Do you know why this is depicted as a crisis situation?
Lebanon is facing a political crisis that has two faces: the emerging power of Lebanon’s Shiite population, evident in Hezbollah’s political strength and press for power, and the Christians’ feeling of isolation and vulnerability, so evident in this small, makeshift church on the mountaintop.
Because even the American journalist who wrote this article for the NYT has come to see the Lebanese reality from the confessional prism. So he looks at it as a zero sum game. If one sect is strengthening, than it must be doing so at the expense of another. Plus, notice how the shrinking power of the other is symbolized by the “small, makeshift church”. How simplistic and ignorant can you be to use such an image to make your case? Among the most beautiful architectural edifices of Lebanon are those churches. Nothing shrinking about it.
Why can’t we depict reality as one sect strengthening, creating the possibility of a mutual-sum game between the different sects of the country who will finally have a better opportunity to work together in order to craft the vital state? Why can’t we write an article about how Hizbullah’s rise can represent this national reconciliation?
And now I ask the journalist:
Why focus all your article on Samir Geagea? Is it because you think that the Christians are scared and feel isolated? Let me help you: Geagea feels isolated only because he has an a priori desire for isolation (federalism, etc.). There are other Christians or people coming from social environments that interact with Christian institutions that are not “scared” and don’t feel “isolated”. Your baptism story smells the rococo of romantic exoticism you strive for in order for NYT to keep its readership high. Good, you manage to be an Orientalist even when talking of Christians!
Oh but you talked about other Christians:
General Aoun, the former anti-Syrian commander and the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, has relied on an alliance with the pro-Syrian, pro-Iranian Hezbollah. That relationship may work for his ambition to become president — under the Taif accord, the president must be a Christian. But it is not clear at all that his followers, once considered to be the largest bloc of Christians in Lebanon, are comfortable with the arrangement.
“He lost his credibility amongst us Christians because Hezbollah is the reason behind all the country’s problems,” said Josiane Saadeh*, a former Aoun backer. “They refuse to disarm and engage in the country’s political life.
That’s it? Is that all you learned about “other” Christians? That they were unhappy because one of their leaders is closer to Hizbullah? The majority of the people sympathizing with Aoun are still behind him. Why don’t you write about those Christians? Oh it’s not really a scoop.. no conflict to describe. But you could actually do a rococo orientalist scoop out of it. I’ll tell you how: You have pictures of gorgeous girls with wide open T shirts next to veiled women demonstrating together. I’ll save my anger to when you’ll write another article on the Christians that are very happy and feel protected. Till then, salute.
*Do you guys think this Saadeh is a relative?