"I Want a Sect Against Sects
As’ad Abu Khalil
Sects, schools of thoughts, doctrines, religions. Leaders, agents, professional haters. They're devoted to sectarian provocation and agitation everywhere I look in the freak of a homeland, Lebanon. Platforms, palaces and positions that were built with sectarian fires. But I can't find a sect that meets my requirements. I can't find a sect that gives me air to breathe. Democratic Youth Union wants to delete sect from IDs and I want to delete it from the homeland. I want a sect. Who can get me a sect?
I want a sect for myself. None of the sects and doctrines can accommodate me. All restrain me. They disgust me. I don't get along with their leaders or their masses and I do not follow their slogans. I want to establish my own sect, but you're welcome to join. My sect has no rituals, traditions or customs. It's a freedom sect where everyone may define their own path. I want a sect that isn't interested in being ranked among Lebanese sects. One that doesn't boast about being one of the conflicting sects. I want a sect that the Lebanese Ministry of Interior's records do not recognize. My sect doesn't appear in commemorative photographs and doesn't get invited to the presidential palace and you don't see it in embassies. My sect doesn't receive money from the House of Saud or their followers in Lebanon.
I want a sect in Lebanon that isn't Lebanese. I want a flag besides the Lebanese flag with its triangular (Phalange) cedar. My sect has no connection whatsoever to the cedar's symbols, the cedar's images or the cedar's festivals. It has nothing to say about the Phoenicians besides what is written about them in the classical history book, which isn't mentioned in Lebanon's public relations writings, “They (the Phoenicians) were scorned as untrustworthy thieves and liars. As greedy merchants and profit seekers, they used to kidnap the weak and traffic people. They were unethical and corrupt and drove their daughters to sell their bodies. They killed their children as sacrifice for the gods.” “Jezebel” is originally a princess from Tyre (See Glenne Markoe's The Phonecians: Peoples of the Past, p. 10). This is all my sect needs to know about Phonecian history. My sect never permits exaggerations about Said Aql, May Al-Murr or Fouad Afram Al-Bustani to seep into the educational curriculum.
However, my sect is of this world. I want a sect that isn't represented in sectarian archives and has no representation in sectarian committees in Lebanon. My sect isn't represented by a cedar tree or a religious symbol. My sect has no billionaires to dictate its politics. I don't want my sect to be represented in sect principles or in pickles and parsley beauty pageants. I don't want it to compete in competitions for the largest plate of hummus. My sect won't be mentioned in presidential ceremonies and governmental decisions. Talk shows won't mention my sect. My sect won't take orders from Prince Muqrin nor will it pledge loyalty to any axis's priorities. It won't await marching orders from western capitals. My sect won't acknowledge borders, and it will strive to dissolve the freak of a homeland, Lebanon. My sect will want to destroy its borders with occupied Palestine. It will want to merge with liberated Palestine. My sect rejects the Ta'if Accord and its sectarian subtext. My sect didn't even set foot in Al-Ta'if and wasn't tainted by its money.
I want a sect where children can play and have fun. In my sect, the only place for children is on swings and playgrounds and swimming pools. In my sect there is no place for sterile, stagnant education for children or for rewards and punishments. My sect rejects the notion of children's inferiority. It actually respects the child. In my sect children play in mud and neglect their lessons anytime they want. Children in my sect do not take lessons in manners. They learn to rebel at any time they desire. Children in my sect can dress colorfully and enjoy themselves. They do not fall victim to western corporations’ propaganda that harm children's mental and physical wellbeing. In my country children can spill soup, candy and chocolate on their clothes without fear. In my sect children learn from swings and from each other any time they want. Children in my sect do not purchase American products. In my sect children speak Arabic on the playground without shame. Children of my sect do not learn through rote memorization or parrot-like repetition. Children in my sect do not observe Teacher's Day, and they reject Ahmad Shawqi's poem to "venerate" teachers. The relationship between teachers and children in my sect are democratic, not heirarchical. In my sect teachers do not yell or throw chalk or reprimand. Children in my sect can draw with ink on their white shirts if they want to. And chew gum if they want to. And dance in math class if they want to. I want a sect which girls and boys squeeze my heart and present it in a cup to my beloved. My sect airs my heart on a laundry line in front of my beloved's house. My sect records my heartbeats on a CD and places it at my beloved's door. The girls and boys of my sect play on my heart's strings the symphony of eternal love. My sect memorizes all songs of harmony and love. My sect combines love and fury in resistance and revolution. My sect loves life, but not the servile life that the Al-Hariris and Al-Gemayyils want for us in Lebanon. My sect doesn't sing for hollow peace and doesn't carry candles to mimic the white man who wants to strengthen his grip on us in everything including how we breathe and laugh. My sect doesn't follow in the footsteps of Gandhi and remembers how he used to "test chastity." My sect welcomes war as much as it loves life with freedom. My sect knows that slogans of peace and non-violence are the latest expressions of normalization with Israel. Singing and dancing are allowed in my sect and in no need of permission from the police or authorities. Lovers can hold hands without warnings from extremist religious police like that of Saudi Arabia or Iran. My sect's sons and daughters do not dance without dignity as Iqab Saqr did recently at the Janadriyya festival before Prince Salman and other princes.
