Confusion in the age of democracy

Today in Beirut, people are confusing an assassination that has clear regional causes and implications with very narrowly defined local demands, which may just worsen the current regional situation. The assassination of Wissam al Hassan, head of the Internal Security Forces is clearly the consequence of a long cold war that has began 7 years ago when the former prime minister Rafic al Hariri’s convoy was blown up with similar material.

But just to skip a few chapters and focus on the latest events, since the outbreak of popular unrest in Syria, the militarization of the conflict has spilled over into Lebanon and in so doing has opened the door to all sorts of political opportunities for groups, local, such as the Future movement and its loose allies (such as Salafist groups) and Syrians (such as the defecting military units) to team up in order to challenge the Syrian regime.

People forget that Lebanese political actors are involved in regional gambles that assure their position in power in the first place, or at the very least inform the particular local strategies they choose to adopt. And today, people are asking for a political outcome that ignores these regional dimensions. When Wissam al-Hassan was heavily involved in these gambles, people ask the government to step down on the legal ground that it cannot ensure the security of the nation. Since when was al-Hassan working with the intent of ensuring the security of the nation? The “security situation” has never been isolated in national enclaves, and if anything the modicum of a government that people have in Lebanon is one of the last obstacles, albeit a fragile one, to total security breakdown.

This is one of many examples why “democratic demands” of a seeming “civil society” in Lebanon are terms that produce more contradictions than facilitate the search for an effective solution.

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2 Responses to Confusion in the age of democracy

  1. Joumana says:

    Interesting take. But I am not sure what you are suggesting “civil society” do. Is it so unreasonable for people to want/ask for a bomb-free life?

  2. Bech says:

    It is totally understandable, but for it to become reasonable they must have the power to actually make a change, and they don’t. My point is that the person who got killed is one (among many others) who contributes to this climate of using bombs as a mean to a political end. This person is not voted on by “the people” and will never be. And in the case of Lebanon, the confessional/turf-related multi-layered society cannot see the emergence of a politics of the people that can effectively stop bomb use.

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