20.3.05

Will they break Lebanon? How shall we prevent this from happening?

I'm afraid Syria will cause problems inside Lebanon that will lead to them "justifying" their stay. This was my initial reaction to the fateful day of 14 February. Now I revert back to this initial reaction. How can we prevent this from happening?

I want to feel as though Lebanon is united. But I don't. A Lebanese opinion is somewhat like a snowflake, and I'm afraid the negative forces of Syrian intelligence and government (NOT the Syrian people) shall try to capitalize on this.

I was watching Al Jazeera earlier today. Dr. Asad AbuKhalil was on an interesting panel with men only ( I wonder why men only). There were some interesting views exchanged about whether or not it mattered that Lebanon was under Syrian or American control. The dear professor said that Lebanon has never had independence...and it has always been controlled by one party or another. I wonder if anybody else saw this debate. I think we need more of these debates on both television, in schools, and community centers...though we need them to include as many women as men. Sure, they may end up in screaming matches. But it's most healthy to get the anger out in constructive ways, rather than using violence.

On the subject of 'breaking Lebanon' something comes to mind. Neil MacFarquhar, an excellent reporter for the Times, writes this article. You might want to check it out. Here's a taster:

After a few moments, he leaned forward and described how the Syrian leader had threatened him, curtly ordering him to amend Lebanon's Constitution to give President Émile Lahoud, the man Syria used to block Mr. Hariri's every move, another three years in office.

"Bashar told him, 'Lahoud is me,' " Mr. Jumblatt recalled in an interview. "Bashar told Hariri: 'If you and Chirac want me out of Lebanon, I will break Lebanon.' " He was referring to the French president, Jacques Chirac.

Peace,

liminal

14 Comments:

At Sunday, March 20, 2005 1:28:00 AM, Blogger End racism said...

You mean Lebanon isn't broken already?

Can you not see something wrong with the whole thing? Sure, the whole romanticised "revolution" is all nice and dandy, but is it real or is it a SHOW? You see, the first protest saw numerous party flags instead of only the Lebanese flag. After that calls had to be made by leaders to get the protestors to bring only Lebanese flags. Now please tell me why such a call had to be made if Lebanon weren't "broken". Why do you need to bring your party's flag (no matter what that party was) to such a demonstration that claims to speak for the majority of the LEBANESE??

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 5:32:00 AM, Blogger Tempest said...

Madsen. It's democracy. It's an alliance of various parties. We are all united under the lebanese flag, but we are also representing our parties. How hard is that?

Lebanon was broken. Thanks to the Palestinians, the Israelis and the Syrians (not to mention our own ignorance). We are in the process of healing our country.

Again I tell you, democracy. It's a pretty thing, why don't you read up on it, before condeming our national, patriotic movement.

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 5:49:00 AM, Blogger Empowerqueen said...

As an American I would like to tell you how uplifted and excited we were to see the sea of flags & people. To be forever vigilent is the cost of democracy.
God Bless Lebanon ,

Grace be with you all...

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 5:53:00 AM, Blogger End racism said...

"It's an alliance of various parties. "

What does wanting to free Lebanon have anything to do with parties??

"Lebanon was broken. Thanks to the Palestinians, the Israelis and the Syrians (not to mention our own ignorance). We are in the process of healing our country."

You are so delusional. You need to check your facts on how the war started and who the main players were. For God's sake, the Lebanese were killing EACH OTHER. For once stop blaming OTHERS for ALL your problems. Yes, the "Israelis", Syrians, and Palestinians did play a role, but it doesn't mean the Lebanese were not against each other (they still are).

Healing? What kind of healing is that when the Maronites consider themselves too good to have Muslims as their neighbours (and want to divide the country into Muslim and Christian states [federalism])???

National? If you consider waving the Lebanese flag nationalism, then sure. Patriotic? Hardly.

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 9:22:00 AM, Blogger liminal said...

HO HO, What a nice thing to provoke!

What's up with you two? Why are you arguing???

Okay, one thing at a time. And I'm sorry...I won't take sides. I've lived my own experiences and I have my own opinions. And I will not compromise them for anybody. So here's my take.

