No Hezbollah, We Are Not Ready For War


When Hezbollah retaliated by attacking the Israeli army convoy on Wednesday, my knee-jerk reaction was to call my friend who was the most touched by the 2006 war. She’s a medical student in my class, lived all her life in a village right at the border, spent several sleepless nights back in July 2006 huddled in an underground shelter her family had and still cowers away from sudden loud sounds to this day. She had a test that day, and she was devastated.

As she tried reading Internal Medicine off her iPad while checking news on her phone, she frantically called her parents who told her that schools had closed in the region. People had rushed to the bakeries to buy all the bread they can get. Grains had run out of the market in minutes. Flashback to 9 years prior to presentation, in 2015. Welcome to Lebanon, where the fragile stability in which you try to thrive can be taken away in a second.

For several tense hours, we all wondered what awaited us next. Would we have to go through yet another July war, but in January? Can we handle another war? Do we really want another exacerbation of the situation we’re perpetually in?

As I caught up with news online, I remembered back in July 2014, at the ER of the hospital I’m rotating in when a colleague from the South told me about the house his family had built.

It was a big mansion near Tyr, he said. A massive structure with dozens of rooms and beautiful views, he boasted. They were building it before 2006 but it got destroyed in the war by an Israeli shelling. His moment of pride came when he shared with me how in the 8 years since, his family had rebuilt the entire house, this time bigger, fancier, bolder, and that when the mansion gets destroyed again, as he was sure it would, they would be only too willing to rebuild it once more, bigger, fancier and bolder. “I miss war,” he said. “I can feel my body itching to fight.”

I shrugged him off back then, despite me knowing that he echoed a lot of people in his sentiment. It was madness to me that this cycle would become close to normality. In Lebanon, it is normality.

As such, following the attack on Wednesday, many figured bringing up the data-side of 2006 would sober up some people. 1300 dead, billions in damages, ruined infrastructure, bridges destroyed beyond recognition, economy in tatters, millions of cluster bombs, political repercussions from which we haven’t begun to recuperate 9 years later, just to name a few.

In a way, if all of the previously mentioned data existed in another country, it would guide people away from what caused them, towards more stability, more security, and less volatility. In Lebanon, however, these statistics are as irrelevant as this blogpost you are wasting your time reading.

We are a country ruled by law of emotion. This is not exclusive to Hezbollah and its supporters. It transcends them to all sects and regions. Those up in a fit about Nasrallah’s speech today would only gladly shoot up in the air hundreds of bullets when their politician graces other screens and would also pump their fist in their air in synchrony with the see of “labbaykas” they are in.

People convince themselves that their politics today are what they are because of current times. Those views, however, always stem – almost with no exception – from those same political parties benefitting their supporters in one way or another: protection during the Civil War, financial support in times of need, cover-ups for high profile murders (Yves Nawfal anyone?), wastas for med school admissions….

As such, what Hezbollah did on Wednesday, what Hezbollah is doing in Syria, what Nasrallah said today and what might or might not happen in the coming days are all broad headlines and actions that, for Hezbollah’s supporters, only serve to reinforce the notion their party of Allah is unattainable, beyond reproach, beyond questioning, beyond criticism, and, for lack of better word, allah-like, especially for those whose “faith” was waning. They should have known better. Repercussions obviously be damned.

In a country of emotional rule of law, repercussions rarely matter when the statements and actions preceding them are feisty, ambitious, grand and resistive. The lives of this country’s people are also only a matter of plus or minus numbers when their death and sacrifices are for a greater cause that, in the greater sense, only moves at a snail’s pace except in the eyes of those who view those deaths as advancing that grand cause.

However, those repercussions that don’t really matter are lived and felt by all. Yes, we all live them, contrary to those who have been pointing fingers lately to say that even the 2006 war wasn’t felt by everyone. I was there in 2006 when my part of the Lebanese Bible Belt had more Ali’s than Elie’s. I was there when those Ali’s in my hometown wept at the sight of their demolished homes. I was there when my neighbor was wailing as his son narrowly escaped death at the Madfoun bridge when it was bombed. I was there when every single Lebanese without exception looked at the skies in horror as smoke from across the country filled the horizons.

Between 2006 and 2015, we have done very little, if nothing at all, to lessen the repercussions of a possible new confrontation with our enemy down under. For instance, have we at least made sure that civilian casualties this time around wouldn’t be in the four digits and that we wouldn’t lose children whose only fault was being of a certain region, living at a certain time in Lebanese history, by building shelters for them? No. We can’t even tell our people جهزوا ملاجئكم  because they don’t have any. In a culture of the glorification of death, such souls don’t matter.

