Monday, December 18, 2006

“A kingdom divided against itself can not stand.” Jesus Christ.

Lebanon has never witnessed what it sees today. On December 10 of 2006 perhaps more than half of the Lebanese population was in one of two protests in the country, one of which may have been the largest in Lebanese history. The amount of political fervor within the Lebanese people (whatever their colors are) is mind boggling considering that not three years ago we were mostly apathetic compared to the feelings we have today.

What is sad however is that these two protests were of two opposing camps. One mostly Sunni, the other with a majority of Shi’ites. No matter how you try to twist and change things a Sunni-Shi’ite confrontation is glaring at us today. They spoke of the ‘Lebanonization’ of Iraq... today we are speaking of the ‘Iraqization’ of Lebanon. The politicians have been steadily increasing their verbal wars over the past two years until this moment and where these battle of words will lead, only God knows.

Several months ago I saw a clip of children on a Lebanese talk show. The children must have been 10 or 12 years old. Each was from a certain sect and political ‘opinion’. Except for the fact that those participating in the talk show were not old enough to drive, it was a perfectly typical political debate... a carbon copy of any talk show amongst ‘adult’ politicians. They were very ‘grown-up like’ and it was very scary... these children have been taught political discourse without being able to analyze what they say nor process what is being said to them. Like programmed machines they respond to issues and counter-attack just like their role models.

So we see that even our children are fervent about politics, and seem very mature, yet to me, critical thinking has been thrown out the window not just amongst our children but amongst the Lebanese population in general. We have allowed our leaders to lead us into a mass frenzy of fury... just like those children, each supporter speaks the lines of his/her favored politicians, the same rumors, counter-attacks, arguments, excuses and slogans. There is no third voice, no voice of reason, no neutral middle ground, no peace-making or bridge-building initiative amongst the politicians... where is the voice of moderation and peace??? (most likely drowned out... it is terribly difficult to remain neutral in such polarized conditions).

I am not the type to throw away truth for the sake of unity, but today we are sinking into the abyss of political immaturity and I no am longer proud of the ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom of speech’ and (now perhaps non-existent) ‘freedom of thought’ that Lebanon treasured in an otherwise autocratic political landscape of Arab nations. We protest in fury and without any vision and in the end we gain nothing but division... and today you will find families and friends being divided over politics to the point that they are ready to fight each other. Every time we receive true independence we show ourselves to be too selfish and greedy to govern in fairness and justice... perhaps we are looking for independence in the wrong place... may I be proved wrong and long live Lebanon!

5 comments:

  1. It seems you fell yourself to the propaganda coming from behind the mountains. No the Lebanese are not divided in half, this is nonsense. There's a majority that wants to break loose of Syrian/Iranian hegemony and a minority that is following its leadership into the abyss.

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  2. I asked my uncle S. what he thought of it all, and he said that one of his professors at AUB, a political scientist, used to say "The masses are asses."

    That's one way to look at it...

    I'm just glad everybody's marching, dancing, eating ka'ak and roast corn, debka-ing, smoking narghile, inventing snazzy posters, applying face paint and selling tee shirts. THis is constructive behavior if you ask me. It's much, much better than brawling or shooting. And if they're going on talk shows (or sending their children) well so much the better.

    Uncle S. says "the Lebanese always find a middle way..." I say let's hope so, if God is willing.

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  3. Abu Jaafar, congrats on joining us and on your first post.

    Every single person in Lebanon should know that they are the fuel that power the political engines at work today. Those without popular support resort to bombings and assassinations in order to feed off of people's fears and the actions and attitudes those fears manifest.

    Abu Jaafar, we know who's behind the assassinations, we know who started the war this summer. And they know that we know, thats why they distract us with issues that are important to be sure, but which should be addressed AFTER this fight is over.

    We are all independents here on this blog. Almost all of us have something against the Future Movement, the PSP, Amal, the FPM, the LF, and all the others. But we don't protest against them, and we don't protest with them. We address each issue as it comes up and the only issues that are of relevance right now at this very moment are those of Sryia's continual interference in our safety, security, and sovereignty. Right now, as the issues stand, Hizballah and Amal and all the others camping out in front of the Serail are the ones defending Syria's interests. When the country talks of national defense strategies they create national defense catastrophes. When the nation talks of rememberance of those assassinated they seek to blind and distract us - I can't believe that no one is talking about the destruction and devastation of a war only 4 months after it happened, in the US they talked about Katrina for how long? They're still talking about it!!! When the nation talks of security they create insecurity through crisis after crisis and through calls for bringing down of a government which has had only one agenda for the past year and a half - the International Tribunal. They have known for months that that is the only issue on which this government has been created and yet they joined it, they supported it and they let it exist up until the time at which they could cause the greatest damage! That is the truth of the matter.

    The other issues that the FPM and Amal and Hizballah have brought up are important ones, but they have been brought up now not with the intention of addressing them constructively, but of using them destructively. When the time comes to address these issues alliances will change, political maps will be redrawn, and support bases will shift. But that time isn't now.

    Sorry for the wordy reply, I'll try to keep it shorter next time.

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  4. I liked the title. And I liked the post. As the song goes "Together we stand, divided we fall".

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  5. Debate, you must be kidding that the Lebanese are not divided... or willingly blind.

    Blacksmith Jade, thankyou for your gracious welcome. I understand your concerns listed above and they, in my opinion, have merit. However, I don't agree at many things you said but we can leave that for later.

    You said, "Every single person in Lebanon should know that they are the fuel that power the political engines at work today"

    Very well... lets then keep a persective beyond the petty politics of the day: "Syria, Iran, US, Israel, Hizbulla, Tribunal, majority, the real majority, blah blah blah..." the country is in a mess because its been built on very unstable foundations.

    Leila, I hope Uncle S. is right in saying that we will find a middle way... sometimes though blood must be spilt before it comes but we all hope it doesn't.

    And thankyou liliane that you liked my post. May all we be able to stand in that day.

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