It’s the epitome of irony when the country that gave the world the masterminds and executioners of 9/11, whose soil gave birth to Bin Laden and other infamous terrorists that have killed innocents the world over, whose money has funded terrorism in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Europe and America, whose entire existence is about destabilizing as much as possible accuses Lebanon of terrorism – and detains its own prime minister as a result.
Saudi Arabia, the country that made a robot a citizen before its own women can have equal rights, summoned our prime minister to their country one week ago to this day, forced him to resign, and is now holding him at an unknown location in their country, not permitting him to return to his country that he is still technically in charge in. You see, Lebanese Prime Ministers cannot resign from abroad and consider that resignation valid, it has to be presented to the Lebanese president. Saudi Arabia is holding our head of state for ransom – as one of Marcel Ghanem’s Saudi guests put it: “you’ll get him back once you’ve gotten rid of Hezbollah.”
I wonder, how would the Saudis feel had some foreign power decided to hold their crown prince hostage, say, in their territorial waters one day, on his fancy ass boat just because they can? Nay, Saudi Arabia doesn’t reason. It’s a country synonymous with oppression, cutting off hands as forms of punishment and spreading hate whenever they can.
A country that’s made Arabism more cancerous than actual cancer, who has bred terrorism and harbored all the facets of Radical Islam is currently tramping all over our reputation as sovereign state. They hold our economy in their hands – 22% of remittances come from there. They hold our politics in their fingers. They are literally holding our prime minister in their midst. They send their henchmen on TV shows run by Lebanese journalists and reporters, and have them insult the country to those reporters’ faces, only to be stared at blankly.
You see, for a country that’s 50 shades of demented like Saudi Arabia to have so much power over our own home, the answer is simple: we’ve allowed it to foster over the years, putting our own dignity as a country second to the well-being and pride of the Saudis, and their friends.
When they send their tourists in, we treat them like royalty. They’re not just another tourist visiting the country for the summer – they’re the Saudis who are back for this season. We offer them specials in our restaurants, we kiss their asses like no other touristic ass has ever been kissed in the country. We inflame the sense in them that we need them more than they need us.
When they tell us we have to be thankful they ended our civil war, we shrug and nod. We don’t rise up to say that they had as much a hand in the civil war in the first place. We don’t tell them that one cannot claim credit for ending a disaster that one was part of. Instead, we take the hit and change the topic. It’s Saudi Arabia, the mighty heart of Mecca. One does not simply oppose their rhetoric easily.
When they call on their citizens to leave the country, we fall on our knees and beg them to change their minds. They pull that card faster than Gebran Bassil spews racism, and yet, we fall to their tricks every time. No, please don’t have your people go. No, please let them stay. Sam Smith was not that desperate in any of his songs. Do we need their money? Sure. But some things are more important than money in this country, and sometimes telling someone who’s bluffing to your face to fuck off is what’s needed.
When they threaten the well-being of Lebanon’s families in their country, and consequently our economy, we crumble in fear of what could happen if they execute their threats, not knowing that their economy is as much reliant as Lebanese workers who are there. It’s beyond egotistical for them to remotely believe they can even replace our diaspora that is there, but they threaten it anyway, and we fall for it every time.
Their hands – as are Iran’s – play with our country like legos. Our borders, whether closed or not, are always open for their interference to come in and do whatever it wants, no questions asked. Our relationship with them has been parasitic for a very long time, but today it is becoming cancerous. Today, Saudi Arabia is trying to, as it has been doing for years now, squash the little country it thinks it can take on, except it’s no longer in the woodworks and out in the open.
And we let it. We’ve let our politicians, be it Saad or his dad or other figures, convince us that we must be eternally grateful to the Kingdom for our well-being as a country, no questions asked, no criticism raised. They can kill our political cycle by not letting us have the president we want, the prime minister we want, the elections we wanted, the security we deserve, the stability we seek. And we are supposed to sit in a corner, bow our heads and be eternally silent.
Our country has lived without a president, prime minister, functioning governments, functioning infrastructure, a garbage disposal system, terrorist attacks (funded by Saudi Arabia and friends, sometimes), democracy and elections, and we’ve survived. What have the Saudis been through exactly in their lifetime? Oil prices dropping? Cry me a river.
They have a way of making even the staunchest anti-Hezbollah Lebanese rise up against the disgusting rhetoric they’re throwing at us, the insults they’re hurling our way, and the utter disregard to the sanctity of Lebanon as a country in everything they do. It is high time we stand up as a country to being bullied and say that will happen no more. Give us back our prime minister, fight your proxy wars elsewhere, and leave us the fuck alone. We’re a country of 4 million strong who have been through hell and back, whose skin is thicker than yours will ever be, and who are sick of your bullshit in their daily lives for the past 30 years.