[Notice] For those who think talking about one’s sect is sectarian, this post is not for you. For everyone else, proceed with caution.
Today, February 9th, marks the memory of the founder of the Maronite Church: St. Maroun. Most Maronites would start exhibiting pride in their heritage on (and leading up to) this day. I’m fairly certain if you look at your Facebook news feed at this very moment, you’ll find about five or six friends sharing pictures of St. Maroun.
Of course, Maronites have every right to be proud of their heritage. They have simply withstood so much in the rough mountains of Lebanon, they have fought for Lebanon like possibly no other sect has done and they have the greatest hand in the founding of the state of Lebanon. I’d give historical proof here but I don’t think that’s necessary.
Among all the Lebanese sects, the only sect that kept believing in the idea of “Lebanon” throughout the years was the Maronite sect. And for that, as a Lebanese nationalist, I am proud.
But today, as I write this, I cannot but feel angry at Maronites: church, politicians and people.
I’m angry because the people are selling our land to whoever, however, whichever and for whatever reasons. I get infuriated when I hear that most of the land in certain villages has been sold to foreigners, regardless of the sect of those foreigners. It pisses me off that nobody seems to care about this as well. We actually care more about valet parking fights and useless comedy skits than about our own land. And that is very sad. It angers me that some of our politicians are among the people selling their land, as if they needed the money. You know, the monthly payment they get for life for being voted into office isn’t enough for expenditures. I’m angry because our church keeps preaching about not selling the land but does nothing with the wide resources it has about it. I’m angry because our grasp on our country is lessening not because of outsiders but because we, as insiders, are weak and easily tempted by everything materialistic that you don’t necessarily need.
I’m angry that the Maronite community is panicking regarding what’s happening in the region while they have no reason to be this afraid. Cautious, perhaps. But panic? Definitely not. I’m angry that certain politicians fuel this panic to serve their agenda. It angers me that the Maronite church is not doing anything to lessen this. On the contrary, it’s preaching that we should be afraid for our heads. Why should we afraid? What worse can happen to us as a community after the fragmentation we had to endure for over fifteen years because of the Syrians and because of our internal differences? What could be worse than to be constantly afraid because of something that is not threatening you directly? What could be more debilitating that to constantly live in fear?
Let me answer that for you. Nothing. And yet we live in fear. We are constantly worried that our thirty parliament seats will be taken away from us, that the president will no longer, someday, be forced by law to be a Maronite, that our homes will be ripped off from under our feet and that we’ll be shipped off to Canada or some other Western country that would accept us.
Politics is cyclical. Maronites had their reign, the Sunnis had their reign, the Shiites are having their reign. And the cycle will turn, however vicious it may be. I’m angry that we didn’t learn from our mistakes when we were in power and we will probably repeat them when we find power again.
I’m angry that our politicians cannot agree on anything regarding our community, regardless of who they are. We vote for them, we put our trust in them and yet nothing happens. And then we vote for the same people again because the alternative makes us rightfully cringe, regardless of where you fall on the cringing spectrum. We cannot agree on an electoral law that would serve our best interests. We cannot agree on managerial appointments that we are “entitled” to in order to run the country. We cannot agree about a grand scheme that we believe the country should be heading to. What we can agree upon is that each politician is living in the delusion of being the representative of Maronites when, at the end of the day, we are as fragmented, as divided, as weak and as paranoid as we’ve always been and we can also agree that the state of our politics is disheartening, miserable and dishonest.
I’m angry that we, as Maronites, have a false sense of grandeur about us – of the sort “Alla khala2na w kasar l aleb.” Modesty goes out the window when we’re discussing our sect, even without practicing it. Who, among you, actually goes to church every Sunday? Not many, I suppose, including me. Who, among you, actually knows something more about St. Maroun apart from the fact that we get a day off on February 9th because of him? Not many, I suppose, including me (unless what I read on Wikipedia can be considered valid). Who feels proud that they are Maronite just because of the “perks” it entitles you? Many people, I suppose. Who feels proud to be a Maronite just because it makes you not “them”? Many people, I’m sure. Who feels proud to be a Maronite just because…? Many people as well.
I guess I have many reasons to be angry, as a Maronite, as a Lebanese, as a resident of a certain caza, of a certain town. I am a Lebanese angry about many things in my country, especially Maronites because we keep messing things up. And the worst part is? We take pride in messing things up.
Yen3ad 3leikon jami3an w 3a2bel kell sene.
PS: I made this post not detailed on purpose, so an element of vagueness remains to it; thus, making it applicable to everyone, regardless of political affiliation.