Has the February 14 rally in Martyr's Square made a difference on the political arena in Lebanon? And are we seeing the results of gathering hundreds of thousands on the streets that day paying off?
Well, perhaps we are witnessing a change!
First, Aoun met with the Lebanese Forces MP Adwan yesteday in Rabieh to discuss the list of potential candidates that can be agreed on for the upcoming Baabda/Aley elections to fill the vacant Parliamentary seat that the late MP Edmond Naim left behind.
Aoun and MP Adwan have been meeting since Aoun returned to Lebanon. But what was so different about yesterday? In a press conference, Aoun announced that his bloc and the Lebanese Forces will disclose on Sunday the name of the candidate they agree on; they are giving themselves until Sunday to decide on one.
So how come now Aoun is negotiating with the Lebanese Forces on this Parliamentary seat, when two weeks ago, Aoun blurted that this particular election race will be negotiated between his bloc and the Future Movement, and by that totally disregarding the Lebanese Forces, which in reality had won this seat during the past Parliamentary elections? Was this new move a sign that Aoun recognizes the popular weight of the Lebanese Forces, after it succeeded to bring thousands upon thousands of its supporters out on the streets last Tuesday?
Second, yesterday Sayyid Nasrallah started out his speech in UNESCO with a conciliatory, soft-spoken tone. He said that he supports the importance of dialogue and that the resistance has always fought for Lebanon (al-watan) and will always do. He even denied that Hizbullah is affiliated with the Syria-Iran axis and that reports claiming that he said Hizbullah's arms are tied to the regional settlment with Israel are twisted and not entirely true!
We can take from his conciliatory tone that Hizbullah is open for dialogue and will negotiate on its arms. A direct result of February 14? I'm sure, some would agree and some would not.
But to move to another point regarding Nasrallah's speech: Sayyid Nasrallah said that he supports a "strong" state, a state with "strong" strategic policies. I asked myself, what he meant by "strong" and whether the Lebanese state could ever be "strong" in a foreign-policy sense (which is what Nasrallah is alluding to).
Is it that what he means by "strong" strategic policies, is basically facing up to the West? Does it mean that the Lebanese state should ally itself with the axis of "Ghaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Venezuela" (as Sayyid Nasrallah described in his speech, this axis versus the Tel Aviv-USA axis)?
Lebanon, in my view, cannot be a strong state in that sense. Neither its size, nor its "coexistence formula", let alone its democractic political orientation, will land us a strong state with provocative strategic stands.
Our state can and should be "strong" in attempting to forge a unified notion of what constitutes a Lebanese citizen. This is where the state plays an important role, a role our state has not played successfully since its inception.
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."