Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Surprise Factor And Fear

The situation continued to deteriorate from bad to worse this past day. I realized today how words can be stronger and more effective at mobilizing viewers (whether for or against).

At any rate, the Opposition is heading to the streets; we just don't know when. Yes, they could be peaceful, but there are factors that just make it much more than that.

Today President Lahoud (whom I cannot stand to be our President anymore) told BBC that along with peaceful demonstrations to which the opposition has the right, civil servants are encouraged to disobey government orders because the government is unconstitutional. He even went to equate this situation to that of Ghandi's civil disobedience tactics under the British colonial rule! (I think at that moment I was going to puke out of embarassment for such choice of a simile; even the BBC journalist was taken aback).

It did not stop there. Aoun, who it seems is losing his mind, has called on his supporters to take part in "acts of protests" (whatever that entails) alongside guess who? SSNP! This time Aoun is not just providing a political cover for SSNP, but now overtly being allied with it.

Just like Hizbullah, Aoun refused to provide a specific day they plan on demonstrating. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has not received as of yet any formal request for demonstrating, which is a standard operating procedure even in the U.S. So how could HA/Aoun et al. hold the government accountable for maintaining the peace while they demonstrate, when they're not even notified of the scope and direction of the demonstrations? The element of surprise here begets me and is only making Beirut look like an army barracks at night, with army tanks circulating the downtown area and Internal Security Forces scattered everywhere, in anticipation of that surprise demonstration.

Just a side note on Aoun, in his press conference, he declared the Parliament corrupt and illegal/unconstitutional because the last elections relied on the 2000 Parliamentary law, which was heavily rigged through Syrian intelligence interference. The LBCI reporter asked him a smart question, "If the Parliament is illegal, then how can it givethe aspired-for "national unity" government a vote of confidence?" Aoun mumbled and contradicted himself by saying that the Parliament should not only give a vote of confidence to such a government but also come up and vote on a new electoral law. Go figure! And if it's unconstitutional, then how did he take part in the elections and shouldn't his representation role be in question?

He dismissed and insulted politicians here and there and yelled at reporters here and there. Is this someone who is President material?...He thinks every government institution is unconstitutional now; he's the savior, or that's what he likes to think of himself. Oh, and I forgot, he talked about the "holy" anger (al-ghadab al-moukaddas). What is that?

But going back to the demonstrations issue, Wi'am Wahhab, the fifth columnist who has returned to life after a short hybernation (including Nassir Qandil who visited Lahoud in Baabda), infuriated me the most when he threatened that, "For those who are calling for the implementation of the U.N. Chapter VII, there's a new term not found in their dictionary called the Chapter of Martyrdom and Martyrs!" What a lowly threat! And what a direct allusion to what took place in Yabous yesterday.

He continued by saying that the national unity government they're calling for is one that will consider void all resolutions/laws that have passed under the Seniora government this past year! Of course, this includes 1701, the tribunal, and Paris III among other resolutions passed.

You might say that these are just words. But a lot of chatter provides a cover for some ugly acts done against our country. We're not fools and we've been following the trends these past two years. Couple words with the suicide bombing incident in Yabous and the Beddawi piece of news and the picture starts to look scarier.

My Mom today told me that what the Opposition is doing is harb a3sab (a war of nerves). All what my family does on a daily basis now is scan all the news channels for news, and more news about what's happening and what is to happen.

Personally, I'm being pushed to the edge. I feel helpless just like I felt helpless when my country was being bombed this summer. I can't do anything from the beltway, but watch the news and get infuriated. I am becoming more convinced that I don't want a compromise with Hizbullah and all the pro-Syrian detail attached. It's sad to be pushed to that limit, but I am not able to see a functioning partnership, when there is disagreement on the basics, such as complying with U.N. resolutions and being open to the international community. Even Justice Minister Charles Rizk, who was Lahoud's man in the Cabinet, switched sides and moved forward with the tribunal resolution, leaving Lahoud behind.

