Lebanese Vs. Syrian People

Please note this post is my personal opinion and not that of all the bloggers on this forum.

Recently a big topic in Lebanon is the relationship between the Syrian and Lebanese people. There seems to be a lot of hostility between the people as a result of all events the past year. I am now watching a show on New TV, Had Yesma3na (Someone listen to us), where they get regular people to talk. Today they got Syrians university students studying in Lebanon vs. Lebanese university students to discuss their point of views and opinions.

I understand how the Lebanese and Syrians have always been close to each other. I understand how the Syrians living in Lebanon have nothing to with politics but they should understand where the Lebanese come from. Most Syrians do not understand why the Lebanese have such hatred towards the Syrians, I think Lynn Maalouf said it best in her article "Between Two Peoples: Can My Syrian Side Share Lebanese Hopes?": (I strong recommend you read the entire article).

"On the way back to Beirut in George's taxi, I realized that the Syrian regime has been smart about one thing: For nearly two decades, it has done its dirtiest work in Lebanon. This at least partly explains the rift between the two peoples, the unshared resentment toward Assad's government."

Also, it surprised me that several Syrians believe that the Lebanese should have the same policies they do! It surprises me when several Syrians give their opinions on Lebanese politicians! These politicians should represent the Lebanese... only the Lebanese have the right to approve or disapprove politician actions.

Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of Syrian friends. I don't have issues with with the people but don't expect me to accept your political system, the Baath regime, to be implemented in Lebanon. If you are happy with what you have then good for you but don't interfere in our politics anymore.

Also, please understand, if the Syrians have left Lebanon it does not mean our problems are over. Lebanon has a whole list of issues that need to be resolved, the issues I can think on top of my head are:

1. The President.

* We still demand the President to resign.
* Who will replace the President.

2. The Palestenians.

* A major issue being discussed now... stripping the palestenians of all their weapons in Lebanon.

* Another issue is what to do with the palestenians? Continue to allow them to live in the camps in Lebanon? Make them Lebanese? Ask them to leave?

3. Hizbullah

* A huge issue in Lebanon. The Lebanese can't seem to agree on this topic.

4. Economy

* The living expenses in Lebanon continue to go up. Why? When the price for fuel when up in Lebanon, they claimed that some of the profit has to go to Syria... Syria is out now, so where is the profit going too?

We have a long path to go through in Lebanon. What we celebrated last year is that we have placed ourselves on the right path once again. Gaining our sovereignty is only the first step. We still have to fix up our internal issues and conflicts. We have to tip-toe through this process so that we do not ignite another civil war. We still need to find the truth about all the killings and bombings that have occurred throughout the past year, we need closure and we need to know that these crimes stop and not occur again. We still need to find the Lebanese missing people who have been taken away by Syrians. Are they dead or alive? In short, I think it's time Lebanon closes all it's doors and windows, does major spring cleaning, and then open up its windows to throw out the trash and let in some fresh air instead.

We just took a first step, a really small first step which is the largest step we have taken in 30 years.


At Monday, January 16, 2006 11:48:00 PM, Blogger Lazarus said...

RP -

I am lebanese, and I don't understand why we have enough hatred to go out and kill 30+ syrians in Lebanon in the past year. If anything, suffering under the syrian regime should instill a higher degree of empathy.

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:15:00 AM, Blogger Ghassan said...

First, I am extremely against killing innocent people regardless of their nationality or religion!
To answer your question why some Syrians were killed in Lebanon, here are SOME of the reasons:

1. Have you ever hired a Syrian and when you have a disagreement, he went and brought with him several Syrian soldiers to intimidate you and threatened you?
2. Have you ever been stopped on a Syrian checkpoint and the Syrian illiterate demanded your Hawawi (IDs) and if by chance didn't have it he forced you to pay him to let you go?
3. Have you ever been stopped on a Syrian checkpoint because you passed a Syrian taxi (made in the 1970s) and then held for hours until the Officer get up from his beauty sleep in the middle of the day to check that you are not a spy?
The list is long and if the Syrians are not happy, GO TO SYRIA!

