The Limits of Dilution?

     Situated east of the Mediterranean, Lebanon is a rather small, but critical vessel, which, since Queen Dido in 815 BC, has had a large impact on the world as an important port for millennia between Asia and the West. The country is home to an amalgamation of residents: Arabs, Maronites, Phoenicians, Greeks, Armenians, Egyptians, and many more. They are all confined today, quite unnaturally, in one post-Ottoman border, within the ever-shifting boundaries of the Levant.

     So, even as the generic Nation-State is often proving nowadays to be insecure in the face of the global communication networks and the waves of immigrants seeking better ground, Lebanon remains an early adapter, or a prototype, if you will, for our yet to be determined 'next state'.  Extra-ordinarily on the razors edge. A National dilution of tribes so thorough that if it were colored, its various colors would rise and recede like a chameleon. To wit: a diaspora of 12 million, a displaced Syrian resident population of 1.5 million, Palestinians from 1947/8, Armenians from the Turkish massacres of 1914-18---all in a country of only 4 million official Lebanese. 

     In its diluted state and because of it, any pretence of sovereignty is ignored daily. Streams---if not rivers---of cash flow from Tehran to finance its proxy 'state within a state'; and alternatively, rivers from Saudi Arabia flow to its own Prime Minister here. Israeli jets transgress its borders daily, and the Americans have put sanctions out on a significant share of its elected Parliament. 

     Of course, as is currently described, " the centre can not hold".  Since, there is no center.  Save perhaps the coffee at Uncle Deek where the old men and some women sit outside facing the sea in their plastic chairs on the sidewalk and greet the morning sun while they watch the athletes on the corniche run by.