Friday, November 18, 2005

The Lebanese Divide: Leadership And Masses

The latest events taking place within university campuses has gotten me thinking deep about a trend that has become more than apparent to everyone. Interestingly enough, today's piece of news on LF and FPM student clashes in LU has further proven what I'm about to share with you.

It has become clear that there is a divide between the political (party) leadership in Lebanon and the people, the followers of these political parties. For the sake of Lebanon and the national good, Future Movement's Saad Hariri, along with the movement's March 14 allies (LF, PSP, Qornet Shehwan and others), held hands with Hizbullah and Amal during the Parliamentary elections and won in a landslide. Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement was the only opposition to the government formed by the winning majority.

Fast-forward couple of months, and as we saw during university student elections especially at AUB, the reality surfaced: the true opposition is not only FPM, but also Hizbullah and Amal. It is only natural that they line up together. And today we read that LF and FPM students clashed; again only proving the divide between the leadership and the people, the failure of the difficult-to-broker consensus to trickle down to the masses (even to those "enlightened" masses).

The "Istihqaq" political talk show on Future TV two days ago, accentuated to me the ideological, philosophical, social, and political hiatus between the Future bloc along with its supporters/allies and the Hizbullah bloc. Minister and MP Ahmad Fatfat and MP Ali Ammar, though from the elected majority, do not see eye-to-an-eye on any of the issues laid out for debate about our country's future.

While Fatfat sees that the ills of our region are a result of corrupt, dictatorial Arab regimes, Ammar sees that the US is the source of all our ills. While Fatfat focuses on Lebanon's security and sovereignty, Ammar focuses more than expected on Iraq (as if he is living in Iran...not Lebanon). And the list goes on.

But what struck me most was when Fatfat asked Ammar to have his ministerial bloc pose contentious issues on the ministerial table for discussion and dialogue (Fatfat further added that such steps have not been taken and the HA ministerial bloc has not discussed any of its grievances within the ministerial meetings.) MP Ammar rose his voice, telling Fatfat that such discussions have taken place...but not within the Cabinet, but between Sayyid Nasrallah and Saad Hariri and PM Seniora. And as if Hizbullah's dialogue is only restricted to its leadership...and therefore they are not able to see any politicians (below the party leader or government leader level) as worthy of dialoguing with.

Again...very different world views.

Personally, and you can read all my previous posts, Hizbullah's stances in most of the times aggravate me. Why? Because I am sick and tired of militancy; whatever its cause. I am an advocate of dialogue and diplomacy; I am an advocate of a sovereign, strong, free Lebanon, a Lebanon that reflects our aspirations and stands. There should be no place for "extremes" in our governing institutions, because with such extremes, Lebanon as a country will not stand.

I cannot tell you who is the culprit for the failure of that forged Parliamentary majority we ended up with: the March 14 bloc or the HA/Amal bloc? Who betrayed who? Who broke the promises of who?

I see that PM Seniora (in the absence of Saad Hariri, or perhaps Hariri has absented himself in the presence of Seniora as a leader) has been taking heroic, nationalistic stands worthy of a medal of honor. Beyond petty politics, he is trying to tranform the way business is done in Lebanon's government.

On the other hand, I see the same "callous" stands HA has been taking for years. I see that HA has failed to transform its dialogue to a Lebanese one and in fact has given us the impression that it has widened the scope of its justified existence to that which will defend on its own (without the Lebanese peoples' green light) Syria, Iraq, Iran, and the Palestinians in the face of the US (and Israel) ...and perhaps not even those Lebanese who live beyond the areas in which they dominate.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

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