Lentil soup

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All good clichés have a ring of truth and the current favorite that charts Lebanon’s sudden decline from Ibiza to Gaza is grimly accurate. We have been under Israeli blockade, unable either import or export or even travel abroad. We are helpless and cannot help but be resigned to the fact that Lebanon has been absorbed within Israel’s disciplinary compass. Some victory!

It is a feeling reinforced in Stockholm at the end of last month, when Lebanese officials queued alongside the Palestinians in their pursuit of donor nation funding. We, who reveled in being the playboys of the region, have become the latest Arab hobos to arrive at the international soup kitchen.

Even the food metaphor contains a cruel truth as we learn that the world has sent us lentils. Imagine lentils! Sent to a nation known across the globe for its culinary prowess, where even with lentils, we can make elegant dishes. Still, it’s the thought that counts.

But what do you expect when our leaders spend their time devising slumber parties. That’s it? The total cumulative effort of how to bring pressure to bear on the international community is to arrange a sleep-in with bottled water and a few bars of Camay. Do we really think that the sight of a few middle aged men in pajamas make the Israelis think twice about their actions?

But perhaps the biggest joke that might emerge from this whole pantomine, will be the self-congratulation if and when the embrago is lifted. For of course it could only have happened as a direct result of their ‘sacrifice’.

Seriously though, surely the main thrust should come from the syndicates, the associations and the economic councils. They have suffered the most and therefore they should be more driven to draft real initiatives. It is telling that industry, a sector scorned for the simple reason it has not been able to perform in an environment that does little to encourage it, was woefully misrepresented in Stockholm.

No one has learned anything. The money will dry up and we all soon realize what we have become – the puppets of those who have taken us hostage.

Beware of the Stockholm Syndrome!