Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Part II: Talking to Hizballah's Supporters

In Lebanon things aren’t any different, except that in Lebanon we have a multitude of political cultures and psyches. This is the reason that after 30 years of war and occupation, people in Aschrafieh, Qoreitem, and Ouzai all have hugely varying opinions on what has happened over the past month, not to mention the past few decades! It is the view that Lebanon has been victorious, that Hizballah is right to do what it did, and that Hizballah should retain the right to do it again that I take issue with.

I’m taken back to December 12th (I think it was) when, immediately following the assassination of MP Gebran Tueni, the Lebanese cabinet quickly moved to secure a demand for an international tribunal to try those who would be implicated in his and previous assassinations – most notably that of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Claiming that the ‘March 14th’ element of the cabinet had acted unilaterally in passing the cabinet resolution, two Hizballah ministers, along with the other Shiite members of cabinet, brought the government and the entire country to a virtual standstill for three months. To those who supported this boycott I ask: Wasn’t plunging the entire nation into a war it did not want a unilateral action? If the boycotting the government was a legitimate reprisal to such a move, I ask you what should be the response to more than $2 billion worth of damage and 900 dead?

I understand why Shiites support Hizballah. The historical neglect and quasi-oppression faced by the sect – not just in Lebanon but across the entire Middle East – has made their ascent to power ever sweeter. This ascent was captured in the signing of the Taef Accords and in the rise of Amal and Hizballah. Therein lies the secret of the Shiite community’s psychological ability to tolerate those two groups. These two groups, that have forced the community into a state of lackeydom through cultural hegemony, corruption, social and political oppression, and countless other tools of authoritarian governance, are the symbols of the Lebanese Shiites’ rise from neglect; the Syrian-dominated regime of the past 15 years that supported them was the regime of their rise; and Hizballah’s expelling of the Israelis from the South and the weapons with which they did it was the legacy left by their rise to the generations to come.

Too dramatic? Maybe, but not any less true. These factors form one of two integral pillars in the mentality of the Shiite community’s support for Hizballah, the second pillar is made up of the material and more tangible contributions of Hizballah to the community members’ everyday lives.
For the rest of the Lebanese there is only one way to reconcile this ‘Shiite Renaissance’ with the deeply rooted establishments of the Lebanon of the past. That way relies on us moving forward towards a political equation that guarantees equality, democracy, sovereignty, stability, and security for the nation as a whole, in such a way as to minimize the importance of sectarianism when compared to the nation that guarantees all of the above. Of course, the toughest question one can ask after such a statement is how? To this question I say there is an answer! But I won’t post it here today.


  1. Aug.16 is the most current post I could find. I'll come back later.

  2. u posted that comment aug 26th, the most recent then was aug26th...go to the main page:

    Blacksmiths of Lebanon

  3. Chadi Mamlouk7:47 PM

    Hey Jade i think it would be fun if you write a column on how some people spend their life blowing things (and people) up and then end up blown away! Irony isn't it?
    You know what/who i'm talking about.


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