Reflections on Hezbollah, March 14 and the Special Tribunal.

by Ghassan Karam

Since we have been going around in circles for a few years, at best we are running on the spot, it is time to stress for the umpteenth time what appears to still be misunderstood by many.

Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, SHN, and all the Hezbollah, HA, allies have chosen to oppose the STL on some of the least logical grounds, they have primarily depended on an emotional appeal to the general concept of resistance without ever mentioning the specifics of the indictments. All ideas, no matter where and what they are about, will have supporters as well as opponents. That is the way it should be.

What is unique to the current Lebanese standoff, which has been in effect for about 6 years, is the fact that both sides enjoy practically equal popular support. Each side has a perfectly loyal base that will blindly follow its leadership without any questions asked. It makes no difference what SHN says, he can count on the support of all FPMers, Maraada, Arslan, Amal and probably 90% of the Shia. The other side will also follow, maybe slightly less enthusiastically but equally blindly, the decisions of Al Mustaqbal leaders and other March 14 politicians.

Since the sum of the supporters for both sides add up to represent practically all of society then none of these two parties ever feels the need to listen to the other, to reevaluate or to compromise. Why should they? They already have 45-50% of society on their side. What Lebanon seems to be lacking is a substantial independent swing group that can force each of the other two groups to seek its support. Such support can be sought only by widening the appeal of the respective parties which implies more flexibility and less rigidity. It means that no side can afford to dismiss the other, as they currently do. Had this been the case then the HA group would not have stuck to its policy of opposing STL and yet be for it at the same time. It’s an untenable position but one that creates no problems for a leadership that feels comfortable with its large base of support. It’s a position best represented by what Nawaf Al Mousawi said on behalf of his HA colleagues” We invite the others to talk all they want but we will not listen”. What a productive recipe for dialogue?

The same logic applies to March 14 who have spent the last six years preoccupied in creating a bigger than life image of Rafic Hariri. This is not to suggest that a thorough investigation of his assassination is not called for but this is to suggest that statesmen and stateswomen should be able to govern. and yet carry on an investigation of a most heinous political crime. The public will chose to sanctify individuals that are important to it without the need for a well orchestrated campaign built around ubiquitous photographs of the deceased and constantly planned visits to his grave site.

I am one of the Lebanese how is totally dejected by the attempts by HA and their ally to paint everyone and everything that is not in agreement with them as an Israeli agent. Being sanctimonious is the height of hypocrisy. Their continuous veiled attempts to push their religious, totalitarian agenda is no longer that veiled when their chief spokesperson, SHN, declares to the world, that he would prevent the state and any of its operatives from enforcing an international warrant. That is nothing short of being bombastic and maybe even drunk by power to dictate. He acts as a combination of French royalty, d’état ce moi” and a grand ayatollah who staunchly supports the structure of a Wilayat Al Faqih.

But it is crucially important to understand clearly that as much as individuals as myself, object to the HA ideology and rhetoric this should never ever be taken as an endorsement of March 14 who , in my opinion, are marginally more acceptable but essentially just as much part of the problem as HA.

So what does it mean if one is opposed to both parties? It means a lot. The future of Lebanon, and paradoxically I still believe that there is one; is not represented by any of these two backward and incompetent alternatives. History moves forward, unfolds, through a dialectical process. I am very welcoming of the present day high tension between these two parties since I firmly believe that none of them can represent the future aspirations of the young Lebanese. These two alliances represent a thesis and an antithesis and the resulting conflict between then would result in a synthesis that will represent for a time to come a more just, a more democratic and a more viable future. The efforts to establish, in any form, a faqih led society have failed and those that look towards the 1960′s for inspiration are equally at a loss of understanding that the root of our current dilemma is found in that which they are trying to resurrect. Our salvation lies in a movement that will liberate us of both.

  • antar2011

    a movement that is almost similar to that of our syrian neighbours…they are the bravest of the bravest i rekon!

    the STL is not only about Harriri, it is much much more then that…. the bigger then life pic does not only represent him but all other martyrs who have fallen for the same cause…the bigger then life image is to the principle, not the man. after all Harriri may Allah have mercy on his soul, did say no one is above/bigger then his country…that’s the principle i am referring to here.

    on the other hand, the bigger then everything else becaus eof a divine trait imagine of Nasrullah that’s been pumped intot heir followers brains does not even compare.

    perhaps in other times, i would have agreed with you, but there is no place for the ‘middle” ground in lebanon…the recent events left no room for middle ground…perhaps Miqati would testify to that…the reason being is that one side are with weapons [not hesitating to use it] while the other side are with the pen…the truth.

