I wrote this quickly as a summary of a weird paradoxical approach by the Lebanese people and media to the relation with Syria:
The double standards and schizophrenia in the Lebanese attitudes towards Syria never fail to amaze me. It all started with a little article I read on the Feb. 14 explosion that killed late Lebanese PM Rafic Hariri. The writer is one of those semi-literates-turned-explosives-experts whom I have come to tag “tunnel theorists”. At an early stage of his article, he counts a few of the atrocities committed by the Syrian Baath regime in our beautiful country; above all, our “friend of all classes” laments the jobs taken by Syrian workers from Lebanon’s hardworking people…He then proceeds to illustrate how the Syrians must be the ones who killed Hariri.
First, of course, comes the irrefutable evidence: “expert” drawings that show with absolutely no doubt that the bomb was underground, and the explosion ripped through the street…
Then he concludes the bomb was in a tunnel, maybe a sewage segment; consequently, it must be Syrians who did it because they are the only workers who are dirty enough to work in sewage and garbage collection (no idea why he mentions garbage). Now wait! I thought you wanted the Lebanese to take jobs back; suddenly that work is beneath all human beings and is suited for that inferior race dueling to our east? His logic was “these jobs should be done by Lebanese people”, but it soon switched to “only inferior beings would do that kind of job.”
So now to Azmi Bshara’s question: “What do the Lebanese want from Syria?”
Most of the Lebanese wanted Syria to leave Lebanon; eventually the Syrians left, albeit “unwillingly”.
We are a sovereign nation! We want them to stop meddling in our internal politics. We have maintained for the last 15 years that there is no “brotherly love” between countries. Only interest, interest, interest! For the first few weeks of summer, we wanted to reconsider all treaties we had with them. Any reaction on their side would be an act of hostility, condemned by all international powers.
We decided we did not need them. We adopted every possible form of racism against them; we would be free and they would be jealous.
International winds would help us along the way when we needed.
We had it all figured out!
Political meddling: We think Syria still does that. US and French meddling? We say there is international concern for Lebanon, a rare moment of attention that we must make the most of. They have our best interest in mind. They have abandoned their habit of giving up on struggling peoples at the worst times.
If the Americans express unwillingness to deal with a certain officer, we just accept it as is and make sure he is not appointed in any high post. When they say they will boycott a minister and an entire sector integral to our livelihood, we justify it.
Jordan views Ahmad Jalabi as a fugitive criminal offender, but they deal with him as a government official because they “respect the wish of the Iraqi people”.
Treaties: Syrians suspended the ones (borders, fuel, gas…) we need most, now we’re stuck. We want the preferential treatment we always got, but we will not give anything in return. We want gas and fuel for peanuts; we even want free electricity, but we do not want to have their products competing with, and beating, Lebanese products in Lebanon. We want our trucks to be granted free passage through their land, but we will not coordinate security efforts with them. We want the international community to crack down hard on them; we want them to know we’ve coordinated that, and we want them to like us all the same. We only want the perks of being “little brother”.
So what do we want from the Syrian people: We want to treat them like crap and have them like it and choose our country for tourism!
So we’re being immature; the Syrian regime is throwing a tantrum. Way to go!