Branded Seculars

Thanks to a new "non-sectarian" party, the Lebanese now have a choice in which brand of secularism they prefer..

First came Hayya Bina (let's go), which "seeks to unite Lebanese on the basis of citizenship values which transcend sectarian belonging", now meet Al-Almana (laicity), which seeks to be "independent of all partisan and sectarian influences".

But don't let the similar grandstanding statements of purpose fool you; the two secular movements have very different world views.

While Hayya Bina sports pictures of Samir Kassir and other March 14 people on its main page and sometimes features articles from Fares Khasshan (a Hariri loyalist), Al-Almana, founded by an academic named Mohammad Safa, is "born from the entrails of mass destruction and the corpses of children" and, read carefully: "took off in a path that refuses the policies of defeat and defeatism". Sounds familiar to all you Assad lovers?

A clue also to Al-Almana's political direction is the fact that it is touted on Al-Akhbar and relayed on the FPM's website, both opposition media outlets. Al-Akhbar described a founder that is dazzled by the amount of traffic Al-Almana's website has generated and the amount of public interest it got.

In Lebanon, it seems, even non-sectarian movements now have March 14 and March 8 versions.


At Saturday, November 11, 2006 1:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't the Lebanese form political parties based on economic issues (aside from Socialism and Communism which obviously haven't faired well throughout the world)?

Move to create platforms that unite based on ideas that best support a standard democracy such as whether you're for the government having a large or small role in the lives of it's citizens as far as programs and policies.

Approach the various ethnic based groups on what their overall needs are (there are poor Sunnis, Christians, Kurds, etc. just as there are poor Shia, right?) with citizen initiated ballot measures and propositions like inacting a minimum wage(I mean to say an enforced minimum wage), tax reform, etc. Improve the local business situation with pro growth inititatives like tax break incentives for small business, an improved chamber of commerce to build jobs and provide security in typically impoverished regions based on a citizens own satisfaction with his or her own lot in life.

At Saturday, November 11, 2006 2:10:00 PM, Blogger Mustapha said...

Well, white american (who comes across to my mind as a moderate democrat), parties here do have economic platforms, but to the Lebanese voters, matters such as sectarian following and positions relating to Israel are more important.

The economic conservatives in Lebanon are the Future movement and some various christian center-right small parties, the progressive pro-working-class are the Aounists and Hezbollah. But sometimes political alliances completely bypass the economic platform.

for example, Walid Jumblat is supposed to be on the economic left, whereas Saad hariri on the right, but they're both allied against people who might have similar economic platforms to Jumblat (like being against privatization) - Think Lieberman with Bush on Iraq, or Schwarzenegger with Hillary Clinton on Abortion.

At Saturday, November 11, 2006 4:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wars seem to have that effect. In truth, nothing concrete seems to be possible as long as Iranian influence is such. I mentioned Economics, because they seem to be a powerful force in keeping extremists out of power (the UAE as a model)

Given reports we get on this side of the ocean regarding the dozen or so assassinations of critics of Hizbullah in the last year, a true democracy doesn't seem to be possible as long as Nasrallah is walking around with an Iranian supplied rocket launcher.

In your opinion, what would be the effect of a constant criticism of Nasrallah. He obviously flares up at the slightest remark against him or his party (the riot a few months ago in Beirut over some slight against his character for example). But a constant focused attack, not on Hizbullah, but him directly, like the kind of constant barrage mounted against President Bush.

At first, the obvious reaction would be outrage on behalf of his supporters, but after a month or so of constantly focusing on his foibles and shortcomings on the issues of spending Iranian money on his militia more than the needy Shia peoples he's sworn to protect who've been hit hardest by the Lebanon-Israeli Summer War, his comfort with the limelight putting himself before the martyrs who have died fighting for his cause in the past, etc.

How long do you think Nasrallah would survive if the "GET BUSH" Doctrine were applied to him? As time went on, a year or so after the Iraq invasion, the GET BUSH Doctrine began to widdle away at his own republican support in Congress. Repubs began to distance themselves from him. The recent democratic election success had a lot to do not only with Iraq, but with discontent with the republican congress that didn't support Bush on things they had originally promised to.

Do you think a prolonged "Get Nasrallah" campaign would be effective in widdeling away his support and the support of Hizbullah by forcing him to focus more on defending himself from accusations than keeping his eye on aiding the impoverished Shia, following the orders coming in from Iran and Syria, etc.?


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