Maskhara At USJ: A Sum-Up of What’s Wrong With Lebanon

They say our country’s future resides on our generation. You know, the generation that supposedly doesn’t have illiterates, that has people going to our country’s universities to get the education that the people before us did not get to have. We were supposed to be brighter, more aware, more critical and less extreme.

We are anything but.

One of Lebanon’s universities, USJ, will close its doors tomorrow because its students decided to express civility today. It was not enough, for instance, for Hezbollah supporters that the entire country has to deal with their party’s reckless practices and their consequences and not get a say in the matter or that their hypocrisy has redefined the definition of terrorism in Lebanon. No, let’s not talk about any of that. Let’s talk about how some of their supporters decided it was a brilliant idea to remove the pictures of an infamous politician in the area where Huvelin exists and to plaster the thug that assassinated him around the place while chanting his name.

Because the country needed such a thing happening in it now. Because there’s absolutely nothing else pertinent taking place currently, the least of which is dealing with the ramification of an explosion that happened in Hezbollah HQ less than a week ago. Because someone figured: Jeez, we lost the elections a few days ago there so wouldn’t it be fun to do such a thing? I’ll get away with it anyway because, you know, I’m a Hezbollah supporter and I never, ever get into trouble. Never. This is my country and all of you just have to deal with it.

The counter reactions were not at a better level.

USJ is a Christian university. Because employing sectarian rhetoric is precisely what is needed in such conflicts, precisely what the country needs right now and precisely what is required to diffuse the tension. Let’s just bring it right into the fold and make it part of the debacle. Let’s not make it a battle of politics anymore. Let’s give our constituents exactly what they crave and what they itch for. Let’s give them what resonates with them at this very moment of a Lebanon that has fundamentalism on the rise. Let’s make this a battle of us versus them, of them trying to control us and to take over our campus.

What campus, you ask? The campus of Bashir, referring to Bashir Gemayel, the former Lebanese president around whom the current debacle took place. The campus of those who believe in his ideology and who follow in his footsteps. So is everyone else not welcome? Perhaps such an argument is tough to swallow but just because someone attended a university, however important that person is, does not turn that university into his property or into something that should always pay homage to him, regardless of who that person is.

Hezbollah’s aggressions are unacceptable and are bordering thug-like behavior. But the replies to those aggressions, even if only verbal, do not a point make. They do not even advance the situation or try to resolve it. Instead, we are left with kids playing, unaware that their actions in the Lebanon of today can have ramifications that none of them, I suppose, would want to see. But let them play. And let the politicians who support them and are defending them in the closed circles meetings taking place as we speak play. Or perhaps I was just being optimistic that my generation would be more mature than this. I guess not.


5 thoughts on “Maskhara At USJ: A Sum-Up of What’s Wrong With Lebanon

  1. I find it really sad that people attending university and that are supposed to be educated act and talk exactly the same way as uneducated people who never went to university (or even school). Apart from the political and social consequences of these acts, there’s a consequence that USJ students should be aware of as it directly affect them: The reputation of their institution. USJ, once a good university, is turning into a battleground for political parties, its students are less and less open-minded and tolerant. Of course, political parties provocation and the state inaction are to blame but USJ’s administration is not innocent neither: It is accepting unqualified and not so great students by lowering its acceptance standard. Above that it is not handling well the situation. These disputes have been going on for years, becoming more and more intense. Sad truth and sad news for Lebanon. Peace.


  2. since the foundation of hezbollah a part of fashiste groups in Lebanon are not happy because their roles are over. don’t see the reaction but follow the reasons. enough is enough and hezbollah is the most honest national group and the strongest. shut up


    • ‘Shut up?’ Hoda, Clearly you’re part of one of these groups as you call them that do not accept or even listen to other’s opinions. That’s the problem in this country. Uneducated and uncivilized people thinking that they’re the light of knowledge surrounded by the darkness of ignorance.


  3. I am a huvelin student and I was there when the incident occured. Let me point out that I don’t belong to either parties, or any party at all for that matter. While watching the whole fiasco, all that was giong through my mind was an excruciating sadness realizing that the poeple in front of me, cursing and saying really disrespectful things (I mean unimaginably disrespectful!) one another, are the future of my country. They are the business men of the future, the lawyers of the future, the judges of the future.
    But I feel the need to point out that the whole thing was taken way out of proportion by the lebanese medias that broadcasted it; I was getting messages from Lbc and Mtv saying that the hezbollah students had trapped us inside the university and we could not get out, wich is not true. We were able to go out and move freely if we wanted to but most of us didn’t want to go out and be haunted by tv reporters and by armymen.

    On another subject, a little clarification is in order. Though I could’t care less who’s university this is and I am against it’s now affiliation with Bachir el Gemayel, it is only called ‘jem3it bashir’ because the late president himself attended that campus and was loved by all the administration there (wich yes, is still the same). But this was misunderstood by the people who don’t know that fact and are now calling it that as if Bashir el Gemayel had risen from the death and had bought the campus.

    My last point is about the university’s administration. They were informed about the possibility of a big fight and were aware of the all the facts, but they did nothing, absolutely nothing to prevent it from happening wich is in my opinion a huge mistake.

    Sadly, and due to everything that happened, I am now officially ashamed to be called a USJ Huvelin student. It’s not easy from me to grasp how brain-washed my fellow colleagues are.
    The fight is not over, the story of Huvelin is not yet finished, and I say that with all the regret and sadness.
    Thank you.


  4. In a lot of cases, the education students are getting at home is opposed to the one they are receiving at university or school. The influence of parents and relatives on the construction of their kids’ religious and political opinions is not to be neglected: it starts early on in kids’ lives and continues throughout their education, so it is long enough and intensive enough to brainwash them and possibly make of them the extremist young adults they are today.
    This social reproduction minimizes the contribution of academic education in forming critical thinkers to lead current and future generations.



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