Monday, February 05, 2007

The Downside of Selling One's Soul

We Lebanese expect our salvation from our worse enemies

Maybe this is why we sell them our soul. Our leaders condemned themselves to dragging us back to war. By following foreign masters so blindly, they have effectively “exiled” themselves into foreign lands, far from the protection of their own country.

It is a sad sight to see them being dragged back to the fight by the demands of their foreign masters, picking silly squabbles like over-indulged schoolboys.

This is a mistake whose price many Americans learned the hard way, once.

The Communist Internationale

Back in the 1920’s, the great depression became a propaganda boon for the Soviet Union. With unemployment at record Levels in the United States and Canada, many choose to leave their new homes and immigrate to the Soviet Union. Most of those emigrants were communists sympathisers who were recruited “as agricultural experts to Central Asia to aid in cotton production”, or as “skilled workers and specialists […] recruited to factories or construction projects in Ukraine or the Urals”.

Among those was a large group of Jewish-Americans, who settled a “Jewish Autonomous Region” in Birobidzhan, and “Finnish-Americans, who settled in Soviet Karelia”.

Once they outlived their usefulness they were disposed of by Stalin and his NKVD. Hezb, Berri, Aoun…. Even Hariri risk a similar fate if they keep heading down this road.

March 8th and March 14th

A similar process is happening in Lebanon. Lebanese emigrants are not leaving Lebanon; they’re following the country’s real soul where it now lays, in the West. Our struggle culminated on March 14th, but now, with our ideals of freedom and diversity exported, Lebanon is fast leaving

The geographic Lebanon that stays behind is nothing but a “land for hire”, a “construct” whose “leaders” sell themselves to different foreign patrons. Those mercenaries are aligned in two broad groups;

March 8th Follows the Mullahs. The poverty in the south may have been appalling, but there are better ways to get one’s self out of it than selling your soul to the new wannabe evil empire. Education and hard work come to mind. Hezb’s followers better keep in mind that, for all of Khamenei’s talk about “Shiites of Lebanon” instead of “Lebanese Shiites”, there is no such a thing as a “Shiite Internationale”…

The Iranians maybe Shiites today, but they have always been Persian first; their interest is, and remains, in the Persian Gulf. Lebanon is a side show to them.

Recall that Fakhreddin could not rely on them back then…

Those who claim March 14th Follows the Dollar (some call them February 14th, but even that is a stretch). Yes, capitalism is good, but it is a system, not a policy, and definitely not a religion. You can have Paris I, II, III … n, n+1 … but without a real reform of the system along the lines agreed on at Taef, the country will not work.

And what guarantees do we have that those guys will not make another deal with Syria? Look at how they pamper Khaddam already, hoping to manipulate us into forgetting his past sins…

Recall that they were very happy with Hrawi (name best read with Israeli accent) and his corruption, but only grew a spine when Lahou(ss) overstayed his welcome.

Lebanon in the Middle

March 8th may be losing fast, but those who claim March 14th are too busy carping to their foreign masters… With each side pulling in their own directions, running after their own hopes, and cloaking themselves in empty talk of “democracy”, the real March 14th is emigrating, and Geographic Lebanon is left in the middle of THIS road where “There's nothing but a yellow line and a dead armadillo”.

Our neighbours may be salivating at such road kill, but I am not sure they can digest it so easily…


28 comments:

Roman Kalik said...

Great post, Jeha.

One thing though, the old Evil Empire is making a comeback, with Putin's recent yearly press conference making it official.

He's restarting the arms race, and allying himself with the likes of Syria and Iran to rebuild the old influence the Soviet Union once had in the middle-east.

Only this time, the religion isn't Communism, it's money and power. No more false pretences and petty ideals that just bring the economy tumbling down.

Amir in Tel Aviv said...

Stalin was evil, but he was also a smart (street wise) leader.
The creation of a Jewish oblast (today's Chita Oblast) and the 'soviets' system, is actually what we call a federal system. Stalin understood that in a multi-cultural environment, it is essential to erect borders, in order to give each ethnic group a chance to self expression.
This program is good for Lebanon too.
If you can't beat them, separate them.!
I can't understand why there's no talk within the Lebanese society about 'federalism or cantonism, or call it as you desire.

Roman Kalik said...

