I grew up hearing about Bachir el Gemayel – the man of hope for many people – a hope in a country they wish they had. Many of the people I know still look upon his memory and get an undeniable feel of nostalgia on the days when they really believed in the potential of the place they call their land.
I never got the hype. I always thought it’s better to live in the “now” than in the memories of days long past that will not nor can they ever return. For many though, the hope of Bachir lived on with his son Nadim. Today, however, I have to tell those same people who look upon Nadim Gemayel and say “Yalli khallaf ma meit,” hoping he’ll be the man his father was, that on the contrary, yalli khallaf mesh bass meit… Meit w sar trab kamen.
I’m not sure if it’s Nadim turning a show of force from his bodyguards as a personal attack against his sanctity. I’m not sure if it’s Lebanon’s security forces dragging the activists with whom the altercations happened to investigation today, arresting many of them in the process. I’m not sure if it’s the absolute naivety with which he handled the event at hand and expected to get away with it with his reputation unscathed. I’m not sure if it’s his apparent need to be in some form of spotlight… And what better spotlight than a presumed “assassination” attempt by the people opposing the unjust extension of our parliament’s mandate. But Nadim Gemayel has fulfilled what I always thought he would do.
This is the son of a man who supposedly called for democracy and safety.
This is the son of a man who called for the rights of his people, for them not to live in terror, for them not to fear those who think are “higher” than them, for them not to be constantly fearful and paranoid. Yes, yalli khallaf meit.
This man who belongs to our age group, who should understand the struggles of the youth, who has lived his fair share of struggles against long-standing regimes and who was victim of such practices isn’t only doing them onto the people who look up to him but actively trying to turn them into his own brand of Hollywood fiction. But here’s a news flash to Nadim Gemayel: this isn’t a Stanley Kubrick movie.
If Nadim Gemayel were the politician he thinks he is, he wouldn’t have just called away his bodyguards but fired them as well. If he were the politician he thinks he is, he would have resigned from parliament and been there chanting with those same activists for his and their rights as Lebanese citizens, for elections that would keep democracy in this country alive and for parliament members who don’t need to hire henchmen in order to feel safe – who only need a sovereign state empty of militias in order to move around the country and have unannounced dinners here and there.
Nadim Gemayel will get elected again, there’s no denying this. Whoever say otherwise are deluding themselves. This event will only put a fixable dent in the armor of the son of Bachir el Gemayel as he basks in the glow of his father’s memory, not daring to move away from it. What Nadim el Gemayel doesn’t know is that he is killing his father’s legacy with his practices. What he doesn’t know is that his father would have wanted him to build his own legacy that is very very different from the man Nadim Gemayel has become today.
Yalli khallaf meit. It takes more than just chromosomes and a similar face to fit into the legacy of the man that made you. And there’s no person more disappointed today than the man who made Nadim.