Saturday, February 17, 2007

Just a Little Bit Pregnant

I was not sure how to make sense of the past week and the gloom that I feel, till I recalled expression "Just a Little Bit Pregnant". I feel that it eminently describes our predicament, the existential Lebanese angst we're in:

1- We’re not at war yet, but not at peace either.

Hezb has overstepped his bound so much that others are itching to bring him back to reality. Shater Hassan has so overplayed “Shiite unity” that he is confronted now with a far more determined “Sunni/Chrisitian/Druze unity”. No wonder Shater Hassan is furious; while Hariri bests him at his own sectarian game, his allies Geagea and Joumblat give him "cross-sectarian" cover. Far better than his Aoun...

Learn to get over it, dude; many others are roving mad about your antics and never-ending claims of “victory”. You’re only making yourself more enemies every day…

The “street” may already be out of control

2- We’re not occupied by Syria, but they’re still around.

If you need anyone to explain this concept, or if you need proof, you will never understand. Your mind is far too “adapted” to sophistrionics such as “Yes to Jihad, No to Civil War in Lebanon”, and you are too far gone down the road of "special relationship" nostalgia's. Fear not, this intransigence will Bachar’s downfall.

The boy underestimates us, but he will soon be reminded why his army left no traces in Lebanon, not even a plaque on Nahr El-Kalb. No, not even the name of the river. We Lebanese may be many things, we don't do softball

3- We’re not occupied by Iran, but it feels like it.

Hezb is essentially an arm of the Iranian government in Lebanon; as time went on, the “resistance” became its own raison d’être and its self-perpetuation the only goal. This is unsustainable in the long run; the Persian have other overriding interests, and will soon abandon their Lebanese “limb” for the right incentive. Or the right defeat; that limb will give them the slip, and the finger, with much Arab support

The Farsis may soon have to do their own fighting, the next time around, things may get personal, and they'll be no Lebanese to shield them... Is that Wagner in the background?

4- Our Politics are Polarized, but there’s still a Centre.

To all those who ever doubted it, there is a Lebanese Centre; it roared on a March 14th, but only raised its head this past February 14th. Luckily, VD was “safe” this time around.

The Centre abhors ShaterHassan’s fanaticism, Aoun’s antics and unprincipled alliance with the PSNS, Berri’s disgusting double-dealing, or even Franjieh’s sheer stupidity and almost blasphemy. However, the centre still remains uneasy with Geagea’s shady past, the blood trail behind Joumblat’s modern liberalism, Gemayel’s record of cronyism and corruption, and even Hariri’s perceived tendency to over-emphasise the great Rafik’s martyrdom (Nazek’s poem was a tad too long).

On balance, the centre chooses “March 14th/Feburary 14th, but is far from according them blind support. In the sense, Aoun is correct to call his opponents “February 14th”, but he forgets that most of his supporters would rather be in that camp than aligned with Syria’s lackeys in this “March 8thalliance of dunces.

5- Politicians are "Free", but they're still Prisoners.

Prisoners of their “base”. In the United States, politicians consolidate their base during primaries, then run to the centre in the final race. In Lebanon’s sectarian system, political blocks are fixed; politicians who consolidate their sectarian base become prisoners of it, as no one outside their sect will trust them. In Lebanon’s sectarian game, Biography is Destiny;

Once a “Something”, always a “Something”.

Nasrallah could defeat Israel, he will still be a Shiite till the end of days. Joumblat could walk on water; he will still be a Druze at the end of the day. Hariri offered scholarships to many families, not all Sunni, but how many do remember that today?

Prisoners of their “alliances”. March 8th is prisoner of Syria and Iran and, to some extent, so are “March 14th/Feburary 14th” prisoners of their larger alliances. In a sense, while Hariri’s speech was conciliatory, the rants by Geagea and Joumblat negated any “positive” effect… Not that the “other side” would have moderated their tone…

I understand that you need a diamond to cut a diamond, but at the end of the day, what you’re still left with a diamond, albeit a different type.

In plain English; I am not so sure the Salafis that are today aligned with Hariri will prove more accommodating than Hezb. Indeed, many Christians are already voting with their feet, as so many Canaries in the coal mine (?)...

