Ziyad Baroud: when the ‘System’ Becomes your Defense
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30 seconds takes on Ziyad Baroud, a prominent lawyer. Baroud is the former Secretary-general of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections and member of the Fouad Boutros National Electoral Commission. He is also a lecturer at the Saint Joseph University and consultant for UNDP on local governance and decentralisation. He was named “Young Global Leader 2007”, an honour bestowed by the Word Economic Forum each year to recognise the most distinguished 250 persons below the age of 41 from around the world.


What kills you most?

You mean apart from a questionnaire like yours? Injustice comes first under all its aspects.

What gets you up in the morning?

My neighboring school’s ringing bell.

What happened to your childhood dreams?

They missed the plane... Trying to catch another one...

What distinguishes you from others?

I only would be distinguished if I could tell.

What do you need most?

The ability to keep my freedom of thoughts and actions.

Do you think that anyone can become an artist?

Everyone is entitled to dreams. Reality is a gift...

Where are you from?

From some place I did not choose, but gladly enjoyed belonging to afterwards... and still do...

Do you feel your situation is enviable?

I have no feelings when it comes to envy.

What have you given up on?

Not much. I mainly gave up believing some people...

What do you do with your money?

I make it become not mine, mostly, and keep some for when life gets totally unfair.

What moves you?

Challenges and genuine people.

What are your favourite pleasures?

Cannot tell all... Success stories are my favourites...

What would you like to receive for your birthday?

ArabAd would be fine...

Name three living artists that you hate most?

You cannot hate artists; you can only dislike their oeuvre.

What or whom do you defend?

I defend the rule of law as it should be, because when it’s there, “the system” becomes your defense.

What are you capable of refusing?

Too many things. Mainly, some “gifts” are to be refused. Go back to question 5.

What are you capable of doing in the name of love?

Refrain from hating.

What are you blamed for?

How many pages do you have for this?

What does art bring to you?

It makes me feel how curt the practice of law is , so I try to put some “art” in what I do. My own way...

Who do you think you are?

It’s like “Who -the hell- do you think you are”! A common human creature who tends to think that he is what he is...

What drives you nuts?

The previous question. It revives an internal metaphysical unanswered debate.

Write your own epitaph?

I prefer it blank. That’s not even where your name is supposed to mean anything whether positive or negative.

Under what form would you like to come back as?

Who said I would like to come back anyway? It’s already so risky to come once...

What was the last book you read?

“L’Evangile selon Pilate” of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.

Do you like animals?

I like those who can be referred to as “political animals”.

Why did you choose Law?

I wanted to discover something that did not exist when I made my choice. It is hardly existing today when it comes to fulfilled rights.

Who is the woman of your dreams? Honestly!

She knows. That’s all it counts.

What is your philosophy in life?

I stopped adopting this sort of clichés... But I like Baden Powell’s when he said: try to leave Earth a bit better than the day you were born.

What is the most important thing in your life?

It is yet to come...

Talk to an alien.

I talk to a thousand a day; genuinely, from another planet, when it comes to politics...