Thursday, April 20, 2006

For You Aboudy, I Will Write!

I haven't been writing for a while now; I forced Lebanon down the priority list. I kept on reading everything, just like I do everyday, but the more I read about growing sectarianism and petty status-quo politics, the more I was afraid to write about them, lest they become an inevitable reality.

Not until my brother started popping up recently on this blog and asking us for thoughts on this or that. My brother of 20, who suddenly was interested in reading what we write on this blog, who wanted to discuss and respond and debate about politics in Lebanon...

I owe it to you Aboudy; I also owe it to this blog, and to Lebanon. I owe my optimism to all those optimists. For you Aboudy, I will write, because you represent this wild Lebanese youth, this youth that is just starting to be shaped and molded by the realities on the ground. If I can create a space for debate about Lebanon here, then I can say, I have paid a contribution somehow to Lebanon by promoting liberal ideas about governance and citizenship.

If I can touch one person, then I can say I made a difference.

You might ask: where did this renewed optimism come from? Simplistic as it may seem, it came from a reception I attended yesterday in honor of PM Fouad Seniora here in DC.

I took a break from the daily rat race, stopped a routine, to attend an event which helped me see that Lebanon is not yet a hopeless case. After Seniora's moving words in closing: You are Lebanon and Lebanon is you!, I looked around me and saw a group of Lebanese professionals, women and men, of high caliber, rubbing shoulders and talking. Interestingly, most of them are AUB alumni.

We were all there, not a sect, not a region, not a party...we were there as a class of educated professionals. Professionals who have an interest in a Lebanon that can host them back, a Lebanon that creates jobs for them, and a safe haven for them and their children. This is why we were all there listening to Seniora. Our Lebanese citizenship was not the only binding characteristic; perhaps what brought us together was a yearning for an "accepting" Lebanon.


And in the midst of all that big-picture optimism about what is and can be for our country, President Lahoud preached today on TV about his clean hand, about how because he's a clean guy, some corrupt groups are out there to get him...the rest becomes irrelevant. Then we see Aoun and others wasting air space to spew careless remarks here and there....

My political thoughts after this break? I personally have become sure that I would not like to see Aoun as president. He loves petty politics, loves the tit-for-tat dynamic and misses the big picture. Lebanon now is not about a presidency; it's about a way of governing, a vision for the future, a welcoming greet so all of us could flock back to contribute. Aoun reminds me too much of the past; a past that knows no stepping down after ruling, a la democracy, a past that is marred by blood, the rifle, and your sect.

In Lebanon, I realized, what is needed is not a strong leader who imposes ideas and policies on other Lebanese or simply represents the Lebanese through electoral politics, but a leader who acquires his strengh from channeling ideas and policy options from others, acting as a facilitator, bringing every asset Lebanon has and putting it on the table to bear.

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


Anonymous said...

Well first of all I thank you very much for this ya lovely sister ;) second of all it was great and generous of you to do such thing for me. Well you have already touched me and you know that very well. As for the point of views you specified, I really agree to them very well and I really wanted to write down what the orange think and how they reply back.
First of all, after putting sawt elghad on the well what shall I say, the news is totally biased, and the way they ask questions and get answeres are just as if been rehearsed many times before. Now they say that hariri is attacking aoun where they have forgotten what aoun have said on ANB and want hariri to reply on the economic, political, and social matters and forget all the rest. And the contradiction between his first reply where he said "i won't reply to him" and gave an example that has to do nothing about whatever have been said and last night on TV he blabbers again replying to everything that has been said on Hariri's reply. Well whta shall I say? I guess he probably read the report from HARIRI very well and thought a lot about what to reply back.
Honestly his reply was just so disgusting I mean now he brings in Rafiq Al=Hariri may god bless his soul.And that 7 august was on his era. Well they say that he welcomed Syria and that Aoun was fighting against syria. Well I tell them that Syria came in because of Aouns war that he knew he couldn't win obviously because of their weapons and our weapons. As for saying "aoun is not sectarian" and that all Lebanese like him. Well they say all lebanese like him and say 70 percent of the christians do. Well here you go you get what i mean? what a disgrace. in the other hand the 41 who resigned they say was made up by almustaqbal..oh come on..and Elaph became a payroll to hariri. Well i really see how they have nothing to say nothing to do because their leader has no goal has nothing but sit in this chair in baabda..just like omar karameh..I really want him to be president and to be impeached by the people like they did with omar karameh so we can prove to the tayyar who their leader is. Oh and one thing they can't wait until orange tv opens. Well I guess it's time for them to open such thing. My young brother is going to open a tv station. hehe..I really feel sorry for each young and old who are in altayyar.
Thank you once more ya doha for your blog and I hope this will be the best conversation ever. Its just a debate and we want explenations why all this happend by our fellow tayyarz.
luv u lots sis!

