Well, I might as well write something about the elections. As I woke up to read about this, I have to say, surprising state of affairs, I really felt sad throughout the day for many reasons. Genuinely sad. I am mostly concerned with the ‘public’ (or the phoniness of this term) state of affairs and not really with general party strategies and whether one wanted to win or to lose, as many people speculated that actually Hizbullah wanted to lose. I don’t buy this argument. I find it hard to believe that any political actor would wish to lose. Politics in the age of democracy and nation-state is like playing any game: the spirit of ‘competition’ prevails. And regardless of the pompousness of the Tayyar who really thought they were getting it right this time, through such a pretentious campaign, I still think that what tipped the balance is fear. Fear and hatred.
1- Christians showed that they are more chauvinistic and more ignorant of the other than ever before. Not only did they vote overwhelming because of fear from whatever Hizbullah represented to them that they were ready to elect inept kids only because they symbolized some sort of a glorious past the Christians were supposed to have.
2- Democracy on the long term works like the capitalist-liberalist system. Consumption works hand in hand with fear. Nationalistic feelings solidify and become narrower, pettier, and the realm of a fantasized universal reality. So much so that in a country such as Lebanon one can breed division within the already narrow-minded imagined nation (through say sectarianism, social and cultural difference, etc) and think it is highly noble to spring out of it (of course imagining that it is springing out of it) and raise a voice for the nation. This feeling is justified and rendered noble through the consumption of concepts such as democracy, rights, independence, liberty, and other elusive terms that subdue the social actor. So there is gap, or this lag, between the actual narrow mutually-exclusive condition one lives in and the projected ideal he/she thinks he is defending.
And that is precisely what happened when people went to vote for the Gemayels and Tuenis, as well as other candidates of the same movement. They thought they are voting for some righteous, something that is restoring the balance, something that is giving a more ‘just’ possibility. But you never need to point out what is righteous what is just unless you are scared, unless you fear something. But fear breeds hatred. And that is precisely what happened in the previous days.
The exact culprits behind this exacerbation of isolationism? Media, ‘Intellectuals’, priests of all sorts, basically the economy of knowledge. The time span? Oh no, I can’t even go there…
3- What made the day even the sadder is that Jamal did not write about the elections.