Funny how Lebanese don’t lack creativity to come up with solidarity movements, petitions to sign, political stands, etc. that glorifies their independence of affiliation. The “non-aligned” movement is the most interesting of all, because in reality, it slides inadvertently towards one side (the government, 14th of March). I’ll explain why in a minute.
I have been receiving, since the end of the July-August war, a series of forwarded emails about websites to check, created by either advertising company employees (who happen to have the creativity required to come up with new brands), or some random well to do Lebanese who thinks his point of view could reach any where further than the Gemayze street.
Check for example the “Awareness campaign on sectarianism“, clearly an elitist title in the first place, as if people did not know that sectarianism exist and needs to be corrected. They seem to say: “Let me tell you about sectarianism, I got enough money from the World Bank and the UNDP, to tell you the obvious”. What they do, is they choose a village that’s really poor like Akkar, and then they
aim to encourage youth participation in local governance, reach remote and marginalized communities and react to the non-existence of municipal authority in the target region. The approach also advocates democratic values through education and training, empowering local communities & encouraging sustainable development.
So what does this have to do with fighting ‘sectarianism’? All they do is incite student (a selected few) to get involved in public matters of organization (whatever that means). Then the rest
of the campaign is subcontracted to Leo Burnett and the like in order to do cheezy ads like “I am english, je suis francais, ana shi3eh, ana sunneh”. I really love it when banks, and media companies want to teach political lessons!
It gets even trickier when you learn that I received this email by a guy who always sends me anti-Aounist forwards and actually declares to be a huge Samir Geagea fan. For those interested in conceptual frameworks and the social sciences, this is a pure instance of ideological behavior. The distortion of representation in the face of a socio-economic reality (I am simplifying the definition of course). Although Aoun on the ground has presented an effective mode of action to fight confessionalism, he hates the guy, and when another guy is clearly being sectarian in all his actions (Geagea), he loves him. yet he boasts about ‘awareness against sectarianism’. Socio-economic environment? He works for Leo Burnett and belongs to the upper strata of Beirut’s population. Meaning that there are no reasons to relate to a movement like Tayyar or like Hizbullah.*
I give you one final example: Another guy sends me his ‘cced’ deep thoughts on the Lebanese situation. He also works in advertising, so you can tell that he’s a shrewd political commentator. His emails are the most naive texts I have ever read in my life. In any case, Here is his latest thing: “Resove it. Solve it”. So they come up with shiny slogans, that are completely empty of content. They’re used to it because their job is about creating unnecessary needs with shiny slogans, creating meaning from complete emptiness. In this case, they want you to sign a petition that you’re sick of conflicts and war and you want the ‘politicians’ to ‘resolve it’. This is the stupidest thought I have ever heard uttered. As if, first of all, you signing this useless petition will change anything, second of all, as if change has to do with them ‘resolving’ things. I mean don’t these people understand anything about power, interest, rivalries, regional situations, etc?
Now why are phony intellectuals who claim to be non-aligned are actually mostly in line with government policies? Simply because by saying you reject American interference in Lebanon in words doesn’t make you REALLY reject it. You have to reject it factually, on the ground, in reality. If you oppose yourself at the only force capable of rejecting it (namely Hizbullah), then you’re off from a very bad start. Living in denial of how reality actually is makes you a tacit apologist of what you reject in words that are not verified by practices. It does not mean you are with Hizbullah, but at least you understand, comprehend the fact that they are the best entitled to confront US Middle Eastern destructive foreign policy.
If you think Hizbullah is an Iranian import and you cannot understand the mechanism behind affiliation with Hizbullah (as a genuine social process of change) than you’re already being biased in the way you think your political affiliations. In the “resolve it, solve it” case, the fallacy is thinking that you need these people (the Lebanese political factions) to agree, when actually you need to have one party (the government, and the ‘majority’) to accept that the other has an important role to play in the affairs of the country (Hizbullah). So go scream at the destructive governmental policies instead of acting hip and elitist and thinking you’ll be interesting acting “different” because you’ll only be pushing for the preservation of the current oppressive status-quo. Unfortunately, because it never oppressed you (Harirism was a gold mine for the service sector), you’ll never understand shit about things.
* I will soon post on how sectarianism in Lebanon is closely related to the phony liberal system, that actually has created a militia economy and culture among the service sector of the country.