Less than two hours before LBC and Future TV have their daily news shows. Less than two hours and we will all know whether the Cabinet has convened with or without the Shiite Ministers.
Who ever thought that a Shiite crisis would be what divides Lebanon and weakens it in 2005. I learned in Dr. Farid El-Khazen's class (an MP now) back in AUB that the Palestinian presence was one of the major reasons Lebanon entered into a civil war; the Palestinian question then in the '70s was more than Lebanon's political system can take and thus led to its demise. The Palestinian question then divided the country, took ideological and sectarian overtones, and fueled the drive to militarization.
Fast-forward 35 years: the Palestinian refugee presence in Lebanon and the Palestinian question cannot be compared to the Shiite stand which is threatening to divide the country. At least, the Palestinian issue was something emanating from outside of Lebanon; the Shiites (popularly represented by Hizbullah and Amal, as HA politicians like to say) are Lebanese, they are from this country, an important pillar in its existence as a viable state.
Less than two hours and we will know whether our country will make it or not.
Less than two hours and we will perhaps learn (or maybe never learn) what that "dialogue" is(and what a famous word it has become in Lebanese political discourse) that has been going back and forth amongst politicians and religious leaders in the past couple of days. What was Amal doing in Bkirki? What was an Iranian attache doing at the Grand Serail yesterday? What did the public relations official from Hizbullah mean when he announced today/yesterday that the dialogue with PM Seniora did not lead to a solution?
What are they talking about? What are the issues that are being put on the table for compromise? Can we know, as Lebanese, what they are?
Yesterday, Hizbullah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem, in a speech of his on Hizbullah's stand not to return to the Cabinet because they are not being treated as a majority, I found myself looking at a scene that almost might resemble Iraq.
Qassem was talking as an entity that threatens to break away; that does not care much about national unity as much as it cares to maintain itself as an entity, defined as a party with allegiances that spans the Shiite sphere, transcending national boundaries.
I can't deny that each sect in Lebanon has reached out for alliances outside of Lebanon; but most have settled for Lebanon, an end of itself. Again, as I learned back in the "Politics in Lebanon" class at AUB, the Shiites' cultural and political peak in Lebanon has come way after all the major sects in Lebanon had their limelight. That peak, we all thought, was represented with Imam Moussa Sadr's persona, that reached out to all and spoke of Lebanon, the country. Was that the peak? Or are we witnessing that peak right now?....Because I see that they are indeed at the peak of their power and their make-or-break stands threaten to divide this country.
UPDATE: Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah met with Berri in Ain Tineh and decided to maintain their Cabinet boycott. PM Seniora went ahead and still held the weekly Cabinet meeting. He claimed that it's not a retaliatory move; on the contrary, if the cabinet meetings are not held, this means that there is no Cabinet. It's interesting to note that Lahoud's allies in the Cabinet showed up to the meeting this afternoon. Where is this all going? What is the Shiite bloc asking for compromise that the March 14 bloc is not accepting to give up?
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."