THE ISSAM FARES INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Within the framework of the Festival Beyrouth Livres 2022, IFI, L’Orient littéraire and L’Institut français held a book discussion of “Le Liban d’hier à demain,” by Amb. Nawaf Salam on October 27. In the presence of the author, the panel discussion included Dominique Eddé, Lebanese novelist, Ziad Majed, Professor and political researcher and IFI Director Joseph Bahout, who also moderated the discussion.
The book gathers articles written by Salam on the Lebanese political system throughout the years, re-written and updated in light of the most recent crisis facing the country and its very existence. During the discussion, Bahout highlighted two quotes from the book; that “the tragedy of the Lebanese remains to be citizens in an unfinished state.” In addition, he singled out a quote by Antonio Gramsci, which Salam alludes to, “the crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear,” both of which summarize the current state of affairs in the country.
The panel singled out and talked at length on the subjects of federalism – and whether it really responds to Lebanon’s problems – and confessionalism – questioning what is needed to overcome it and whether change should and could be implemented within the system. In response, Salam, listed the defects of confessionalism and identified its harm on both the citizens and the state. He also added that “this is neither a state to be built against communities, nor a state that is only tolerated by them, but rather a state that is capable of containing and transcending them.”
You can watch the full panel discussion here.