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.