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:18:00 AM, Blogger ghassan said...

So you really believe that Lebanon has regained sovereignty????

Is HA part of the Lebanese mosaic?

Are the weapons in the hands of the Palestinians supposed to help the Lebanese security forces?

Is there a truly representative parliament?

Is there a Lebanese identity or are we tribes that happen to reside in Lebanon?

My freind, dont kid yourself, we might be marginally better of than where we were ten months ago but sovereignty has always been and continues to be an illusive goal for this tormentd nation. ( At times I am inclined to think that we are cursed to wallow in this misery).

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:38:00 AM, Blogger dearsyria said...

do not despair. we have accomplished a lot this year and there's bound to be turbulence when regaining sovereignty!

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:51:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

1. Have you ever hired a Syrian and when you have a disagreement, he went and brought with him several Syrian soldiers to intimidate you and threatened you?

we only hired Egyptian janitors because of this!

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:58:00 AM, Blogger Lazarus said...

ghassan -

yes, yes, and yes.

And... replace those three with the word "lebanese", and I have the same answer. Especially for the last one (except it wasn't because of a taxi) - since this happened to me - and my family - only two weeks ago. go figure.

What's my point? Hatred - and especially generalized hatred - should not be a "given".

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 3:04:00 AM, Blogger hassan said...

Ghassan (the one with the capital G)
I am at a loss on how can you state in the first sentence that you are opposed to an act and then proceed in the next sentence to condone it???? You can't have it both ways.

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 9:43:00 AM, Blogger Eve said...

I have heard this a lot from both sides:
Lebanese people saying: don't get me wrong, I have a lot of Syrian friends
Syrian people: don't get wrong, I have a lot of Lebanese friends...

and then, bang, bang, bang!

anyway, politics and human relationships should be totally different subjects, and I don't see why such justifications should preoccupy us that much. As Rampurple said, there are other economic issues that are not well taken care of. We might witness an economic breakdown, while we're still busy talking about I-hate/love-you feelings!
ghassan, number 1, 2 and 3 are not good enough reasons. and I don't think you could find any to justify what happened (again from both sides).

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Maldoror said...

As the saying goes: An apples a day keeps the doctor away :)

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Maldoror said...

N.B: An applE of course! I was inclined to have more than one :P Never too bad! It keeps that doctor much farther :)

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 11:29:00 AM, Blogger francois said...

few comments:

first of all we cannot hate someone because of his government or regime at least as long he doesnt belong to the system itself
the problem of the syrians in lebanon is that among 1 000 000 workers , there were many belonging to the SR (and according to some newspapers, this number was of 15000) so 1.5 percents. some others were collaborating with theses services.

to this point i have to say few personal things, in 1982 my father was wounded by a syrian bomb that felt on the highway, in 2000, syrian workers pulled me out from a car that crashed @ 170 km/h
can i hate them?
no they are human being like me , but i can not be agree with the policies they tried to impose on the lebanese.
i m making therefore this difference between the rules, the instruments of these rulers and the civilians
i can hate the rulers and i hate them, i can hate the instruments of theses rulers but i prefer to execre them but i cannot hate the civilians that are thevictims of this regime as the lebanese were few time ago, and many time they are just brainwashed by 30 years of dictature.

on the post itselt,
about getting lahoud out of job, i think we missed the opportunity to make it after the legislative election, now if we re getting it out of the baabda, we would automatically extend the current government including the hezbollah ministers and therefore i think it s a bad time.
first a new government without hezbollah and then elections based on a new electoral law and after all that lahoud must resign.

