Friday, April 07, 2006

Groveling on national television

Yesterday, I watched Butros Harb on Kalam el Naas. First, I should congratulate Marcel Ghanem for a job well done. I mention that because last week, when he interviewed Jumblatt, rather than question and challenge him, Marcel uncritically listened and, despite all of Jumblatt's gimmicks, the show was below par. Yesterday was different. Marcel not only questioned and challenged his guest, but he even taunted him. It was nice to see Marcel back up to par.

Okay... enough about the host, what about Harb? Well it is quite sad. Yesterday, all who watched the show saw a March 14 politician groveling on national television and begging his old masters to help him out. A couple of weeks ago Jumblatt came to DC to make the rounds, yesterday, Harb did not even go to Damascus, but humiliated himself for everyone to see.

Marcel said it.

Bashar has proclaimed that the border issue in Shebaa is exclusively a Lebanese issue... Moallim has effectively said that no embassies will be established between the two countries... Syria will not budge on Lahoud or Hizballah... what is the reason for Seniora to go up to Damascus?

Butros weaved around that question but never really answered. In fact, the closest he came to answering was when he said that it is in the interest of both countries to see the tensions ease. He then went on to say that "both countries face similar challenges and opportunities" and it is best that they face these together, as a team!

Wow! Did this man simply take the initiative to say these things, or was it a coordinated message from at least some elements of March 14? It is really really depressing to see how the regional and international situation now favors Syria - and that Lebanon as a result is getting screwed.

When there was a window of opportunity to challenge and even destroy the Syrian regime, our political elite locked their horns and failed to take advantage of it! Now, we're back to groveling. Oh how nice. The house of many mansions! Those mansions are egos! mnitkabbar 3a ba3d, bas 3al "ikhwi" wil ajanib...

One question that Marcel Ghanem asked caught my attention because I heard almost the exact same question asked somewhere else. Marcel asked Butros,
Now that the Syrians appear to be so comfortable in their shoes, why would they do what Butros Harb is asking of them? What interests or incentives do they have to actually do what you are asking them to do?

Flynt Leverett asked that same exact question to Walid Jumblatt when Jumby gave his little speech at Brookings - only he asked the guest why the United States would do what he wanted it to do.

Well... I've heard a phrase before from someone - maybe a friend - but I forget who. It basically goes like this: "we are royally screwed." I don't know for how long this assessment will apply - but it definitely applies today. To see one of the main personalities in Lebanese politics grovel on national television to his most recent and brutal colonizers is not a good sign at all.


frencheagle said...

the 14 of march politicians are an illusion

we could have been reaching more last year "we means" the people that were in downtown. but theses politicians prevented us to act, they did it for their own interest, to preserve their interest.

they prevented us to reach a real revolution, meaning a break from the old system.
they broke our dynamics for a revolution.

u re just beginning to wake up

word weaver said...

"He weaved around the question but never really answered," that's exactly what they all do and you described that process brilliantly. The worst to do this are Aoun's people. You sit there and you try hard to make sense of what they say and half of it is not connected, half of it is defensive, half of it is attacking and the whole theme unde any reply they give is, "Why do you prosecute us? boohooo? Why can't we invite our friends to our house? boohooo, Why can't I eat falafel with nassrallah? It's just falafel! boohooo......" very frustrating to listen to them, BOOHOOOOO to us.

Ramzi S said...

I think March 14th was hoping that by this time they would be seeing instability in Syria or even the Assad regime toppled and continuing pressure by the US and the world against Syria. But they have none of that now and even the new UN Commissioner is very passive. So they have lost their spine..

What they need to realize is that if they truly believe you are RIGHT and you are on the side of GOOD then that is all the backing you need to make you strong.

In regards to Jumblatt a good question would be "Say we do accept that you are now speaking in your true voice. But why were you so passionate in your support of Syria? and Hizballah? If you are saying now that that was not your true voice.."

Jamal said...

That is exactly why i didn't really believe change was on the way with the March 14th movement. Why are you surprised that Boutros Harb is kissing syrian ass? He's been doing it for years. Same with Jumblatt. The difference is some remained loyal dogs, and others were just dogs.

The only way for change in Lebanon with a complete changing of the guard, and that has to come from WITHIN. Until that happens and as long as the people keep gladly empowering the jumblatts, nasrallahs, hariris,Aouns, geageas etc... we don't DESERVE change. A modern progressive Lebanon is not a Right, it's something we have to earn.

JoseyWales said...

I don't have the answer, and I am not defending anyone.

I am just noting that those who did not grovel or stopped groveling were killed or sent into exile. (Joumblatt Sr, Mufti, Edde, Bashir Gemayel, Aoun, Tueni, Laouzi etc...).

The story is old and continues, it needs to stop.

Raja said...

and here you have the clash between power and principles. Do we support an unprincipled dog who is at least somewhat powerful and wants to get rid of something we hate, or do we support a principled person who most likely will get killed before he is able to do anything noteworthy. What do we do?

Ramzi S said...


I think many of the Lebanese who are supporting March14 are not any illusions that these leaders are white knights. But YES they are willing to support them as a first step in rebuilding the country. Or at least getting the central government back in charge of its territories.