Friday, December 15, 2006

Amr Pasha

Amr Mousa, the knight in shining armor, rides to our rescue – to save us from ourselves. And in doing so, the cause self-governance and democracy in Lebanon suffers yet another setback, as one more layer that separates Lebanese from politics emerges.

During a short interval of time, beginning with the expulsion of the Syrians and ending with Moussa’s arrival, the only layer that separated Lebanese from true political participation (as opposed to passively watching, commenting and protesting when ordered to) was that sorry excuse of a political elite, which have helped nudge us ever closer to outright civil war.

This proximity to politics was tantalizing. For 20 years we were kept from getting this close – our "sisterly" neighbor made sure of that. Today, Moussa comes to Lebanon and brings back that dreaded second layer of separation and things are starting to feel disgustingly familiar.

Going back to Moussa's original purpose for riding into Lebanon though, I'll add that I abhor the notion that a people needs saving from itself. How condescending! Are these people animals? Why should they be saved from themselves?

But then, I look at Iraq, Lebanon's bloody history, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and tens of other places, and one quote comes to mind:
The epitaph written by God on humanity's gravestone will be: “I thought it was a good idea at the time.”
While I'm at it, I'll put in another quote that comes to mind:
Somewhere on this globe, every ten seconds, there is a woman giving birth to a child. She must be found and stopped.
At this particularly depressing juncture in Lebanon’s history, I have two pieces of advice for Lebanese:
  • Let's keep Amr Moussa and divide Lebanon into Mutsarrifs. Let him govern our lands with the help of a Mejlis composed of a certain number of Lebanese from various sects. In fact, let’s take this idea all the way; and, from this point forward, refer to Amr Moussa as Amr Pasha.

  • Or, let us just get things over with and split the country apart. Lebanese are (or rather, insist on believing that they are) so different from one another, they might as well be from separate planets. Let each Lebanese return to his or her village of origin, and stay there – for all Lebanese are villagers at heart, if not actual villagers. This way we can eliminate all pretense of civility or cosmopolitanism, and just be our pathetic selves. Then we can engage in something I am really looking forward to: perpetual warfare. (Whoever says Hobbes wasn’t an astute observer of humanity is an idiot!)
Who am I kidding? A region populated by villagers and bedouin can never be governed democratically. We need the Turks to come back, or the Persians – whichever one…. So long as they govern with an Iron fist, and delegate Amr Pasha to manage the day-to-day affairs in Lebanon, we’ll be our happy, clueless, irrelevant selves.

12 comments:

Doha said...

Raja,

I agree and disagree simultaneously with your post. On the one hand, yes, it's funny to have the Arab League mediate amongst us Lebanese. When first, just yesterday Muslim Brotherhood students were rounded up and jailed in Egypt (while Moussa mediates in a country where protesting is a right, even laying siege to the Grand Serail, where would you find that anywhere in the Arab world?) and in Sudan you have the Darfur genocide going on and the Sudanese gov't managed to extract from the Arab leaders at the last Arab League Summit that Darfur is a Sudanese issue and no one has the right to meddle in their internal affairs (when the Arab League envoy is from Sudan and he's trying to mediate between the Lebanese on a Lebanese issue).

So yea, you can be sarcastic there.

But I disagree with you on your tone how suddenly you give up on Lebanon and start calling us bedouins and villagers. You oscillate at times between giving up and caring. I don't think that Amr will be our Pasha nor will Lebanon be divided up.

Yesterday Johnny Abdo on Kalam Innass asked sarcastically: "Do you believe all those mediation efforts?" Meaning that they're just a show and when the Lebanese groups decide to care about Lebanon first, they'll come to an agreement.

The Sandmonkey said...

Dude, the persians are already there, and they kind of already rule you!

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain Raja. I've been in that same frame of mind for the past month. It looks more and more like we don't deserve a country, really. We're incapable of sorting out our differences, and have pretty much always been incapable of any form of respect for the notion of a state, the rule of law, and state institutions.

They might as well rule us from abroad. If we were ready, we'd have told them off by now. But no, we just play along time and again, like fools and idiots.

I've been very disappointed with the fact that the Arab League is once again playing the role of appeaser, and handing Lebanese democracy over to Syria and Iran. I was hoping the lessons of the past had been learned by the folks in Washington, Riyadh and Cairo. But I guess not. And in the end, we have but ourselves to blame for letting do this to us again and again.

JoseyWales said...

I think we should have a constitutional amendement that says if a gvmnt cannot solve an internal problem without outside talks, it should resign.

While we are at it, and since it's apparently impossible to pull out of the Idiot League, we should ban Arab League envoys from ever visiting Lebanon.

More seriously, we should TALK about partition and see who wants to live under whom, just to be fixed on where people stand.

Suha said...

I second partition. It's about time to just give up and move on.

turtlecurls said...

Another option -- education. Create the myth of a country & sell it, sell it, sell it. Mostly through education in the early schooling, but also through political speeches, and business supported ads/rheteric.

This is what American patriotism is based on, a "myth" of who we are that we've all bought into. It's why we buy into supporting the laws of the land over our own wishes & attempting respect of each other. It's why we allow a strong police force and judicial system that then gives the structure that enables trust in the "government." It's far from perfect, but it's far from bad too. We know it's a myth, but there's some fundamental truths unlying it so it feels okay too.

The American myth includes pieces like "balance of power created by the three branches of government" and "one person, one vote" and more modernly "civil rights" and "land of opportunity where it is whatever you make of it". The Lebanese myth may have totally different pieces but one option to creating sovernity & a strong central government is a myth of the country (maybe an essential piece to creating a country). Many of the European countries used for their myth, their royalty & previous nationality (that 2nd one's biting them now).

The Lebanese are diverse, so nationality won't work, (although it seems to be the only thing thought about.) ...Maybe the strength of being the cross-roads for so many peoples over the centuries and the sophisciation and patience it leads to... I don't know what the myth could be. However creating one is another angle to add to solving the problems.

It does help a lot to have strong leadership to but it out there. Unfortunately the world seems to be devoid of good leadership at the moment. But the rumblings can begin even before the leadership shows up, and at times the leadership pops up out of the rumblings.

JoseyWales said...

turtlecurds,

Ain't wrong, but we can't agree on the myth.

Plus the "sellers" of the "good" myth are lousy salesmen, while sellers of the crappy myth are doing a bang-up job (sort of).

turtlecurls said...

Hi Joseywales,
Yah, I know. I'm certainly not trying to minimize the difficulties.

You all are working so hard to look outside the box, I thought I'd mention what's inside our box that seems to work. See if is adds any new ideas.

You know I think one of the reasons the guys with the guns are doing bang-up job, IS the guns. They kind of tend to numb out people's thinking (any peoples, not Shia's) & make the holder's leader's ideas seem better than they are. They certainly reduce descention if only unconsciously, so that unity & greater strength in numbers then reinforces the desire to be part of the group.

I keep hearing here that when the Lebanese believe in Lebanon the country will be okay. What I haven't picked up on is - what does being Lebanese mean to the different people here? What would you all like it to be about? Not the deeper stuff, just the superficial stuff that brings pride. (Maybe you already know & I'm just not very knowledgable & if so please pardon my question.)

Well, I'm lighting chanuka candles which you may have picked up on, is in part about what was a civil war & the miracle of surviving the whole mess. I'm hoping as I light this year, that God-Allah brings some more miracles this year for Lebanon & Iraq and generally. Sounds sappy, but the civil war theme was hard to miss, and would be good to see some greater strength help out.

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