Cheater: Lebanon’s second plague, weak leadership


Carter Moore

Following an explosion in Beirut, the Lebanese government stepped down.

Blake Cheater, Lead Copy Editor

Earlier this week, Lebanon’s government stepped down following the deadly blast that killed 171 civilians and injured thousands of others. The blast damaged buildings all over the city and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Several protests over the government’s handling of the situation erupted in the capital, which were met with police. 

Many Lebanese are understandably angry as the government was aware 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that caused the explosion- but was not stored safely. Prime Minister (PM) Hassan Diab, a member of the political elite, gave a speech shortly after the blast where he criticized the political elite – a little hypocritical if you ask me. Thankfully, he and three other members of the cabinet resigned since they were unwilling to confront the problem and take responsibility, as a competent leadership would. 

Clearly they knew corruption and mismanagement have been choking the government for years, but what have they done about it? Absolutely nothing. Instead of employing anti-corruption measures and holding politicians accountable, they stood idly by. When people began looking into them, they left to save themselves from the blame. The cabinet’s resignation just goes to show how weak their leadership and how big of a problem it is. 

The world sees the government as largely ineffective: religious division, abuse of power and corruption riddles the entire structure, not just the occupying party. In order to have solid, lasting solutions, the Lebanese people need to not only vote in new members of parliament, since no one currently in office is willing to fix any of the multitude of problems, but also crackdown on foreign influence – the root of many of the political problems in the country. It’s no secret Hezbollah, an Iranian backed terrorist organization, holds positions of power, and as long as they do, the threat of another disaster will be very real. 

If weak leaders and a terrorist organization in your government is not enough to convince you change needs to happen, perhaps their economic mismanagement will. Lebanon has been struggling economically and with the coronavirus pandemic making its way to the Middle East, the economy has taken a fatal blow. 

The cost of many essential products has been sharply driven upward, and many families will find it hard to afford food. In late July, most homes and businesses only got about three hours of electricity a day

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 70% of its value. Several banks are beginning to run out of money, and the government may not be able to pay for essential imports, such as food. The World Bank projects that over half the country’s population will become poor by the year’s end. 

The Lebanese government has completely and utterly failed their country. When things go wrong, you need strong leaders to help find a solution. But once again, what did they do? They did what every good immature teenager does and ran away from their problems. 

Change desperately needs to happen, and fast, before another catastrophe such as the one last week, or before the country runs out of food. In order to move forward, the Lebanese people need to head to the polls, run for office and stop putting up with leaders who come across a three-foot wall and stop. With the current government’s resignation, Lebanon has a chance to change the path they’re on.