Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Geagea's speech rocks!

I didn't watch or read all of it, but I did watch the parts that were broadcast by Future TV and LBC. I saw a man who was vibrant, passionate and articulate. I sensed the presence of an individual who commands respect and admiration from all onlookers. Most importantly, I saw individuals who were genuinely ecstatic when around him.

My generation barely missed the civil war. Prior to the speech, Geagea was a somewhat scary mystery to me. Today, after a long and bleak stretch of political uncertainty and compromise, I've finally been injected with a shot of hope. Geagea is out. The Christian community is witnessing a political revival that is familiar to me only through words written in historical texts. A more vibrant balance is finally returning to Lebanon. And the prospect of a culturally, economically and politically vibrant Lebanon is as high as it has ever been.

I know wheeling and dealing won't end. Neither will corruption or political feuding. I also know that a tough period of adjustment lies ahead of us. Lebanon is treacherous, and it exists in a treacherous region. Despite that, I am looking forward to what lies ahead. Something deep inside tells me that things can only get better....

19 comments:

Ramzi S said...

I am also optimistic. As long as we can limit outside interference we can solve our problems over time.

Ashlee said...

You've got a very interesting blog right there.Post more!

Mustapha said...

Hey Raja,

I felt similarly optimistic when i saw Geagea talk, let's all hope for a better future.

So "Ashlee" is a fan eih? ;)

hummbumm said...

FYI, it is a lot harder for me of the war generation to listen to Gaega and Aoun and Berri and Jumblatt with an open mind. What is next, integrating the SLA I guess, are we going to have Haddad and Lahd back in the fold as well? Much as some people (they show up on the blogs) can never get past Jumblatt, and hate him with a passion, there are many who will never forgive Geagea. It will take a lot of work, a lot.

Anonymous said...

Raja, Saint Patrick is admirable. To some, Haifa Wehbe may be admirable. Please re-think your choice of words.

hummbumm, i may have disagreed with your points of view in the past, but I couldnt agree with you more now.

The release of jeajo was a political necessity. Let's be happy with that, and ONLY that. Raja, you "admire" the man? Wow...

How about we read up a little on our modern Lebanese history, and not strictly from an academic point of view. A crime is a crime is a crime is a crime. True, he is not the only one at fault, but that doesnt make him "admiribal" either!

-F

Raja said...

F,

good point with regards to admiration. However, the man had charisma, and he spoke with conviction and passion - especially when he brought up the issues of reconciliation and forgetting the past (e.g. "the war had its logic, which does not apply today.")

I will refrain myself from reading the history books for now - even though I am very aware of the atrocities that all sides partook in during the war years.

We all need hope, f. Therefore, I will judge the man based on his speech and his actions from this point forward. I will always remember what I know of his past, but I will not judge him based on that knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Raja, I completely agree that we need hope. And my hope is for a country in which we hold our ex-militia men who tore our families apart under more intense scrutiny. It wasnt hard for him to give a speech of reconciliation after he was set free...it is the logical (and politically savvy) thing to do. So unlike you, I think words (especially those of politicians) are cheap, and actions speak much louder than words. I only have his past actions to judge him by, and I am not ready to invite him to my family BBQ yet...

-F

mic said...

after all, words are cheap. It is easy to stand up and say things about what he can do, but please do notice that he did not seem apologetic for what he has done (not saying that other politicians have done that either) and that he specifically said that the LF members were the ones who suffered over the years. As talal salman said, there is a different memory for every taef. It is time that we acknowledge that our current leaders (geagea included) are not our saviors. Geagea's speech rocks? Things will only get better? What about the incident with the Franjiehs, the demonstrations in front of the ain el hilweh camp? This is the 50's playing itself all over again. We can't ignore that. We must never forget what happened. And that means giving every one his due respect, and nothing more.

mic said...

PS: you can watch the entire speech on the lebanese forces website.

Raja said...

I'm not ready to invite Geagea to my BBQ either. But geagea has a large constituency. We cannot discount that. In fact, if we do decide to ignore Geagea, we ultimately marginalize his constituency. It is time that Post-Taef Lebanon and the marginalized Christian political elite reconcile with each other. Lebanon without its Christian half (ignoring the realities of demographics) is simply not Lebanon. I will stick by my assertions about his great speech, but I am also waiting for actions from Geagea.

I'd also like to add that words are not as cheap as they may seem. Geagea, just like Jumblatt and Saad, is perceived to be a leader. Once these leaders adopt certain lines, their followers accordingly adopt similar ones. Future TV has continualy broadcast messages of national reconciliation. Geagea has started his new political career with a similar tone, which makes me happy. Time will tell whether or not he is sincere. Time will also tell whether these assertions of reconciliation from all parties are just that, or whether they will be manifested through action.

From a standpoint of Justice, Geagea should still be in jail - along with all the other warlords and their leutenants. But we all know that this world is not just, and that "justice" is, in almost every circumstance, applied exclusively on the weak. Therefore, venturing into a debate on justice would not necessarilly do anyone any good, since all sides could potentially claim legitimate injustices committed by the others' leaders and even followers.

Lebanese Meze said...

Let’s not rush to judge Geagea just yet. I agree with raja in regards to the speech. The man just got out of jail for god’s sake. The trouble with us Lebanese is we hold on to the past vigorously and only view others through the tired old “traditional” lenses. Henceforth, our responsibility is to hold all those who wish to represent us accountable for their deeds. Lebanon isn’t Lebanon without all its communities and thank god for that. Circumstance have brought us to this stage and what really matters now is how the Shiite community leaders will react in the context of a free independent Lebanon. They are the majority and no will deny them that, but how will they embrace the new Lebanon is the key. The ball is in their court and I don’t doubt they will choose what is best for Lebanon even if it requires them to take the streets.

