Tue, 26 Jan 2021

Healing the Nation after Trump

The Arab Daily News
11 Jan 2021, 10:37 GMT+10

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I am less worried about how firmly Trump is disciplined than about how focused our leaders are on the future of America. We are facing a severe pandemic, a major economic crisis, a rural-urban political split and a growing national ideological societal divide. A diversity-sensitive approach to Trump and the movement he represents is needed today. Trump would not have been elected in a society of widespread tolerance.

What happened in Washington on January 6 brings back painful memories from my Lebanon in the early seventies. I used to tell my students in Beirut, "we are going to a civil war" if we do not learn how to talk to our neighbor who looks or thinks differently. In a very short time, Lebanon turned from being the "Switzerland of the Middle East" to a state which models self-destruction. Out of all the social and political ills I observed in Lebanon, I found the two most lethal factors to social integration and state integrity were militia proliferation and ascendance of power of religious authorities.

When I reflect on the worsening situation of my new adopted country today, I wonder. I witness a growing role of triumphal religion in politics and unbelievable tolerance for armed groups. I am counting on America's ability to self-correct.

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