Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Aoun the Dissapointer

I like political competition. I like it because it forces politicians to say what we want them to say, and in some cases, nudges them to actually implement their promises. If there is any silver lining to the hate-filled and whining diatribe that is coming out of Aoun's mouth, it is this new sense of volatility that exists in our politics - this sense that not everything is going according to the plan of the most influential players.

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Aoun, the political amateur:

Other than that though, Aoun's return to Lebanon has been a big disappointment for me. His interviews with Marcel Ghanem that used to take place once every couple of months in Paris were interesting, if not entertaining. But this daily dose of Aoun-medicine courtesy of LBC's evening news is becoming unbearable.

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If anything, these past few weeks have proven that Aoun is a political featherweight! I'd even call him an amateur - a naive narcissist who can barely see beyond his own pride and ego. My doubts began to emerge when he made his famous declaration in Paris: "I want to bring those who were responsible for creating Lebanon's debt to justice?" After hearing that, I asked myself: does Aoun really think that he's going to be a serious contender in the Lebanese political landscape if he threatens almost every member of the country’s political elite?

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Today, when I think back and try to imagine the moment he decided to use those words as his campaign slogan, I ask myself whether he actually believed he would be able to carry out such a cataclysmic program. Or was it that he thought that people would flock to him under that banner? His behavior has forced me to even question whether the man has actually been living in Paris for all of these years. If he did actualy reside there, should it not have been clear to him that the Hariri family is fully supported by France? Most of us amateur news-watchers were even able to figure out that the family also has the support of the United States (never mind Saudi Arabia). Was it so difficult for Mr. Aoun to comprehend that?

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Aoun the reformer?

On top of his political clumsiness, it is beginning to appear that Aoun is not that much of a reformer either. As every day passes, it appears that he's just another Lebanese politician who above all else is simply power hungry! His discourse about programs and reforms has never evolved from his mere assertion that he wants reform, and that all Lebanese who want reform should vote for his movement. His daily ranting about how Jumblatt betrayed him, or how both he and Hariri are worse than Rustom Ghazali is, in my opinion, antagonizing voters rather than attracting them. Investing his energy and breath in talk about the specifics of his vaunted reform plan would have showed that he is truly an alternative, and may eventualy have led to a higher following among all sects. Today, however, he has personalized his politics and is looking more and more like a Maronite Za'im rather than a Secular reformer.

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My humble message to Aoun:

Mr. Aoun, even though everything you say may be true, that is not the kind of rhetoric that wins elections! No one likes to vote for whining losers! In fact, if you continue like this, no one except your core supporters will vote for you if you run for elections.

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Mr. Aoun, you try to sell yourself as the alternative. You tell everyone that their lives will be better if they elect you because you will "reform" the country. If you want people to believe you, then you'd better start acting and talking like a reformer! People watch you on television and say that you've definitely done the impossible! You've lowered the political discourse to a level that Rustom Ghazale's goons didn't reach!

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My Appeal to the Tayyar:

I call on members of the Tayyar. I call on all my friends who I met in AUB and in Washington DC. I know at least some of you guys are gonna be the ones who run the show behind the scenes! I also know you will be the ones who make the difference if anyone in the Tayyar is able to. Do something about Aoun! He's hurting your cause. Hire handlers who control his behavior in public occasions. Hire speech writers so that he sticks to the Tayyar message, rather than rant, whine and complain about traitors and corruption. Get him some political advisors, so that he doesn't drag the Tayyar down into the political abyss. Do all that or just get rid of him...

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Aoun might be a great guy. But, thus far, he has proven himself to be politically inept. He has cornered himself. Forced you to ally with parties like the SSNP, and has reverted to being a spoiler because he did not have the wherewithal to get a better position on the negotiating table. Time will show whether my assessments are wrong. However thus far, I can’t but repeat: I’m disappointed!

9 comments:

Charles Malik said...

Raja,
It seems like you want to like the guy, but he's just not allowing you to.
It seems like you want a leader other than the guys standing around, but no one new has emerged.
Carlos Edde came back from abroad to lead. He does not have the charisma to draw.
Maybe another member of your Lebanese American diaspora can return to stake a political presence. However, what the Johns Hopkins precedent. It seems like Prof. Farid el-Khazen has been pushed out of the inner Maronite circle and will not get any endorsement to run for office in any seat anywhere in Lebanon - especially not in his native Keserwan.

Maya said...

It's funny, I am not dissapointed. I kind of expected this. From the start, Aoun seemed like the type of leader who, once he has acheived his "cause" or "mission" is like a ship without a sailor. Lost. For so many years he has been saying "Syria out" and now that they are out... he just doesn't know what to say! My advice to Aoun is to find a new worthy cause. National unity for example. The whining and rambling is useless.

Anonymous said...

Aoun is repeatng the same mistake he made in 1990.

Good cause I must say but, bad manner, politically shortsighted, zero diplomacy, and finally targeting his own team members.

I thought he would have learned by now.

Doha said...

Raja, Aoun's reform agenda apparently became to get others for their past mistakes, which I believe people are just tired of. Plus, how can it be a reform initiative when it doesn't really bring any good to the people; it's simply a plan for a politician to get other politicans. What we really want is for someone to tell us everyday on the news how we can solve our debt issue, not how the $40 billion came about.

Mustapha said...

"A charming girl of 16 was becoming too fond of a handsome young man of the same age, who used to make a practice of passing beneath her window every evening at nightfall.
Her mother invited him to spend a week with them in the country. it was a bold remedy: the girl was of a romantic disposition and the young man a trifle dull. Within three days, she despised him."
Standhal, Love

Aoun is exactly like that Hansdsome young man: exciting from far, boring when close.

Mustapha
The Beirut Spring

ZM said...

Raja,

I agree with your post. I left Lebanon in 89 and Aoun always appealed to my idealistic side (vis-a-vis fixing Lebanon, that is). Today, I am quite dissapointed in his political ineptitude and hope that he gets some savvy very quickly: for his sake and for the sake of his many supporters who suffered Syria's wrath for supporting him and who were counting so much on him.

Ms Levantine said...

Aoun is trying to make himself a hero when he is not..he caused so much havoc in the past that I really don't think he is fit at all mentally to lead a country.

eyeontruth said...

Hello everyone.
I am surprised by the diversity of thinking of the human kind. yet some people are blinded by too many factors that they become unrealistic and picky!
Ok, it is funny how you picked up the alexandre adjective just like "some media" picked it to criticise general aoun. I won't comment this because it is childish and ridiculous.
So now after 15 days then general aoun came to lebanon, what are you expecting. Are you expecting a great positive inpact on the economy eh? on the other side, we saw Mr Mikati's act for 15 years, and no one judged, now you say he he is the saviour ? People be real and give people what they deserv.

you know what is the problem with the lebanese? It is that they forget. They forget the thieves who robbed them all these years, they forget who lied to them all these days during the 15 years, they forget who put them in jail.
Just because they changed their mind in the last 3 monthes!

On the other side, they start saying nonsense about someone who has fighted for 20 years for his country just because they pick on "an example story" about alexandre (so funny), and because he did not make in 15 days what others could not make in 15 years!

I just want to see "what you call opposition" will do after the election regarding the economical and administrational reformation since they will be the first ones to be in jail.

In the end. I might follow someone who played and lost, but i won't follow someone who did win and cheated!

Hayyakum Alla said...

Long live Saad Hariri, Long Live the 34 Billion $. Great visionary..rebuilder of the debt of Lebanon...Blog That you bunch of ignorants...