    • Ghassan Karam

      antar2011,
                    I happen to agree with practically all what you said except the conclusion. It is clear that the greatest threat to Lebanon is from the HA and allies who do not seem to be interested in personal freedom, liberty democracy … March 14 on the other hand has shown interest and allegiance to many of these ideas but they are still stuck in the past. Their politics is sectarian and they have not shown much interest in the welfare of the masses. The conflict between the two groups does not mean a centrist solution but a totally different alternative, a third waybuilt on respect for the individualand a rejection of sectariansim.

  • Anonymous

    a movement that is almost similar to that of our syrian neighbours…they are the bravest of the bravest i rekon!

    the STL is not only about Harriri, it is much much more then that…. the bigger then life pic does not only represent him but all other martyrs who have fallen for the same cause…the bigger then life image is to the principle, not the man. after all Harriri may Allah have mercy on his soul, did say no one is above/bigger then his country…that’s the principle i am referring to here.

    on the other hand, the bigger then everything else becaus eof a divine trait imagine of Nasrullah that’s been pumped intot heir followers brains does not even compare.

    perhaps in other times, i would have agreed with you, but there is no place for the ‘middle” ground in lebanon…the recent events left no room for middle ground…perhaps Miqati would testify to that…the reason being is that one side are with weapons [not hesitating to use it] while the other side are with the pen…the truth.

    • antar2011,
                    I happen to agree with practically all what you said except the conclusion. It is clear that the greatest threat to Lebanon is from the HA and allies who do not seem to be interested in personal freedom, liberty democracy … March 14 on the other hand has shown interest and allegiance to many of these ideas but they are still stuck in the past. Their politics is sectarian and they have not shown much interest in the welfare of the masses. The conflict between the two groups does not mean a centrist solution but a totally different alternative, a third waybuilt on respect for the individualand a rejection of sectariansim.

      • Anonymous

        i c.

        yes, the third option is ideal but i do not see it as possible in lebanon at the moment…i wish i was wrong.

        • Anonymous

          Indeed it seems a faint hope … Mikati may have been a first attempt at finding someone who was ‘unbiased’ and aware enough of what was needed to pull together a working government … yet the ability of anyone to keep those old philosophies and individual hatreds OUT of government seems to be an impossibility. At least, in Lebanon. The whole ‘government’ thing needs some serious restructuring ….

    • Anonymous

      When even a University denies free and open thought, by deciding who students may not be allowed to listen to, then is there any chance of philosophical discussion? 

      • Anonymous

        not at all, i agree.

      • Anonymous

        not at all, i agree.

  • Sebouh80

    Mr Karam,
    First of all, as you might be well aware of by now that on a personal level I totally reject both March 14 and March 8 on the assumption that both  political movements are backward and incompetant alternatives to move the society forward.

    Mr.Karam, I understand that you welcome a high tension between these two camps on the ground that this would pave the way to a new radical synthesis. My question, however, is that what if this new synthesis which will emerge from this ongoing struggle of opposites resembles the current status quo?
    Now speaking of the dynamics of dialectical process, which is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that is central to Indic and European Philosophy, since antiquity.
    The Hegelian dialectics, comprises three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antthesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between two being resolved by means of a synthesis. Although this model is often named after Hegel, he himself never used that specific formulation. Hegel ascribed that terminology to Kant, Carrying on Kant’s work, Fichte greatly elaborated on the synthesis model, and popularized it.
    Many years later, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels proposed that Hegel had rendered philosophy too abstractly ideal.
    In contradiction to Hegelian idealism, Karl Marx presented Dialectical Materialism.
    Marx’s dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life-process of the human brain, i.e. the process of thinking, which, under the name of the idea, he transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of idea. While according to Marx, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into human thought.

    In Marxism, the dialectical method of historical study became intertwined with historical materialism.
    Sorry for taking your time, I thought this would be helpful for those individuals who are interested in the dialectic methods.

    • 5thDrawer

      Thank you …. good notes. And the world has certainly become materialistic hasn’t it?
      We wait for the synthesis of ideas that will produce electricity and clean water for the masses who have no material.
      Changing or ‘correcting’ philosophies may take a while.

    • Ghassan Karam

      Sebouh,
                 Thank you for the brief explanation of the dialectical process. No one can tell ahead of time what the synthesis would be like but a true synthesis would be a rejection of both its thesis and antithesis. Do the parties in Lebanon measure up to be considered a  thesis-antithesis is open to question. I happen to think that they do measure up and thus I remain hopeful that there are better days ahead. There is no substitute for a secular state.

      • libnan1

        Sebouh,

        I learn a lot from Ghassan and you, you guys are very intellectual.  We need more of you on this forum.Thanks for the education.

  • Anonymous

    Mr Karam,
    First of all, as you might be well aware of by now that on a personal level I totally reject both March 14 and March 8 on the assumption that both  political movements are backward and incompetant alternatives to move the society forward.

