We cannot prove who assassinated Lokman Slim, the prominent and vocal Hezbollah critic and political activist, on the morning of 4 February. But there are some things we can be sure of.
We know that Slim was shot several times in the head in the south of Lebanon, having disappeared the night before. We know that he had received death threats from Hezbollah supporters, who accused him of treason. We know that the south of Lebanon is under the control of Hezbollah, and one cannot do much there without the knowledge of the powerful Shiite party.
We also know that in Lebanon, not all culprits try to conceal their identities.
It is a country where impunity is the rule, where investigations are simply where cases go to die, and where the state is but a facade for a coalition of corrupt sectarian parties. The culprit can be sure that everyone will know who killed Slim, but no one will be able to do anything about it.
The signs have been there for a while. The only way out for the failed Lebanese regime, and the forces behind it, is ruling by fear.
The country has been turning into a police state for some time. A country ruled by thugs, militias, corrupt security forces, corrupt banks, corrupt politicians and warlords.
Partisans of political parties have grown fond of the language of bullying, violence and hatred. Social media is rife with worrying signs. Some celebrate the murder of anyone who opposes their party or their leader. Comments under Slim’s last Facebook post are but the latest example.
We have seen attacks on journalists, protesters and anyone else who dares speak out against power in the country. In recent months, we have seen assassinations of people who could have potentially testified about the Beirut port explosion last August and other nefarious activities of the powerful in the country. Investigations are still ongoing, as they are for the explosion, and we can rest assured that they will remain ongoing forever.
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