To cut short the speech of Lebanon’s Prime Minister, our Prime Minister, before it ends is not innocent. Daher is a confused person. He does not realize how critical these times are for the Lebanese, for us, Christians and Muslims alike. We are not concerned with his continuous irritation over the legal case raised by the Lebanese Forces for the hundreds of millions he owed and pocketed. Where is the grand mission of LBC? Will Daher burn the oild fields like Saddam did when he unwillingly withdrew from Kuwait?
It is amazing to see that the whole political and press coverage is gravitating endlessly around investigating troops’ behavior on the ground, accused of committing crimes against rightful demonstrators. Hizbullah motivation is for the investigations to move upwards, in one direction, within the army corp, in order to neutralize whoever gave the shooting orders, at the next round.
What about investigating, at the level of the demonstrators, and then to pursue these investigations upward in order to find out; 1) who organized these demonstrations and 2) what instructions did the demonstrators receive?
Will Amal and Hizbollah agree to interrogations of subordinates, that would ultimately point upward and ever closer? Their expressions of excessive reprimand and agitation are clearly meant to block this outrageously unacceptable and unthinkable scenario.
This is irrespective of the fact that the party with the most vocal presence among the demonstrators was Amal’s, and that the manipulative Hizbullah has one more time succeeded in hiding, just behind. It is similar to the on-going strategy of Hizbullah that made Aoun believe, exactly like Berry believes today, that he is playing an historical role of national importance.
General Michel Aoun slammed March 14 saying they don’t have a right to be decision makers. He also said that he represents the majority of the Christians and being shut out of the debate for the presidency is isolating the voice of the majority of the Christians. He also criticized the U.S.’s recent statement rejecting a president that is affiliated to a terrorist organization or foreign power.
1. March 14 is the majority and therefore is the decision maker by constitutional default;
2. The FPM and their leader need to re-check the Metn results: the only substantial Christian bloc that voted for Camille Khoury was Tashnag, and certainly not the Maronites (although I fully respect and advocate the view that the Maronites are not all the Christians); and
3. How can you, Aoun, support a president that has the carte blanche from Hezbollah (like yourself) when they are clearly a terrorist organization, one that you acknowledged back in 2002?
4. Lastly, Aoun equates the Shi’as with Hezbollah. How wrong he is. The Shi’as are more than just the political Shi’as of March 8.
The problem with demagogues is that they can never be consistent. It makes the fact that they have no logic too obvious.
For French readers, I highly recommend you read Carlos Edde: Le Fascisme. The article was published in L’Orient Le Jour last week. Fascism in a new light. Note to readers: Read between the lines, it’s a lot more fun.
In the pro-opposition newspaper Al-Akhbar, the newspaper chairperson Ibrahim Al-Amine wrote on August 13:
If the majority team is more confused because of the abundance of candidates among its ranks, it is helped by the support of a large swathe of the Lebanese people and influential factions among the Arabs and the rest of the world while the opposition seems to be more comfortable with the fact that it has only one candidate, the head of the Fee Patriotic Movement General Michel Aoun who enjoys strong support from a large popular mass that includes more than half the Lebanese population.
I beg to differ.
Firstly, let’s get the facts straight. The only person from the opposition to officially endorse Aoun’s candidacy was Wiam Wahab who isn’t high enough in the hierarchy. His statement is simply not enough to make Aoun the official opposition’s candidate. I want to hear it from Berri. Even more, I want to hear it from Nasrallah. Yet, should we not hear the needed endorsement from such figures, that too will say a lot. Back on December 1, 2006, the opposition took for the streets and launched their first day of occupation over Downtown Beirut. Note that back then only Aoun was present. Berri and Nasrallah did not support the orange leader as he led on the Shi’a crowds (remember, few were the Christians who attended that day). Then, the implications of the absence of the Shi’a leaders was understood: they did not take Aoun seriously. Let’s see if they’ll take him seriously today.