Doha said...


The sort of tit-for-tat statements that we hear about everyday are really for public consumption and geared towards further dividing people and polarizing them, which is unfortunate.

I myself have stopped getting concerned about them; it's tiring following all this useless talk.

It's interesting to note, though, that while Aoun personally wastes air space to attack this or that person, I never did see Seniora personally attacking anyone. He even angered some people when he was here in DC because he did not say anything antagonistic towards Hizbullah's latest stands.

Anyways, if there's Future TV, NBN, Manar, among others, then it's only fair to have Orange TV. This is Lebanon for you.

Anonymous said...

yeah i know ma im saying eno its time for them to get a tv and not make a big fuss about it...they tell you well we dont have money its all gifts from people..whateverrrr...
as about seniora..please listen to sawt elghad how they said that saniora came to lebanon having only words and only words and nothing but words...i dont know tooo biased really..
seniora honestly i admire him because really he doesn't reply to any of the blabbering going on and is doing what is right nothing more. I mean all these problems tha are on top of his head..the way he is trying his best to resolve them i think no one could have done it that way.
as for aoun..well its just a shame and really as you said its tiring to follow the blabbering going on..bass one thing it was a mistake from hariri to reply to him because in ANB aoun fired on hizbullah and amal also..but they didnt reply to anyways..
really politics in lebanon is just so weird..
listen...i have been seeing many articles on MALAT...his biography and stuff is something great what do you think? I have been hearing that they might put Ryad Salameh also in the list. what do you think? I mean botrous and nayla excuse me...i perfer aoun than them...
tell me what you think!

Doha said...

Frankly, I don't know much about Riad Salameh, more than he was a good governor of the Central Bank for the past decade or so.

As for Chibli Mallat, he has strong acadmic credentials as well as a solid background in reaching out to communities other than the Christian, such as heading a delegation of lawyers to the Hague to present the Sabra and Shatila case against Sharon. He also is one of the first runners up who announced his candidacy. However, many say that he lacks the charisma which many Christians would like to see in a President.

Anyways, none of us can decide who's the next president of our country, which again is unfortunate.

Doha said...

I think I have an answer for you Aboudy on why Future replied to Aoun's attacks: today in Al-Mustaqbal, Naseer Assad wrote that the Future Movement has taken a policy maneuver, which is namely responding to verbal attacks.

Let's see how this policy shift will be reflected in next Friday's last session of al-hiwar al-watani.

Anonymous said...

Riad Salameh

even if he stabilised the Lebanese pound by bunkerizing it, he sacrified the growth of the economy and therefore the way to get ride of the debt ...

i prefer growth rate to stabilisation of the LP

Hassan said...

Well Doha I think I can tell you some of what may happen in next Friday's session. If the FPM vs. FM verbal abuse goes on this way, we're bound to get to a point where Aoun is anxious enough to say something like "Saad Hariri is such a kid and he's a puppet in Jumblat's hands" or some other thing that he's probably thinking but still believes is improper to utter. By now, Aoun probably thinks that the Feb. 14 bunch will never make him president, and he's not especially fond of them or of their political practice and corruption. If this stress builds, we're reaching more confrontation.

