Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sectarianism, Media, Marginalization & Awn

So LBC decides one day that it wants to "investigate" what the Maronite perspective on a specific issue is. Does it go to a Maronite living in Beirut or Achrafieh? No! Instead, it finds a 60 year old jiddo who can't tell the difference between political parties and sects to express his political opinion about proportional electoral systems at the level of the region. Once that ignoramous manages to blurb out a couple of words, every body watching their TV set will somehow convince themselves that this man is saying what all Maronites think. No TV station is any different in their coverage - i.e. it is very rare for them differentiate the opinions of members of the same sect based on class, or socio-economic status!

Call me an idiot if you want, but I'm sure that the majority of AUB graduates at least appreciate that issues are more complex than what Mr. Ancient in a village populated with 40 other retirees somewhere in the Lebanese mountains can fathom. Why are there only two overlapping opinions in Lebanon: the mob and the demagogue? Why are the moderate and more complex opinions of the socio-economic elite marginalized by political news broadcasts?
The answer seems obvious, but I won't give it away! ;)

On that note, I just want to make a comment about General Awn's return to Lebanon: I think that two aspects of his return are sad and dangerous.

1. The sad part is the feeling most of his supporters have, that somehow he is going to save them. This idea of a Mesiah comming to make your life better is a big problem - you basically forgoe responsibility of making anything different and unfairly put everything on the lap of your leader.

2. It is dangerous because Awn is not controling expectations. On Marcel Ghanem's show, he was told that some of his supporter's were comparing his return to Gen. De Gaul's return to Paris after WWII. Instead of humbly thanking the praise and downplaying expectations, he said that everyone has a right to express themselves. For his own sake, Gen Awn ought to control expectations.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post! The LBC has been very irresponsible in its coverage this past week. It is sad that certain members of the opposition think that anyone who disagree with their view on the electoral district is a against Lebanon or the will of the Lebanese. Many Christians and Muslims want larger district. Moderate/progressive candidates have a better chance getting elected with larger districts. Many of the FM candidates in Tripoli are carried into office with the support of people in Enfe, Dede, etc.
Someone need to point out that the Kadaa law is Ghazaleh's election law.

Maya said...

I agree with you regarding the risks of Aoun's return and the siproportionate expectations some Lebanese have in that regards. Furthermore, as you mentioned, he does appear to have a big ego when he is interviewed on TV> I think he is getting as carried away as his supporters. He does not measure his limitations.My question is: Can Aoun lead after Lebanon's liberation. His "kick the Syrians out" mission is outdated! Can he come up with a new, meaningful mission?

Doha said...

Let's not be quick at making judgements. Aoun cares about his country; his exile has made him a larger than life figure which he tries to take up. Diversity is all good; I don't see why we have a problem with him...why should leaders like Berri, Nasrallah, or Jumblatt be glorified and not Aoun?

Regarding LBC: the reporting lately has been very biased. Reporters are not doing a great job at seeking out different views; even Marwan Hamadeh at Future did mention something about skewed reporting. Why cover certain topics in a skewed way, especially highlighting sectarian divides almost intentionally?...Not right. Raja and I always asked ourselves (even before Hariri's assassination) what LBCI stands for and what is its gets confusing.

Solomon2 said...

his exile has made him a larger than life figure which he tries to take up

Interesting viewpoint. I thought exile usually diminishes a person's political influence. Clearly, I have very muddled concepts of Lebanese politics.

Mustapha said...


They don't make exiles the way they used to.

A figure who Addresses his followers by phone, and who has constant T.V, newspapers and internet exposure is hardly an exile, don't you think?

Let alone that he was constantly making news by being the only lebanese politician publicly criticizing Syria for the last 10 years..

The Beirut Spring

Anton Efendi said...

Aoun is simply way too narcissitic and self-absorbed for my taste. I am not a Geagea fan either, in fact, I'm not affiliated with any party in Lebanon or abroad. But Aoun has been seriously getting on my nerves lately. Samir Qassir gave him a nice respectful slap here.