Monday, February 06, 2006

What Is Lebanese And Un-Lebanese

It's been a year now, since Lebanon has brandished headline news on American newspapers. Today, as I grabbed the "Express" (a shortened version of the Washington Post), I saw a picture of a protester with the Shahadatan banded around his forehead and the familiar Tabaris building burning behind him.

What happened yesterday was at best surreal. An event of hatred that was uncalled for. It's as if the hands of those who want to break Lebanon are itching for yet another plot to break us, break our will of living free, free of hate, fear, and death.

It's been a year, a year of tests, one after the other...but how much can the Lebanese take. The anger I saw on the faces of the Achrafieh residents made me realize that patience has limits...and I cannot blame them.

Whether in Tripoli or the South, there are hundreds of churches and mazars, never thrown stones at, never ravaged in such a way. Why this time around? Why are Tripolitans driving all the way to Beirut, to throw stones at cars in a Christian neighborhood?

If this angry mob should hurl stones at, it should be my house; because I'm a Muslim who disagrees with their way. This angry mob did not need to go as far as the Danish Consulate to burn it; they should have just turned to cars and houses in their neighborhood...because hundreds of Lebanese have let the issue of the cartoons go...there are more pertinent issues in life to worry about.

There are two news items that gave me the shivers yesterday: one when a number of Sunni clerics rushed to Bkirki to denounce such violence and then conducted their prayers from there...

The second was when Interior Minister Sabeh announced his resignation. He said that since he took over the Interior portfolio, the political and security command structure have not been centralized. And then he confessed that he would never have ordered the shooting at civilians and no one in his position would have taken such action.

I agree with him and applaud his bold move. If this angry, barbaric mob was shot at, then imagine what would have happened; perhaps then instead of stones being hurled at the Achrafieh residents, we would've witnessed a massacre. This is exactly what those "agents" who were causing this violence were waiting for...and we did not give it to them.

You know? At AUB, in a U.S. Politics course I took some six years ago, we learned that the Americans have come up with a term of what is "American" and what is "unAmerican". I believe that what happened yesterday is "unLebanese". The freedom to protest is "Lebanese" and I was proud to hear this right being reinforced on TV over and over. Clerics standing on police cars to stop the uncontrollable mob from causing harm to a church, is "Lebanese". But hurling stones at churches, burning buildings, and harrassing and injuring people of other sects is very "unLebanese".

Yesterday, an Achrafieh resident said that he would have joined the protesters in voicing their contempt against depictions of the Prophet, but he was shocked when he saw destroyed mazars. This is a red line, he said, and then he went to ask: Why?

And again on that same day, on the music talent show Super Star finale, we saw women brandishing the Saudi flag, which was used early that day to justify barbarism and violence, in support of a Saudi contestant.

This is Lebanon for you: we have confused the world. Are we westernized or not? Are we civilized or not? Should they support our cause for freedom or not? Well, today, many around the world are confused by the headlines coming from Beirut.

And those who hate to see Christians and Muslims united for a free Lebanon have shown their face and intentions yet again, and they are getting better at it.

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


Ms Levantine said...

Dear Raja,
Excellent post in general too bad you feel obliged to write:

"If this angry mob should hurl stones at, it should be my house; because I'm a Muslim who disagrees with their way."

Maybe things will get better when it will become un-Lebanese to systematically include religion in
everything. Condemning the riots as a Lebanese should be more than enough. Whether you are muslim/christian/buddhist is irrelevant.

Raja said...

ms Levantine, this post was Doha's. A post that I can only characterize with one word: beautiful.

Nevertheless, thank you for assuming that I posted it.

Doha, your characterization of "Lebanese" and "unLebanese" behavior is, is, well what can I say, beautiful.

These characterizations deserve much more exposure than what this blog has to offer.

Doha said...

Ms levantine,

I condemn the riots as a Lebanese, but this issue in particular is a religious issue, that's why I believe it is relevant to say that not only as a Lebanese, but as a Muslim and a Tripolitan, I condemn such barbaric actions. And that I offer my house to be hurled stones at, instead of that of an Achrafieh resident.

Ms Levantine said...

Very sorry Doha for addressing the comment to Raja. And I agree with Raja, it is a beautiful post except that I don't think that stating your religion makes it more powerful: it just adds a sectarian slant that we can do without.

Anonymous said...

Happy days guys, another day for unity and another day to seperate good from evil, I am muslim by birth, but all my religion is not worth a single fight in my beloved coutnry,

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

At the end of the day, the current political situation boils down to a straightforward allegiance problem…and the fact of the matter is that faux sheikh Saad Al-Hariri and aspiring sheikh Fuad Saniura both hold Saudi citizenships and are literally on the Saudi government payroll: they both sit on the board of directors of PUBLIC and private Saudi firms (oooops conflicts of interests!...) and they both literally receive fat paychecks from Riyadh at the end of every month that Allah makes.

