Mea culpa

Ok after writing about this I want to move on. I do not want to go back to these issues endlessly. This post is an effort to once and for all establish why it seems like I have a particular problem with some type of “Christian politics” in the country that came to be called Lebanon.

The best way to do this (especially when you’re lazy and supposed to do other more serious things) is by bullet points. So here we go, why Christian politics receives a lot of criticism from my part:

1- The Christians are the main culprits behind the creation of the State of Lebanon. That is what I will call the “original sin” to use Christian discourse. For some it is a blessing I know, and if it is, that is already an indication that something is kind of wrong in the way they understand politics in the region.

2- By creating the State of Lebanon they crystallized the confessional system for the simple reason of being able to dominate the system. This inevitably led to the slow elimination of non-confessional discourse (especially once the civil war has started, when other ‘confessions’ understood that the best way to organize politically, gain power, etc. is to organize the same way). Today the Sunnis are the Maronites of the seventies, the Shi’as the Sunnis of the latter period. Christians were those who inaugurated political expression through confessional discourse.

3- Why? Greed and power, friends and relatives. And one of biggest problem is the Kataeb party and its popular (accommodating adjunct) the Lebanese Forces. These dudes where the most perverse form of this Christian culture. Actually it is an insult to call this Christian because Christianity has had more glorious pasts. So let’s call them political Maronitism (that’s a huge chapter on its own and will not be dealt with here) of the twentieth century (once the Maronite seized to be proud of being Arab and shifted to internalize colonial discourse).

4- Why perverse? Because of their political practices, their killing looting etc. their constant contempt of everyone. Everybody did that of course but the systematic elite driven massacring policy was never as effective as under the Lebanese Forces. They were born for that and are still surviving under the principle of relative hatred. They exist because of their hate for the other and nothing else. It is not something ‘essential’ (by essence) kind of built in them. It is a product of a particular historical juncture that created the possibility for such practices. Other will come and other came before them. But just as an example of how fucked up these people were. My father was a surgeon at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Ashrafieh. He used to tell me that Bachir Gemayel would come with a bunch of guys, or send them to find between the surviving wounded, the Palestinians, ‘Muslims’ etc. in order to kill them in front of everyone. The people they used to kill were handicapped, could not fight anymore. They used to do this every so and so. My father used to come back home in a complete rage saying that on this particular day they tried to kill them inside the hospital but he stopped by trying to call this or that politican, only to find that he could just postpone their death for outside the hospital. It was their idea of ethnic cleansing probably.

5- Last but not least, their extraordinary strength not to change. The discourse you listen to today is the exact same discourse you had thirty years ago. And it is understandable. Their practices did not change. Nothing has been done by these guys to change social structures. Everything is still the same. They got more aristocratic and greedy of their material well being (that sometimes was petty and not much, so they actually lived in the idea of their glorious past). Just listen to Joyce Gemayel speak yesterday, she epitomizes everything that I talked about earlier: rampant feudalism (shit I did not mention that actually), longing for THEIR glorious past (the Gemayel legacy), playing the “tahmish el massi7yeh” card that first got us in this place, condescendence to the others (those who are not on ‘her side’). If you want to understand anything about Christian regressive politicking, just listen to this woman.

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13 Responses to Mea culpa

  1. apokraphyte says:

    Confessional political discourse can be traced to the late ottoman period, and the breakdown of certain feudal (economic) structures. I think it is fair to say that confessional discourse in Lebanon really is the only known means for feudal lords to challenge each other (i.e., really on a different corporate form for political, ideological and economic organization to subvert some established local authority). In other words, the crap coming out of gemayel’s mouth has a long pedigree.

  2. bech says:

    yo apo good to hear from you…

    i agree with you, but the formation of the state crystallized this political practice to encompass a whole set of institution. Confessionalism existed as an ad hoc custom, but at the end of the day, Ottoman law (or discourse) prevailed (non-confessional that is). The advent of the ‘modern’-state European style coupled with confessional custom led to the creation of a hybrid, quite destructive, institutional form.

