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For this year's Halloween, Lebanon dresses as itself Open in fullscreen

Karim Traboulsi

For this year's Halloween, Lebanon dresses as itself

Lebanon's parliament on Monday will host an epic Halloween party [AFP]

Date of publication: 31 October, 2016

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The people of Lebanon are frantically searching for metaphors to help them decypher the dramatic twists and turns in their country's politics
The people of Lebanon are frantically searching for metaphors to help them decypher the dramatic twists and turns in their country's politics.

After a two and a half years of presidential vacuum, the crisis has been all but resolved, after one politician absurdly backed a former arch-rival under a deal whose exact details remain murky, but whose main gist is: scratch my back and i'll scratch yours.

In a few hours, Michel Aoun, who has been described as a cross between Donald Trump and Abdelaziz Bouteflika, will be "elected" president by a majority of unelected MPs.

Lebanese politics are boring. We in the news business have known this for a while. The carnage in other Arab countries has rendered this tiny nation's endless squabbles and crises so petty by comparison, that few non-Lebanese still pay any attention, bar to its few occasional shenanigans or anything that has to do with its only credible export: food.

The country is still being governed in the manner village disputes are settled.

Most Lebanese -- notwithstanding the occasional delusional outburst -- have now accepted their lot is to try to live while ignoring their entire parasitical political class, until maybe this generation of warlords and oligarchs eventually die off and leave no powerful heirs. Inshalla.

So what's the best metaphor for Aoun's election? The ex-army chief was already in the presidential palace once, before he was driven out by the Syrian regime army in 1990, exactly 26 years ago. So some have chosen the daylight saving metaphor: On Sunday, the clock goes back an hour. On Monday, the clock goes back a quarter of a century.

Others have chosen the theme of closure. Aoun was virtually the only civil war figure who rejected the Taif Accord, because he wasn't elected president at the time, a lifelong dream. Now that he will have been elected president, he finally endorses Taif, and 81-year-old he can finally move on.

But -- coincidence? -- Monday's election also happen to be taking place on the same day as Halloween.

The occasion is big now in Lebanon (although the main church there is not too impressed and sees it as blasphemous).

In keeping with the newly adopted tradition, we will have on Monday warlords wearing ties. Kleptocrats pretending to be lawmakers. A former prime minister's son wearing his daddy's suit. And an army general who will get to play president for six years...

But really, we should stop moaning. It could get worse: We could get Trump next week.

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