The Most Sectarian Ad On Lebanese Television

OTV is currently running this Election Law promo ad in support of the “Orthodox Gathering Law” championed by the political party running OTV, the Free Patriotic Movement.

Here’s the ad:

I know firsthand that many people think this way – but to turn shameful political gossip that goes on behind closed doors into an ad that’s supposed to convince others of the same rhetoric is taking it way too far. This ad disgusts me.

But let me do what the ad does and say the following:

My name is Elie. I’m a Maronite from Batroun. At least that’s what my ID says *flashes new ID to the camera.* No matter what I do, I’ll be voting for Maronites. I don’t want to vote for Maronites only because I don’t believe they represent me.

You didn’t expect that now, did you?

There’s a fine line between proving a political point which I’m sure Aoun’s many MPs and politicians (à la son-in-law prodigy Gebran Bassil) are more than capable of doing and what the ad is all about. After all, part of the reason why I changed my opinion regarding the Orthodox Law (click here) was seeing an FPM MP named Simon Abi Ramia go on and on for ten minutes about how the Sunni vote is “killing off” Christians by drowning them out and choosing MPs that do not represent them. Such sectarian messages from MPs and TV promos such as the one in this post should not and will not be tolerated on any form of television.

Here’s a word for the politicians who believe that MPs selected by Sunnis do not represent me:

I, a Maronite Christian as we’ve already (and nauseatingly – because that’s a point that resonates apparently) established feel more represented by Nabil De Freige, Atef Majdalani, Samer Saadeh etc.. than by Assad Hardan or Emile Rahmeh.

You know what’s ironic? The FPM is supposed to be a “secular” party. At least that’s what my FPM-supporting friends kept shoving down my throat when I expressed discomfort with their party. “Oh you’re just being a Christian extremist” they said. “We embrace everyone,” they said.

The way I see it, the only thing the FPM is embracing lately with these disturbingly bad ads, with their horribly divisive rhetoric is a rising bout of Christian extremism. And Christian extremists today do not represent me.

Enjoy the ad by the only people in the country who care for your rights as Christians. Because, you know, Lebanon is made for you and no one else.

“Aux-armes, Chrétiens! Formez vos bataillons! Marchons, marchons! Qu’un sang impur (those darned Muslims) n’abreuve pas nos votes!” (this is a play on the French national anthem and translates to: to your arms, Christians. Form your battalions. Walk on, walk on so that impure blood doesn’t water down our votes.”) – this is the new slogan for the 2013 Elections.

Be ready for a lot of “we tried to restore your rights but THEY *points finger* didn’t let us” speeches over the next few months.

56 thoughts on “The Most Sectarian Ad On Lebanese Television

    • Typo – it happens at 12:40 AM ;) other typos include some syntax structures and whatnot as well. They’ve all been fixed. :)
      And yeah, his name is the entire point :D

      Reply
      • euh, come on Elie it’s not a typo you wrote a double S. anyway, this is the entire point, cause the stated MPs are unknown to too many Christians and are exclusively representing in the parliament their political party )Future Movement).

        Reply
        • I obviously know who ATef Majdalani is or I wouldn’t have mentioned him. I also obviously know who Samer Saadeh is and who Nabil De Freige is.

          Samer Saadeh represents the future movement? Please.

          Fact of the matter is I’d rather be represented by these MPs than someone like Assad Herdein or Emile Rahme – whatever his name is.
          And you know what’s the epitome of hypocrisy? That someone like, say Abi Ramia, is so enraged at the aforementioned MPs having reached their seats because of the FM while he got his because of Hezbollah.

          I don’t have a problem with both because an MP isn’t supposed to be for his sect and his sect alone. And whichever MP believes that shouldn’t even be an MP. That goes to the entire “Change & Reform” bloc apparently.

      • Just 2 remarks Elie:

        1- Abi Ramia got elected because of Hezbollah, supposing this is true (he got the majority of Christian votes too), let us support the Orthodox law so taht Abi Ramia will not be elected in the upcoming elections.
        2- That goes to the entire “Change & Reform” bloc apparently.

        P.S. Official numbers of Jbeil elections:
        Maronites: 18258 (FPM) 17985 (14 March)
        Orthodox: 935 (FPM) 400(14 March)
        Christian Minorities: 391 (FPM) 380 (14 March)

        Reply
        • I see you didn’t read that I don’t mind neither the Sunnis having a say nor the Shia having a say in who represents them as much as me.

