Rampling made the critical remarks in an op-ed he wrote, titled: “Lebanon: Parting Thoughts.”
“Lebanon has changed so much since I arrived, and especially over the last 14 months. My wife and I, and our 2 young children, touched down in 2018 with great expectation,” he started.
He then shed light on how almost half of the workforce in Lebanon is now unemployed, and more than half are in poverty, mentioning the increasing number of emigrants, and observing that Lebanese eyes now “tell of sadness.”
The ambassador went on to slam the collapsing country’s leadership, describing the economic crisis and the August 4 explosion as “home-grown” crises.
“And on top, there is a profound political – and a growing social – crisis, out of which I have not seen evidence that Lebanon has the system or the leadership to chart a path,” Rampling continued.
“When given a roadmap and a promise of desperately-needed investment in 2018, and then again this year, the leaders did not take up the mantle of responsibility.”
The ambassador wrote that, while he had met many wonderful people in Lebanon, some things in it are “rotten.”
“Politics will have to change, and ideas will fertilise that process,” he acknowledged.
“The energy of 17 October is only 14 months back, and most of those chanting for a better future remain,” he then added, stressing that sectarianism has trapped political thinking, and that success will require Lebanon’s current and future leaders to “move beyond reorganizing the deckchairs. Going beyond existing groups.”
“And my final call is to those leaders, public servants, financiers, and business people. Your country has friends, and we care about your people,” Rampling wrote.
“But you, not we, hold the tools of power. You – and most of all the leaders – will be remembered and judged for what you did at the time of greatest need.”