Stress Points

I was looking at this photo by Samer Karam near the Lebanese central bank, and I couldn’t help but think of how apt a metaphor it is for the moment Lebanon is in right now.

On four major fronts, the elections law, the Syrian refugee crisis, the union unrest and the security situation with the cross-border shelling, Lebanon today, much like in this photo, sits on a balance that is both unstable and dangerous. All four stress points have the potential to turn things in the country upside down in one fell swoop. Like in that photo, what is standing between lebanon and complete chaos is a flimsy barrier and an ill-equipped state. We rely on the sense of responsibility of the people and on the realisation that all bets are off once things break lose.

But the stress on all sides is strong and keeps getting stronger. Something will have to give, and all it takes is one person to cross the line for complete chaos to follow. This is a grave moment filled with foreboding in Lebanon. We all have to be very cautious and responsible, but that still won’t guarantee a safe crossing to the other side.


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  • http://www.beirutreport.com Habib Battah

    But how often do things change in “one fell swoop”? Every since I was a kid, I’ve been hearing people say the war will start “any day.” But is there any historical precedent for that? Certainly not with the Lebanese civil war.

    Also I’m not sure all four factors you describe are indicators of doom. Many see positive aspects to union organizing and even the reactions to the elections law.