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The daylight savings time video ignites Lebanon.. The clock sparks a sectarian debate


At a time when Lebanon is witnessing the worst economic collapse in its modern history, as more than half of the Lebanese are below the poverty line, unable to secure the most basic necessities of living, the political scene and social media have turned into an open “war arena” for sectarian debate over the rights of Christians and Muslims, and an opportunity for political currents. Quarrels to exchange accusations, because of “daylight savings time”!

Wild Mikati video

The sectarian debate started a few days ago and is still going strong, due to a video of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, asking the caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, to delay the start of the Universal Daylight Savings Time, out of consideration for those fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Like wildfire, the video clip spread through social media, and caused confusion due to a lack of commitment to adjusting the clock and timing that had been in effect for decades in the country, sometimes reaching the point of sectarian incitement, as the positions of the Lebanese were divided between those who adhere to the “time clock” and those who refuse to commit to presenting The time is from midnight.

The “Maronite Patriarchate” also entered the line of debate, announcing yesterday evening, Saturday, its commitment to advance the clock by one hour at midnight tonight, and considered that the decision was improvised and without consultation with the rest of the Lebanese components and without any regard for international standards.

In addition, the sudden decision caused confusion among those concerned with sectors directly related to UTC, among airlines, and among travelers who had previously booked their tickets according to the usual daylight saving time.

Two timings for banks

It was also reported that the Banque du Liban announced, “There is no need to change anything in the system, because it will follow the change of the normal time instead of the government’s decision,” indicating that “there is no change in the attendance hours of the employees, nor a change in the timing of the clearing sessions, and that things will continue without modification, that is, according to According to the government’s decision, “but he pointed out that the only change will be in the timing of the systems, as they are linked to universal time,” which means that the Banque du Liban and the banks will adopt two timings.

Yesterday, local media and educational institutions announced that they would not adhere to the new time, and kept the usual summer time.

An ill-conceived random decision

A member of the Parliamentary Communications and Technology Committee, Representative Saeed Al-Asmar, told Al-Arabiya.net, “The decision to delay work in daylight savings time is random and ill-considered and reflects the way the country is run.”

He also added, “Any decision to change daylight saving time must be preceded by a scientific and economic study with stakeholders, especially internet and programming companies, to find out the repercussions of such a decision, which did not happen, knowing that such a decision should have been taken a maximum of a year ago in order to inform the companies.” the world in order to arrange its dealings with Lebanon according to the new time.

Banks and companies will not comply

In addition, Al-Asmar pointed out that the Banque du Liban and private banks, in addition to technology and information companies, and airlines will not abide by the decision to cancel daylight savings time, because they will incur huge losses and will face many technical problems.

Problems with Google

For his part, Joseph Khoueiri, the head of the Syndicate of Informatics and Technology Companies in Lebanon, told Al Arabiya.net, “The decision to delay the daylight savings time will lead us into the unknown, because most technology companies in the country are linked to global system time.” He explained the technical problems that the Lebanese will face, pointing out that “any user of the Google search engine” will not be able to obtain the search result before making a time adjustment on his computer, because the Server computer is programmed according to the time of the global system. Also, working on the Teams system will be affected by the timing adjustment, because it works according to the Microsoft system.

He also pointed out that “telecom companies in Lebanon will face technical problems because of the decision, because they do not have enough time to program the timing, which means that the Lebanese will do it themselves.” And he considered, “Lebanon could have avoided the negative repercussions of the decision to change daylight saving time if it had been taken at least three months ago, as international companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple are notified of this.”

It is not the first time that Lebanon has resorted to changing the daylight saving time. He did it in 1989 and 1998, but for a short time.

However, Khoueiri explained, “At that time, there was no development in the communications and technology sector, so the decision passed smoothly and without negative repercussions on the economy, unlike today when there are local companies linked to the global time.” He also pointed out that the work of the ministries in Lebanon was affected by the decision, because the programming system in them needs to be modified.

It is noteworthy that while the debate is still raging among many Lebanese on the means of communication, some have expressed their dissatisfaction with the level reached by this controversy, wearing a bright sectarian suit at a time when the country is drowning in its worst crisis ever!

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