Monday, February 28, 2005

ABC of the Lebanese opposition and Dirty politics of Lebanon: Developments are moving fast in Lebanon. Karami tendered his resignation. The ultra-nationalists will now demand that the president resigns. And the Syrian government--out of complicity, incompetence, and stupidity or all of them combined--is refusing to budge, thereby strengthening that lousy group of fascistic militia supporters, sectarian-feudal warlord supporters, former enemies of Hariri who are now hailing him as a fallen hero, supporters of the kooky right-wing General `Awn in Paris, and all of whom are grouped in this soon-to-crack front of the opposition in Lebanon. And there are those who think that this little Tabbulah homeland is destined to greatness, once Syria leaves. They will soon discover that the divisions among the Lebanese are real and deep, and that Syria (among others) exploited but did not invent those divisions which existed throughout Lebanese history. The opposition demagogues are highly and unrealistically exaggerating the hopes and aspirations of the youths. Disappointment will soon prevail. I am speaking daily to Lebanon, and many are aghast at the attempt by the right-wing factions and defeated militias from the war years to hijack the movement. That is why Jumblat had insisted as of late on raising only the Lebanese flag (not my Hummus flag--see below); because many Sunnis and Hariri supporters were furious last week when the flags of Lebanese Forces, `Awn people, and the Jumblat Druze sectarian party (that falsely calls itself "progressive and "socialist") dominated the crowds, and only a few pictures of Hariri were displayed. The true sectarian composition of the crowd became too obvious. You have to maintain the myth of "united Lebanon," of course. Now, they are requiring the crowds to only display the Lebanese flags and pictures of Hariri. And why did Karami resign but not the head of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon? He is far more responsible, directly or indirectly, through negligence or worse. The Syrian government cannot have it both ways: it cannot justify its presence in Lebanon on the basis of providing Lebanon with peace and security, while failing to provide security to the major political figure who received threats, and one from Rustum Ghazalah (head of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon) himself according to many accounts I heard or read. But emotions are at an all time high. I was today quoted here as saying: "``The government had to stand down without a doubt to at least acknowledge their failure to protect someone of regional and international stature (Hariri), but to tender their resignation in the climate of Lebanon today may very likely escalate things,'' said As'ad AbuKhalil, a Lebanese political science professor at California State University-Stanislaus. ``This won't be Ukraine of 2004, but maybe Lebanon of 1975,'' he said, referring to the days when Lebanon was wracked by constitutional crises and political disputes." Once this quotation made its way on Yahoo and the Guardian, I received an avalanche of angry messages on my voice mail, and a few angry emails. One of them said: "So if you have something positive to say about the independence uprising, then say it otherwise keep your opinion to yourself and don't spread fears into the American public opinion." This is the real Lebanon that is hidden behind the crowds and the flag waving. These are the ones who are ostensibly supporting "democracy" and "independence" in Lebanon, but would not hesitate to silence critics, or to call for the restoration of colonial rule, as the star of this opposition, Walid Jumblat, has called for. This same Jumblat was key in constructing the very system that perpetuated Syrian political control of Lebanon. But you are supposed to erase your memory, if you want to follow and enjoy dirty Lebanese politics.