My sect considers religious an exclusively individual matter and calls for the state's separation from religion and virtue except for public health matters after cleansing the state from sectarian dirt and sect leaders' filth. An individual may believe or disbelieve as he likes, without state decree. The state respects free expression and rejects Tariq Metri's project to create a high censor position to protect the Al-Hariris' interests in Lebanon. My sect doesn't oppose the individual's creed; he is free to worship or to sing in Mansuriyya or Tyre or Shetura. My sect permits worship as long as it is private and as religious institutes do not receive state funding. My sect guards secularism without shame or fear or hypocrisy. My sect invites Marcel Khalife (why did he give a gift to Sad Al-Hariri? Why, Marcel? We don't recall that being part of your culture during the war years) to sing "I am Joseph, Father" in a public square. My sect doesn't allow or prohibit; it doesn't permit or restrict; it doesn't proselytize or denounce. It dances freely (not to honor the oil sheiks as the Karkala group does).
My sect's ranks swell with "Youth Against Normalization" with Israel, elderly against normalization, children against normalization, women against normalization and students against normalization. My sect fights normalization in every way, shape and form. It pursues the enemy everywhere. My sect strives to liberate all Palestine and to liberate Lebanon too (of superstitions, myths, legends, mass delusion and also free it of western and Israeli colonialism). My sect doesn't imitate the west and doesn't suffer an inferiority complex before the white man. My sect isn't shy to mimic Africa. My sect reads what it likes without contributing to the usurping entity and “Amos Oz”. My sect doesn't want to appear civil before the European visitor. My sect feels comfortable appearing as it is. My sect has no presence in francophone gatherings to bring Israel into our homes and bedrooms. It doesn't establish relations with Arab regimes but it enjoys solid relations with Arab peoples. My sect dismisses all Arab leaders and doesn't obey a single one of them. My sect teaches its sons and daughters to refuse lowering their heads except before trees, birds, clouds and mountains.
My sect isn't docile. It swoops to resistance and revolution when necessary. My sect opposes the Israeli enemy. Its sons and daughters love living life with dignity, not shame. My sect doesn't hold monthly meetings to discuss sectarian provocation and regional and global affairs. My sect doesn't have any elders who pretend respectability before TV cameras. My sect believes in a defense strategy in which the Lebanese government isn't decision maker or that the state's armed personnel stay at home on war day. Those who'd like to fight can join the resistance, not the other way round, unlike Faris Said's irrational defense methods or Duri Sham'oun's theories, which refuses to accept the notion of Israel's defeat in the July war.
My sect loves, respects and reveres women without directing them to follow Virgin Mary. There is no place in my sect for Lebanese males who see nothing in women but a naked body, and who see nothing in the woman's head but features for make-up and adornment. There is no room in my sect for those whose only knowledge of language is the demeaning cat calls they make to pedestrians on the street or on Facebook. In my sect it is strictly prohibited to crack jokes about Haifa' Wehbi, but it is allowed to tell jokes about the males who have devastated the freak of a homeland. What has Haifa' Wehbi done to deserve becoming the object of cheap jokes in vulgar sexist society? Did she drive the population into poverty? Did she fund war militia? Did she claim she "built" Lebanon while storing the Lebanese people's fortunes? Did she plot against Lebanon and Palestine? Leave Haifa' Wehbi alone. In my sect love is based on acceptance and equality in fulfillment of desires. My sect stresses equality between men and women. It fires all men from Lebanese broadcast stations to purify them of commercializing and marketing women. My sect hosts Sri Lankan and Ethiopian women for at least one year to serve them dutifully. The sons and daughters of my sect massage Sri Lankan and Ethiopian maids' feet before they fall asleep. My sect's sons and daughters volunteer to wash their clothes as modest compensation for years of exhaustion.