          I daresay less than 300 votes over more than 30,000 (those Orthodox and minorities are sure irrelevant – hey, just applying the law) is nowhere near a landslide.

        • The LF and Kataeb are supporting the law in a chess game with Aoun. Either way, I disapprove of the law even if they whole-heartedly support it which they don’t.

        • Did you even read what I said?
          Let me say it again: I don’t think anyone except the FPM wants the law this much.
          And if the LF, Kataeb and Marada want it as much, then I am against it still.

      • I see that the Minorities and Orthodox from your point of view are not Christians!!
        Anyway, this is the democracy even though he had one single extra vote that means your statement that Abi Ramia reached the parliament because of the Shiite is wrong, you must admit it.

        Reply
      • I know pretty well that maronites votes are separate from all other christian votes (i have made too many research and read thousands of articles about the orthodox law). By the point is that we were talking about the election of abi ramia in jbeil on 2009 elections which was based on your beloved 1960 law.

        Reply
        • You said I didn’t consider them Christians – because, you know, it’s entirely up to me who’s “Christian” or not.

          But my opinion about what’s it like to be “Christian” isn’t about freaking out that those big bad Muslims are taking away from “our” seats but to actually embrace those who are different from us.
          I refer you to Maryse’s comment for a Bible quote. Except “Christianity” that you seem so keen on defending is entirely theoretical notion.

          But whatever Abi Ramia won. Good for him! Couldn’t be happier! I don’t mind it at all :D

          The only one here who minds the mere notion of Ramia winning without getting the Christian vote is you.

      • Let’s end the discussion here, because I think you are not getting that I am replying to your statement:
        “And you know what’s the epitome of hypocrisy? That someone like, say Abi Ramia, is so enraged at the aforementioned MPs having reached their seats because of the FM while he got his because of Hezbollah”.

        Congratulation to your biased blog!!

        Reply
        • I got that. And as I said, I’m so glad he deservedly won ;)

          But I was under the impression that the discussion wasn’t just about that as the Orthodox Law was mentioned repeatedly. But that could be just me and my biased blog.

          Either way, thank you for the discussion and for reading.
          And for the record, as I’ve said in the post that you obviously haven’t read, the Orthodox Law makes sense given Lebanon’s state. I just don’t think the sense it makes is one that should be perpetuated.

          And for the record as well, this blog is supposed to be a collection of my own ideas and, as such, it is biased by definition because I am not a news service.

          Bye.

      • How much time did you spend to come up with the “stereotypical” word?
        You look so nervous… we’re just discussing ideas, no need to attack the personal side and accuse others in this way.

        Reply
      • very good if less than a minute, I assumed that MTV is your only source as you assumed that OTV is my only news source.

        Anyway, I didn’t mention that MTV is your only news source.

        Reply
  1. What the hell is this? This is freaking unacceptable! And these people want my vote with ads like these?
    This should be illegal.

    Great post Elie. Ma essaret fiyon as always.

    Reply
  2. You know something? I’ve been living abroad for over a year now, and it’s just sickening to see the following:

    1. A “voting law” that is named after a religious sect.
    2. Outright sectarianism by the so called politicians, which eventually rubs off their so called sheep aka Lebanese people.

    I can never see myself going back living there, simply for the fact that people would rather elect someone just because he happens to believe in the same God and same son/prophet than someone who can actually bring you the basics of the 21st century: 24/7 power, consistently good internet, good job opportunities,

    When the Lebanese get their priorities in order (i.e. secularism over sectarianism, voting for specialists rather than religious fanatic scumbag loyalists, their lives before their master puppets’ lives), Lebanon will be called Lebanon when its people want to make it Lebanon, now they all want to make it “kel min 7arto elo”, which is nothing less of pathetic.

    All I want to know is what is it going to take for all of us to wake the fuck up and do the right thing.

    Reply
    • Hey Joe.

      1) In all fairness, the name of the sect got glued to the law without the sect having anything to do with it.
      2) This is precisely it. The more sectarianism our politicians fuel us with, the more sectarian we become.
      I’d take this even a step further and say that the more fear our Christian leaders feed us with, the more sectarian and extremist we become.

      This, to me, is unacceptable.

