease. 

And this means there will be the day when all partisan non-starter solutions and peace-of-the-cemetery plans for Palestine, and by extension Lebanon, will be substituted with an endeavor of somehow realizing non-violent coexistence and a multi-faceted and fair regional framework that fortifies these peoples’ yet to be built sovereign path of self-determination, prosperity and virtuous interdependence.   

Notably, even if there will also be a “day” marked by the need to heal the souls of victims and unmask the lies that have been and still are ruling the war, the “day after” on country level will require return to economic life and implementation of political coexistence with neighbor countries.  

Being cognizant of all this, it would be wholly unconscionable to approach the economic “day after” for Lebanon without a cogent plan. 

The Executive Economic Roadmap, throughout seven iterations, has adhered to the concept that balanced cognitive processes are crucial for a diversified and sustainable economy.  This has motivated the roadmap’s structuring into pillars in adherence to the thought that what is crucial in an economy’s intensification and expansion, are applied methods of information processing for balanced growth and conservation while also considering juxtaposed innate tendencies such as aggression and cooperation. This mindset, used since the first draft of the Executive Roadmap, is the mindset that we relied on when revising our current roadmap draft 7.0 and its more appealingly digitized version, the Executive Economic Roadmap Interactive, or ERMI, which we intend to be maintaining and updating under this designation in continuity. 

Beating the Red Queen from a new baseline

The 2024 departure line for the next attempt of igniting Lebanon’s economic democracy is marked firstly by new dangers, namely the specter of foreign aggression against Lebanon and the equally threatening specter of violation of liberty from inside. But the course of our roadmap is also newly distinguished by the opportunity to analyze where Lebanese sovereignty has in the past 30 years been faked and how thoroughly the people were deceived by a false sense of economic security. 

The race to a sustainable country is secondly entering a new phase this year on strictly national grounds. With the old Lebanese fiefdom system of fake freedoms and pretend economic security gone, the target of economic salvation is no longer delineated by a polity that either masters structural reforms and gains approval from international development finance institutions (DFIs), or has no other chance but to run for the foreseeable future in what is sometimes called a Red Queen’s race (in allusion to Lewis Carroll). Being trapped in the latter would running and striving at the highest speed that Lebanon’s business community can muster – yet without a chance to escape dependence on handouts by DFIs and others from abroad. 

The vision driving ERMI is that of an interdependent and networked real sovereignty with meaning in the digital age. This concept of sovereignty as supreme but not indivisible or absolute can only succeed if based on social and economic security, and constructed by way of consultative collaboration from an economic democracy that practices non-confrontational conflict management. 

Executive invites all to access ERMI. Join our journey to security and realistic sovereignty by delving deep into propositions for betterment of Lebanese social and economic compacts. 

Testing far-out methods 

Many methods have been used throughout human history when seeking conflict resolution and post-conflict scenarios. Some involved looking for celestial signals. By some trait encoded in the human being, turning our eyes to the skies is ingrained in our kind. Turning their eyes to the skies was what the augurs– one might describe an augur as a political consultant and futurist – of antiquity’s Mediterranean super power Rome did routinely and professionally over 2,000 years ago. 

Another no less astounding but very different story of reading the skies is the tale of the Mediterranean seafarers who, close to three millennia ago, navigated to distant African and Northern European shores. 

They did so not by auguring from mystical sights but by using a combination of celestial and terrestrial observations, imprecise mathematical calculations, and experience. Thus ensued the narrative of long-distance trade and the fame of requisite Phoenician skills eons before sailors started to use the compass, not to mention GPS.

Thus, despite the boost in appreciation for metaphysical decision-finding that the performances of leading players in today’s empires may have unwittingly caused in the past few months, it is the method of combining intuitive, experiential, and evidentiary elements that Executive continues to trust as far as the salvation of the Lebanese polity and economy is concerned. 

Yet, outside of our economic roadmap, how can a contemporary human being react to the recent revelation of seemingly irreversible moral bankruptcy and operational catastrophe of the overextended geopolitical system? 

It is in this context that the anachronistic proposition of auguring sneakily arises in this writer’s notoriously simple mind. When contemplating and agonizing about the political maneuvering and grandstanding that falsely claims to be a search for peace in the Middle East, it suddenly sounds sane, almost compellingly so, to resort (like a Roman augur) to reading aerial movements as arguments for a Pax Deorum. 

However, to return to a more realistic mental ground, about the short-term potential of ERMI one must make no mistake: what in a best-case scenario is on the cards for Lebanon will not be, for a great and indeterminate while, a day of peace or prosperity. It will be a day of newly endeavoring for economic sanity. This effort can be informed by two prior stages of mapping of the Lebanese economy’s needs, but it will also in the coming post-crisis years remain an absurd aspiration to succeed on terrain that has up to this day been hostile to sane and sustainable economic life in so many different ways. In this spirit let’s just recall one apt motto of Lebanon’s 2006 mental rebellion against being bombed into the “stone age” by a most belligerent neighbor: Keep walking.

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Executive Editors

Executive Editors are the collective voice of the magazine. Stories written by Executive Editors are the culmination of discussions, brainstorming, research and information-gathering by our editorial team. Over decades, our editorial team has applied a blend of seasoned expertise and a discerning eye to bring you insightful and engaging and substantive reads that eschew sensationalism.

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