By Ghassan Karam, Special to Ya Libnan
“The truth is the greatest enemy of the state” wrote the Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels. In the same article he went on to say that “If you tell a big enough lie and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”. Oh how proud he would be of Hezbollah and their supporters for, alas, they have put this Goebbels doctrine to the test with an overwhelming record of success. The unending multifaceted daily praise for the accomplishments of the “resistance” has managed to obfuscate the unnatural state of affairs in Lebanon. Unnatural because some principles just do not coexist no matter how hard we pretend that things are otherwise. Democracy and authoritarianism are opposites just as much as freedom and civil liberties are the antithesis of enslavement and discrimination. To pretend that it is otherwise is to shield the lie from its mortal enemy the truth.
The truth is an absolute standard that is not open to negotiation and compromise. It has its organic whole whose integrity cannot be violated. “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other” is the way that St. Mathew explains it. Unfortunately this is a lesson that Prime Minister Hariri has not learned yet. He travels the world to praise Lebanon as an exceptional place, a place based on democratic principles and the rule of law but then he neglects to say that in Lebanon an unauthorized militia leads a privileged existence as a paramilitary group in possession of sophisticated arms that are smuggled into the country, each rocket and bullet, not to speak of foreign training and foreign financing. Democracy cannot thrive in the presence of illegal activities in all facets of life and to pretend that there are no contradictions is either to be ignorant of these elementary facts, which obviously is not true, or a practitioner of the big lie principle.
The fact that history has inflicted upon the Palestinian people a gross injustice and the fact that Israel continues its aggression cannot be used as a justification for the unnatural contradictions that are being actively promoted as harmonious forces. It is crucially important that one does not confuse the political rights for a group such as Hezbollah to hold to any set of ideas that it chooses as long as these ideas do not infringe on the rights of others. That is what democracy is about. I will defend their rights to assemble and promote their beliefs, even though I disagree with them, with every single fiber of my being. But to argue that the rights , guaranteed by the Lebanese constitution, to assemble associate and run for political office allows them to maintain an illegal militia that does not answer to the state is unconscionable. It simply is an accommodation for a vigilante group obtained under duress, it is an oxymoron to preach democracy, practice oligarchy, settle for less than a perfect state monopoly on violence and yet proclaim independence.
No we cannot pray to two Gods. The state either exists or it does not. There is no such thing as a state and a no state at the same time in the same way that one cannot claim to protect a constitution by violating it. This government is not illegitimate, but it is neither democratic nor constitutional. It is not democratic because it has willingly accepted an illegal and an illiberal group to dictate domestic as well as foreign policies. As for the titular head of the Lebanese Republic, President Suleiman, he was illegally elected to a post that the constitution specifically prohibits him from occupying. The constitution is a sacred document in any and all states. To show such disregard for the constitution by accepting a position that one is prohibited from occupying is contemptuous of the constitution to say the least.
The Big Lie will ultimately fail since facts and the truth cannot remain as an inconvenience for ever.