Anonymous said...

Doha and Aboudy,
It is your sacred right to hate Aoun for all the correct things you say.
But I hope you are not both blinded enough to think that tayyar or SEG news are any more biased and rehearsed than say future news is.
Instead you listen to Futur's biased new and find it "fair" then listen to tayyar news and find it biased. While in fact they are both as biased.

Also doha,
Two things caught my attention:
> Anyways, none of us can decide who's the next president of our country,
> which again is unfortunate.

I think it is fortunate that you can't decide, in lebanon the people -fortunately- do not directy vote for the president and only Aoun is asking for that to change (for obvious polls reasons) hopefully that won't happen.

> I personally have become sure that I would not like to see Aoun as president.

I personnaly became sure you would not like to see Aoun as president -or anything close- on July 04, 2005 I donnow why it took you so long to admit it to yourself.

TAC - The Anonymous Coward

Raja said...

this whole corruption thing drives me up the wall... sorry Hassan.

But if I was faced with the bleak choice of two alternatives:

1. corrupt politicians who share my world view, and at least publicly aspire to where I would like the country to go

2. the cleanest bunch of politicians who want to turn my whole world upside down.

I would definitely go with option one. NOW if any of you have a third FEASIBLE option for Lebanon, please enlighten me.

Doha said...

Let's just say TAC that ALL news channels in Lebanon are biased on one way or another.

As for the July 2005 post, that post focused on the elections then. The issue of the presidency was not under the spotlight as much. I've had time since Aoun's return to Lebanon to decide and admit to myself that I wouldn't like to see Aoun as president. His outbursts when he first arrived, have become a mainstay of his political attitude.

Part of the unfortunate reality of not choosing who our next President is, is that for the longest time, the President was never chosen by the Parliament (which represents the poeple), but by a close circle of politicians and other countries (and Berri unashamedly admitted that the next President should be chosen through under the table negotiations).

I'm aware that by allowing us to vote, we might get catastrophic results, but at least we should come up with a mechanism through which candidates can campaign, compete fairly and be chosen by the Parliament.

Lazarus said...


assuming that we can divide the politicians into the two groups:

1. corrupt politicians who share my world view, and at least publicly aspire to where I would like the country to go

2. the cleanest bunch of politicians who want to turn my whole world upside down.

wouldn't you begin to doubt the correctness of your world view if it only seems to attract corrupt politicians?

(and just as a disclaimer - i think the other group has as many corrupt politicians as the first one...)

Anonymous said...

"I'm aware that by allowing us to vote, we might get catastrophic results, but at least we should come up with a mechanism through which candidates can campaign, compete fairly and be chosen by the Parliament."

i proposed from long time a college of electors, parlement, municipality counsils etc... those who have civil responsibilities to vote

Raja said...

Laz, my world view does not attract corrupt politicians. Corrupt politicians seem to do their best to coopt it for their own benefit.

Thanks for the disclaimer though.

Anonymous said...

OH IM LOVING IT hehe..;)
Well what shall I say? Yeah all tvs are biased but come on not to this extent.."darabny wshtaka" w god knows what..hehe..really its rediculous..anyways well in my opinion the christians have to have the right to choose their president, but come on, is the president only representing them or is he representing all lebanon? which includes the rest of the religions? I mean come on ok Chebli malat i guess has a great CV great history and it doesnt really matter how his charisma is. I'd rather have a person with no charisma rather than having a general in the army that contradicts himself. (this is in my opinion..if u want it to be a fact then go ahead)
Yallah I really go for Nasib and I really want to know why didn't 14 march realy say names or why don't the runner ups say their names?
I really want some answers if there is any.

Anonymous said...

You say :
> anyways well in my opinion the christians have to have the right to choose their president,
> but come on, is the president only representing them or is he representing all lebanon?

