Rule number one: never be number two. Have you heard this before? If you live in Lebanon or have Lebanese roots, chances are you have. Or perhaps you’ve seen it posted on someone’s Instagram page or Facebook wall. I even once saw it on a sticker on the windshield of a 1975 Chevy Silverado in Nabatieh.

Taught to little boys and girls as early as elementary school, this philosophy is without a doubt the modus operandi of Lebanon. It’s probably why this tiny country of only four million has managed to wiggle its way to the number one position of so many different and diverse fields—from media, to the sciences and culinary delights.

True patriots will know that Lebanon holds the world record for largest plate of Tabbouleh and Hummus ever made, but did you know that we are getting closer to another, more ambitious, world record?

I don’t want to jinx it, so just to be safe, touch wood before reading the next sentence. Okay, here’s the big news: Lebanon is close to beating Belgium’s world record for time spent forming a government. Just let that sink in for a while.

The record for delay in forming a government is 589 days, an honor bestowed upon Belgium between 2010 and 2011. Political paralysis, fragmentation, and politicians with egos all contributed to give Belgium the edge it needed to hold the record. Does this sound familiar? It should since we have all the elements of a foolproof formula. Whatever Belgium can do; Lebanon can do better. All we need is a little bit more time! Just a couple hundred more days and we can top this record and make world history.

I imagine that some of you are scratching your head and thinking: “Belgium… wait, that’s in Europe, right?” You may wonder: How can a country in Europe ever hold the record for political gridlock? Well, the fact of the matter is that they do. And I know what you are thinking—that it’s an absolute disgrace that a country in the Middle East hasn’t beat their record yet. But hopefully Lebanon can change all that soon by making sure nothing changes.

Talking to students on AUB’s campus, many young people feel optimistic that this record is well within reach. “Us Lebanese, when we put our mind to do something, we do it till the end,” says Mohammad, a second-year biology student.

Cheers to 2016 and yet another year without a President!

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