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BEIRUT: A view of the front pages of an English-language Lebanese newspaper which refrained from publishing news in its print edition for Thursday to protest politicians’ inaction over the simmering political crisis.—AFP
BEIRUT: A view of the front pages of an English-language Lebanese newspaper which refrained from publishing news in its print edition for Thursday to protest politicians’ inaction over the simmering political crisis.—AFP

BEIRUT: A prominent Lebanese daily on Thursday appeared on newsstands with a black front page in the second such protest by a local paper in less than a year over the country’s lingering political crisis.

“Lebanon,” read the cover of The Daily Star, the country’s only English-language newspaper.

On 10 blank pages inside, it listed a string of woes including “government deadlock”, “pollution” “unemployment”, “illegal weapons” and “public debt”.

“Wake up before it’s too late!” it concluded on its back page, with the issue’s single picture of a cedar, the country’s national emblem.

The newspaper’s Lebanon and online editor Joseph Haboush said the move sought to convey alarm to the ruling class.

“We wanted to deliver a warning to the politicians and officials that the situation has reached an alarming level,” he said.

In October last year, the country’s oldest newspaper An-Nahar printed an entirely blank issue to protest a political deadlock over forming a cabinet.

The government was formed in January after an eight-month hiatus, but the cabinet has now not met for over a month since a shootout killed a minister’s two bodyguards.

In a rare comment, the US embassy on Wednesday warned against any inflammation of tensions over the incident in Qabr el-Shamoun on June 30.

“The US has conveyed in clear terms to Lebanese authorities our expectation that they will handle this matter in a way that achieves justice without politically motivated inflammation of sectarian or communal tensions,” it said.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2019