Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Ministerial statement: who are we resisting?

The new Lebanese government of "national unity", basically a patchwork of all the sectarian parties of the country, has finally delivered its ministerial statement (somehow the French verb "accoucher" would have rung better, so laborious was the process). Those who are (only) interested in the right of the resistance to defend Lebanon will be thrilled: the statement makes this right very clear. This was the main (and I believe the only) bone of contention between all the parties, and the opposition can now congratulate itself for having imposed its might and its will.

This resolves the Hizbullah's weapons issues, for the time being at least.

But I looked at other passages of the Statement. I found these paragraphs particularly interesting (my rapid translation, my notes in italics):

"To commit to the policy of economic reform that was presented by Lebanon to the Paris-3 donors conference and to work towards its implementation in the form of policies and sectoral reforms taking into consideration the economic as well as the financial transformation that have taken place on the local and international scenes..."

The Paris-3 plan was drafted by World Bank and IMF consultants and is widely recognized to be a neo-liberal profession of faith which also doubles up as an official begging manifesto.
"The adoption of effective policies for balanced and sustainable development and the implementation of social policies that protect the socially marginalized groups and to fight poverty, ignorance and illness."

General statement about social agendas. Note the use of the very derogatory term "ignorance" الجهل and the poor use of "illness" to reflect health issues. Health, as has been understood a loooong time ago is NOT the absence of illness. This only reflects how ill prepared and ill informed and ill advised (a lot of illness here) the members of the government are.

"To work with the private sector on building a modern economy centered on productive sectors which are adaptable to the international technological and economic evolution, and which are competitive."

How could a Lebanese ministerial statement ever see the light without a clear mention of the private sector and of its role in the economy? The private sector IS the government...
"Continue to cooperate with the IMF in its plan for post conflict rapid assistance."
Read: Our economic reform policy will be designed by the IMF, strong of its successes in other poor countries.

"Continue the dialog with the international community and the international organizations and the friendly nations in order to obtain continuous support for Lebanon and its economy."
Does this mean Hizbullah can continue to get $ millions from Iran to implement its social and not-so-social program? Does it mean that March 14 can still get Saudi and US $ millions in order to strengthen its (hopeless) position? Or is this only a reinforcement of the mendicity act of Paris-3?
"To work to consolidate the cooperation of Lebanon with the European Union and to deepen the economic integration and strengthen the political and cultural links, in the context of the Barcelona agreement and the EU partnership through effective participation in the Barcelona-Mediterranean Partnership Agreement."
Ahhhh Barcelona, its barrios, its Gaudi, its Mediterranean, its normalization...

"The government will also work to accelerate the process of Lebanon's joining the WTO and to apply the laws protecting intellectual property and fighting piracy."
At least this bit is clear: no more nebulous statements like "balanced and sustainable development". While the Developing nations (rightly) fail to agree on the Doha round, and when the WTO looks more than ever like a tool to preserve the privileges of the rich and colonial, here's the Lebanese government clearly stating its allegiance and its concern for the poor.

So in summary, the Opposition fought for a sentence giving "the Lebanese people the right to its resistance" while endorsing Lebanon's ultra-liberal identity. This formalizes Lebanon's membership of the league of failed states where a few rich people dominate and manipulate a huge number of impoverished citizen in order to achieve their economic and political ambitions. Wait, I think I've just defined "sectarian party".

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