Well, yes. Stalin did indeed seperate them. Then, group by group, he killed off many of them. Those he couldn't kill, his successors tried to Russify by way of forced relocation and putting a Russian population where they used to be. Many of the former USSR states are still suffering from this forced demographic shift. Ukraine and Georgia, to name two.

These methods tend to come back and hit you in the face.

Federalism is good. Soviet 'federalism' isn't.

Nobody said...

Our neighbours may be salivating at such road kill, but I am not sure they can digest it so easily…

actually we are anything but salivating on watching this country turning into one big Sadr city ... under present conditions I would consider paying another visit to South Lebanon to restrain the Sheikh (we got a nice active protection tank system now) but I am afraid our effort will once again pass unappreciated..

Jeha said...

Nobody,

Count me among the unappreciative crowd, at least the strongly skeptical crowd, but I dinstinctly recall Dayan's words at the end of the 6 day war of 1967; "we have reached satisfactory borders, except with Lebanon". This comes on the heels of well documented statements by Aaronson, Weizman, Ben Gurion... And now, the pattern of cluster bomb distribution...

In 2000, I noted how Israeli border guards shot at their allies who were trying to escape retaliation; the syed owes much to that event...

Closer to us, I recall the hooplah about the Wazzani pump, in spite of the fact that would still have been well within our Johnston allotments. This suits the Syed; any underdevelopment in Lebanon benefits his masters.


Amir, Roman,

Federalism has often been talked about in Lebanon. But it essentially goes against the interests of the Beirut merchant class, in a strongly centralised country. There is much more to Lebanon than SOLIDERE...

Roman Kalik said...

Jeha,

Dayan's words regarding the unsecure Lebanese border were fairly accurate. Once Arafat moved his base of operations to Lebanon, even a blind man could see just how unsecure it was.

This was because Lebanon did not see it fit to 'protect Israel', and eventually it reached the point where it simply couldn't.

Now, I'm not sure which other quotes exactly you have in mind, but we can look into them if you want. Context is everything.

Roman Kalik said...

As for 2000... While the politicians and penpushers were busy discussing the pros and cons of letting in asylum-seekers they themselves created, said asylum-seekers became desperate. Desperate men do desperate things, Jeha, and border guards like living just like anyone else.

In our defense, we did let them in the end, but I agree that both the withdrawal and the border shooting served Hezb. Some of the people currently fighting in it are former SLA, out for revenge. I can't blame them.

The withdrawal itself, in it 'let's just run away before the SLA notice anything's amiss' was as clear a backstab as anything was. It was also the single most horrible security-wise decision ever made since someone thought up the bright idea of letting Arafat rule the Palestinian Authority. And truth to be told, at least the latter had some hope.


As for the water-pumping... Man, water is something we panic over. Folks around here still remember how it was like in the early days, when water was extremely scarce. The level of Lake Kinneret, our only large source for fresh water, is constantly checked and on many occasions reported in the news.

So when folks start heavy-duty pumping of one of the Kinneret's major sources, folks who don't have any interest whatsoever in letting Israel have water, and maybe even an interest in *not* letting Israel have water, we have every reason to panic.

Nobody said...

I dinstinctly recall Dayan's words at the end of the 6 day war
of 1967; "we have reached satisfactory borders, except with Lebanon". This comes on the heels of well documented statements by Aaronson, Weizman, Ben Gurion... And now, the pattern of cluster bomb distribution...


i found the whole approach of citing israeli politicians from 40-50 years ago a bit strange until i realized that probably the arab world is quite a stagnant place and so the arabs indeed live in a sort of reality in which something said 40 years ago still has bearings on the present situation...

we are a sort of democratic state which rotates its governments .. and we are also a dynamic society that reinvents itself once every few decades ... and so whatever weizman or dayan said 40 or 60 years ago does not apply today ... we actually spent the last 15 years trying to roll our borders back until the Palos and Sayed finally convinced us that this is not a right approach ...

anyway you misunderstood me completely ,.. i have nothing against M14 .. quite the opposite ...i am just trying to be helpful

:D

Nobody said...

by the way i am very intrigued by your frequent references to the history of communism and the use of russian language on this blog ... where does this stuff comes from ?

PS

besides me at least one Israeli posting here is of Russian origin and so we have an excellent understanding of what you are trying to say in this respect

Jeha said...