I am not of your opinion that the christians should be the ones chosing but I will play along with you. Then what do you propose? They can chose, but they have to chose the one other sects want? What if others sects don't want for example future? Do you mean the sunnies shouldn't be allowed to chose them? I think you are just saying that yuo are OK with the christians chosing but you are trying to find excuses as to why you don't accept their choice.

> Yeah all tvs are biased but come on not to this extent
Even more! I cannot begin to describe the crap spurred by Future TV or NTV or Manar or LBC or whatever .. you just chose to tolerate some of it and get pissed by other.

About Nassib, I have nothing against him personally, and fine by me if he gets elected but how can you claim the christians have a right to chose when they wouldn't even elect him for parliment? The two cannot go together. I say back up Nassib but drop the christian can chose thingy.

> why didn't 14 march realy say names or why don't the runner ups say their names?
I have no idea but I can guess ...
Possibly they canot agree among themselves
Possibly they know no matter who they will chose Aoun will be a much more popular candidate.
Possibly if they do that they'l have a chanse at getting him elected but they are a buch of amateurs and don't realize it ...

Opps I almost sound like Aoun , which by the way I found his remarque in very bad taste but come on it's not like he stated something other than the obvious, Saad is an amateur politically , which maybe the best thing he has going for him among the bunch of old tired corrupt politicians.

And finally Doha, that post was not the first nor the last, in it I pointed a few other posts where you critisize Aoun, I mean I am guessing since his return he made, let say, 3 times more mistakes than let say Future group (numbers pulled out of thin air), I don't see you pointing their mistakes at all, you just keep pointing Aoun's mistakes -your right of course, I just want to make sure you are not under the illusion that you are unbiased, or less biased than for exampe which is only human.


Doha said...

TAC, I don't whatsoever claim to be unbiased, but guess what? I don't belong neither to a party, nor to a movement, which makes me immune from being called a mouthpiece for someone. We've mentioned this before, but Raja and I feel that we come from the March 14 spirit.

raed said...

It's so interesting to read your comments guys. I'm a 25 years old lebanese guy... been stuck in the Gulf for almost 8 years "waiting for the right time and the chance to go back to Leb" but finally i realized (and accepted) that this is Leb! all this crap going on became part of our culture and identity (unfortunatley) and experience tells me that tomorrow will never be better than today. So i've really decided to go back and i'm working on it... i just have to accept things as is.

i didn't comment or put any political thought here... its really waste of time... although i try to follow up as much as i can (most of the time i listen to both news on NTV and Future so that i can try to get a better picture of whats going on)... but then what... ok i see the big picture (inno zahhar l lowz yi3nee). Things are always gonna be the same, we elect them then we critisize them... then we re-elect them (shee 3azeem walla...)

Anonymous said...

That's great. I was just making sure.
Just for the record, ana I didn't really enjoy the March 14th crowd whenthey allowed the election law to pass, but I was ready to cut them some slack but I totally stopped beleiving them the day they voted for Berry. But as my friend noted, it was too late, by then they had my vote and that's was about the only thing I can ever do that they care about.

And raja, I was thinking about your proposition,
In that world of type 1 and type 2 politicians,
Isn't point one the typical thing that happens in any real democratic country when the other party get to govern? i.e. when the left wins the election and you belong to a party from right, as long as they are working under the law and are not corrupt, if they do well they'll get re-elected and if they work badly you'll kick them off next time.

Where as in point one you have people like Berry (sorry for picking on him specifically) Who is -imho- corrupt but publicly shares the shia's world view and publicly aspires to where they would like the country to go (ie inma' moutawazen for the south, more 3adeleh ijtima3yeh ...) so they keep electing him no matter how corrupt and lying he is after he gets elected.

I say even if he shares your world view when he turns out to be corrupt, back the other clean guy even if he does not share your world view.

Of course in real life good luck finding the cleanest bunch of guys.