The Shiaas shouldn't make the serious mistake of ignoring the depth of Sunni feelings towards the tribunal.
I once had a talk with a friend. Although we both live and work in the same city in this African country, she’s a Shiaa from Nabatiye and I’m a Sunni from Tripoli.
She is not a religious person but she’s a fervent supporter of Hezbollah. After talking with her, I realized that she simply couldn’t understand why would anyone not support Hezbollah. Her feelings were so strong and entrenched that she concluded: “To me, the only reason why you would be against Hezbollah, is either because you hate the Shiaas, or because you are taking orders from the Americans, why else would you gloat at the killing of our brothers and sisters during the Israeli war?”
After some honest give and take, I discovered the mother of all misunderstandings between Shiaas and Sunnis in Lebanon.
Although we’re both from the same country, my friend and I come from completely different historical backgrounds when it comes to our past relationship with Syria.
My friend was shocked when I told her about what Syria did in the North, where people were seriously harassed under Syrian tutelage. And I’m not talking about regular political assassinations and bogeymanship, I’m talking about mass humiliation and utter disregard for human dignity. Lands stolen and plundered, Men ordered to send their wives to Syrian officers, mothers were given machine guns and forced to kill their own children. Cars were stolen and sold back to their owners, phones were tapped and mass scale harassments were taking place. If you add that to the regime’s history with the Sunnis (Mass wiping of Hama, shelling beb el tibbene, killing muftis, installing the Karamis to rule Tripoli) you would understand why Hariri’s murder and its consequences are not just an excuse for Sunnis to grab power, it’s a loud, resounding ENOUGH from an entire sect. This is no longer about Hariri, it's about a straw that broke a camel's back.
As I concluded from my friend and from Nassrallah's speech yesterday, Hezbollah and its supporters seem to sincerely believe that the only reason the Sunnis want the Hariri tribunal is because Hariri is buying out their loyalties, or because his media empire is mobilizing and misinforming them. Yesterday, the overwhelming Sunni reaction to Nassrallah's speech was a loud: "does he think we're stupid?"
For the love of Lebanon, don't make that mistake..