1) "Isn't Lebanon broken already?"

-ok, you're for an international investigation? but it seems you've already decided who's at fault. and it's not syria. right? first, i know lebanon is broken m. and the destruction is at the level of what's imperceptible. the war was long and the war was violent. i don't like war. i don't like when people kill each other. it's wrong, it's disgusting and it needs to end. all occupations need to end. you're palestinian so you understand exactly what I'm talking about. I'm not sure what your background is in relation to Palestine, but I can tell you have a deep attachment to it and that's good enough reason for me to believe that you can actually relate to people inside Lebanon that are tired of Syria's presence. how are we so far?



2) -"Can you not see something wrong with the whole thing? Sure, the whole romanticised "revolution" is all nice and dandy, but is it real or is it a SHOW?"

Okay, this idea makes me laugh more than anything. The fact that everybody besides the Lebanese who want Syria out feel that it's a show is ridiculous. There y0u are making assumptions again. You again seem to imply it is a show with your rhetorical question. Well, you're wrong. It's not a show. It's for real. And you're in denial along with many others. I do see something wrong with the whole thing. I do see something wrong with the Hizbullah organized protest, too. Listen friend, I have a Shia friend that's in the Lebanese Army that went to the protest. If you think that's not for real, go to Beirut one day when I'm there and I'll let you meet his family.

3) the issue of the party flags -- this one's easy in my eyes. i'm sorry the opposition's protest was not as heavily restricted as the hizbullah one. it is known for a fact (and i'll find the source) that hizbullah specifically told all protesters not to bring their famous yellow flag to the protest. they were taken from people that brought them. so, sorry. i don't care about party flags. we know who's got more discipline...and it's not the lebanese opposition. and if you try to even tell me that the hizbullah protest was more diverse than the last opposition protest, you don't know lebanon. i am not saying hizbullah does not represent a substantial proportion of lebanese. it does now and so it must be respected. but so must 1 million people that came into the streets 14 March. i'm sure you agree with me.

I will address each post...let me put this up and move to the next comment.

Thank you for participating marsden, I hope you'll continue to do so.

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 9:42:00 AM, Blogger liminal said...

Tempest,

Ok, lebanon is a democracy...true. It's an imperfect one. But I think it's the most democratic and open state in the Near East ...even though Syrians are still operating from there and the government is completely corrupt and basically appointed there by Assad through threats. When it comes to Lebanese politics, nobody's hands are completely clean. Let's be frank. But if there was a man that did not have a militia, it was Hariri. In other words, he didn't have blood on his hands. (and that's good enough for me to demend an independent international investigation that the US or Israel does not have a hand in...) and as many people know, he was also an ally of Syria's for a long long time. the fact that he turned on syria in the past year, was forced to resign, and then was assassinated does not add up. I hate when people try to deny he had very warm relations with Syria. It simply isn't the case. Don't be ignorant... don't try to deny it. I respect the man for what he accomplished. And it is truly a tragedy for him, his family, basil fuleihan (who's a good friend of a close friend) and his family. And that should be all that I need to say about that. For so many in the current Lebanese government and Syrian government to act like this was some random crime is criminal in and of itself. And SHAME on Lebanon's government for finding remains of a body weeks after the crime was committed. IT SMACKS OF A COVER-UP. I'm just adding everything up and giving you my honest gut feeling.

Boy, I went on there...sorry.

Ok Tempest...sorry friend but a couple of protests doesn't mean Lebanon is not broken still. It's a very important step, no doubt. We are on the path of healing for sure. But it is not a matter of the past. People are still getting over the war including myself and many people in my family. So, don't try to convince me otherwise. It will seem disingenious to me and I'll never buy it. One of the main reasons it is broken is because you had people (most literally) in the same family killing each other...I'm talking brothers killing brothers (and I'm NOT talking Lebanese brotherhood, like you and me...I'm talking hereditary brothers, my friend). You can try to deny that too, but you will never convince me. If you knew me better I could tell you real-life stories about this if you have never heard of it before. So, you are completely correct when you say "We are in the process of healing our country." That's exactly right. It's a process and we are still in it.

