Dr Harry Hagopian, the voice of Middle East Analysis, is fluent in many languages. French? Doesn’t even break sweat. For me it’s more of a struggle but when reflecting on the horrific blast that ripped through Lebanon’s capital Beirut, I found an oft-quoted phrase in my head “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”. It certainly seems that the more things change the more they stay the same for this resilient nation and its beleaguered people – a state that has seen more than one false dawn.
Maybe a French phrase is pertinent for another reason. There’s an indelible historical link between Lebanon and France – President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut in the immediate aftermath and pledged his support. Some even petitioned for a return to the French Mandate – surely a sign of desperation – nay exasperation.
For Dr Harry Hagopian things have to change. It’s time to be brave and dynamic. A time for real leadership. A time to ‘be’ Lebanese – a time for citizenship. Get past the warlords and communities – think of Lebanon as a country of citizens.