The "Lebanese” Standoff

The Mexicans invented the standoff, we perfected it. I am not sure how we will get out of this, if we ever could. Expect this Ubuesque situation to fester for the next 2 to 3 months, till the morons get their marching orders… And in the meantime, we keep on wasting lives, time, and treasure, and lost many good opportunities

8 comments:

ghassan karam said...

The following observations concentrate on only one small aspect of the varied real estate that your excellent post covers.

I do not believe that there is any room to maneuver with HA. I have no doubt that many and I hope most of HA supporters have a legitimate gripe about social injustice, government corruption, lack of transparency, quality of public education, lack of access to health care etc... Had these been the issues raised by either HA or any other Lebanese group then I suspect that they will garner unanimous support. But Ha has chosen to act as a state within a state, advance the agenda of Damascuss and Tehran and to seek at every turn to destablize the Lebanese society. They act as if they are foreign agents whose only aim is the destruction of the Lebanese state. It is because of the above that anyone with any kind of belief in a sovereign Lebanese project has no choice but to reject totally HA otherwise one would be working to undermine that which one values. Red lines must be drawn and elemental issues cannot be compromised. HA since its inception has promulgated an ideology that is undemocratic, illeberal anti Lebanese and even closeminded and discriminatory. That , in a nutshell, is why I would side with March 14, with all their warts, in a heart beat.

This support for March 14 , however, must be seen for what it is. It is by no means an endorsement of either their performance , their vision, their ability to govern or their vision. It is simply a pragmatic endorsement of a group that is qualitatively superior to the totally unacceptable alternative. But if March 14 are to misunderstand the nature of their support then even a total victory by them will not stop the long term bleeding.

What is totally unacceptable is that we have allowed these traditional pols to present us , essentially with two options as if ther are no other alternatives. Lebanon will not survive, immigration will continue both by nationals and institutions, even when HA is vanquished and it will be. The modern state requires real democracy, secularism, politics of ideas and not clans. It requires that the Lebanese determine their own destiny. There is nothing that I know of that will gaurantee that Lebanon as a state must continue to exist. In a global cosmopolitan world humans want to be given an opportunity to succeed, to be treated with respect and to have a government that is accountable. If we fail to offer these basics then there will always be a geographic locale called Lebanon but there need not be a Lebanese state whose citizens are prosperous and proud of their citizenship. March 14 has not shown that they are up to the challenge, hell they do not think that there is a challenge beyond that of the ephemeral challenge posed by Nasrallah. The real challenge of creating a place hospitable to ideas, commerce, science,technology and politics has not even started yet. What makes things worse is that I honestly believe that March 14 is clueless.

Jeha said...

Ghassan,

I wholeheartedly agree with you. I recall a word one of those warlords used to describe his March 14th allies; they are "Limités". I am confident that they will win, and that Hezb has lost. I fear, however, that they have no vision beyond that, if it ever reaches that far.

Nobody said...

Once a “Something”, always a Something”.

Nasrallah could defeat Israel, he will still be a Shiite till the end of days. Joumblat could walk on water; he will still be a Druze at the end of the day. Hariri offered scholarships to many families, not all Sunni, but how many do remember that today?


i learned it on my own skin .. once 'nobody' always 'nobody'

Nobody said...

i mean all my friends call me 'nobody' now

Jeha said...

Nobody,
In a sense, we're all "nobodies"... the Bachars of this world will soon learn that all those "nobodies" can amount to far more, worse than so many deadly little piranhas.

Lirun said...

hi

im curious..

how have the developments since our war impacted the views on the war.. HA's role.. israel's actions..

have things changed? is the war at all topical?

i am failing to understand the directions of the factions and what they are seeking.. can you shed any light? please

Jeha said...

In a way, the war is topical, since we do not think it really ended. But most people are now in a confused state of affairs, with no good alternatives but "choosing their poison".

Maybe I should ponder this in a post, but I have a feeling we're in "stalemate" for a while, with nothing really changing in the immediate few months. I think that this is because each party's motives are not completely aligned with their allies.

Nobody said...

Jeha said...

Nobody,
In a sense, we're all "nobodies"... the Bachars of this world will soon learn that all those "nobodies" can amount to far more, worse than so many deadly little piranhas.


right.. Nobodies rule the world

Nobodies of the world, unite !!!