Saturday, July 28, 2007

Risk and Rewards (1/2)

We Lebanese wear our emotions on our sleeves, and we often tend to overreact with passion. Doing so, we can greedily focus far too much on the potential Rewards, and forget about the Risks associated with our actions.

The Elections in Metn and Beirut 2nd District are a case in point.

Greed is Good…

But only as a motivator, that should be kept in check by reason and an attempt at foresight… Otherwise, the risk of overreaching is real, and far too many politicians in Lebanon make that mistake…

One example of overreach was the huge demonstration of March 8th, when Nasrallah marshalled a motley bunch of 400,000 Sturmabteilung, drawn mostly from his flock, with the addition of a few Syrians and a few smudges of their Quislings… Confident they have intimated Lebanon with this “representativity”, they did not see the coming of the Huger demonstration of March 14th 2005, when a grassroots movement drew in more than 1,200,000 Lebanese, not counting those who were delayed by Hezb & Co…

Another example of this overreach was the “quadripartite” agreement, between those who rushed to claim March 14th as theirs, and a much humbled Amal and Hezb. They though that, when more than 50% of the Lebanese population walked or tried to walk to Beirut on March 14th 2005, it was a sign of blind support for them, rather than a grass-roots expression for real change. So they maintained he much hated 2000 electoral law, the better to ensure an absolute majority, and make the country as they see fit… They did not understand the depth of Lebanese despise to a discredited political class, and thus did not see the coming of Aoun’s “orange tsunami”…

And neither did Aoun. He provided us with another example of overreach during the closure of downtown and the January “strikes”. Ever since his “memorandum of understanding”, he has been losing ground among most Lebanese who dislike such amateurish / foolish politics. He did not see the coming of the hard reaction this past January, when his “hardcore” supporters proved far too few, or far too undetermined, to hold their ground…

Greed is Now…

Now, it is time for those who claim March 14th to overreach, if they think they can easily win those elections, we will soon see another example on display this coming August 5th

First, the FL and Gemayel may well discover that, while hoodlums are great in street fights, they can be next to useless in (some) elections… As in the Metn, where your opponents has a few hoodlums of their own, with more votes to match them, and a few real gripes about representatitivy to motivate their crowd… They should have pushed for elections when they had momentum, after Pierre Gemayel’s assassination, but maybe Amine had other plans… Greed, once again, unchecked…

Second, Hariri may well discover that Beirut is not as cheaply “bought”. Last round’s turnout was less than 20% of eligible voters, since most were generally disgusted by the “quadripartite agreement” with Hezb and Amal, which allowed Future Movement to leverage Shiite votes against their Christian allies. This weakness gives a real opening to marginal candidates backed by Hezb and Najah Wakim. However, the late Eido had grown into gaining much stature and popularity, and his anointed successor, Mohammad Itani, has much momentum, and a solid clan behind him…

Greed Blinds Us to Real Losses...

Either way, the entire political class overreaches if they think anyone really wins elections under the present conditions.

The system is hopelessly rigged, with a out-of-date unicameral parliament struggling to reconcile representativity and pluralismThe one to reach Parliament will be the one who has lost less in comparison with other sorry bunch.

In the past, it did not matter much. But this time, people are tired of those parasites, and moving away. So the parasites should worry about this, lest they kill the host...

Passengers are already jumping this ship,

leaving the rats to go down with it…


6 comments:

Mustapha said...

If you think about it, Lebanon's history has been nothing but a series of overreachings and counter-overreaching.

The problem is cultural as much as political. giving away instant power for long-term growth seems very un-lebanese.

Maybe once the politics of persuasion and accountability take over the politics of leader-knows-best, perhaps, just perhaps, things could get better..

ghassan karam said...

J,
The few people I talk to in Lebanon and even the Lebanese press and obviously the Aounist web site do not seem to differentiate between the support for Aounists and the potential votes against March 14.
An electoral win for the Aoun candidate in the Metn( which is very highly unlikely) were it to happen will be the result of a wide coalition of Ba'athists, PSPers, Tashnaks and Al Mursupporters. Such a victory must not be interpreted as support for Aoun since the only thing in common by all these diverse groups is their loyalty to a Syrian master.
If you are in Lebanon and if you have access to the Metn area I wonder whether you can comment on the above.

Jeha said...

This may well be the crux of the matter; to March 14, the battle's main objective is not limited to trying to defeat Aoun, but rather to show the limits of his current support. A bonus would be to consolidate the wedge between him and Murr.

As long as Murr backs him, Aoun is assured of victory in Metn. Even then, the win should be close; depending on turnout, Aoun's victory margin should fall between 51% and 60% margin.

It will be interesting to see if Murr's nationalized Syrians will come in and vote this time round.

If they do, I would love to see how Aoun can spin that; the support of the PSNS is one thing, but outright Syrian support is another.

...overreachings and counter-overreaching can be fun to watch, as long as you're not in the train heading for the wreck.

Darwin Awards, all round!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's good for people to leave the country. In a couple generations they'll forget their factional loyalties and return simply as Lebanese.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 19:17
The Jews tried it once, what a mess.

Anonymous said...

Hazbani said.
Anon.19:17
Bad idea, the Jews tried it, what a mess !!!