The political whisper campaign against Riad Salameh and the gross mishandling of his term renewal by our political class put our monetary and economic stability in jeopardy. Salameh is the last of a post-war cohort that — love them or hate them — were truly faithful to the concept of nation building. Everywhere else, the interest in rebuilding our country seems long dead. In the last 10 years our state institutions have reached an all-time low in managing our future and stability — we are in serious long-term trouble.
Riad Salameh, like all humans, is not perfect. Yet, against all odds, he’s served honorably and has a long list of accomplishments behind him. In an ideal world, there should have been a successor — another respectable and qualified candidate to carry the flame after the end of his term in office.
Whether it’s at the Banque du Liban or anywhere else, there should be proper succession planning. This country will never come close to meeting its full potential without strong institutions and competent, merit-based leadership. As long as top state posts are feudal prizes, any attempt to formalize and institutionalize succession will fail as politicians manipulate key positions for their own personal gain and the gains of their cronies.
As we pivot from the gross mismanagement of state institutions to the tenuous prospect of a long-overdue Parliamentary election, I see a ruined nation. Our people have no shortage of talent and potential. Because of Salameh’s progressive policies, many are succeeding, and even thriving despite a flat-lining economy in which the only viable bet is the reassurance of our monetary stability. But the state, our beloved Republic, is nearly beyond repair.
You do not have to love Riad Salameh, but this magazine will, has and does defend him because he is the last man standing from an era where there was at least a ray of hope.