Law applies to everyone

File - Members of the ISF's Information Branch on an armored vehicle block a road in Beirut, Friday, July 4, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

Of all the traits that characterize Lebanon, one of the most vocal is the relentless call by citizens and politicians alike for an independent judiciary and the rule of law.

Unfortunately, their unwavering commitment to the pursuit of this noble goal vanishes when the law reaches their doorsteps, and the same people preaching about a just and ordered society either set themselves above the law, or try to tailor it as they like.

A case in point is the recent summons for Wiam Wahhab to appear before the general prosecutor which the former minister, an outspoken proponent of the rule of law, promptly dismissed.

Tragically, the attempt by the ISF’s Information Branch to bring in Wahhab for questioning was met with barricades and armed men, who opened fire, which resulted in one of Wahhab’s men being wounded and later dying.

However, rather than try to contain the matter, Wahhab resorted to threats and sought to widen the scope of his showdown to include all of Lebanon by insinuating the man’s death would lead to a new civil war, although the other Druze leaders have roundly condemned his behavior.

The reality is many of these calls for the rule of law are issued only to score points and could not be further from truth.

It is not for us to say whether Wahhab is guilty of any wrongdoing. That’s for the judiciary to decide, and if Wahhab is as committed to the law as he claims to be, he is duty bound to place his fate in their hands.

The media, meanwhile, seem quite happy to get in bed with the devil, promoting some politicians’ provocative language of the gutter, which in many cases touches on national security, just to improve ratings.

Frankly we’re weary of such double standards, and hope that integrity starts to resonate in this country once more.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 03, 2018, on page 1.




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