Heaven via hell

Lebanese can define their own economic destiny

Reading Time: 2 minutes

They say the people know best. It is possibly why we have the concept of democracy.

When the extension of the presidential mandate was bullied through parliament and the UN passed Resolution 1559, the word on the street was that things did not look bright for Mr. Hariri. The Syrians will get him, people whispered. And they had a point. The people had seen it all before. We even hinted at it in our February 2005 editorial, two weeks earlier. So when it came, the shock and horror was coated with déjà vu.

One month later, it was the same gut feeling that pushed 1.3 million people onto the streets. Enough was enough. We knew it was time for Damascus to go and the people told it to.

Then, in the run up to the release of the UN Mehlis report, came the same whispers, this time predictions of a “suicide” or “accident” in Syria; for there would have to be a fall guy. And so it came to pass. Ghazi Kanaan was, as the people said, “suicided.”

And when Herr Mehlis showed us what he found, it merely confirmed what we already knew, a knowledge accrued over years of witnessing first hand the activities of what one interviewee in the report described as “Murder Inc.”

And economically we can see our own destiny. We can see a gleaming world of skyscrapers and prosperity. The word is out and the Lebanese trading genes are limbering up for the biggest boom in years. The real estate investment in Solidere and elsewhere in Beirut and other tourism and retail projects all herald what is most certainly likely to be a bonanza, one that will free the nation from the shackles of mediocrity, sell off state burdens and fly the flag of private enterprise. If there is one force that shapes the Lebanese instinct, it is that which drives it to trade, to deal, to sell and to build. It is a force that even when knocked down, will rebuild because it knows nothing else.

We know who we are and we know where we live. We trust our own instincts. We should go by them.