    Mr.Karam, I understand that you welcome a high tension between these two camps on the ground that this would pave the way to a new radical synthesis. My question, however, is that what if this new synthesis which will emerge from this ongoing struggle of opposites resembles the current status quo?
    Now speaking of the dynamics of dialectical process, which is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that is central to Indic and European Philosophy, since antiquity.
    The Hegelian dialectics, comprises three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antthesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between two being resolved by means of a synthesis. Although this model is often named after Hegel, he himself never used that specific formulation. Hegel ascribed that terminology to Kant, Carrying on Kant’s work, Fichte greatly elaborated on the synthesis model, and popularized it.
    Many years later, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels proposed that Hegel had rendered philosophy too abstractly ideal.
    In contradiction to Hegelian idealism, Karl Marx presented Dialectical Materialism.
    Marx’s dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life-process of the human brain, i.e. the process of thinking, which, under the name of the idea, he transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of idea. While according to Marx, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into human thought.

    In Marxism, the dialectical method of historical study became intertwined with historical materialism.
    Sorry for taking your time, I thought this would be helpful for those individuals who are interested in the dialectic methods.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you …. good notes. And the world has certainly become materialistic hasn’t it?
      We wait for the synthesis of ideas that will produce electricity and clean water for the masses who have no material.
      Changing or ‘correcting’ philosophies may take a while.

    • Sebouh,
                 Thank you for the brief explanation of the dialectical process. No one can tell ahead of time what the synthesis would be like but a true synthesis would be a rejection of both its thesis and antithesis. Do the parties in Lebanon measure up to be considered a  thesis-antithesis is open to question. I happen to think that they do measure up and thus I remain hopeful that there are better days ahead. There is no substitute for a secular state.

      • Anonymous

        Sebouh,

        I learn a lot from Ghassan and you, you guys are very intellectual.  We need more of you on this forum.Thanks for the education.

  • Anonymous

    Mr Karam,
    First of all, as you might be well aware of by now that on a personal level I totally reject both March 14 and March 8 on the assumption that both  political movements are backward and incompetant alternatives to move the society forward.

    Mr.Karam, I understand that you welcome a high tension between these two camps on the ground that this would pave the way to a new radical synthesis. My question, however, is that what if this new synthesis which will emerge from this ongoing struggle of opposites resembles the current status quo?
    Now speaking of the dynamics of dialectical process, which is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that is central to Indic and European Philosophy, since antiquity.
    The Hegelian dialectics, comprises three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antthesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between two being resolved by means of a synthesis. Although this model is often named after Hegel, he himself never used that specific formulation. Hegel ascribed that terminology to Kant, Carrying on Kant’s work, Fichte greatly elaborated on the synthesis model, and popularized it.
    Many years later, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels proposed that Hegel had rendered philosophy too abstractly ideal.
    In contradiction to Hegelian idealism, Karl Marx presented Dialectical Materialism.
    Marx’s dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life-process of the human brain, i.e. the process of thinking, which, under the name of the idea, he transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of idea. While according to Marx, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into human thought.

    In Marxism, the dialectical method of historical study became intertwined with historical materialism.
    Sorry for taking your time, I thought this would be helpful for those individuals who are interested in the dialectic methods.

  • When I
    first came back home (in 1999) I had, for a short period of time the conviction
    that there was hope for my “maskat ra’si” (Lebanon that is) after having seen
    many bumper stickers clearly stating “la lil ta’ifiyeh”. I had high hopes then.
    But soon they dissipated, and bitter reality sat in.  The cedar revolution came along rekindling a
    glimmer of hope I once had in my days of self exile, when Michel Aoun’s slogan
    of “freedom, independence, territorial integrity (WMLL : World movement for the
    liberation of Lebanon) made  me (and many
    like me) get off our arses and lobby for what we then thought was a just cause.
    Once again this generation of mine was deceived by empty promises uttered by
    the mouths of demagogues we still have today as self proclaimed leaders. Those
    same hopes and aspirations were crushed by the M14 crowed.

    I had the
    chance to live in a civilized country for 16 years (England) and watched
    political debates between two major opposing parties (labour and conservatives)
    and witnessed firsthand how a so called minority (which in Lebanon I would now call
    the silent majority) can sway votes (Paddy Ashdown “The Liberal Democrats”). 

    Yes we
    cannot compare Lebanon to England, but if I understood your text properly WE
    SHOULD. The day people like you me, and a few of your readers will wake up from
    their deep slumber; they might vote for Lord Such (The Monster Raving Loony
    Party), or Paddy Ashdown. And if they don’t exist locally, create such parties;
    or cast a ballot on which they write “NONE OF THE ABOVE”.

