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Monday, May 21, 2012

Lebanon's war never ended to start again

We have watched Tripoli's violence escalate for a couple of weeks knowing fairly well that things cannot end well for Lebanon. The concern and angst were apparent as politicians made predictable statements, pundits offered analysis and speculation, while others simply prayed that things end soon and everything goes back to "normal."

War is what's normal in Lebanon. It's a constant that people live with, eat with, sleep with and even go out to restaurants, and nightclubs with. War is chopped into the tobacco of their cigarettes, cigars and shisha; it comes down on them with the sun's rays during the day and it is sprinkled among their stars at night. War is embedded in every Lebanese life. It is fed to babies along with their formula and cereal. It is indoctrinated in the school systems, drawing lines within society, highlighting religious differences and pitting groups against each other. War is the main fabric of Lebanon's politics since its modern inception and through every twist and turn and every edit and re-edit of its constitution. War is at the basis of every pact and reconciliation effort never towards the best solution for all but to appease the desires of the few loud ones instead. War is symbolized in efforts to bandage every troublesome situation that arose over the years instead of remedying it properly and nursing it back to health. And war is certainly the driving force behind militias arming themselves to the teeth and pledging allegiance to flags other than the great one with the cedar in the middle.

There are many who will do anything to keep the war raging whether actually or in the spirit of men, women and children of Lebanon.

Many of us who are worried the civil war will return as a result of a clash in Tripoli or following a confrontation whereby Lebanese army officers killed a cleric in yet-to-be-known circumstances. Many of us worry about Hezbollah being the only militia still legally permitted to possess and acquire weapons long after Israel pulled out of Lebanon taking with it Hezbollah’s only raison d'être as a "resistance to Israeli occupation." Those of us who live our life with the fears of war always hanging over our heads and minds, we do so because we know very well that the war never ended in 1990.

No, the war never ended! Lebanon, the Lebanese and all those around them have been living this made-up "truth" for a while.

If that was not the case, why then would countries such as Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait rush to ask their nationals to stay away from Lebanon following what is otherwise considered a minor incident in the big scheme of Arab awakening things. If the war were over, why then would Hezbollah take over Beirut in a show of force and fear on May 7, 2008? If the war were truly over, why would an incident in Tripoli turn into an all out Sunni escalation in Beirut overnight this past weekend? Are all factions now going to put on a show for us to prove what they are capable of?

We can learn three lessons from Beirut’s Sunday night of violence. The war never ended to fear it starting again. Every one in Lebanon has arms and is still at war with themselves and the "other." While other Arabs are burning themselves to demand freedom, in Lebanon people are still "playing" the war "game" where you burn tires, shoot at anything that moves, terrorize innocent people but never demand or achieve Freedom!

4 Comments:

Keep the conversation going...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make love and grapeleaves, not war. Prayers for peace and a new time of growth and vitality for Lebanon. Violence and weapons destroy the children and their dreams for a life of peace.

May 21, 2012 at 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you can trust only your family members, people of your closest neighbourhood, then, inside this perimeter is the smallest "state" - an enclave of your democracy and your security - controlled by your home guard, - your militia by the perimeter of the enclave.
This kind of structure is not easily removed - who else could you trust? The state has very little possibilities to remove this kind of structure. They are like gangs in a big city with their own territories, businesses and tribal signs.

Question is - can the enclaves build agreement with their neighbours about the security issues. Can you enlarge the peace&trust enclaves to larger protected enclaves with trusted police forces inside etc.
Maybe there must be a split first in order to join together again with clear negotiated and accepted basic principles and joint adminstration.

Switzerland was born by three enclaves, cantons, who decided to join for their own security. The process took some time, but slowly more other enclaves (mountain valleys) joined in. From down up power structure: self governing municipalities form a canton - a state. Independent states - cantons - form a confederation - called Switzerland. With 4 languages and 2 main religious churchs, they have managed pretty well. Foreign policy, defence, and postal & monetary policy are the common ones, but you can disagree about everything else and without breaking the confederacy.

Eudoxos

May 22, 2012 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Doha said...

I loved your courage!
But in this article you haven't mentioned, not for one time, the true facts and events! I have felt that it the one to blame is Hezbollah, and you nothing for Future Movement!
Not a single time, mentioning how sectarian and illiterate was Khaled el Daher hated speech was, nor Hariri's deafening silence!
You didn't mention that those who has always fought Hezbollah for its arms; and called themselves the "Educated" militia, are more armed and unorganized!
You didn't mention that dangerous of Salafism. Are you afraid from Hariri?? Are you afraid from Salafism?
Believe me when they rule Lebanon, and I hope this never happens, they will kick us out! Both of us!
it felt like you were justifying their act, and it seems Marwan Charbel was right "fashet khele2"!

May 22, 2012 at 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did the Hezbollah agents who killed PM Hariri ever get arrested? Without justice over that assassination can Lebanon ever be free of terrorism? With Hezbollah blowing up people who try to bring improvements to Lebanon the future is bleak if they are not reigned in.

May 23, 2012 at 12:28 AM  

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