  3. Anonymous says:

    can’t wait for sandrine’s comment on that one….

  4. Anonymous says:

    No crazy furious comment on my behalf dear “anonymous”. I expressed it privately for once and I’m getting too tired with this.
    If you’d like my opinion and not minding saying who you are, you can find me at sandrinesabbagh@hotmail.com. Otherwise, whatever.

    Funny though… The sunnis of today are the maronites of the seventies … And yet, I don’t seem to read much about it on this blog. Except for once, maybe, an article about Hariri. Another Bechirian complex (and one of mine, btw, but I actually don’t mind saying it : OOOOOOohhhhhhhh, another Christian complex …)
    I guess history started for Bechir the day that “thing” called Lebanon was created. Nothing about the context that lead the maronites to act that way or not even an attempt to detect the divergences within – I’m sure dear Bechir won’t have the same speech on Karim Pakradouni that he’ll have on Gemayel, simply because Pakradouni (now, a non-lebanese because armenian lol) was Syria’s buddy. Could it only be that the feodal system was actually what allowed them to survive for a long long time before Bechir’s dear Syria even existed or before any crappy country in this region really existed ? …

    I’m sick and tired of explaining to M. saade that I’m a pretty regular person that relates usually to most of his articles but just finds a huge disbalance in his speech about “christians” (of course, if we’re right wing, we’re all gemayel). Because at this point, it is a simple stupid speech with nothing constructive about it.
    Now, having syrian origins and a certain political orientation in the family must have had their affect on him, just like my being lebanese and being christian have their affect on me. But what pisses me off is that the guy can actually analyze until you say Christian. Then all he can say is “bloody murderer” and that’s that. Whatever attempt of logical reasoning he tries to put behind it, I don’t buy because I know him. The memory of his dad coming from the hospital too dear to his heart I guess, and I can understand that. This is actually personal for him. But I’m kinda sick of the good and bad speech. It’s like listening to Blair or Bush here… Too tiring.
    Anyways, good luck with the propaganda and hope lebanon blows up on everyone’s head once my family is out of there.
    With divergences and hatred like that and no serious attempt to understand not only how we got here but most importantly where we are headed, hell I’m starting to buy into constructive chaos. I’ll just join Joumblat in jabal el druze and we’ll slay us some christians heads for old time’s sake and because we couldn’t get over it, like Bechir Saade.

    Oh, and I forgot dear anonymous, if you could answer these two questions :
    1.
    how come there is no attempt to analyze Syria’s role in the 15 years “civil war” or its role until today? Or Saudi Tizé? Or US ? But mainly Syria, should be interesting from a Bechirian point of view.

    2. Bechir says that “our” (meaning mine and some other people) speaches are what feed islamism or extremism or whatever the hell you call it. Can you tell me what kind of killing germ his speech may grow in a person’s head ?
    Peace
    or war. Whatever comes your way.

    Sandrine

  5. Anonymous says:

    wou raed, I have a pretty good feeling that you are “anonymous” :
    haha…………………….

    Sandrine

  6. bech says:

    sandrinou,

    Just to point out that I never said what you say in your point 2 (a very stupid point indeed). You must have misunderstood me on something related I must have said. But then again, you did not understand much of what I say (as you are blinded by your own prejudices on what I supposedly think) so let’s leave it at that. Or let’s wait until you calm down and maybe we can talk again. For now it is useless to argue.

  7. apokraphyte says:

    Well, bech, we agree “kind of,” as usual …🙂

    But you need to be more specific with your language, i.e. please define custom, law, discourse, social practice, etc. Otherwise, we have a mess.

    I would still say that confessional discourse, as an institutional practice, came with the tanzimat, which itself was the result of the penetration of a certain sort of european corporatism.