But on the other hand, PM Seniora is calling once again for dialogue. But we just had two round of dialogues this past year, the first one was followed by Hizbullah's kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers which unleashed the war of hell on Lebanon, and the second of which led to the resignation of HA/Amal's Ministers from the Cabinet.

They don't have a solution to offer up for such a complicated existential dilemma, neither do I.

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


Anonymous said...

I saw that bit about what Lahoud said. It made me want to punch something (or someone). I blogged about it here.

What does it say about state when the President of the Republic is telling civil servants not to obey the government? Let chaos and anarchy reign. I mean, why not go out and tell the army to stop obeying their commanders (that's happened before actually), and tell everyone to stop obeying the rule of law...

What a freakin joke. This country is SOOO FAR away from the very basics of democracy (namely the rule of law, and the respect of the state and its institutions) that we might as well call it quits and hand it over to Syria or Iran or whoever else wants it.

Anonymous said...

Let me just add (after re-reading your excellent, yet depressing entry), that we really don't deserve a country.

Someone needs to come in and bulldoze the whole damned place. These guys are jokes and buffoons. Everyone of them. They should all be quartered and hung and fed to the wolves.

Faysal said...


I think we are finally beginning to understand one another :-S

I feel the same way about pretty much everything.

Ms Levantine said...

Dear all,

I share your frustration, and BV we don't deserve a country, and as a matter of fact we do not have one. So at least this problem is solved.

Disclaimer: I am old enough to have lived through Harb al Tahrir and harb al Ilghak, so needless to say I am not a GMA fan. But then again, I am not a Geagea, Hariri, Jumblatt... fan either. But let me be the devil's advocate:

As long as we agree with our sectarian democratie as a way to protect our sects blah blah blah, we agree that the maronites get the presidency, the shiites the speaker and the sunnis the prime minister.

Now if the sunnis get Hariri's right hand man, the shiites get Berri with the support of HA, under which logic do we argue that GMA should not be the president?

You cannot have in a sectarian system 2 sects with their strong people in charge and the 3rd with Ghattas Khouri et al.

The problem is sectarian democratie, and this is what the so called March 14 has failed to address.

Faysal said...

GMA cannot be president because he is simply incapable of working with politicians who disagree with him in the slightest of issues. Also, this point is moot, because following his alliance with Hizbullah and Co, he has fractured Christian consensus on a candidate and incurred great hostility and distrust from other groups. My argument against giving the presidency has nothing to do with which sect gets which post. I am in fact a supporter of the mithaq al watani.

I am fully in favor of a strong, independent Christian president. I am ashamed at what has happened to the post of President in Lebanon, and even though I am not Christian, I believe that the marginalization of Christians in Lebanon and their decreasing numbers represents a grave threat to Lebanon that must be addressed.

But Michel Aoun is not the man to address it, and it is his fault for letting his people down.

Ms Levantine said...


Since the system is a sectarian democracy, it is up to the maronite voters to choose their candidate. I tend to agree with you that GMA does not have the qualities to succeed as president. As stated above, I saw him as prime minister in 89 and 90 and it was scary.

But we had elections and he won the overwhelming majority of maronite votes.

Vox populi, vox dei.

Let him rule and fail, and we are failing anyway. Now if you do not like this state of affair (I don't) then criticize our moronic sectarian democracy. If you don't, remember that you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

BTW, who was the maronite concensus candidate you are referring to in your comment? I did not realize there was one.

Anonymous said...

Ms Levantine,

I kind of agree. What you're saying is that as long as the sectarian system is in place, there is simply no way for any of this to work. And I agree.

But I also would argue that the issue of removing sectarianism is not something that can be addressed TODAY without a revolution. The more immediate threat is this undemocratic notion of Hezbollah and their allies that "no single party should govern Lebanon" (direct quote from Nasrallah's speech).

I'm sorry, but you're wrong, sayed Nasrallah. We have elections for a reason. The winner gets to govern until the next elections.

Of course, Nasrallah knows this. He's just using this as an excuse to advance the plans of his foreign masters. And that, really, is the immediate threat.