Wednesday, December 14, 2005

On Gebran and On Hizballah

I was very entertained by Naharnet’s ideas on Shiites as well as amused by Anon’s comment on Laz’s post, and I was writing something on it. But Gebran was assassinated, so I thought this is due:

So I was never a big fan of the man, and it was clear to me, and many others, that his paper was no exception to the general status of Lebanese newspapers. However, I find it unacceptable to kill a man who fought with his words and mind. All this killing shows is that the idiotic Syrian regime finds itself short of fighting back with word and mind, so it resorts to violence. I am not surprised he was actually killed. It had long been expected. I honor him for coming back despite knowing he will die. I must admit I didn't think he would do it.

I took some time to look at the aftermath of this murder. This is not very comprehensive, so as not to repeat what others keep saying.

The most immediate result, which Assaad Abou Khalil addresses with a quote from Assafir’s Sahar Mandur about racist chants in front of Annahar building. What Assaad does not quote from that article is the final questions which Sahar asked “the murderers”. The question is the essence of what Gebran meant to me. Sahar justly asks if the chants would have been the same had Gebran, or Samir, been alive. Let’s face it, some “Cedar Revolutionaries” did campaign in a racist manner for some time, but Gebran, despite the vague "sheep" incident, and Samir, among others, tried to correct this. The racist tag was given to that revolution unjustly, and I am outraged by it as much as I am outraged by holding HA accountable for some actions of their supporters.

As a side note, Lebanon Profile, among others, might say there is a dichotomy in my head between March 8 amd March 14. This is true, but only because I believe a dichotomy exists in reality in Lebanon. I also make these comparisons because “Cedar Revolution”, especially March 14, is the most familiar concept with which most people in the “blog universe” identify; I compare everything to some part or another of it.

And then there is Hizballah, and all that talk about how they stood there with no comment while their supporters distributed sweets in celebration. And the question of why they do not join the funeral. To be objective here, let’s admit that, even if Naharnet did not publish it, they did condemn the attacks and visit the family; they did not just stand without comment. Do I think they should join the funeral? Yes. Are they less patriotic if they don’t? No.

This is the same HA that maintained dialogue with the people who attacked their resistance against Israeli, and I am speaking of the time before May 2000.

You may think they are less patriotic for acting passively at an incident of national unity. I respect that, but it is then your responsibility to extend that logic, and apply it to people who attacked phenomena of national unity. If HA are less patriotic for not attending Tweini’s funeral or for not supporting an international investigation/tribunal, how do you rate people who were publicly asking the international community to disarm HA before 2000?

Next, unless something comes up: Aoun: Why he competes with, and beats, Berry for the position of second most popular character among the Shiites!


sam said...

The question is not whether someone is patriotic or not. When you evaluate a political party, you shouldn't even have to ask yourself whether they care about their country or not. The question is what they want for the country's future.
What is very wrong with your reasoning Hassan, is that you're trying to remind us that all Hizbollah's actions do not make them less patriotic. You may be right. But who cares? Or what is patriotism in the first place? I deeply disagreed with Tueni's vision, words and actions, but I never once asked myself whether or not he was patriotic, and I don't ask myself whether HA is patriotic either. I really don't ask myself that question. Let's put patriotism aside for now. We can't talk about patriotism in a half-made country (no national identity, no consensus on basic common issues, no basic human rights, no vision for the future, no justice after a long war, and most importantly no security).
At this stage, all we have the right to ask the holders of Lebanese nationality is: "What is the Lebanon you want?" not "Are you patriotic?"


Doha said...


Let's not go back to what was before 2000. 2005 led to a change; Hizbullah needs to accept the change. And yes today was a day of national unity and they did not take part in it, except for MP Raad's presence in the St. Georges Cathedral.

But I do agree with you that there is a dichotomy in our country. I don't know if you watched Kalam Innass yesterday, but it dawned at me that as Hassan Fadlallah was talking, he was not wrong in his logic, he just thought so differently than me, so differently. And this is the heart of the dichotomy and in a democratic system, differences enrich the system and not bring it down.