    One downside to focusing on discourse, it seems to me, is that one often takes the advent of a new technology to be a historical discursive shift, when in reality, the politic and economic dynamics remain the same, they are just foisted onto and expressed through new forms (technologies).

  8. observer says:

    Bech,

    I did expect some coverage on the recent racial/prejudicial comments towards minorities by the elitists who claim that “Amn el moujtama3 al masi7i fawka koul i3tibar” !

  9. bech says:

    Observer, if I have to pick up on all the stupid, racial, and nasty stuff happening here, then I would not know where to start! But the recent Metn elections really got out the filthiest in people. Of course, how the Armenians were treated (by Gemayel and g.murr) is just incorrigible. Joyce Gemayel: “don’t be backward (metkhalfin), and vote for us”…

    The thing is I am trying not to write anymore about my own feelings regarding parties here, but when the shit hits the fan i just post the most absurd.

    Even the Aounists showed they could have the most confessional discourse if it means getting people rallied up. But then, where would you go if you did not use confessional propos in order to win votes in this country.

  10. bech says:

    Once an apo always an apo…

    agreed for tanzimat although tanzimat were under Ottoman jurisdiction and although they set the stage for the confessional Lebanon we knew today they met fierce opposition when they tried to be transformed to such fully fledged confessional state. Would the Sunnis have succeeded we may not have had a confessional state but a bigger (geographically) country that would have foreclosed the possibility of a confessional political repartition.

    When I talk of discourse I mean discourse emanating from these ‘technological forms’ you’re talking about. economic and social developments are expressed in discourse and create certain forms of social consciousness. There is no floating discourse, and discourse is a good sign of what’s going on at the level of the base (to use a Marxist term). Otherwise said consciousness is the discourse I talk about.

    Ok i cannot define everything now because the few readers left on remarkz will this time completely disappear.

  11. Dr Miletzki says:

    Sorry Sandrine, anonymous was me and my comment was just random and not constructive. Just a thought from the bleachers…

  12. Anonymous says:

    “The Christians are the main culprits behind the creation of the State of Lebanon. That is what I will call the “original sin” to use Christian discourse. For some it is a blessing I know, and if it is, that is already an indication that something is kind of wrong in the way they understand politics in the region.”

    Bechir, do you honestly think there is something to argue there ? I don’t.
    My interest in this is truth, but only for potential solutions for the future. Not to find “des fautifs”. I don’t even think Lebanon is a mistake so I think this is completely dumb. It’s like going back to say Pakistan and Israel were mistakes. Who gives a shit if they are and how ? They exist today. So let’s find solutions, instead of repeating like morons that it’s a mistake.

    As for your “Christians”, Hell, at work where I am, where I don’t do very smart things, you still gotta go back to the historique, draw a pattern. Where is your pattern ? How come you’ve got one for each community but not for this specific one ? Or were they born with feudal vs peasants genes ?
    They depended on foreign powers to stay there, just like the druze, in a dominating sunni context, and they used perverse ways which they were not able to transform (Good morning, Syria) – they’re trying to pick up now where they were left once the war ended, “Christians” were left out of politics during that period – can you even say there was lebanese politics during all this period ? (No, of course, cause we don’t wanna say anything about Syria). You can’t just blame their system, while this particular system was used by the Syrians during the OCCUPATION.
    Opposingly to you, I am not pro anything, or anti anything. I don’t think Hassan Nasrallah is superman, I think he’s trouble in the long run, or at least his party, but I still like the guy cause he’s smart.
    I don’t think like you that frontiers and nationality don’t matter. For the simple fact that you need to organize economic affairs, security and efficient foreign relations within a space you can control, and that space happens to be the current Leb, whether you like it or not.

    Mgoing back to work. It’s actually becoming more interesting than this eternal discussion.

    Sandrine

  13. Anonymous says:

    m… alba, joyce gemayel. Je viens d’écouter son discours.
    Enno bechir, j’arrive pas à croire que c ça pour toi, la représentation politique des chrétiens. Bi charafak.

    Sandrine.

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