Jumblatt’s training camps

I was talking to a friend who lives in the Shouf and apparently there are training camps near Moukhtara. Friends of my friend are going there to learn how to butcher Shi’a meat and then come back to tell him transcendental experiences (so believe me, the story is real). The “Shi’a” come to exemplify the most horrible enemy. It reminds me of another story of a doctor friend who was invited to a lunch in some village in the Shouf where a majoritarily Druze table explained to him how the “Shi’a” and the “Druze” don’t share the same ‘values and tradition’, and that the Shi’a are “really something else”.

This symbolic conceptualization of the “something” else is the ideological (the amazing thing in Lebanon is how quickly signification slides from one ‘something else’ to another). Anyway, the doctor was amazed and retorted (I quote): “Yikhrebaytkom sorto te7ko metelna el Massa7iyeh!” ([assumingly god] destroys your homes, you now talk like us Christians!). Indeed, if only they knew that other Christians thought that although the Druze new ideological representations involve condescending feeling towards the “Shi’a”, they (Christians) still thought they were different from the Druze, the Shi’a etc. I love this rich stratification of ideologies! Of course the doctor example involves the representations of a specific social class so we cannot generalize but you get the feel of the different semiotic activities in the “Switzerland of the Middle East”. It is just that, the more you’re upper class, the more you elaborate the doctrines of your ideology (because from an economic point of view, you have the time required to do that).

Now on another level, I know many people would retort by saying that from the Lebanese Forces to Jumblatt’s so-called ‘progressive’ socialist party – I have no problem with the distortion of the word ‘socialist’, many people have distorted this term before, but it is the use of ‘progressive’ in such a context that is historically unprecedented! – these training camps are insignificant to start a proper civil war. Well, the important thing is that the potential (and the intention is there. The point is that it is still the same old story where masla7a-driven elites are guiding people towards certain useless death. Imagine Jumblatt would have decided that actually the Americans are not strategic allies but say keep closer to Hizbullah like he used to pretend to be. Horribly enough, the choice of the partner to cover your ass may involve some useless discursive imagination and some slaughtering in the process.

Update: Jean Aziz in Al-Akhbar wrote yesterday that Jumblatt is trying to massively buy land in Jezzine (Christian dominated village towards the south) after some Shi’a investors came to buy some parcels. According to Aziz, the lands that Jumblatt has an eye on would secure a strategic passage between the Shouf and Wadi al Tim (To Druze dominated region separated by a Shi’a enclave).


7 Replies to “Jumblatt’s training camps”

  1. What always fascinated me about Lebanon is not just how much we are ignorant about other Lebanese, but also about ourselves. We are only interested in legends and half-truths.

    As for arming, every time I talk to someone, he/she tells me that the young people in their area are getting weapons. As one of them was telling me: from 500 machine guns and lower for the time being. Reminds me of 1975.

    I am glad to see Jumblatt is re-investing the money King Hariri bestowed on him (our money btw) in Lebanon. It was gathering dust in Switzerland. Are we starting to see the trickle down effect of the Hariris econ. policy?

  2. that leads to the security dilemma where one person arms in defence “against” the other, and causes the other to train their footsoldiers. It has been on-going for a while, the story of the PSP training camps I heard it from a more accurate source during the summer. All parties are arming, not only Junblatt… let us be clear on this one…

  3. ms levantine:
    I am glad to see Jumblatt is re-investing the money King Hariri bestowed on him (our money btw) in Lebanon. It was gathering dust in Switzerland. Are we starting to see the trickle down effect of the Hariris econ. policy?
    Is this ironic?

    marxistfromlebanon, I agree with you.

  4. This is not new: in his memoir book, Kamal Jounblat says: the Jabal was populated by Shiaa villages, and we came and “removed them aside”.

  5. IBJ, did K.Jumblatt mean himself and his peers in saying “we”? I haven’t read the memoir, but I suspect it was a historical reference to the more abstract “we”, as in sect, specifically the expansion during previous centuries of Maronite and Druse that drove the Shi’a out of the mountain.

  6. It is so sympathetic to hear all this talking about Joumblatt training camps at the time there is a whole army of a whole nation settled in the South and having his eyes over all Lebanon!
    It is so sympathetic to talk about similarities and differences in ideologies where ideological brainwash and hatred is taught to young children in that self-satisfied country inside Lebanon.
    It is so sympathetic to compare Shi’a ideology to only Druze ideology, by the time all ideologies other than Shi’a are ready to cope and live with other ideologies (include Shi’a) when Shi’a (not all of them of course) believe they have the right to do anything anytime to anyone!
    It is sympathetic to talk about Hariri money by the time Iran send money to a party in Lebanon who refuses to confess that it is under the Lebanese flag!!
    And at the end, it is so sad, really sad, to know that Christians themselves are not united in this lovely country!

    God bless Lebanon

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