I love you commmenting on this topic Tempest, thank you. Please, let's continue. ;)

let me move on to the next...

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 9:43:00 AM, Blogger liminal said...

empowerqueen, thank you for your thoughts. we need it in this very difficult time. my thoughts are with you and yours.

;)

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 10:14:00 AM, Blogger liminal said...

Ok marsden, your next comment.

First, I appreciate your pointed comments that help induce some emotion. Now, I think you must admit there was more broad participation at the last opposition protest than the one organized by a single party, Hizbullah. And if Hizbullah didn't have such great organization, there could have not been such a huge protest that was for Syria. On the other hand, it was organized by them...so it was more homogenous of faith and affiliation. Thus, less diverse. So in fairness to tempest...it was indeed more of an alliance of parties than hizbullah's. and if you want hizbullah to stay armed and functioning as a militia inside lebanon, then you must allow other lebanese to give their voice about it if it truly is a democracy. right? 500,000 Hizbullah supporters is not chop-liver...but numbers estimate possibly two-times as many people coming out to the last opposition protest...so, that's more. and if 2 to 1 people in a democracy say that hizbullah should disarm, then they should disarm if it's a democracy. right?

Also in fairness to tempest, he is not delusional in my eyes. Just because he's on the opposite side of the political spectrum does not mean his opinion doesn't count. heck, he likes bush...i don't. but i tolerate his opinion. you should too. i know how that sounds to you, but it's better to engage with people...seriously, i think it's to the benifit of everybody reading here for us to have this debate online. and i tolerate your opinions as much as tempest's. i think it's awesome to have a diversity of views in one place. so again, tempest is not delusional.

You go on to say this: "You need to check your facts on how the war started and who the main players were." Every side seems to have a different version of "how the war started" and I wondered what your version was. Let's get that straight first, then we'll move on with that line in the discussion. As much as it is wrong to be of the attitude that Palestinians are to blame for everything, it is also wrong to say that they are to blame for nothing. I want to make my opinion clear on that matter because it is very complicated...both personally and on a larger scale. So, I want to hear your version...then I'll address this issue further.

Then you go on with this: "Healing? What kind of healing is that when the Maronites consider themselves too good to have Muslims as their neighbours (and want to divide the country into Muslim and Christian states [federalism])???" And you do this regretablly so...I'm sorry marsden, but you're as guilty as those Christians that you speak of when pointing it out in this manner. Why do you make so many assumptions? I am from a Christian family. Are you assuming all Christians are like this? THis is both deeply offensive and i don't take people implying i'm a racist to well. so either speak with more tolerance or expect the wrath of me.

And then this: "National? If you consider waving the Lebanese flag nationalism, then sure. Patriotic? Hardly."

Look, when did anybody sing the national anthem at the hizbullah organized protest? Sorry, but they were singing hizbullah war songs. Screw that. I never heard one account of anybody in that protest singing the lebanese national anthem. and sure, you'll say that's not the lebanon that they are proud of...whatever. there is a thing of being proud to be lebanese...and personally, hearing the national anthem makes me proud. however weak lebanon is, we all know what that air smells like in the mountains and from the sea. we all are bound by the cultural experience that is being lebanese. granted, there are many underpriveleged people both born and brought into lebanon at one time or another. i think it should be the job of more and more lebanese to grant more rights to these individuals. some are treated less than human and that isn't right. even animals are....one time i was in a formerly armenian neighborhood in lebanon last year and there was some sri lankan department store that had a leapord in a very small cage. one meter by one meter...i took a bunch of pictures to send to animal rights organizations. well, true, the individual's rights need to be protected first and foremost. but my point is that lebanon is an ancient place that is not immune to the problems of modernity. we must help those that suffer in lebanon to achieve their full rights. but it doesn't mean i shouldn't be proud to be Lebanese? Are you not proud to be Palestinian? And what of Palestinian nationhood? It is more fragmented than Lebanese nationhood. And I know you agree with me there.

So?

Don't make so many assumptions about me, my family, and Christian Lebanese. It won't get you far in a Lebanese forum, believe me.

lim.

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 1:36:00 PM, Blogger Tempest said...