Secondly, Aoun does not have the support of more than half of the population. If that were the case, why isn’t he majority leader in the Parliament?
Now let’s go back to Al-Amine’s above argument. He is suggesting that March 14 is unsure of itself whereas the opposition (read: FPM) is fully backing one candidate. My question: since when was diversity a problem?
March 14 is not a political party and therefore is not limited to the nomination of one candidate. The FPM is restricted by party regulations and therefore must nominate one candidate to avoid a conflict of interest within the party itself.
Given that March 14 is a cluster of different political parties and groups that do not have political party status, these different groups have the right to present as many candidates as they wish (of course within the rationale of some sort of meritocratic rubric). The result is the nomination of people like Boutros Harb and Robert Ghanem and perhaps in the near future Nassib Lahoud or Nayla Mouawad.
The fact that these people should feel comfortable nominating themselves within the March 14 democratic spirit is impressionable. They will be a source of competition for each other, and at the end of the day, will not insult or discredit each other. Furthermore, the losers of the elections will accept their loss in good team spirit and support the March 14 candidate that makes it through. This, Mr. Al Amine is democracy not confusion.
Filed under Al Akhbar, Aoun, Boutros Harb, Free Patriotic Movement, Hassan Nasrallah, Ibrahim Al-Amine, Lebanese Presidential Elections, Lebanese Shi'a, March 14, March 8, Nabih Berri, Nassib Lahou, Nayla Mouawad, Robert Ghanem, Wiam Wahab
Tens of thousands?
I was surprised to see the BBC, CNN International, and the AFP describe the number of participants in this exceptionally massive demonstration as “tens of thousands.” After the demonstration, I was able to get in touch with a couple of journalists and a prominent director of a media outlet who all explained to me that the media, and in particular the international media, was trying to move away from what they called, the “war of numbers.” They recounted how both sides of the Lebanese political spectrum have been trying to boost their credibility and popularity in terms of numbers. The media, has therefore decided to neutralize this war of words by not providing numbers, simply because the numbers are not important. According to this director, both sides have showed that they both have supporters and their own form of legitimacy from this grassroots support. Hence, the numbers no longer matter.
However, I have to ask, is it fair for the media to decide to neutralize this political discourse? Isn’t the very decision to neutralize it a form of participating in the discourse and taking a political stand? If the media is actually interested in helping calm political and social tension on the streets, then it is going to have to constructively participate in disseminating accurate information and facts and let the people decide for themselves how such information should be treated.
Standing amongst the protesters near An Nahar, I was disappointed to witness three occurrences. I saw a group of young Sunni enthusiasts waving their Lebanese flags and chanting in a circle “Allah ma’al Sunnieh” (God is with the Sunnis). I then saw a group of young Lebanese Forces carrying crosses along with their Lebanese Forces flags around. Finally, I counted at least two dozen young men and women with Palestinian scarves. These Palestinians seem to believe they only have one choice: either to side with Hezbollah who claims to support the liberation of Palestinian land or to state their allegiance to the Sunni-ruled government. Given that most Palestinians are Sunni, they have chosen to side with the latter.
A move towards nationalism?
However, amidst this sectarian reality, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the opposite trend is also solidifying itself. Many Sunni men and women, and especially veiled women, took it upon themselves to carry around Lebanese Forces flags in lieu of their Lebanese flag. I also saw a group of Sunni sheikhs walking around with Lebanese Forces flags. The Sunnis have come to the conclusion that they owe much to the Head of the Lebanese Forces Dr. Samir Geagea. Without his support and conviction, the Christian card would have been lost a very long time ago. After returning home and watching the coverage of various news channels and newspapers, it was interesting to see how many featured Sunni participants carrying the Lebanese Forces flag. It was even more interesting to note that indeed, FPM leader General Michel Aoun can no longer say that he owns the Christian voice. Today was proof that the Lebanese Forces have taken ownership of a vast number of Lebanese objectives, whether they be Christian or Sunni.