Roman, Nobody,

For us Lebanese, there is no such a thing as "ancient" history; we are still reeling from the many past wars and events. OK, we came to terms with the Punic Wars... Barely.

My point is that we view every Israeli move with increased suspicion, especially after the civil war. In our minds, Israel's actions during the civil war, from their apparent coordination with Syria against the PLO, to the "war of mountain", to their subsequent actions during the occupation of the South... All do not make much sense except if you consider either sheer incompetence or nefarious plans.

Few can accept that sheer incompetence can explain what has happened so far, especially in the context of a nation that has been so successful otherwise.

If you discount incompetence, then, all Israel actions w/r to Lebanon can be nicely explained in the context of territorial aims. Southern Lebanon is indeed very appealing... And the July war would then have been only a "prova".

I hope I am wrong, and I hope I am being excessively paranoid. To be fair, I think it is a little bit of both, but I have been eerily surprised to see many of my worst fears confirmed over the years. And I may not be too atypical of the average Lebanese...

Time will tell if I am right. But it is time few of us can afford to loose.

Nobody said...

dunno jeha

frankly when it comes to paranoia, after the story with the balloons i am close to reaching conclusion that the arabs, even as advanced as the lebanese, are a hopeless case..

in terms of incompetence i also dont understand you .. yes, Israelis can be terribly incompetent .. they usually are .. what's so strange about this?

one of my lebanese friends just spent a few weeks in israel .. i dont know what kind of image of israel you guys are cultivating there , but he told me that he was surprised to find out that israel is nothing as advanced and prosperous as the arabs imagine it to be ... we are a relatively developed country .. hugely developed by the standards of the middle east .. but in general nothing special ...

i would strongly advise you to interpret israeli actions in terms of incompetence more than in terms of jewish world domination conspiracy theory .. it is also how we usually understand ourselves

whats about communism and russian ?

Nobody said...

Few can accept that sheer incompetence can explain what has happened so far, especially in the context of a nation that has been so successful otherwise.

i would say that incompetence and cowboy style approach is endemic in israel and characteristic of the israeli style of doing things ... as one who has been working for years in israeli hi-tech i can confirm from my personal experience that the amount of internal politics an israeli company of 30 persons can generate in one month equals to something that an american company of 1000 men produces over an year ..

israel's strength comes from the technical and engineering levels who are stuffed with extremely talented people but managerial or marketing levels are usually incompetent and operate under stone age notions....

it is the opposite of the USA/Europe where strong and competent managers preside over relatively mediocre and unimaginative technical personnel (by Israeli standards) ...

because of these internal politics and corruption nepotism and protection flourish and the managerial and political level in Israel tend to be incompetent and unprofessional .. it is the talent of rank and file israelis that drives Israel while the elites tend to be inefficient and incompetent ...

surprised ??

Roman Kalik said...

Jeha, man, we don't have a perfect military. Or political leadership. And we don't exactly have a perfect score in military and political thinking after the six-day war. Sure, that one was nearly perfect. Now fast-forward to 1973. We won only because we were pushed to the wall, and paid a terrible price for that victory.

I agree with Nobody, the image Arabs tend to have of Israel is rather too idyllic.

And I second Tovarisch Nobody's question, being from the former Communist Paradise myself. ;)

Jeha said...

Haverim,

Gimme some credit; that "jewish world domination conspiracy theory" does cut much ice with me. I think that I know and understand enough about Israel not to fall back into over or under estimating it. But I cannot reconcile what I know with the sheer "incompetence and cowboy style", particularly considering Lebanon.

And in 1973, you were not in such a bad shape. You had 3 things on your side; strategic depth in the Sinai, strategic control over the Golan, and a measure of air superiority.

... And what's wrong with using "communism and russian", tavarachi? Let's just call it "newspeak" for now; don't you notice how our "leaders" in our part of the world are increasingly sounding familiar?

Nobody said...

And what's wrong with using "communism and russian", tavarachi? Let's just call it "newspeak" for now; don't you notice how our "leaders" in our part of the world are increasingly sounding familiar?

tovarish jeha

in the great tradition of the proletarian world struggle i would like to commend you efforts to unite the oppressed classes by pointing out the antagonism inherent in relationships between the oppressers (leaders) and oppressed (us)..

unfortunately i am not at all sure that our leaders are sounding increasingly familiar ...

also my question was more about howcome you come to know this stuff so well ? do you speak some russian by the way ?