Liminal!
Thanks for telling everyone i'm not delusional.

I absolutely agree with you that all is not well in Lebanon. I believe sincerely, however, that the last few months (and especially after Hariri's assasination), the Lebanese have come together in a way we haven't seen, ever before.

My parents tell me they've never seen anything like it. It's natural for someone from the 'opposite side of the spectrum' to try and belittle or besmirch it. I personally, am proud that a majority of the Lebanese are at least willing to put aside their differences (maybe even just ignore their differences for a while), and get together when a more patriotic cause arises.

Human rights is an important issue that needs to be monitored and improved upon in Lebanon, however, as I said before, this IS NOT the time. Things have been like this for years, and it's not neccesary, right now, when we're fighting for our freedom, to take care of everything else.

It's the pro-Syrian 's argument. Try to drive a religious/sectarian wedge. Try to divert attention to another problem (human rights, racism, party conflict, social issues, Israel, America, etc).

I won't answer you about the flags again. It's just another silly point that falls under both category one and two of the pro-Syrian's tactic.

Finally (and this falls in the first category of a pro-Syrian's argument). I don't believe in federalism. Although, I believe in the right of a party to try and achieve that goal. As I believe in the right of Hizballah to try and achieve their goal of creating an Islamic state. And in the right of communists to try and turn Lebanon into a communist state. These must all pass through proper, democratic, channels. And, if that is the will of the people, then so be it.

Like I said earlier, that's democracy.
Personally, I'm not insulted when you launch a religious attack. I am not into the whole 'God' thing. However, it's stupid to blame the war on Christians, and it's stupid to blame the war on the Lebanese. Muslims were just as guilty. Foreigners? Even more so. You expect me to forget the Syrians dropping 13000 bombs per minute on Beirut? You expect me to forget the Syrians murdering thousands of officers and Lebanese army soldiers in cold blood? You expect me to forget the terrors the palestinians did? (That affected me personally?) Or the damage the Israelis did?

They all hurt us. They all drove the wedge deeper. True, we hit them back, but it's just naive to blame everything on the Lebanese. And then go further into it and blame it on the Christians.

Lebanon is changing. We are changing it. People on the 'opposite side of the spectrum' are afraid of that change. They (oops! You) would do anything to prevent that change from taking place.

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 3:22:00 PM, Blogger Ramzi said...

Lim... see what I mean?!
This blog is BEGGING for a debate!

As for the Tempest/Marsden conflict (escalating and spreading over 2 posts), I think that you 2 should just abandon the idea that you will ever see eye-to-eye. In all fairness, Tempest you do your best to defend and support your arguments, while Marsden you seem to fire off old and tired one-liners and state them as indisputable facts. You don't listen, which makes it very frustrating.

I love free speech, but this round seems like it's going nowhere...

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 5:09:00 PM, Blogger End racism said...

"ok, you're for an international investigation? but it seems you've already decided who's at fault. and it's not syria. right?"

No, I never said it wasn't Syria. But I've said it's possible that it's not Syria, unlike the "2 million" holding banners demanding "The truth" and at the same time asserting that Syria was behind it. After all, that was exactly the effect the perpetrators wanted to get, obviously. I think if you think logically about who stands to gain from this, you'd arrive to the conclusion that there are other parties who would gain from it MUCH MUCH MORE than Syria.

"you're palestinian so you understand exactly what I'm talking about."

I am not Palestinian. I'm English and I've lived in Lebanon all my life and lost a parent in the war.

"It's not a show. It's for real."

What is real? Have you been reading what people have been saying? Sure, I'm not denying that many want Syria to leave (I do too), but that doesn't mean the whole "let's jump on the bandwagon and be like Ukraine so the whole world will see that we're 'europeans' " (oh yes, there are still people who argue that Lebanon is not Arab and/or eastern) isn't a show.......... There was a great article (I'm sure you'll find it if you google it) called "A Revolution made for TV" (or something like that).

"it does now and so it must be respected. but so must 1 million people that came into the streets 14 March. i'm sure you agree with me."