But something was said yesterday which I agreed with totally: the problem is that competition and democratic processes are not played out between political factions, but unfortunately almost between sects. This is the problem. Hizbullah not participating in today's show of national solidarity alienates an important sect in our country which without Lebanon does not exist as a whole.

Hassan said...


You make excellent points, but going into whether one party is patriotic or not seems like a prerequisite to dialogue on blogs. I do agree with the points about asking what we want for Lebanon. I also agree to it being an incomplete country.

Hassan said...


As much as we like to tell ourselves otherwise, not much changed between 2000 and 2005 when it boils down to the local practice of politics. Not to burst any March 14 bubbles, but the current parliament, and consequent government, are still Ghazzi Kanaan chosen. They are the fruit of the 2000 law, and they are acting in worse ways than they did under Syria.

From a purely democratic point of view, the current parliament and government lack the legitimacy of representing the people. The priority is to be given to a new election law, and only than can we stand up and say that something is “the will of (a majority of) the Lebanese people”. The bogus representative credibility of the current MP’s is one reason why I think nothing has changed.

Lazarus said...

Hassan, I don't think HA should lead us into discussions on whether they were being patriotic, or on discussions of the need for national unity (which seems to take away from more pertinent problems), but they should have gone in order to acknowledge that there is someone out there who is working to destroy/destabilize/scare the Lebanese people.

Doha said...


What you wrote in your response to my comment was disappointing. You are very pessimistic. I think a lot has changed between 2000 and 2005. And I don't think that the gov't is Ghazi Kanaan chosen.

Please explain to me how the gov't is acting worse than gov'ts that acted under the Syrian tutelage. I'm confused.

Abu Kais said...


"Fadlallah: the problem is that competition and democratic processes are not played out between political factions, but unfortunately almost between sects."

Right, as if Hizbullah was a political party! It's a religious movement with arms, period. I would like him to acknowledge that fact before he lectures us about sectarian politics.


The real dichotomy exists between those who are aware of this reality about Hizbullah and those can't get themselves to accept it out of misguided sense of loyalty to a "sect" and to a now obsolete resistance. A party like Hizbullah does not belong in Lebanon. They need to be disarmed and barred from politics altogether.

Anonymous said...

Quoting another anon:

"Tueni never said shiites are sheep. This is the biggest distortions of facts ever propagated by the extremist sectarian al manar tv.

This is how it happened:
Tueni was having a conference in french at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut when one student asked for his opinion about the Hizbullah claims that there were 1.6 million people in their demonstration (8 of March).
His reply was that we shouldn't look at demonstrations in terms of sheer numbers, because here we're talking about people and not sheep.
Next day al manar headlines: Tueni called shiites sheep!!!!
Can anyone be more dishonest than this?"

hussein said...


I think it is clear to everyone that HA's stands are motivated by their political interests which are very intertwined with that of the Syrian regime and are counter to people's ambitions for a more open society.

There is no dichotomy in Lebanese society. Just Nasrallah & Berri making decisions, and then there are their supporters --who are pretty much like mindless sheep who just follow. There are sheep from all sects, who just "follow" their secterian leaders. yet there are also lots of Lebanese who use their brains, and even though HA did not join the demos, that does not mean there were no Shia's in them.

Unfortunately, by defending HA, I think you are tending to be one of those sheep.

Lazarus said...

Hussein -

Sheep is an overused term. Let's be more constructive.

Hassan said...


"Please explain to me how the gov't is acting worse than gov'ts that acted under the Syrian tutelage. I'm confused"

I'll do that in a later post. Sorry but it isn't comment material.

Hassan said...


"A party like Hizbullah does not belong in Lebanon. They need to be disarmed and barred from politics altogether. "

I think we should negotiate the disarming, but barring from politics?? And who decides what party does or does not belong in Lebanon?

Hassan said...

Anon 1:43 PM,

Regarding the "sheep" incident, I don't know what happened and I don't think it's relevant.