Corruption is a human temptation.
Up to a certain point, many politicians, even in so-called developed or high-income countries, may be tempted to receive bribes or a favour in one form or in another.
Luckily, there are ethical and legal processes to avoid or deal with conflict of interests.
Ultimately, it is the people who decide that someone does not deserve their trust anymore as a public servant.
In the Lebanese revolution, people revolted against ALL their leaders (“all of them means all of them”) upon the Lebanese financial crash (i.e., banking fraud) on October 17, 2019.
Despite this, Mr. Gibran Bassil’s name came over and over in songs, jokes, in anger statements or cries of despair on the streets, etc. He was Minister (of Energy… and there is still no power, mind you!).
Without knowing him (since Bambi has left her birth country over 30 years ago), she can recognize his style, which represents both arrogance and arrivism. There is also of course nepotism (which is sadly too common in Lebanon).
You may think: Oh well, isn’t this what political leaders are all about anywhere :)? Maybe, but there is a significant difference in corruption magnitude (in addition to civilized versus uncivilized societies). The extent of corruption is notoriously higher in developing countries… Perhaps, even higher in states heading toward failure?
Perhaps states fail when corruption is taken to endemic levels, without any accountability. Only power talks, including the power of both weapons and elitism. So, imagine when both go hand in hand (i.e., mutually protecting and strengthening each other).
Sadly, in addition to its mafia-like politicians, tiny Lebanon has serious issues (e.g., geopolitics, internal divisions or wars, regional armed conflicts, refugees, financial frauds, pandemics, ammonium nitrate-related surrealistic explosions, etc.).
Is Mr. Bassil the only corrupt figure? Of course not, but he is surely a symbolic figure of Lebanon’s tragedy.
This is why it is not surprising to the people of Lebanon to see him hit by the USA for “corruption”:
Below is what Mr. Bassil said on TV, as per 961:
Below is a video by Ms. Dorothy Shea, US Ambassador in Lebanon. It is a statement meant as a reply to Mr. Bassil’s own press conference.
To conclude this post, just for the fun or re-watching this, below is an interview where you can see Mr. Bassil in Davos (January 23, 2020). He had a funny exchange with the Dutch Foreign Trade Minister, Ms. Sigrid Kaag related to his “friends” who privately flew him to Europe 🙂 (as a former Minister).