Truth is being revealed, my head tells me to type. All is being revealed. If it wasn't the most heated election round, the North and its candidates would have been forgotten...like always. But this time, every TV channel is scrambling to get as many candidates to say a word or two as possible in one show. Even someone who has not known much of the north, like Cedar Guardian of the Lebanese Political Journal, has decided to drive north to get a feel of things there and report it back in a blog post.
There is one good thing that came out of all of this: We as northerners got the chance for the first time to hear candidates we have gotten so accustomed to seing their pictures plastered all over the autostrade and walls of Tripoli but yet never heard them utter a word. And so you know how a name and a picture without words can evolve into something more than it is. There is this sort of aura that we build around the silence of a name and a face.
Yesterday on Marcel Ghanem's "Kalam Innass" I watched Samir Jisr and Ahmad Karami talk. It was the first time I hear A. Karami talk. I remember back in 1996 and 2000 when A. Karami ran for elections...I personally had a vague assumption that if he's running against his cousin Omar Karami, this means that he's the opposite. Little did I know...
Ahmad Karami, sadly enough, had nothing to say. He ducked every single question by being sarcastic or joking. Whenever he was asked about the list he's running under, he would talk about himself. Whenever he was asked about his alliance with Aoun and Franjieh, he would talk about his former alliance with the late Hariri. Whenever he was asked tough questions about Aoun or Hizbullah or Berri or 1559, he would ramble a bit before a paper is slipped to him under the camera (as he was being filmed from his home) and then he would start reading from it simple rhetoric with no point. And after a truely embarassing situation, Aoun called (perhaps to save the show) to counter Jisr's statements. Jisr was extremely polite and eloquent when talking to Aoun explaining to him his genuine efforts at helping the youth who were arrested during the August 7 riots; Aoun thanked him. And guess what? He didn't even say "Marhaba" to A. Karami, supposedly his ally?!!!?
What does this all say? First, A. Karami has nothing to add to our Parliament, nothing to our politics. And he's just like Omar Karami a hyper-localist (yet he couldn't explain how he's allying with Aoun in the same list, Aoun being from outside the north). It all sounded to me as if the "Sha'ib" list is not united. And I'm speculating that we might just see that A. Karami's supporters voting for him and crossing out everyone else.
Was Franjieh sure that he was making the right choice when he picked A. Karami to be the Sunni figure on the Sha'ib list? It seems to me that Aoun is relying on the Christian votes to float his candidates and Franjieh on the Christian and other loyalist supporters to vote for his candidates, because there is no way in my mind that A. Karami will even vote for the Sha'ib list "zay ma hiyye." He appeared totally going for it on his own yesterday night.
On the other hand, not only was Samir Jisr talking of his list as a whole (never about himself), but also the day before in another TV talk show, Ahmad Fatfat and Mosbah Ahdab (the latter being an independent.) They gave the same answer on the meaning behind their list, which shows cohesion, unity, and full commitment to support the other. Moreover, they all talk of their Lebanese Forces allies with great respect to help facilitate the much-aspired-to reconciliation, which many Sunnis might just be reluctant to do. I might have been fooled, but I see a list of candidates who are running on an equal footing (Takattol Traboulsi, Ahdab, Qornet Shehwan, Democratic Left, LF, and Future).
The FPM has a good chance in the first electoral district (Bsharri, Akkar, and Dinnieh), as many who are in the army and from Akkar (from all sects) are sympathetic to Aoun. Plus, I know for a fact that some candidates running in the "Sha'ib" list have supporters and are respected on both sides of the aisle, the likes of Mikhael Daher. So we might just see in the first district incomplete lists being cast in the ballot box.
Long time ago, the electoral race in the north used to be of a different feel. It was very local indeed, even when Hariri used to "bless" this list or that candidate. Now, there is the Aoun factor which has pushed the new Hariri not to only bless but also to take part and get his hands dirty in the whole election campaign. The north has become a battle scene so decisive to the country's future...the north for once feels like a part and parcel of the whole country...the north for once has become a highlight in the news, the newspapers, TV, blogs...I am glad. This all means that Lebanon is in good health. Amen!
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."