Respected for what? You know, I'm not a huge fan of the whole back-and-forth protests (it's beginning to look a little ridiculous, not to mention costing the government, that is if the government exists, millions of dollars a day), be it organised by the Hezballah or the opposition.

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 5:24:00 PM, Blogger End racism said...

"I think you must admit there was more broad participation at the last opposition protest than the one organized by a single party, Hizbullah."

So what does that 'prove'? The Shi'a are still Lebanese, and if the anti-opposition group has more supporters than the opposition, does it matter if it's diverse? That's how things work in real democracies...

"so it was more homogenous of faith and affiliation. "

What do you mean? One doesn't have to be Shi'ite to support Hezballah. I'm Christian (well, on paper that is) and I support Hezballah and am looking forward to joining it (and yes, they do welcome non-Muslims).

"if you want hizbullah to stay armed and functioning as a militia inside lebanon, then you must allow other lebanese to give their voice about it if it truly is a democracy. right? 500,000 Hizbullah supporters is not chop-liver...but numbers estimate possibly two-times as many people coming out to the last opposition protest...so, that's more. and if 2 to 1 people in a democracy say that hizbullah should disarm, then they should disarm if it's a democracy. right?"

I support a referendum. I'm not scared that Hezballah would be disarmed that way. I know that Hezballah won't be disarmed if the people are given the chance to vote on it. The opposition is bigger? Maybe. But many in the opposition do not support 1559 (because it calls for Hezballah's disarming). The only identifiable group that wants the Hezballah disarmed are the Maronites. Many (if not most) Sunnis have a lot of respect for Hezballah and don't want to see it disarmed.

"Every side seems to have a different version of "how the war started" and I wondered what your version was."

The main reason the war started was that the Maronites wanted to hold on to their control in the confessional system at all costs. I am not talking about what side has what version. Frankly, I don't care about what those sides think. But it's pretty clear who all historians have pointed out as the initiators of the aggression.

"As much as it is wrong to be of the attitude that Palestinians are to blame for everything, it is also wrong to say that they are to blame for nothing."

I never said they are to blame for nothing.

"I am from a Christian family. Are you assuming all Christians are like this? THis is both deeply offensive and i don't take people implying i'm a racist to well. so either speak with more tolerance or expect the wrath of me."

I am from a Christian family too. What is your point? I was not attacking Christians individually but the Maronite church and batryark Sfeir and his secterian mentality that has killed so many people during the war. Also, please point to one "Maronite party" that wants to get rid of the sectarian system. LF? No. Kata'eb? Hell no. Go on..

"I never heard one account of anybody in that protest singing the lebanese national anthem."

And what exactly does that prove? At least they were being themselves and not putting on a show, unlike the opposition with all those "Christians and Muslims united". Do you know what it's like to Lebanon? Let's not live in a balloon, man... Wake up to the reality. Christians and Muslims united in Lebanon? What on earth are you talking about? Do you know what they talk about when they get home? I'm talking from experience, btw.

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 5:33:00 PM, Blogger End racism said...

"Try to drive a religious/sectarian wedge."

Oh, the Syrians / "pro-Syrians" don't need to do that. The Lebanese warlords ("party leaders") can do that alright....

" it's just naive to blame everything on the Lebanese. And then go further into it and blame it on the Christians. "

Ya Tempest, where do you see me blaming EVERYTHING on the Lebanese? But from what you said in your first post, it looked like you were saying the Lebanese were free from all blame and that the whole civil war was started by foreigners. La walla, lezem te2ra aktar 3an el 7arb.

Frankly, your accusations that I'm "pro-Syrian" when really I want Syria to leave are just ridiculous.

 
At Sunday, March 20, 2005 11:36:00 PM, Blogger Tempest said...

Ramzi, I'm considering giving this up. Already gave up the same argument with him on another forum... I am getting the feeling that he's just messing with us, if not, then he really has no point to make, and a continuation of this discussion with him is useless.

I started out hoping that it would be an interesting debate (as opposed to the usual preaching to the choir we all enjoy over here), but apparently, that was hoping too much. He obviously doesn't want to debate, rather he's just trying to tick us (or me, because I can't turn a blind eye)...

Anyway, I'm all up for an interesting debate.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home