Christian Thought in a Nutshell …

I am going to make some confessionally-oriented arguments here. The schizophrenic nature of Christian thought has not changed since the appearance of the first internal frictions during the independence of Lebanon. I think that Gen. Michel Aoun represents (partly) the Christian thinking that only through a genuine attachment to the 10452 slogan can Lebanon achieve long-lasting political stability through which the Christians can play an important role and can keep their prerogatives (if not all, then some).

What’s the essence of the 10452 slogan? It was first voiced by LF militia leader Bashir Gemayel, who as he was closing in on the presidency indicated that he was committed to a unitary vision of the country — a position that contradictied his prior calls for federalism. Now whether Gemayel really believed in such a vision or merely adopted it as he saw the throne approaching for opportunistic reasons is difficult to know. One thing is sure: the people surrounding him thought that it was the way to go, especially when they had to deal with Americans, Israelis and Syrians during the previous years and knew what to expect from them.

Aoun was one of those surrounding Gemayel. And today he warns Christians of thinking the reverse way saying that only through the former way can Christians preserve their influence.

The split in the LF movement between those allied with Geagea and those with Hobeika and the later difficulties encountered in the Lebanese context doomed the appeal to this project. Geagea stayed close to Israel, Hobeika to Syria, and guys like Aoun detached himself from these derivations. The federalist way of thinking stayed pretty much anchored in Christian thought along with the idea that outside interference to tame the “other” Lebanese was necessary even if it could come at the cost of spliting the country in half.

Did Gemayel understand that taking orders from ambassadors was not especially good for his country? Maybe, but one thing is sure: Aoun has understood that since 1982. Has Gemayel lived, would we have seen a push for cohesion and a rejection of foreign dictats? It is only the internally weak political players who show no maturity in terms of reading history, preferring to accept partition if push comes to shove. When Gemayel was weak, this was the case. You put any person in the position of strength (of course I am generalizing here) and you present him with the possibility of combining unity with political victory and he will do it. Thus, Aoun is the intellectual extension of Gemayel from the presidency years on.

Now you know why Hezbollah (especially under Nasrallah) is not likely to work for partition. You understand also that the partition/union political trend is at the heart of Lebanese existential questions and will stay this way until the confessional system is for one reason or another (because i really don’t know how) abolished.

This is also why the descendants of Gemayel today (Solange and the rest) are petty federalists with no political power except that provided by foreign intervention or opportunistic domestic coalitions. See them celebrate Gemayel’s presidency anniversary yesterday though through the slogans of Gemayel, the militia man. Bear in mind that for me, Gemayel, the stateman, is just a hypothesis, or more accurately an idea for the sake of this discussion.

The main thought of this post is that the abolishment of the confessional system has to be preceded by the empowerment (at the State level) of a popular, strong confessional political player.

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3 Replies to “Christian Thought in a Nutshell …”

  1. But strong sectarian political players will have no incentive to abolish the sectarian system as they will lose all their power.

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