Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Part of what differentiates and brings value to this blogg is the diversity of opinion of those posting on it. Allow me to respond to an earlier blogg posted by my colleague Hassan under the title "Schizophrenic little brother."

Hassan’s blogg adds value by forcing others to consider current developments with Syria from another perspective. That said; it was certainly a biased entry that shifts all blame on to the Lebanese.

I am amazed by the enduring capacity of some Lebanese who always seem to care more for other peoples rather than their own.

In the seventies it was the “poor Palestinians who lost their homeland.” We allowed their armed militia in and let it take over our country. Lets not forget the Palestinian "hero" who famously said “I will not leave Beirut as long as one brick remain on top another.” He replaced his occupied country by taking ours, and we not only allowed him, but fought and defended him!

Now Hassan defends the poor Syrians who we “treat like crap” but still expect goodies from. With all respect Hassan, please don’t forget your Lebanese brothers who for the last 15 years have been treated like crap by Syrian army and intelligence officers. They have been abused, kidnapped, jailed, blackmailed and tortured. Have sympathy for them too. Enough selling ourselves and bending over backward for “our brothers” ba’a!

It’s the 21st century and we live in a world of nations. Let’s act like one and start worrying about our interests first. They want to block our borders, breach treaties, and kidnap fishermen, fine! But don’t ask us to say “poor Syrians” and lament ourselves for not being appreciative. Whats next? You want us to coerce the Lebanese media into only saying nice things about the Baath regime next door?!

Like you I believe in Lebanon's Arab identity and that it must live and cooperate with its Arab surrounding. Like you I believe that the best of relations with Syria is in Lebanon’s national interest. But please Hassan, let us not blame the “little brother” for all the bullying and wrong doing of his “big brother.”


Anonymous said...

Firas, I would hate to remind you of the time you felt sorry for our syrian brothers in a previous entry. Now you go against what you said and confuse the people with the regime.

Hassan has a point. We cannot mistreat the Syrian workers who were in Lebanon and kick them out and then expect the people to jump right back into spending time and money in Lebanon. If anything, they are scared.


Firas said...


No one called for mistreating the poor syrian worker in Lebanon. If anything this guys cursed in his country and cursed in ours! Lets not play on words again trying to score points. Doesnt take a genius to know that when we say "Syrians" we are reffering to those dominated our country for 15 years, and not to poor worker trying to make a living.
Lets try to score point on more substantive arguments.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

so simple and so true!

a federation for Lebanon is the only way to improve sectarian relations

une fédération libanaise afin d'améliorer les relations entre les chrétiens et les musulmans

Hassan said...


I'll quote myself, a very unfortunate necessity considering that I expected you to read my comments before slamming me:

"I think we have to sort it out with the Syrians as much as we need to sort it out amongst each other. This certainly does not have to mean turning the other cheek. They need us as much as we need them. It is time we both realized it.

I'm criticizing the fact that we are both not ready to do this yet. I don't think we should be little brother, but apparently we're still there, stuck in the role.".

As for every thing else:
You say "They want to...breach treaties"

We want to breach treaties too; we should breach treaties. Most of them are in Syria's interest, not ours. But we cannot be picky about which treaties to breach. All will be under scrutiny. I'm asking for some treaties to be considered, but saying we should be ready when this backfires. We are a free, sovereign nation, let's act like one. Let’s negotiate them as equals, not as a weaker, needy neighbour.

"Like you I believe in Lebanon's Arab identity." BTW, I don't. Arabism is just a phase in the history of our flexible identities. I have not been able to identify with the Gulf Arabs. Sorry to disappoint you.

I know Lebanon has one role, if any, in the region; we should lead simply because we can’t afford to follow, as the Palestinian experience shows. However, that's not possible unless we know our potential and put our act together.

"Doesnt take a genius to know that when we say "Syrians" we are reffering to those dominated our country for 15 years, and not to poor worker trying to make a living." Tell that to those who were killed. Better yet, tell it everyone who saw our racism. Having a Syrian accent in Beirut is like hugging a time-bomb; believe me, I’ve seen the looks; I’ve heard “what’s he still doing here?”

How many friendships got wrecked just because a Lebanese "couldn't talk" to a Syrian friend anymore? Let's take the AUB example: how many of their Syrian colleagues did 3,000 AUB students have in mind when they participated in a parade cursing the Syrian people, with the regime. Probably none, right? How many of them treated their Syrian friends in the same way? Probably none, too.

If anything, our attitude has strengthened the Syrian regime. I keep hearing remarks on how the Syrian regime is “shooting itself in the foot” with the way it’s treating Lebanon recently. I think it’s making them popular in the inside because it satisfies the broken pride some of their people feel. They stop at the right time, just before the economic loss is irreversible and the international patience is exhausted.

barney said...

I keep reading bloggers and others refer to Syria and Lebanon in very fraternal terms, and here I read about Syrians and Lebanese as 'brothers'. It seems to me that you should consider relating to Syrians as 'cousins' -- still closely related but not as intimate as brothers. Cousins, or at least the ones I know, are generally close to one another, but also have more independence than do brothers. As another Lebanese blogger says, "Words do matter" . Yes they do!