Hezbollah’s Culture of Death Attacks Nadine Labaki’s Triumph at Cannes

You would think that a Lebanese director becoming the first Lebanese and Arab female director to win big at Cannes would be a cause for celebration.

You would think that Nadine Labaki’s important win at Cannes for her newest movie Capharnaüm would be a cause of pride in all Lebanese, regardless of who they are and where they come from.

You would think the above two statements would be a given any day, in any country, but in the country of Hezbollah, the pride and celebration of other people in the country are entities they are not okay with.

It all started yesterday when Manar Sabbagh, an Al Manar reporter, tweeted the following:

Her tweet, calling Lebanese people celebrating Nadine Labaki’s win “the sons of Phoenicia,” ridiculing them and belittling them in the process, telling them that there’s no reason to be proud of Nadine Labaki’s accomplishment because of the superiority of the deaths of Hezbollah militants in Syria.

The opium of the resistance is pretty high in this one, it seems. How the hell does a movie about mistreated children, child brides, illegal workers and a Lebanese director winning at Cannes somehow turn into an existential crisis for Hezbollah members who are so pressed about the populace not being eternally at their ass adorning them with kisses? Einstein needs to be resurrected to figure it out, I bet.

Not only is Nadine Labaki’s latest movie devoid of Israeli influences, references, anything that is related to that entity that must not be named, but her entire win at Cannes literally has nothing to do with anything that Hezbollah pertains to. And yet here we are. In this culture of death that they are entrenching the country in, the space that they are leaving for people who want to celebrate such moments – few as they are – is becoming as narrow as possible.

Alas, it doesn’t end there.

Today, Hezbollah deputy Nawaf el Moussawi decided to pitch in as well:

With a play on words, he says that when the going gets tough, the only thing that protects us is our weapons, and by “our” he means the weapons of his party, the same weapons that were – at many points in the past 10 years – used against the very same Lebanese citizens they said they wanted to protect, and those weapons that were taken to war in Syria, to protect a tyrant who killed and decimated Lebanese people over thirty years of his and his father’s rule over our country, to “protect” us from groups that are best friends with that tyrant.

No, I am not thankful for that, nor am I grateful.

Today, this culture of death and treason that is being perpetuated by entities like Manar Sabbagh and Nawaf el Moussawi is a cancer plaguing Lebanese society, bolstered by the fact that few are willing to tell them enough is enough, and supported by hundreds of thousands of their militants who when told go, they go.

This culture of death, where a Lebanese director is ridiculed, her achievements miniaturized, where those celebrating her are described in condescending terms, is a slippery slope until these people turn the country – and they are well underway – into a country that only resembles them.

This culture of death sees an insult in a director telling the story of a Syrian refugee that was rendered as such by the very same regime they’re fighting for. It sees in art an affront to the limitations they believe are enough for everyone. It sees in their own perception of what matters as the only marker for everyone else to judge and be judged. Hell no.

Today, it is more important than ever to stand up to the rhetoric that is propagated by the likes of Manar Sabbag and Nawaf el Moussawi. The two visions we want for our country cannot be more at odds.

We want art, cinema, achievements, celebrations of humane causes, highlighting of human struggles, attempts to advance our country forward, not bring it back to whatever the Ayatollah expects.

Nadine Labaki, we are proud of you and of what you have done.

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7 thoughts on “Hezbollah’s Culture of Death Attacks Nadine Labaki’s Triumph at Cannes

  1. Years ago, for whatever reason, Hizbullah declared Lebanon “a fighting state rather than a touristic state.” This open, braggadocious declaration should have served as a warning shot to all Lebanese Christians. Instead, half of the “Phoenicians,” driven by selfish politics, chose to be in bed with the Party of God against the other half.

    I predict that in the coming years, most Lebanese Christians will finally realize the true nature of Hizbullah, which runs counter to their core values and beliefs, and decide that it would be in their best interest to form a coalition with the moderate Sunnis, Shiites, and other political sects who happen to think highly of Labaki’s work.

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    • Mr. Good Deeds: Blocking people like Manar from being heard will only make it that much harder to learn about Hizbullah’s members’ true ideology. I say, let them expose themselves and let others see them for what they are.

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  2. Bravo Nadine Labaky✌️
    And as you say my friend, ‘the Lebanese resistance ‘ aka houzballah is the new opium of the people. Not much can be done

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  3. Looking at Iran, one can see how a small fanatic group strong armed an entire population through brutality, corruption and conniving. Time is not gonna wait for the children of the Phoenix, the Christians or whatever other supremacists groupings the rest of the Lebanese want to clump themselves in. Those ppl, operated by their more clever overlords, are systematically capturing power, institutions, media, culture.. Until there’s nothing left. We can hope that things change from under hezbos feet, but hoping will only take us over a cliff in the face of a hardworking determined fanatic group. They have to ridicule labaki because any other way would risk losing their grip on minds and hearts.

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  4. I’ll start by saying that I admire your blog and your love for a homeland which causes all of us a lot of pain. I’ll also say I strongly, fully and somewhat angrily disagree with the pathetic, totally unwarranted comments by the “journalist” (Sabag) and puppet-politician (Moussawi). I also disagree with the hateful, “us vs. them” tone of your response, serving only to widen the rift between various facets of Lebanese society. This is, of course, an opinion blog, and you are free to share (or vent) an angry opinion. But consider that this level of vitriol and broad-brush generalisation, without any sign of nuance or empathy towards the experience of those who identify with Sabag and Moussawi, does nothing but deepen the sentiment that there are unbridgeable differences between two sides. In fact, this is not the case – everyone is suffering. If you do not allow this understanding to come through in your writing, you are entrenching hate and “othering” fellow citizens and allowing Lebanese society to slide away from progress and closer to violence.

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