Today, Hezbollah says it’s ready for war, as it would obviously say. Hezbollah’s entire existence is well-rooted in its preparedness for conflict. I would be surprised if they weren’t. Hezbollah’s supporters would pretend they are ready for war as well. Eventually, in the case of war, the country would also follow suit in supporting our countrymen against Israeli aggression, despite us just waiting until the dust settles to point the finger and shout that we did not ask for this, while people tell us that the whole “another” war rhetoric is futile since the mere presence of Israel invokes lack of safety. But I digress.

The problem with Hezbollah being ready for war is that, once more, it reinforces the notion that they believe they exist in void, which is something they are repeatedly failing to understand. Nasrallah’s party may be ready to roll, but that party operates within the confines of a country that I’m sure he’s sad to be stuck in called Lebanon, a country that extends beyond the borders of the Litani, in which millions other than Hezbollah’s militants exist, in which there are now 1 million plus refugees that are freezing to death, in which there is no president, in which the government is so handicapped it couldn’t convene following Hezbollah’s attack on Wednesday, in which we are facing one of the toughest economical situations in years, in which the entire status quo is hanging on a fragile line that few want broken. And that country, in all its irrelevance, is not ready for the war that Hezbollah doesn’t even want but is “ready” for.

Back in 2006, Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview (YouTube link) that if he had known kidnapping the two soldiers at the border would lead to the July war, he wouldn’t have done it. I highly doubt the country is in a better state this time around. Either way, this isn’t something we get a say in.

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13 thoughts on “No Hezbollah, We Are Not Ready For War

  1. “We are a country ruled by law of emotion.”

    This is gold. People in this country have lost their senses, they stopped using their brains. They call everything a victory, even though the country is in the state you described above, even though in every “victory” we lose so much and the enemy loses so little. They immediately forgot all that happened before and are happy shouting calls for arms once their great leader makes a speech, declaring yet another victory. They never think that victorious countries aren’t shitholes (Yes our country is a shithole).

    This article should be distributed to every idiot who was happy 2 days ago.

    Reply
  2. I am not pro-hizhulla myself, and despite agreeing with a lot of what was said in your article, i fail to understand your view concerning what was expected from hizbulla to do.
    Do you seriously expect hizbulla to just sit back when , as i understood, 6 of their leaders where bombed? They even picked shebaa farms to retaliate because israelis consider the farms to be part of the Golan and hence not a lebanese territory. They even sneaked into the farms instead of firing from the lebanese side.
    If i were you, my “knees would have jerked” back when the israelis bombed the hizbulla convoy, not when hizbulla retaliated, because if there were to be war, that would have been the cause of it, and the israelis would be 100% to blame for it.
    during the 2006 war i blatantly blamed hizbulla for causing it, inspite them trying to prove that the war was premeditated by the israelis and had nothing to do with the kidnapping of israeli soldier. but this time it would have been the israelis fault and it is kind of sad that you don’t see how

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    • I understand the intricacies of how they responded are “favorable.” My knees didn’t jerk when the Israelis attacked the Hezbollah convoy. Why would they? That convoy was in Syrian territories occupied by the Israelis. If Hezbollah were to start a war then out of Lebanese territories, then the debate would’ve been entirely different.

      Either way, this isn’t to put blame or say who’s at fault here. This is to say that when Hezbollah says they’re ready – a claim I doubt – the country where they exist isn’t. It’s that simple.

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      • What I meant that if there was anything to start a war it would be israelis attacking hizb, if your knees were to jerk it would be then. Did you honestly think that hizb won’t retaliate? Or were you hoping they won’t? Personally I knew shit just hit the fan when the hizb convoy got attacked and that it was just a matter of time before hizbulla retaliate. Anyway, Hizbulla retaliated in what is said, by israelis, to be Syrian territories. So why did your knees jerk when they did?

        “Either way, this isn’t to put blame or say who’s at fault here” I bet you that if Hizbulla started it then this article would been about whom to blame or who’s at fault here.

        I do agree that Lebanon, the country that harbors hizbulla is not ready, but what Nasralla said is that hizbulla is ready to fight. His hizb is prepared militarily.

