Lebanon has one of the most chaotic political systems in the world. The previous government presided over a massive ammonium nitrate explosion they could have prevented had any one person in government taken responsibility for removing a derelict Russian freighter.
Once again, the Lebanese government has displayed head-shaking incompetence, this time on what seems like a minor matter but could lead to more religious unrest as hot weather combines with people not eating or drinking water during the day. Always a good combination.
So what did the good burghers of Beirut do this time? They decided on Thursday not to change to daylight saving time this weekend, most likely so that people can make Iftar "an hour earlier." Of course, changing the clock time of sunset doesn't actually change the duration of daylight; Earth spins on its axis all the same, indifferent to how we measure it. So observant Muslims in Lebanon will still fast for a little over 12 hours today, just as they did yesterday.
I found out about this idiocy right away from the Time Zone Committee email list, but some Lebanese just found out about it this morning. It hasn't gone well:
Daylight Saving will be introduced from midnight on April 20 rather than from midnight on March 25.
No official explanation has been given for the move although local media suggested it was introduced to coincide with Ramadan.
But the decision is facing widespread revolt, with two TV channels going ahead with the clock changes in protest.
MTV Lebanon and LBCI Lebanon say they will refuse to cooperate with the adjustment, announcing they will go ahead with switching to Daylight Saving Time on Saturday.
CNN also reports, "Adding to the confusion, the government is yet to say whether it has informed officials responsible for synchronizing times on mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices of the change." This is true; the Government of Lebanon has not officially informed IANA of the change. Fortunately—or unfortunately—for them, someone sent us a link to a reliable Tweet, so we went ahead with a patch, and some guidance on how to use the new rule by changing your phone to the Libyan time zone until April 20th.
The problem with authoritarian governments, of course, is that they believe they control everything within their domains, without having the first clue how things actually get done. Add some religion and it gets even stupider.
Democracy is messy; democracy is frustrating; but democracy doesn't usually get such basic technical decisions so maddeningly wrong.