Latest from Lebanon, a Country of wonders
By Ahmad Mumar
Lebanon, the land of never-ending political drama, has found an important new issue to argue about – daylight savings time. While the economy is in tatters and the presidential seat remains empty, politicians are in intense, make-or-break negotiations about the start of summer. In a leaked recording, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a Shiite, asked the prime minister, a Sunni, to hold off on changing the clocks until after Ramadan to accommodate fasting Muslims.
The delay resulted in messing up automatically updated electronic devices and the country’s flight schedules. Middle East Airlines, the national airline, was one of the entities that refused to comply with the national leaders’ clock decision. Adding insult to injury, the Maronite Patriarchate rejected the decision. The Free Patriotic Movement, one of the largest Christian parties, denounced the prime minister and speaker’s decision on the grounds that it violated Christian rights, claiming it was made in the absence of a Christian president and for the benefit of Muslims.
While Iran and Saudi Arabia managed to normalize their Ramadan clocks, the Lebanese are moving in the opposite direction over daytime savings. At the same time, for those living in Christian and Muslim adjacent villages, moving between them may cause a time warp, turning back the clock and making Lebanon a country of wonders.