“Evil” becoming popular word in both March 8 and March 14 statements

By Ana

It is uncomfortable to watch Lebanese politicians adopting Bushism as their new dictionary. Surely, there are more appropriate, diplomatic, and non-provocative ways of expressing ideas or opinions rather than branding certain acts as “evil.” Such biblical diction is not amusing since it connotes a sense of divine authoritarianism and immunity, which none of the parties have. Furthermore, such talk enters a more petty level of negotiation and communication and places all sides on the defensive: politicians are hearing more and listening less. At such a critical stage, politicians should be listening more, accusing less, and using more proactive and diplomatic language that would hopefully lead to another round of negotiations at Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri’s table.

Yesterday alone, the word “evil” was prominently mentioned four times. The Lebanese Forces used it to describe the necessity for President Emile Lahoud to resign, calling him a “source of evil and corruption in the country.” The Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir also used the word when describing the pathetic state of the demonstrators in Downtown Beirut, calling their continued presence “a sign of evil.” Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah dubbed the United States and Israel “the forces of evil” when he called upon the Muslims of Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia to join forces against the two states. Finally, Chouf MP Walid Jumblatt used the word when talking about Hezbollah’s alleged coup against the Seniora government. “Who will achieve victory?” he asked, “The evil forces or the forces of love and good”?

Jumblatt is also using another word too often: “darkness.” The first time I heard him use it provocatively was at the Bristol gathering about three weeks ago when he mentioned that the region was dealing with “forces of darkness.” In his statement yesterday, he again equated this darkness to Iran and Syria, stating that the international community’s support for the Seniora government is helping it “confront the world of darkness, the Syrian-Iranian axis.”

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2 Comments

Filed under Lebanon

2 responses to ““Evil” becoming popular word in both March 8 and March 14 statements

  1. The language is taking messianic tones.

    There is something going on in Lebanon than is greater than our small country, and the politicians here understand that. There is a looming clash. There is a global sense of insecurity, and Lebanon is one of the flashpoints.

    There’s a lot of weight on Lebanese leaders, which might be one of the reasons for their metaphorical words.

  2. ana

    Yes, CM, I agree that Lebanon is only a small part of a larger picture. For many, it is one of the many hubs of the “Sunni-Shi’a conflict” that is getting a lot of media coverage. For others, Lebanon is part of the traditional Arab-Israeli conflict. And, Lebanon is also part of a US-sponsored democratic experiment and is America’s last chance to say, “See, we got it right.”

    But, regardless of the broader context Lebanon is situated in and the ripple effects its internal policies emanate, is it REALLY necessary to use such language?

    I guess what bugs most is that one would expect March 14 NOT to use this kind of language to avoid being branded as a Western puppet. It’s already being viewed as pro-Western, does it really need to give the other side more evidence to justify their condemnation of the Seniora government?

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