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  3. Did you listen well to what Sayyed Hassan said?? i don’t think so. “We do not want a war but we are not afraid of it and we must distinguish between the two, and the Israelis must also understand this very well,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said. … also please, it’s ok to kill Lebanese but not ok to kill Israelian?? they started it!!

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    • What does this have to do with what I wrote? Hassan Nasrallah says his party is ready. This is to say the country in which that party exists isn’t. It’s that simple.

      Reply
  4. Very well said and written! I couldn’t agree more on all of the above points. I still don’t understand how one political party that only represents a part of the country’s population, not even half of it, thinks it has the privilege of making decisions for the entire nation.

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  5. Looool realllyy he said that if hed known it wouldlead to war he wouldnt have kidnapped those two soldiers?pleaaaaase,heeeee knew it and it was a test war to show israel what he can do .I hate that part of dogs sooo much.Thy destroyed the country .And lebanese let them

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  6. The sad truth is that your country has been hijacked.
    The definition of sovereignty, according to Max Weber, who is known to anyone who studied a bit of political science, is the monopoly over the legitimate use of violence- the meaning is that in a sovereign country, the only one legitimately allowed to exercise violence is the police and armed forces of that country. Lebanon is not a sovereign country. Your sovereignty has been hijacked by Hizballah, and Hizballaha is getting its orders from Assad in Syria and the Revolutionary Guards in Iran.
    It is insane that an armed militia, being funded and directed by another country, has the power to take your country into war with mine.
    It’s especially sad, because if it weren’t for the threat of Hizballah on our northern border, there would be no good reason for military tensions between our countries, no reason for alleged bombings of Hizballah weapons convoys, and we could begin the long road to peace and reconciliation. Because, if you take Hizballah out of the picture, all that you have left between our countries are bad feelings over terrible things that we’ve done to each other in the past. But bad feelings can be overcome.

    What gives me hope, though, is reading this blog, because it’s made me realize that the simple people in Lebanon, who just want to live their lives in peace are very similar to the simple people in Israel who want to live their lives in peace. The similarity of the issues that Elie writes about here to issues going on in Israel is uncanny. Apparently we aren’t so different.

    I know there are going to be people who dismiss what I’ve written here and claim that Israel is warmongering and looking for a fight. Allegedly, Israel started this fight when it allegedly killed Jihad Murniya along with other Hizballah commanders and an Iranian General in Syria. Trust me when I say this- the last thing Israelis want is another war with Lebanon. It’s been 8 years of relative quiet along the Israeli-Lebanese border, but Israel’s had enough troubles from its other neighbors, namely Gaza, including last summer. Trust me when I say, we don’t like war and don’t want war. What you should be asking yourself is why there was an Iranian general ‘hanging out’ with Hizballah’s top brass? Why is this militia that has hijacked your sovereignty stockpiling strategic weapons in YOUR towns and neighborhoods?

    Reply
  7. Apologies in advance for typing this observation from a comfy wifi-equipped train in northern Europe. I think Israeli and Lebanese leadership are interested in the status quo and have absolutely no guts to move forward. This martyr cult thing is bogus as is Israels obsession with security. Hezbollah picked a fight with Israel as retaliation from Lebanese soil (or is Sheeba Syrian like pre-67)? Do they have a legitimate mandate for this or is it just the biggest thugs calls the shots? Israel has warned Lebanon numerous of times it will respond even more ruthlessly in case of war, like they havent proven their military prowess. Hezbollah can have a very paralyzing effect on northern Israel, where it primarily wen for weak civilian targets in 2006 just like Israel did times a 1000… You should tell your countrymen that Israel will not be defeated and Jerusalem will not be “liberated”. Israel is superior militarily in quality of arms, training and in quantity of firepower. And unlike a few dictatorships in the world and most Islamic countries, few of them globally relevant, everybody recognizes Israel’s right to exist and will not allow it to fall. Just like the international community is usually not cool with that. While Europe gets crtical Israel moves trade relations to Asia as backup…. Israel has social problems but they are bareable and from what I caj read from tranalated Arabic press they are exagarated by the Arab world to pretend to themselves Israel is weak. Israel needs to recognize Palestine, move out of these territories and probably repay Lebanon a lot for damage caused and resettle the Palestinians. The blue line needs to be demarcated and the water and river issues resolved. You guys have the choice between peace or status quo with countless bodies only to triumph the Pali cause… It would be a major PR stunt if Lebanon would ask for peace with Israel and lay down terms which are reasonable for the global powers. If not… Best of luck in the inevitable war 😦

    Reply

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