Friday, October 12, 2007

Monkey Business

Within the country’s deepening crisis, the different “services” had been busy… some of it looks like "delayed reaction", but I fear the "rot" goes a wee bit deeper...

More accurately, they had been busy giving the impression of doing stuff such as arresting budding fils-à-papa, nostalgic for a time they never knew, rather than dealing with the elephant in the room. But they had been doing little else, and even behaving rather badly...

Bad Behaviour

The most egregious behaviour was on display in the aftermath of the latest terror attack that took place in Saint “Theophile, when the Internal Security Forces closed the street, at the risk of hindering rescue efforts.

We Arabs tend to heap scorn at the way the Israelis treat our living and our memory, but we pause for a look at a mirror. And before, maybe we Lebanese should consider the way some Israelis respect their dead. Some of the parents of the deceased who had to wait hours, some even 48 hours, to remove their dead after the last terror attack.

While the need for proper investigation cannot be overlooked, the need for compassion should supersede it. Otherwise, what are we doing all this for? Was the goal of this tribunal merely to find the killers of the second (third?...) richest Lebanese, or is it also intended to help bring back the rule of law and some measure of good governance?

Maybe those who were ordering them to do so were trying to compensate for the poor quality of security by the quantity of security personnel. This may work in some cases, but it does not apply in Lebanon’s case, however.

The ISF later went on to cordon off the area, checking who was going in and out of the area for about 2 weeks after the attack. This may work for serial killers, some of whom like visit the scene of the crime, just in case they chance upon him/her… But it is less efficient when dealing with the Syrial Killer who is plaguing Lebanon.

The Deeper Roots

However, such perceived incompetence is not due to any misreading of the situation. The soldiers posted there knew how useless it was to close the barn door after the horses had bolted, but they had little choice but to follow orders. Their superiors now well the limitations of their power, but they have little choice but to go through the motions.

This display of incompetence poorly hides the fact that, much like the country, they are essentially divided. What else can we expect, with a Hezbostate rooted in medieval oppression, and facing those around March 14th divided in their vision of freedom?

The root cause of the country’s deep divisions may not be entirely home-grown, whatever the simplistic NYT keep on blurting outIncidentally, those jokers are much like the rain makers of old; the dances do not bring rain, but the dancers keep at it till it rains. This rain they keep forecasting may well be on the way; given enough pressure, any country’s divisions can be brought to the surface.

Bubbling Up

Sadly, the fact remains that our country has never been really united. Today, with all the attentions of our many friends and neighbours, its deep divisions are showing at the surface. Back in the day, had the United States not been able to fend off foreign "aid", I doubt its own civil war would have ever ended... Then again, the Brits were diverted to India and Egypt back then...

For anyone who doubts it, HassAoun reminds them often enough… With a key difference; back in ’75, the people were divided, but the institutions were trying to maintain a semblance of unity. Today, aside for some “true believers”, the Lebanese share far more values than the west gives them credit for. However, the institutions are deeply divided, and “allies” are starting out at loggerheads.

Today’s “green line” does not divide Beirut along the old Damascus road; it divides Lebanon’s power brokers.

…And the rift deepens ever more as each community’s version of Faust is pulled away by his master.


Lirun said...

ok so where to.. what now.. how who.. how do you bring the power brokers to realise their shared interest with the national interest.. how do you drag them into line..

ghassan karam said...

It is unfortunate but the Lebanese, just like many other in the modern world, are obsessed with surface phenomenon and causes celebre that are inflicted upon them by gadflies.
We have for the umpteenth time failed to make a distinction between the idea that we are allegedly supporting and the person behind it. As a result the process of deification of Rafic Hariri goes on unstopped when what should have been promoted is the idea that he gave his life for. But we never seem to learn from history. At one point, not a long time ago, March 14 and the opposition were acting as if the most important existential issue in the world was the International Tribunal. Well guess what? Currently the same two parties are busy making dire pronouncements about the crucial presidential elections. Dare I suggest that this so called crisis will pass and then we will move on to the next one; the new cabinet and so it goes.

(J, thanks for clearing up the mystery behind the name Sin El Fil.)