To all the self-righteous and hypocritical, holier-than-thou moralizers who say the “Orthodox Proposal” is sectarian, here are some points to reflect on.
Does the Orthodox Proposal contradict the Lebanese Constitution?
Some claim it contradicts Article 27 of the Constitution which stipulates that the elected deputies represent the whole Lebanese Nation. However, this article, which rather seems to be a mere verbal artifact, fundamentally contradicts Article 95 of the Constitution and the National Pact.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Lebanese Constitution itself is a contradictory text.
Is the Orthodox Proposal a sectarian Law Proposal?
Of course it is, but so were all the previous electoral laws, namely those of 1960, 1992, 1996, and that of Ghazi Kanaan (2000 and 2005). Even the projects involving a proportional representation are essentially sectarian.
MP Boutros Harb is opposed to it, claiming it is a sectarian Law. But Boutros Harb himself is sectarian, let alone he is the product of sectarian politics. Have we already forgotten about his sectarian law project of December 2010, when he proposed a draft bill to prohibit land selling operations “between individuals of different confessions not belonging to the same religion” for a period of 15 years? (See my earlier post on that matter.)
President Michel Sleiman claims the “Orthodox Proposal” is a sectarian project that contradicts the precepts of Muslim-Christian coexistence and the spirit of the National Pact. Ladies and Gentlemen, the very concept of “coexistence” (ta’âyush, ‘aysh mushtarak) as well as the “1943 Pact” are sectarian concepts par excellence. When you are in a secular political system, there would be no need to talk about Muslims or Christians, nor about “coexistence” since citizenship alone would serve as common ground. Hasn’t the President been elected on purely sectarian considerations, just like his Sunni Premier and Shi’i Speaker?
Finally, it is very easy to label yourself as “secularist” and criticize endlessly whatever appears to be politically incorrect to you. Enough wishful thinking. What have the secularists proposed? Nothing, as usual. Come on, we all know a “100% secular electoral law” would be rejected by the Lebanese.
So let’s try to be solution-oriented instead nit-picking for once. I think there is a way to bridge both arguments, by adding a “secular community” which would hold a 15% share in the Lebanese Parliament, as I suggest it. This rate would be kept flexible to match the proportion of secularist voters at each election. So if, for instance, 20% of the votes go to secularist candidates in 2013, the rate would be increased to 20% in 2017. And if 40% of the votes are secular in 2017, 40% of parliamentary seats would be reserved for secular candidates in 2021, and so on.
And this is how you can satisfy those who wish to remain sectarian and those who are longing to set the ground for a truly secular and pluralistic Lebanon.
Alright now, this was a good release. Needless to say, there is no point in dwelling on a proposal dead at arrival. At the end of the day we will all raise our glasses to 1960 bis. Cheers!
P.S.: I highly recommend reading Jean-Pierre Katrib’s article on the matter: “Realities of the Orthodox Proposal“, Now Lebanon, January 15, 2013. Also check the interview with Wa’il Kheir in An-Nahâr, January 16, 2103.