Btw, all are welcome at my BBQ. Especially Strida ;)

Anonymous said...

No the real problem in Lebanon is that we are programmed to accept feudal lords as our leaders. I am a Christian and I do NOT look at ja3ja3 as my personal saviour. Once again, I understand that his release was a political necessity, which will probably have long-term positive effects (i.e. a stronger christian - muslim coalition) followed shortly by a Aon marginalization. However, I still can spot a criminal when I see one, and as such, I choose not to be disrespectful to the families of those who were killed by him and his militia. I can be hopeful that his release will accelerate the recovery of Lebanon, but I will not romanticize his sudden burst of moral statesmanship. I reserve my admiration for men who dont have blood on their hands --- the likes of Nassib Lahoud, Butrous Harb, and Najib Mikati.

-F

Doha said...

I agree with you -F, that there are many statesmen around in Lebanon who have no blood on their hands, despite their work in politics during the civil war, who are worthy of leading as well as those politicians who entered the political arena after the war and who shun sectarianism, hyper-localism, and corruption (the likes of Gebran Tueni, Mosbah Ahdab, Ahmad Fatfat among others). These are definitely the ones whom we should be rallying around for a better future. But yet again, I agree with Raja that we cannot disregard certain leaders who lead militias during the war, because by doing that we would be marginalizing a portion of the Lebanese people and that's not what we want to do.

And this can be applied to Hizbullah, for instance, where, like it or not, they represent a large portion of the Shiite community and no one can disregard them for that matter. And of course the same goes for Aoun, Jumblatt, and Berri.

mic said...

This isn't really about disregarding the main leaders. I might be mistaken, but I don't think any of the above posts said: Ignore Geagea. Marginalize their supporters.

However, the past is not to be forgoten. And by saying that, I am not looking through the traditional lens, as was suggested above. It is the desire to see people (who might potentially act as our saviors - I admit, it is still to early to decide that they won't) have some sense of remorse. Aoun did not have this when interviewed on BBC. Geagea did not have it. Jumblatt did not have this in past interviews (there are other people, but you get the point). There is this lack of accountability that fascinates me - national reconciliation is great, is needed, and is the right path forwards, but it does not mean erasing the past. It means understanding the other ... and it is seen that we still have a long way to go as a nation when people in the above comments still stress that the ball is in the shiite's court. And everyone else is just waiting? None of the other leaders is battling other groups? They have all accepted this platform of reconciliation, all except the shiites?

Soon, the SLA will be accepted back on the terms of national reconciliation (since Sfeir is working towards that), and after that, where will we be? Back to square one. The arms that were seized from the Mourabitoun are worrisome, but they aren't the only group that have weapons (not referring to hezbollah here).The only way to really reconcile is to get rid of the feudalistic mentality we have . . . and that needs to much time. What will happen in between? Time will tell.

momo said...

gents and ladies,

in my opinion as a former supporter of the LF until they started fighting each other for money, and then Gagaa started fighting General Aoun for God knows what, the only thing going for Gagaa is the fact that he was the only warlord that was jailed...

like him or lump him, General Aoun is the only true patriot and the person that want to change to the lebanon that want, secular, free, and no political fuedelism.

having said all the above, i hope that all the fighting from now on is limited to the parliment, and afterwards they all have a beer and watch football.

lets stop worrying about politics and think of the economy and more important the enviroment. lubnan al Akhdar!!!! what a joke

Hassan said...

A sentence repeated with idiotic joy in the past few days was "He has not changed!". Ma tghayyar!

momo,
there no such thing as an "the only true patriot", what's next? "batal al7arb wassalam" or "abou el-tala2e3"? i think the region has had enough one-man shows to last us a lifetime.

momo said...

hassan 'm'

you obviously have not read my posting well, and u are correct that we are and should be beyond the man , any man , we are all about a program. the FPM have a program for lebanon soemthing that they based their elections on. putting politics aside ( which is what everybody is busy with ) it addresses the enviroment, the corruption, the social issues, whereas all other parties had nothing!
i'm too sick of the rehtorec ( cant be bothered spell checking!) we need actions....

Hassan said...

momo
I've read your post, but I'm concerned with the sainthood that FPM supporters bestow on Aoun.

Even in more religiously oriented cases like Hezbollah, we have seen the popular base stand against the decision of their leader by voting for people like Najah Wakim.

I like FPM's platform, or at least the fact that it exists. I agree that we should put politics aside. But we first need to be more transparent and achieve some kind of reconciliation.

momo said...

hassan m,

agree with you, and the FPM is all about the reconcilation issue the general the other day made some comments in the parliment re the resistance and how he supports it but we need to know all about who else in the arab world is struggling ( and i just worte a long comment on a difenrt blog ) unfortunalty his words where taken out of context by hizbullah........

there should be one struggle one importnat issue, one worship place, and that is lebanon and only lebanon, and once we have a country that can compete like the western countries and when i say compete i mean in all fileds not only in getting good jobsd outside as engineers and business men! i mean in sports, win art, in music in the enviroment etc etc, then we start looking at and to what we can do to the arab cause and the endless struggle.

liek the general or not, and i'm not trying to change anybodies opinion, the guy wants to tackle the taboos in lebanon and we should all sit listen debate come up with solutions... no more war, but blind support to lebanon succes as a country world wide.