Lebanon‘s election campaigns brash but empty of content

Never in Lebanon’s election history have the eyes and ears of citizens been saturated — some would even say jammed — with such an overwhelming quantity of colors, pictures, slogans and counter-slogans. Billboards, TV ads, YouTube clips and Facebook pages were ruthlessly employed to target the highest possible number of potential voters which, more often than not, ended up completely confused by the communication blitz. Now that the party’s over, many questions inevitably come to mind. What exactly led to this frenzy in political messaging, and to this particular type and style of...

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Mark Helou and Ramsay G. Najjar

Constituent responsibility to demand political accountability

Flying insults, throwing water, swinging chairs — spectacles more befitting a wrestling match or an episode of Jerry Springer than a political talk show.

While arguably no longer a novelty, the scene that unfolded live in front of thousands of viewers on a Lebanese television channel is symptomatic of the level of discourse (or lack of it) between politicians, not only in Lebanon but across the region as well. Indeed, a similar fistfight erupted on Jordanian television in the same week over opposing views regarding the situation in Syria.

In developed countries around the...

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Rany Kassab, Zeina Loutfi and Ramsay G. Najjar