    Many
    Lebanese are not for 8th of 14th of March (and I am
    totally convinced that they are the majority) and are waiting for a 3rd
    alternative. The problem is that Lebanese are complaisant and wait for
    solutions to be handed down to them on a silver platter.

    If we are
    ever to change our ill fated destiny, we should start with education. A history
    book which depicts FACTS about the 15 years from 1975 to 1990, all the horror
    that took place. Reinstate “civic education” within the school curriculum
    before talking about a “secular state”. 
    Open parks and activities for our children to enjoy, away from political
    divide.  A youth ministry, with a big
    enough budget to sponsor young athletes on an international level. Civic centres
    in each municipality to cater for the young…etc. Then and maybe then, this
    young generation of ours will have an alternative to riding mopeds and creating
    havoc. And this newly formed generation might pass onto the future generations
    a more decent notion of living, a respect for the other and the tolerance our
    fathers and forefathers failed to pass upon us.

    Three to
    four generations later we might be able to call ourselves a NATION, for now we
    are NOT.

    • Ghassan Karam

      Marillionlb,
                     I think the passion and maybe the pain that you feel for what is going on in Lebanon is shared by a few but I do not think that we have a critical mass yet to alter things. I hope I am wrong. Thanks for a clearly heart felt statement.

      • 5thDrawer

        Actually, I think many share it … but cannot see any way to change it either. Perhaps through individual and conscious thought is the only way … what is known as being ‘pro-active’ and open to all.

    • Ghassan Karam

      Marillionlb,
                     I think the passion and maybe the pain that you feel for what is going on in Lebanon is shared by a few but I do not think that we have a critical mass yet to alter things. I hope I am wrong. Thanks for a clearly heart felt statement.

    • libnan1

      Marillionlb, you have some good points but Lebanese are the most tolerant people except when it comes to religion. Just imagine London with the same traffic jam as Beirut, no one will ever make it home. Lebanon is the most capitalistic country in the whole world, just remember capitalism = kayos.   

      • With all due restpect Libnan1, I fail to see where you find tolerance in Lebanon. We still call colored people 3abid (slaves) we have no respect for domestic workers just because they are Philipinos, Srilanki…etc, women have yet to get equal rights….do Ineed to go on?
        And do you know how many hours I spent in traffic jams in England and made it home. In order to solve the many problems we have, we have to start by acknowledging them. And this is where wer education (on all levels) is primordial..

        Wishing you all a nice week-end.

        • Hannibal

          I agree 
          One of my coworker is a Sri-lanka expat who is working on a Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering. Hmmmmmmm… Can a Lebanese fathom that and respect the poorer unfortunate ones who clean our crap everyday yet with so much potential and so little luck. Lebanese are racist people even to their own kind. Religious intolerance IS racism. Women inequalities IS racism. 
          On another note, I am neither 14 nor 8 nor any number as a matter of fact. I, like Marillion, belong to a silent majority. Well not that silent since I always shoot my mouth out at yalibnan 😉

        • @hbarca:disqus, we are not that few in numbers as many would hope. The “silent majority” is scattered across the 10452 Km2 and beyound.One day will come when we (or our children) will make THE difference. In memory of all those who gave their lives for their search of freedom :

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl3_5X_FLwI

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-1Gi8ocgmc

        • @hbarca:disqus, we are not that few in numbers as many would hope. The “silent majority” is scattered across the 10452 Km2 and beyound.One day will come when we (or our children) will make THE difference. In memory of all those who gave their lives for their search of freedom :

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl3_5X_FLwI

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-1Gi8ocgmc

    • 5thDrawer

      Interesting Marillion. I have a friend who lived a while in England – but returned to family ‘home’ in Jordan when he thought things were better and going to be good … same problem, as he found out, and regrets the decision now – as with older age he cannot afford to leave again. Lucky are those who can feel ‘at home’ anywhere in the world.

  • When I
    first came back home (in 1999) I had, for a short period of time the conviction
    that there was hope for my “maskat ra’si” (Lebanon that is) after having seen
    many bumper stickers clearly stating “la lil ta’ifiyeh”. I had high hopes then.
    But soon they dissipated, and bitter reality sat in.  The cedar revolution came along rekindling a
    glimmer of hope I once had in my days of self exile, when Michel Aoun’s slogan
    of “freedom, independence, territorial integrity (WMLL : World movement for the
    liberation of Lebanon) made  me (and many
    like me) get off our arses and lobby for what we then thought was a just cause.
    Once again this generation of mine was deceived by empty promises uttered by
    the mouths of demagogues we still have today as self proclaimed leaders. Those
    same hopes and aspirations were crushed by the M14 crowed.

    I had the
    chance to live in a civilized country for 16 years (England) and watched
    political debates between two major opposing parties (labour and conservatives)
    and witnessed firsthand how a so called minority (which in Lebanon I would now call
    the silent majority) can sway votes (Paddy Ashdown “The Liberal Democrats”). 

