- Pathfinder

Reply To: What were your primary takeaways after reading “Lebanon: Past Challenges, Present Calamities, Future Prospects”? Is there hope for preserving a pluralistic Lebanon in the future?

Sarah Merly

Takeaway 1: The graying of Lebanon’s population not only means that there are less children, but also—and more importantly—that every young person who emigrates out of Lebanon takes away a measure of hope for reform with him. I never realized how significant a problem that a graying population truly is until I read Dr. Malik’s report. All countries need youth who are willing to sacrifice opportunities of comfort, education, etc. elsewhere in order to rebuild the values and lifestyles of their homelands for the better.

Takeaway 2: Hezbollah’s attitude on Israel should not be projected upon everyone who lives in one of the countries under their control. As Dr. Malik wrote, “All other maximalist confrontational slogans regarding ‘wars against the Zionist enemy’ and ‘liberating Jerusalem,’ with Lebanon as the leading edge of any such ideologically-infused adventures, are, for most Lebannese, dangerous, unnecessary, and well beyond the abilities of a tiny and vulnerable country like Lebanon. But Hezbollah consistently turn a deaf ear to the sentiments of most Lebanese and foist upon them, in the name of al-muqawama (armed resistance), precisely such perils of imminent destruction.”

Takeaway 3: America has more of an ability and more of a duty to help in international affairs than I previously thought. When I first saw that the U.S. was sending billions of dollars to Ukraine for the vaguest of reasons, I was tempted to believe that the U.S. had little-to-no business abroad and that it should primarily focus on the issues facing its own citizens. While I still believe the welfare of Americans should be our government’s first priority, reading Dr. Malik’s report has helped me understand that America’s exceptionalism has given us a unique ability to help bring peace and freedom to the world stage, and we should do what we can without inflicting damage to our own people.

As for the other question, I’m not sure how to determine how much hope there is for a pluralistic Lebanon—but as long as the Philos Project and truth-loving Lebanese citizens exist, then hope does remain.