My sect asks women about their desires and aspirations. It doesn't assume or claim or decide on a woman’s behalf. My sect redefines beauty pageants and prohibits plastic surgery except for operations that involve the woman's health and wellbeing (i.e. reconstructive and restorative operations). My sect doesn't judge a woman by her weight, cup size or the fullness of her lips. My sect accepts the woman as she is without applying compounds, herbs and medicines created by quacks and charlatans. My sect rejects importing female beauty standards from the sexist Hollywood industry. My sect refuses to make women the only ones with responsibilities in the family. It imposes responsibilities on men. It doesn't consider manhood an excuse not to cook, do laundry, clean and do dishes.
I desire a sect that redefines gender and fundamentally changes methods of child rearing and upbringing. In my sect, parenting is based on cooperation, love and equality. My sect rejects scolding and belittling as methods of instilling obedience and blind loyalty. My sect rejects family laws that monopoloize sexist laws. My sect frees foreign maids in Lebanon and criminalizes their use. My sect frees all sex workers in Lebanon and criminalizes the purchase (not selling) of sex, if we can call that sex; sex implies consent between the parties, and economic need negates freedom of choice and decisionmaking. My sect will make those into centers to spread radical feminism in Lebanon.
My sect rejects capitalism and works to cancel it. My sect agrees with Balzac that behind every fortune lies a crime. It agrees with Proudhon that private property is theft. It agrees with the demands of The Communist Manifesto as a bare minimum. My sect embraces the poor and ridicules the rich and bars them from representing people and controlling them. My sect prohibits palaces in Lebanon and will convert them into shelters for the poor. My sect will demolish statues of the rich and colonialism's puppets and will allow a statue of "the dangerous man." "The dangerous man" is my sect's dear son. My sect will oppose privatization and will nationalize all sectors after ridding the state of sectarian grasp. My sect will consult comrades Khalid Saghiyya and Muhammad Zebib on economics and will ignore everything written by Marwan Iskander. My sect will encourage people to pirate to break or decrease the monopoly of multinational corporations. My sect will refuse the impoverishment of Al-Biqa farmers under the rubric of a deceitful virtue war imported from the United States.
My sect acknowledges a debt to Syrian workers in Lebanon and gives them Lebanese citizenship. They have rebuilt Beirut, unlike one who has impoverished the Lebanese people by plotting against them and against the peoples of neighboring Arab countries. My sect pursues and criminalizes anyone and everyone who harms Syrian workers, and pursues politicians who provoke public opinion against the Syrian people in Lebanon. It also places responsibility on the Syrian regime, which neglects the affairs of Syrian workers in Lebanon. My sect considers Syrian workers in Lebanon a sect per se. It encourages unions in Lebanon to cooperate and unite with a Syrian workers’ union in Lebanon (after expelling the former’s president Ghassan Ghousn, who was installed by the Amal movement for reasons unrelated to workers’ rights in Lebanon).
I want a sect that flies and soars and sings before the birds. A sect that wakes with sunset and sleeps with sunrise. I desire a sect that takes on the colors of the rainbow and isn’t afraid to sleep on the clouds. I want a sect that doesn’t follow, doesn’t applaud and doesn’t chant except for freedom, without payments or provocation or commands. I want a sect that drinks and eats from the earth and then returns to it. A sect that understands environmental struggle differently than Akram Shihayib and the green party. My sect’s concept of the environment will be closer to the American Green socialist party, not the Lebanese capitalist green party. My sect’s environmental activism will involve struggle against capitalism and globalization while the “struggle” of the Lebanese green party joins the Lebanese economic system’s capitalist monopoly. My sect understands environmental needs as a struggle against the greed of oil sheikhs and their followers in Lebanese economics and society. My sect starts by prohibiting hunting and barring western corporations that have a long history of destroying the environment. I want a sect that doesn’t subscribe to Lebanese myths of superiority and claims of Lebanese genius. I want a sect that acknowledges the equality of people. Is this too much for you, sons and daughters of Lebanon’s sects? I want a sect that scribbles and merges the red and green on the Lebanese flag. I want a sect that will rewrite Lebanon’s history to discuss a war of independence that failed to achieve independence. My sect will prepare for a war of true independence for Lebanon.