    Yes we
    cannot compare Lebanon to England, but if I understood your text properly WE
    SHOULD. The day people like you me, and a few of your readers will wake up from
    their deep slumber; they might vote for Lord Such (The Monster Raving Loony
    Party), or Paddy Ashdown. And if they don’t exist locally, create such parties;
    or cast a ballot on which they write “NONE OF THE ABOVE”.

    Many
    Lebanese are not for 8th of 14th of March (and I am
    totally convinced that they are the majority) and are waiting for a 3rd
    alternative. The problem is that Lebanese are complaisant and wait for
    solutions to be handed down to them on a silver platter.

    If we are
    ever to change our ill fated destiny, we should start with education. A history
    book which depicts FACTS about the 15 years from 1975 to 1990, all the horror
    that took place. Reinstate “civic education” within the school curriculum
    before talking about a “secular state”. 
    Open parks and activities for our children to enjoy, away from political
    divide.  A youth ministry, with a big
    enough budget to sponsor young athletes on an international level. Civic centres
    in each municipality to cater for the young…etc. Then and maybe then, this
    young generation of ours will have an alternative to riding mopeds and creating
    havoc. And this newly formed generation might pass onto the future generations
    a more decent notion of living, a respect for the other and the tolerance our
    fathers and forefathers failed to pass upon us.

    Three to
    four generations later we might be able to call ourselves a NATION, for now we
    are NOT.

    • Marillionlb,
                     I think the passion and maybe the pain that you feel for what is going on in Lebanon is shared by a few but I do not think that we have a critical mass yet to alter things. I hope I am wrong. Thanks for a clearly heart felt statement.

    • Marillionlb,
                     I think the passion and maybe the pain that you feel for what is going on in Lebanon is shared by a few but I do not think that we have a critical mass yet to alter things. I hope I am wrong. Thanks for a clearly heart felt statement.

      • Anonymous

        Actually, I think many share it … but cannot see any way to change it either. Perhaps through individual and conscious thought is the only way … what is known as being ‘pro-active’ and open to all.

    • Anonymous

      Marillionlb, you have some good points but Lebanese are the most tolerant people except when it comes to religion. Just imagine London with the same traffic jam as Beirut, no one will ever make it home. Lebanon is the most capitalistic country in the whole world, just remember capitalism = kayos.   

      • With all due restpect Libnan1, I fail to see where you find tolerance in Lebanon. We still call colored people 3abid (slaves) we have no respect for domestic workers just because they are Philipinos, Srilanki…etc, women have yet to get equal rights….do Ineed to go on?
        And do you know how many hours I spent in traffic jams in England and made it home. In order to solve the many problems we have, we have to start by acknowledging them. And this is where wer education (on all levels) is primordial..

        Wishing you all a nice week-end.

        • I agree 
          One of my coworker is a Sri-lanka expat who is working on a Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering. Hmmmmmmm… Can a Lebanese fathom that and respect the poorer unfortunate ones who clean our crap everyday yet with so much potential and so little luck. Lebanese are racist people even to their own kind. Religious intolerance IS racism. Women inequalities IS racism. 
          On another note, I am neither 14 nor 8 nor any number as a matter of fact. I, like Marillion, belong to a silent majority. Well not that silent since I always shoot my mouth out at yalibnan 😉

    • Anonymous

      Marillionlb, you have some good points but Lebanese are the most tolerant people except when it comes to religion. Just imagine London with the same traffic jam as Beirut, no one will ever make it home. Lebanon is the most capitalistic country in the whole world, just remember capitalism = kayos.   

    • Anonymous

      Interesting Marillion. I have a friend who lived a while in England – but returned to family ‘home’ in Jordan when he thought things were better and going to be good … same problem, as he found out, and regrets the decision now – as with older age he cannot afford to leave again. Lucky are those who can feel ‘at home’ anywhere in the world.

  • Theinfowarriors

    This website use to be so much more. Now it’s an extension of partisan lines.

    • Ghassan Karam

      Theinfowariors,
                           i will never speak for anybodyelse but I would love for you to present a different point of view. That is obviously healthy.

  • Anonymous

    This website use to be so much more. Now it’s an extension of partisan lines.

    • Theinfowariors,
                           i will never speak for anybodyelse but I would love for you to present a different point of view. That is obviously healthy.

    • Anonymous

      I prefer to think it’s an extension of logical thought … but you don’t have to agree with me.

