From the Editors
In my capacity as a founding editor of Jadaliyya, I hereby endorse Boutros Harb, current Lebanese Minister of Labor, for the office of President of the republic. If Lebanon were a country where presidential candidates actually stood for elections and citizens actually voted to choose who would occupy the office of the President, I would certainly vote for him. I would even campaign for him.
Throughout a long career of public service to his country, Mr. Harb has demonstrated an uncanny understanding of and dedication to the whole of Lebanon, and not only to the community that his detractors say his only concern is; the Christians of Lebanon. While his detractors see a man whose political positions bend with the changing political winds, I see a man who has perfected the art of Lebanese politics and taken it, along with his once March 14 ally Walid Jumblatt, to a whole new level. Moreover, Harb has been in politics for a long, long time. He first became member of the Lebanese Parliament in 1972 and has been in one way or the other implicated in the numerous achievements of the Lebanese government since then. As Lebanese citizens, we know that our best hopes for reform, security, and prosperity rest with career politicians such as Bourtos Harb.
Most recently, Harb has once again demonstrated the reasons why he is the ideal (Maronite) man to lead Lebanon and to share power with the other two principled, incorruptible, and leading political minds of that country; Saad Harirri and Nabih Berri. A true visionary, Harb has proposed a draft law that would criminalize the sale of real estate between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon. With this law, he has demonstrated his uncanny understanding and dedication to what makes Lebanese so damn special. He alone has had the courage to state that it is not enough that Muslims and Christians cannot marry each other on Lebanese lands, that the political system is divided between the Shiite, Maronite, and Sunnite sects, and that Christians, Muslims, Jews and all the sects within these categories marry, divorce, inherit, adopt, commit adultery, and are buried when they die according to different laws and regulations. No, it is not enough. For Lebanon to truly live up to its promise as the only liberal diverse democracy in the Arab world, Muslims and Christians should not be able to sell land, apartments or houses to each other. For Lebanon to reach the heights envisioned by French imperialists and their local allies, real estate must also be segregated in order to protect the special character of that country. After all, if we are not careful, we are likely to end up like Saudi Arabia, Iran or Syria. As a Lebanese woman who enjoys living in a country that protects my rights and within which I am an equal to my male counterparts, I shudder at the thought.
With Lebanon plagued by political instability, rising unemployment and underemployment, and with the very real threat of another Lebanon-Israel war at hand, it takes great courage to concentrate on the issues that matter. With his draft law that criminalizes the sale of real estate across religious communities, Harb has demonstrated such courage. Instead of needlessly trying to change a practice whereby citizens try to keep “their” areas religiously homogenous, Harb has seen the logic in legislating this practice. With Lebanese citizens worried that they cannot pay their bills, that a new civil war may erupt, or that they and/or their children will be forced to emigrate, we can rest easy knowing that politicians like Boutros Harb know what we should be worried about and are willing to act based on their superior knowledge. I hereby endorse Boutros Harb for President for all of these reasons, and because he, and his policies, truly embody all that is right about Lebanon.
 In the Lebanese political system, the President is elected by the Lebanese Parliament, members of which must stand for general elections.
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