Lebanon, a year on

THAT political intrigues continue to hamper rebuilding efforts one year after Israel’s assault on Lebanon in the quest to destroy Hezbollah shows little changes in the power echelons of this troubled Arab nation.

Reports from the region confirm that most of the internationally pledged money has made its way to Beirut, but there it faces typical government bottlenecks, hence the delay. Who suffers, of course, is the common man – forever mired in Lebanon’s status as proxy battlefield for the region’s wider political skirmishes.

For a war that took more than 1,000 (mostly Lebanese) lives, destroyed in excess of 25,000 homes and displaced around one million people, the Siniora government’s rebuilding response is unimpressive. The choke, of course, is yet another attempt to pressurise Hezbollah to disarm.

But considering numerous attempts at the militia’s de-fanging, both from within and beyond the region, little is likely to come out of this one also.

And the Lebanese people that bore the brunt of the Israeli bombardment that far out-matched Hezbollah’s Katyusha rockets will continue to have their lives and rights abused as political rifts take priority in Beirut. Such regrettable developments bolster the charge that Lebanon will never recover its lost reputation as the fabled Switzerland of the Levant.

And that is not the least of the day’s most pressing concerns. The government’s standoff with Fatah al-Islam refugee militants inside the Nahr al-Bared camp is painting pictures reminiscent of the unending internal fighting of the long civil war years.

For years Lebanon was one of the most progressive societies in the Arab world. Of late, it has been badly wounded.

Therefore, what it needs urgently is healing. And that cannot be achieved with more bitterness and senseless political intrigues.

The government and Hezbollah both need realising that as long as their ideals and actions translate into suffering for the people, they both come across as self serving parties.

A year after the battering, progress is pathetically behind schedule. Those in charge need to pull their socks up, or face an even worse round of bitterness – this time from the people.

More news from OPINION