Sovereign Deficit

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Once again it appears that Lebanese history is being written with the blood of our fellow journalists. May Chidiac was marked for death not for who she is, but for what she represents: the free spirit that quenches the thirst of those of us who rejoice in the diversity, openness and enlightenment that is present – if not always apparent – in our unique society. A week before the atrocity in Ghadir, Messrs Siniora, Salameh, Azour and Haddad and their entourage (on whom I imposed myself) took the begging bowl to New York and Washington. They were reminded that sovereignty doesn’t just only apply to borders and armies, but that it also applies to economic principles.

Governor Salameh tells us that our currency is only 25% sovereign at best, while minister Azour reminds us that 50% of the “sovereign” debt is external. And yet they seek more foreign money for the national collection tin. But how can we ask for additional sovereign debt when our nation is still not totally sovereign, and when all it would take is one container-load of arms to cross our porous border to erase the word completely. This comes at a time when our top officials deny we are living in crisis and see no reason for a national troop deployment, consigning our soldiers to the role of Les Gendarmes de St Tropez.

Before doing so, maybe we should remind ourselves of the $500 million found in the bank accounts of the four security chiefs – those supposedly entrusted with protecting our sovereignty – representing just under 2% of the national overdraft and ask, if this much was squirreled away by our second rank public “servants,” how much more is there sloshing around in numbered vaults in Lebanon and elsewhere, belonging to our “leaders” who, while complaining about unwelcome foreign help, have feathered their nests – or rather, castles and penthouses –with the proceeds from prostituting our sovereignty.

The funds that have been uncovered and those funds that are waiting to be found, should remind us that there will be no sovereignty as long as there are those traitors – for that is what they are – who use the state coffers as petty cash. Before we ask for more money, let us recover what else is out there.