  • Ghassan, trust me when I say the frustration is felt by more than a few. Keep in mind that many of “us” participated in “the cedar revolution”, and my generation did not only sacrificed its time for the sake of Rafik Al Hariri, but for the memories they had of what Lebanon used and was supposed to be. Even after a few let downs from the M14 ers they kept on going for a couple of years (faute de mieux). But we were faced with the cruel reality that our voices were only used for political gains, and promises never maerialized (yet again). Many share the same feeling of betrayal in dasspointnment but are too lazy to react. A strong voice is needed. A voice that stands in opposition against all that is wrong ( our current political class). A voice which will claim out loud that feudal warlords have driven our land and people deep into the abyss. A voice that will scream so loud that it will wake up even the comatose citizen (if there is such a thing as a Lebanese citizen) and make them wish that there kids will witness the lighting of the Christmas season in Hamra and not Sassine. Those same kids who will se a Christmas tree erected in every single Lebanese home they pass by to wish a merry Christmas regardless of religion. Coccodi, Toyland, Aysar 3amer, Strand, Starco…etc whilst their parent would never even entertain the notion of religious affiliation. This is how I grew up, and this what I can no longer bestow upon my son. My scars bare witness to the love I have for MYcountry, and many (of my generation) are like me. Many of what we can label “the war generation” has come back, and most if not all have learned from their mistakes and are EAGER to make a change.

    • 5thDrawer

      Yes … if you have seen more of the world, you begin to realize there is something wrong at ‘home’ …
      There are many old sayings.
      ‘Ignorance is bliss’.  ‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you’. Etc …  
      What the internet has done is open eyes to the world … and even if it is not perfect anywhere, it is a hell of a lot better in some places. We talk, and we see – both of which are good, but leave us with great sadness too.
      And … even if we try to defend what is good about ‘home’, we finally must admit what is bad too.

  • Ghassan, trust me when I say the frustration is felt by more than a few. Keep in mind that many of “us” participated in “the cedar revolution”, and my generation did not only sacrificed its time for the sake of Rafik Al Hariri, but for the memories they had of what Lebanon used and was supposed to be. Even after a few let downs from the M14 ers they kept on going for a couple of years (faute de mieux). But we were faced with the cruel reality that our voices were only used for political gains, and promises never maerialized (yet again). Many share the same feeling of betrayal in dasspointnment but are too lazy to react. A strong voice is needed. A voice that stands in opposition against all that is wrong ( our current political class). A voice which will claim out loud that feudal warlords have driven our land and people deep into the abyss. A voice that will scream so loud that it will wake up even the comatose citizen (if there is such a thing as a Lebanese citizen) and make them wish that there kids will witness the lighting of the Christmas season in Hamra and not Sassine. Those same kids who will se a Christmas tree erected in every single Lebanese home they pass by to wish a merry Christmas regardless of religion. Coccodi, Toyland, Aysar 3amer, Strand, Starco…etc whilst their parent would never even entertain the notion of religious affiliation. This is how I grew up, and this what I can no longer bestow upon my son. My scars bare witness to the love I have for MYcountry, and many (of my generation) are like me. Many of what we can label “the war generation” has come back, and most if not all have learned from their mistakes and are EAGER to make a change.

  • Ghassan, trust me when I say the frustration is felt by more than a few. Keep in mind that many of “us” participated in “the cedar revolution”, and my generation did not only sacrificed its time for the sake of Rafik Al Hariri, but for the memories they had of what Lebanon used and was supposed to be. Even after a few let downs from the M14 ers they kept on going for a couple of years (faute de mieux). But we were faced with the cruel reality that our voices were only used for political gains, and promises never maerialized (yet again). Many share the same feeling of betrayal in dasspointnment but are too lazy to react. A strong voice is needed. A voice that stands in opposition against all that is wrong ( our current political class). A voice which will claim out loud that feudal warlords have driven our land and people deep into the abyss. A voice that will scream so loud that it will wake up even the comatose citizen (if there is such a thing as a Lebanese citizen) and make them wish that there kids will witness the lighting of the Christmas season in Hamra and not Sassine. Those same kids who will se a Christmas tree erected in every single Lebanese home they pass by to wish a merry Christmas regardless of religion. Coccodi, Toyland, Aysar 3amer, Strand, Starco…etc whilst their parent would never even entertain the notion of religious affiliation. This is how I grew up, and this what I can no longer bestow upon my son. My scars bare witness to the love I have for MYcountry, and many (of my generation) are like me. Many of what we can label “the war generation” has come back, and most if not all have learned from their mistakes and are EAGER to make a change.

    • Anonymous

      Yes … if you have seen more of the world, you begin to realize there is something wrong at ‘home’ …
      There are many old sayings.
      ‘Ignorance is bliss’.  ‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you’. Etc …  
      What the internet has done is open eyes to the world … and even if it is not perfect anywhere, it is a hell of a lot better in some places. We talk, and we see – both of which are good, but leave us with great sadness too.
      And … even if we try to defend what is good about ‘home’, we finally must admit what is bad too.

