This week, we celebrate 75 years of Lebanon’s independence. True, there are many problems to lament, and many issues that remain unresolved. But it’s important to reflect on how this tiny country, with limited resources, has continued to stand the test of time.
A brief look at what Lebanon has weathered since 1943: The aftermath of World War II; political turbulence and a plethora of regional coups; national disasters, like the 1956 earthquake; a mini civil war in 1958; a foiled coup d’etat in the early 1960s; Israeli incursions and attacks on Lebanese and Palestinian positions in south Lebanon from the late 1960s; a devastating Civil War from 1975 to 1990 that left tens of thousands of victims; the rise of Hezbollah in the early 1980s; more political upheaval in the late 1980s; years of a strong Syrian presence; nonstop Israeli incursions and a costly war in 1996; the assassination of top Lebanese politicians, writers and activists in 2004-05; yet another war in 2006 due to Israeli aggression; and then, after 2010, when the whole region became engulfed in the Arab Spring, the fire was again so close but somehow, Lebanon avoided the flames.
For any country to have withstood all this, with its people still behind it, is nothing short of a miracle. It is also a testament to the incredible endurance and strength of the Lebanese.
And on this anniversary, it’s also important to remember the good news that the country still has a quasi-democracy Lebanese-style and a strong national Army and security forces. But most of all, it has people who believe in it, who have stuck with it through thick and thin, who have a positive vision for Lebanon’s future, and who have set about tackling crucial issues with mind-boggling resolve.
That is the secret to why this tiny country has been able to withstand such devastating events over and over again. And it’s also why, despite the many challenges it currently faces, we can be confident that Lebanon will, once again, prevail.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on November 20, 2018, on page 1.