Roman Kalik said...

It *doesn't* cut much ice, you mean? ;)

Man, I think the theory you hold is that we have/had a group of 'realpolitiks' who want to increase our regional power at the expense of everyone else. Maybe we do, but they certainly don't hold much sway. We have short-sighted idiots instead.

And the advantages you mentioned, in the 1973 war, we lost them in a matter of days, if not hours. Our air-force was torn to shreds by Egyptian missiles.

Our political leadership of then had its head firmly in the sand.

Nobody said...

i think it was dayan himself who once said - its not that we have a very good army , it is that we are fighting a very stupid enemy

The Raccoon said...

Heh. I have served in South Lebanon until 2000. The IDF bigshots there were like little children. You wouldn't believe it - official meetings of generals and such were like a kindergarten, with Benni Gantz (the nanny) occasionally shouting at them all to shut up and stop bickering.

Israel has no territorial designs over Lebanon. For Israel, gaining territory in war is not worth the headache it generates nowadays. Seriously - with all due respect, why the hell would Israel want to rule over a bunch of militant, poor Shiites? And no less militant but slightly less poor Christians who hate the Shiites (and vice versa)?

Especially when Hizballah manage to ruin all of Lebanon and cost Israel a lot of money and lives to gain a small patch of useless land that Israel captured from Syria?

Israelis just want Lebanon to chill out, prosper and stop causing problems . Then we can come to visit, buy your stuff, eat your food, smoke your weed, hike in the mountains and look at the Roman ruins. Oh, and it's also important to check out Beirut's nightlife - it has a good rep. This just about sums our nefarious plans for Lebanon. Well, we'd also love to ski on some of your mountains - Hermon ski resort is utter crap.

And Barak should hang for the betrayal of SLA.

Roman Kalik said...

Mind you, military command wasn't exactly pleased with Barak's little PR scheme. Gabi Ashkenazi, the guy taking Dan Halutz's place at the army's helm, was then in command of the northern sector. He did everything he could, called up every MK he could look up to torpedo Barak's withdrawal plans. Ashkenazi claimed that if they had to withdraw then alright, but it had to be done with care and forward planning.

But Barak wanted to be The Man Who Brought Our Troops Back Home, so he pushed to rush it. Bastard.

Roman Kalik said...

Speaking of Ashkenazi, he was also advising the Shas party on military strategy matters, which was why Shas was so critical of the tactics used in the July war.

Apparently, of all those MK's Ashkenazi tried to convince, Eli Yishai was one of the few who truly listened to him and took him seriously. They've had a kind of symbiosis since.

fubar said...

Смерть к америке. Смерть К Израилю. Нет. Никогда. Подготовьте для тотальная война против зверя.

Roman Kalik said...

Playing around with web translators, Fubar? ;)

Jeha said...

Fubar,
With respect, "death to America" sounds better in Arabic, especially when the guys shouting it all have a green card... The family feud among the children of Abraham gives those words a unique twist.

Roman,
BTW, "doesn't" is what I meant, of course; I get too fast with the typing sometimes.

Nobody,
The "internationale" may have been french, but it sounds better in Russian. So do many utopias; the language adds a unique flavour to those songs... подъем! sounds so much better than "debout"!

fubar said...

Roman -- Yep. Haven’t you heard? The old cold war is over. Russian translators are not in demand like they used to be.

Jeha -- 1) Are you safely ensconced in the great white north? You seem to be keeping EST hours, more or less. If so, how are you liking the global warming? lol 2) Green cards haven't been green for a long time. Sort of pinkish. But I take your point.

Nobody said...

But I cannot reconcile what I know with the sheer "incompetence and cowboy style", particularly considering Lebanon.

tovarish jeha

i find your stubborn refusal to admit that we can be an incompetent bunch of cowboys plainly infuriating...

comrade Roman

please prepare another delivery of our fighting balloons to Lebanon... some comrades there are in serious need to be taught a lesson..

Roman Kalik said...

Yes, comrade Nobody! Balloons prepared and ready for deployment.

Jeha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeha said...

¡No Pasarán!

We'll shoot down the imperialist balloons! The sionist gas shall not be passed.