of course the lebanese laws must be applied everywhere in lebanon, including in the lebanese camps
no need to fight, a blocus would lead them to surrender, but we need politicians with balls and not politicians that change of ideas every month
what to do after?
well easy, let them replace the syrian workers, at least the money the lebanese would pay them would be staying in lebanon and used to increase the consumption and therefore the growing rate of the lebanese economy which need it.
however we wont ever have to give them lebanese nationality.
when peace will come, we might accept few of them living in lebanon but never give them the lebanese nationality.

about the economy itself.
lebanon needs around 4 to 5 percent to decrease its budget and current account deficit.
the problem are multiple and we need politicians with balls to take action for it.
first for pure economist , there is a huge gap between nominal and real interest rate. why ?
because the lebanese pound value is not correctly reflected through its exchange rate.
the lebanese pound is pegged on the US dollars when most of your imports are euro based.
if really we want to peg the dollars to a currency, lets peg it to a basket of currency, reflecting better the exchanges that the lebanese economy is having.

second though, lebanon suffers from bad choices and sorry to say to the hariri's partisans but most of the mistakes comes from his choices.
first the weight of the debt. it is not only the punction of the syrian mafia that explains the size of the debt but also that hariri in his horizon 2000 plan make huge projects and he wanted them as fast as possible to be realised, and he paid more for it.
instead of having theses work done faster, we could have been doing it with more time and pay less.
second, the choices of the infrastructure:
i dont mind having a debt if the return on investment is higher then the interest i m paying to build it.
hariri launched many projects with return on the long term, and we were f*** in the short run.
third, choices mistakes, he bet on tourism mainly and on solidere attraction; problem our geopolitical situation is making that choice wrong, being btw israel and syria make this sector sensible to any of the problem arising in the region.
we should have been betting on high value services, such like irland, software but would have needing an infrastructure for it and we still dont have this infrastructure. we could have been doing like israel for the agricultural sector and exporting to europe etc...
the development of the banking sector is a problem by itself.
we dont need banks with huge amounts of money sleeping on it and not being used for investment
go for a bank , they ll ask u interested rates till 37% in USD , we should increase the incentives for banks toward startup companies instead of having them investing their money into the lebanese t bill as they are obliged to do so

and about lebanese bank sector , the lebanese pound is currenctly bunkerised. how ? by not only having required reserve on LP but also on foreign currencies which is illegal
now about the central bank itself, we have around 13 billions USD of reserve right now there. remove the foreign accounts , remove the required reserves from leb bank, the central bank doesnt have any reserv.
why the lebanese pound doesnt collaps? because to play against it, you need bullets that are already inside the central bank but not belonging to the central bank.

we need to reach around 4 to 5 percent to begin to solve the deficits of the lebanese economy and to have standart of living increasing again.
the problem is not oil, the problem is not the resources that have increasing prices theses days, the problems were inside the lebanese economy from long time, when the prices of the resources were low, but we were having some kinds of antialgic in order not to notice it. now theses medecine stoped to be given. that s all
trust me on one simple thing, the lebanese economy should have been collapsing from long time in normal circonstances. and now there is a big challenge in 2007 when lebanon will need to reembourse 5 billions of dollars.
i wonder how they ll do so.

and it s not by privitising they ll succeed, by creating problem to cellis and to liban cell i dont think one foreigner investment of that amount would take place in lebanon (let me tell u that cellis investment in 95 was about 10 % of the gdp)
i dont think edf will come and buy edl unless the french goverment is asking for it, i dont think FT would be intesred by libancom etc...

all theses problems all together are the lebanese complicated problem.
how to resolve it? through reforms that are badly needed but we need politicians with balls to do so.
we need a strong executive that wouldnt mind to become unpopular.

At Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:25:00 PM, Blogger nobilis tobilis said...

I think we were all fed up with the syrian occupation in Lebanon. And we had enough trauma from their practices in Lebanon. I once witnessed at a syrian checkpoint 2 syrian soldiers beating and kicking an old man very rudely because he didn't accept to drive them to where they wanted. And I was only 5 or 6 years old. I think we all had hard experiences during the syrian occupation that can't be taken off easily.


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