  • PROPHET.T

    Ghassan,
    I’m not a superstitious person at all, but M8 &M14 made me hate the whole month of March. Lol
    After doing some research, I realized that throughout history the month of March has been a troublesome months for many societies. It is Ironic that both political alliances had to be formed and named after some March days.

  • PROPHET.T

    Ghassan,
    I’m not a superstitious person at all, but M8 &M14 made me hate the whole month of March. Lol
    After doing some research, I realized that throughout history the month of March has been a troublesome months for many societies. It is Ironic that both political alliances had to be formed and named after some March days.

    • Anonymous

      ‘Beware the ides of March’ … Julius Caesar remembers  😉

      • PROPHET.T

        No wonder why the Romans decided not  to have March as the  first  month  of the  year ;after doing  so  for  so long, they moved it to Jan.

        • Anonymous

          Not that I wanted to carry this too far 😉 , BUT … you may have something there …
            SPRING is the most troublesome time for the human animal. There is both anxiety and optimism in the wait for warmer weather with it’s new life. People fall in love more often or get married, and yet also have more stomach ulcers at that time of year. Humans are affected by weather – more than they like to admit most of the time.
           Perhaps there should be a new religion that believes the whole of Spring (March, April, May) should be a holiday. We’d only have to fight ‘Big Business’ types of people for that … a much smaller enemy, right?  😉  And I’m sure politicians everywhere would go for it … they seem to love time off from all the yacking to fly around the world and visit each other.

  • dm9076

    The aspiration for a democracy in Lebanon is challenging. creating new parties is not much of a challenge, as most parties have already great mission statements. However when a specific party become associated with a specific leader, addiction to power takes over and there is an affinity to power and control in Middle Eastern Cultures. Most parties are attached to their founders, religious leaders or heirs, as mechanism to operate a family or a sect interests meeting the legal requirement to protect the individual or religious interest at a government level. This loophole when exposed and revealed leads to a fundamental gap in transparency at the senior government. Lebanon lacks the transparency at the top level as most modern government have. Lebanon is based on feudal principles, perhaps like the God Father story. another party today means another God Father around the block, willing to sell the country interest for popularity gain. Politics in Lebanon is a way of making a living based on a inherited conflict of interest and the people accepting the status quo. The mere question is how most of the politicians have made their living over the years is an open question. People have to ask for accoutability. Whether money coming from private fund, Iran or US, exposure is the way to go by challenging the secrecy of the banking system for politicians. To accept a government role or being a political party is to open up the books.

    • Ghassan Karam

      dm9076,
                  Transparency in government will go a long way in addressing the corruption issue in Lebanon.The voters should question the source of the wealth accumulated by those that have spent close to a lifetime in politics. In the same way that Mubarak and Bashar and Ben Ali … have to account for their wealth then the same should also be true for GMA, Nabih Bereiand others.

  • dm9076

    The aspiration for a democracy in Lebanon is challenging. creating new parties is not much of a challenge, as most parties have already great mission statements. However when a specific party become associated with a specific leader, addiction to power takes over and there is an affinity to power and control in Middle Eastern Cultures. Most parties are attached to their founders, religious leaders or heirs, as mechanism to operate a family or a sect interests meeting the legal requirement to protect the individual or religious interest at a government level. This loophole when exposed and revealed leads to a fundamental gap in transparency at the senior government. Lebanon lacks the transparency at the top level as most modern government have. Lebanon is based on feudal principles, perhaps like the God Father story. another party today means another God Father around the block, willing to sell the country interest for popularity gain. Politics in Lebanon is a way of making a living based on a inherited conflict of interest and the people accepting the status quo. The mere question is how most of the politicians have made their living over the years is an open question. People have to ask for accoutability. Whether money coming from private fund, Iran or US, exposure is the way to go by challenging the secrecy of the banking system for politicians. To accept a government role or being a political party is to open up the books.

  • Anonymous

    The aspiration for a democracy in Lebanon is challenging. creating new parties is not much of a challenge, as most parties have already great mission statements. However when a specific party become associated with a specific leader, addiction to power takes over and there is an affinity to power and control in Middle Eastern Cultures. Most parties are attached to their founders, religious leaders or heirs, as mechanism to operate a family or a sect interests meeting the legal requirement to protect the individual or religious interest at a government level. This loophole when exposed and revealed leads to a fundamental gap in transparency at the senior government. Lebanon lacks the transparency at the top level as most modern government have. Lebanon is based on feudal principles, perhaps like the God Father story. another party today means another God Father around the block, willing to sell the country interest for popularity gain. Politics in Lebanon is a way of making a living based on a inherited conflict of interest and the people accepting the status quo. The mere question is how most of the politicians have made their living over the years is an open question. People have to ask for accoutability. Whether money coming from private fund, Iran or US, exposure is the way to go by challenging the secrecy of the banking system for politicians. To accept a government role or being a political party is to open up the books.