You simply cannot bite the hand that feeds you, the hand that gives you money [Oger SAL, Solidere, Liban-Cell], gives you a job [Qoreytem, Oger SAL again, Bank Al-Madina], gives you a house [The Grand Serail in Beirut, Jeddah facing the Wahhabi Central Mosque, Paris facing the Eiffel tower…for the Hariris always like to show some hauteur!]

Raja said...


I totally agree with what you're saying, but what do you do about it?

Are you ready to go down to Beirut and start a revolution that would get rid of the Hariris and turn all those fanatical born again Muslims into secular hippies?

You rebel against too much my friend.

Look at Hizballah. It gets $30 million a year from Iran. Those funds don't even include the donations that the organization gets from Shi'as in the Gulf who have also benefited from oil wealth.

I said this in another post... Islam is being funded by oil... whether it is Shi'a Islam or Sunni Islam, it is oil-funded.

Our people... and others around the region are not using Capital to modernize, but rather to take all of us back to a bygone era.

And, who's to stop them! They can afford it!

All that oil! China... India...

With those two powers growing at the rate they're growing today, it really won't matter if the West manages to overcome its oil addiction!

I fear that we're stuck.... There will be no change in our lifetime. The Middle East will always be the arid backyard of the world for as long as I live.

AbdulKarim said...


Thank you very much for this great post. As a regular reader of this blog, it was a pleasent surprise for me to know that you're Tripolitan, being myself from Tripoli. I think what happened yesterday brings the problems of Tripoli, mainly radical groups, to the spot light. The city has suffered and still suffers from the ignorance of such groups who try to impose their will on the others in the city.

Just to mention a few setbacks caused by such groups:

1-The closure of Starbucks
2-Bombing of PizzaHut
3-Bombing of KFC
4-Attack on the Italian pantomime group last Ramadan
5-Disallowing Roadster to open a branch there
6-Attack on some shops that sell spirits.

I think after what happened in Ashrafieh,it is time that these issues are debated in Tripoli. For how long should we allow others to impose their will on us and allow them to determine the way we live?
I would like to see these issues debated at least on the internet. I hope Doha that you will touch on these issues in the future.


Lazarus said...

interesting concept doha. one definitely worth expanding on.

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...


There isn’t such a thing as the “March 14 movement”: it was just a publicity stunt engineered in Riyadh and (widely) distributed to the gullible masses by pliant Saudi-owned Lebanese media: LBC, Future TV, Al-Hayat, Al-Nahar…etc.

Have you ever read the works of mainstream (as opposed to say followers of O.B. Laden) Saudi theologians? Glorious thinkers whom King Fahd and his Lebanese-born courtier Rafic Al-Hariri both referred to as “the greatest thinkers of our time”: Nasiruddin Al-Albani and Abdul-Aziz Ibin Baz who wrote countless books and sermons discussing the operational practicalities of enlightening topics such as the final solution for Christians, Shiites and “secular dogs”.

Ironically, these leading Saudi “intellectuals” insisted on the imperative of starting with the Nasara who live and dwell on the Ummah’s soil…I guess the pro-Hariri fools who rampaged their way through East Beirut on Sunday were just “heeding the call”.

See wiki entry below for more edifying info on Saudi Arabia’s leading “Grand” Mufti and his Hariri-sanctioned “theology”:
Frightening stuff…

In truth, Gen. Aoun has no natural inclination for the Farsi Imam corner per se…but, in relative terms, these guys have proven time and again to be MUCH MORE SECULAR than say faux sheikh Hariri’s Wahhabist handlers and their so-called “progressive” feudal Druze friends: unlike Jumblatti war criminals or Saudi thugs (and the Ottomans before them), the leaders of Amal and Hizbullah never ever killed a single Christian civilian…

Saint Luke (who happened to be a Syrian physician, just like Bachar but I’m digressing as usual!) once said that "a good tree cannot produce evil fruit, nor a corrupt tree good fruit; and nobody gathers figs of thorns, nor grapes of brambles."

Food for thought...

Doha said...


I believe that at the heart of all ills in Tripoli are the economy and unemployment. I have touched on these issues before in previous posts, but will sure do in the future.

Raja said...

Victorino, habibi,

you seem a little sketchy on Lebanese history! The civil war between the Shi'as and Christians lasted 10 extra years in South Lebanon.

Spare Saint Luke! Please!

Anonymous said...


you sound like a broken record. Come up with a new idea, PLEASE!!!


Candide's Notebooks said...

Your post was chosen as one of two featured posts in our Daily Bloggerback/Best of Blogs segment at Candide's Notebooks (

Doha said...

Thanks, Pierre :)

arabic music said...

Lebanese music can always compete all conflicts.