      As for the rest, we are in absolutely perfect agreement. I think you’ll like a post I intend to publish soon about this issue.

      Reply
  3. shit! i don’t believe i am wasting my time commenting on a such article, however ignorance provokes me its not in my hand!
    this ads is shedding light on people that suffer false representations of their opinion because of the bad electoral laws!
    FPM is born secular and is still fighting for Lebanon as a secular state! but hang on… euuu the law is sectarian can somebody be more silly to demand a non sectarian electoral law in a sectarian law???
    Christians only? well yeah Christians only are suffering from the bad representation give me one non christian MP that is elected by the christian votes and the Muslims voted for his competitor.
    damn the internet is flooded with ignorant bloggers!

    Reply
    • It seems that you have entirely missed the notion of secular. So here’s a quick google definition for you: Secularity (adjective form secular, from Latin saecularis meaning “worldly” or “temporal”) is the state of being separate from religion, or not being exclusively allied or against any particular religion.

      To get you to understand, I will explain this further: it means a “secular” party shouldn’t be championing slogans such as “the recuperation of Christian rights” as opposed to wanting to fight for the rights of all.

      No one said the law won’t be sectarian because the country is divided according to sectarian lines. I’m not demanding a non-sectarian law. I’m demanding a law that is fair. The Orthodox Gathering Law is nowhere near fair.

      Why should I as a “Maronite” from North Lebanon care about voting for a Maronite MP who serves the Chouf or Jezzine? Do those MPs even represent me? Hell no. I am more represented by the Sunni MP from Tripoli and I want to vote for the Sunni MP of Tripoli because how he runs things in his city reflect on my district.
      Let’s take the example further: why should I, as a Christian, give a crap about an MP’s religion if that MP is doing a good job at representing me?

      This narrow-minded rhetoric you’re bringing here (not very different from your political leader of choice) is unacceptable.

      I can give you an example Mr. Paul about a Muslim MP selected by Christian votes despite his sect not voting for him. Okab Saker comes to mind. Or does he not count?

      I could also give you another example where Christian votes changed the equation, not Muslims: Koura by-elections this past summer. Or is it only a big bad thing when Muslims change the Christian choice?

      I’m afraid Mr. Paul that the only ignorant person here is you. I’m also glad that your hand was provoked, whatever that means. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your notion of secularism.

      Reply
    • Paul, you are the type of people that I am exactly talking about. When the fuck are you going to wake up and start calling yourself a Lebanese before you worry about your so called religious faith? What kind of Christianity promotes your behavior that you are so worried about being misrepresented? Who gives a shit what god that guy prays to as long as he does his job? This is the republic of Lebanon, not the island of Maronites and you’re being invaded by Sunnis and Shias. This is their Lebanon as much as it is yours, and if they are more qualified to represent you than your Christian candidate, then live with that he prays on Friday instead of Sunday. With the presence of ignorants like you on both sides of this dispute, there will never be a stable Lebanon.
      Tfeh.

      Reply
  4. Elie if you consider the orthodox gathering law a bad one, which law do u suggest ?
    For 23 years all laws failed to ensure Christian representation. And I personally never voted because my vote never counts. What is called “Mounasafe” is BS. And i am talking abt government,parliament, and all gov admin. This is smth that has to be changed and this law seems sectarian but isn’t the whole system sectarian. Haven’t you noticed that a large group of people are supporting that law. FPM,Kataeb Marada,LF along with Ra3i. It is your right to refuse it but suggest another law which provides proper representation.When lebanon becomes a secular country i will support you against these kind of laws.

    Reply
    • Remove sects from parliament. Establish a Sectarian senate w/ representatives chosen by the heads of sects (i.e. Raï, Qabbani, etc…).
      Make Lebanon into as many electoral districts as there are MPs, the number of which should be reduced, and establish one man one vote criteria.

      Fyi, patriarch Raï is not with the Orthodox Gathering Law.

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Beirut Spring: Sectarianism as a Means to Liberal Ends

  6. We are the majority, 80% of Christians are pro so YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP! This law WILL pass at the parliament whether you like it or not.

    Reply
  7. Elie i agree with you but given the fact that politicians wait for the last moment to decide on the law I don’t think what you suggested is realistic. So propose something which can be done within the few weeks remaining

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Lebanon’s First Ever Civil Marriage « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s