    • dm9076,
                  Transparency in government will go a long way in addressing the corruption issue in Lebanon.The voters should question the source of the wealth accumulated by those that have spent close to a lifetime in politics. In the same way that Mubarak and Bashar and Ben Ali … have to account for their wealth then the same should also be true for GMA, Nabih Bereiand others.

  • libnan1

    I appreciate this debate as it is a very healthy brain storming. I think we are forgetting that what makes Lebanon click is exactly what we are complaining about. What is great about Lebanese is the way we think outside the box. No straight lines, not much organization, things everywhere …. We get things done. As a friend told me, a Lebanese can be solving complicated software issues during the day, a gardener and a mechanic on wkends. We are unique even in the middle east, I like what you are saying but that is what make us great. Let’s not change our culture too much, we just need to iron it ….

    • 5thDrawer

      Oh .. yes … the problem is it’s a relatively small crowd. But discussion IS good …
          Although politics just got boring … sort of ‘same old stuff’ … zzzzzz
      I’m ‘up’ for discussing girls … errr … discussing with girls … errr … discussing being on beaches with girls … 😉

      • libnan1

        Now you’re talking. We have some nice beaches on the East coast, Rehoboth beach is awesome. Also the Jersey shore is not bad. I went to a bar couple of weeks ago, it got ugly …. oooh.    

        • 5thDrawer

          🙂  I was trying to forget the ugly … you need to find a better bar. 🙂
            I have fond memories of local wine on a beach in Cyprus ….

        • 5thDrawer

          🙂  I was trying to forget the ugly … you need to find a better bar. 🙂
            I have fond memories of local wine on a beach in Cyprus ….

        • libnan1

          @5thDrawer:disqus Hey, I meant ugly (not the girls) as pretty wild . I’m sure Cyprus is wilder than New Jersey.

        • 5thDrawer

          (See below)
          Oh … new dictionary … I guess ‘ugly’ and ‘wild’ are not ugly and wild ??
          Anyway .. I know a good beach when I see one 😉

        • 5thDrawer

          (See below)
          Oh … new dictionary … I guess ‘ugly’ and ‘wild’ are not ugly and wild ??
          Anyway .. I know a good beach when I see one 😉

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate this debate as it is a very healthy brain storming. I think we are forgetting that what makes Lebanon click is exactly what we are complaining about. What is great about Lebanese is the way we think outside the box. No straight lines, not much organization, things everywhere …. We get things done. As a friend told me, a Lebanese can be solving complicated software issues during the day, a gardener and a mechanic on wkends. We are unique even in the middle east, I like what you are saying but that is what make us great. Let’s not change our culture too much, we just need to iron it ….

    • Anonymous

      Oh .. yes … the problem is it’s a relatively small crowd. But discussion IS good …
          Although politics just got boring … sort of ‘same old stuff’ … zzzzzz
      I’m ‘up’ for discussing girls … errr … discussing with girls … errr … discussing being on beaches with girls … 😉

      • Anonymous

        Now you’re talking. We have some nice beaches on the East coast, Rehoboth beach is awesome. Also the Jersey shore is not bad. I went to a bar couple of weeks ago, it got ugly …. oooh.    

        • Anonymous

          🙂  I was trying to forget the ugly … you need to find a better bar. 🙂
            I have fond memories of local wine on a beach in Cyprus ….

        • Anonymous

          🙂  I was trying to forget the ugly … you need to find a better bar. 🙂
            I have fond memories of local wine on a beach in Cyprus ….

        • Anonymous

          @5thDrawer:disqus Hey, I meant ugly (not the girls) as pretty wild . I’m sure Cyprus is wilder than New Jersey.

        • Anonymous

          Oh … new dictionary … I guess ‘ugly’ and ‘wild’ are not ??

        • Anonymous

          Oh … new dictionary … I guess ‘ugly’ and ‘wild’ are not ??

      • Anonymous

        Now you’re talking. We have some nice beaches on the East coast, Rehoboth beach is awesome. Also the Jersey shore is not bad. I went to a bar couple of weeks ago, it got ugly …. oooh.    

  • kareemthehippy

    Been a while since I posted here ,but great article, Ghassan. I can use this to explain to people who ask about my political stance in Lebanon (unless someone is asking me that in Lebanon LOL) 

  • Anonymous

    Been a while since I posted here ,but great article, Ghassan. I can use this to explain to people who ask about my political stance in Lebanon (unless someone is asking me that in Lebanon LOL) 

  • leobetapar

    you are an zioniste agent

  • Anonymous

    you are an zioniste agent