Watching the news of the preparations for the Syrian presidential elections and the excitement, if not mass hysteria, sweeping the Syrian electorate in Lebanon, I found myself asking where is the "reason" in watching a mass murderer running for reelection as president. What prompted me to this line of thought was an article titled “The Future of Reason,” written for the digital Lebanese newspaper, Al Modon, by the well-known Lebanese intellectual, Karim Mroueh. In the article, Mroueh considers certain scenes that seem to call into question the very idea of reason or rationality, one of which is Bashar al-Assad's candidacy for a new term. "The first scene is President Bashar al Assad running for a new term in light of what his country is suffering at his hand and the hands of his allies-- that is the cold-blooded and organized destruction of the country’s geography, history, special sites, and homes, as well as the organized killing and exile of millions of Syrians. Does this scene point to the presence of 'reason' in the minds of those who are in power and who practice destruction, killing, and expulsion with him?" Despite the seeming lack of causes for optimism, Mr. Mrouhe remains hopeful: "Despite what I have pointed to and expounded upon, I will remain optimistic about the future of reason, as I will remain optimistic that the rational actors for whom we have been waiting will rise up to perform the role of building our nation and expelling irrationality." I confess that at times I find it hard to see how Mrouhe sustains his optimism.
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