Tayyar.org, Are You Seriously Proud Of This?

Tayyar.org thinks the discourse in the screenshot below is honorable and high-level enough for them to flaunt it on their website. As I said before, that website is to me akin to a tabloid. This only reinforces that. How is this reporting news? How is this reporting anything meaningful? How is this in any way useful?

This goes to the website that published it and both participants in the conversation. Did the so-called activist make a dent? Of course not. Does he think he’s more relevant now? Of course yes. Did Saad Hariri accomplish anything from this? Definitely not. Is he still bothered by it? Of course not.

How about we take all our “activism” regardless of political affiliation, pull it together in one nice basket, and cast it in a ballot 12 months from now?

It is here that I address Saad Hariri directly. You want to reply to snarky tweeps? How about you go all the way through? Some person is harassing you with his/her version of “facts” and commentary you can prove is unfounded? As BeirutSpring said – “let them have it.” On the other hand, you can be the better man and simply not reply. But please, if you choose to reply, draw a boundary where a person can’t call you a “retard” and end up becoming a hero for doing so.

For a country with a multitude of problems some people sure like to be amazed at what’s irrelevant.

There are other tweets as well that go along this way:

I find this too silly to be taken seriously. But I’m not running a political website for a political party gearing up for elections so what do I know?

The Lebanese Version of Benetton’s “Unhate” Campaign

Leave it to the Lebanese to spoof controversial ad campaigns. Soon after Benetton’s “unhate” campaign basically went viral, online pictures of rival politicians making out surfaced on line and have been already shared a gazillion times on Facebook.

In case some of you wanted to see Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea kissing Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun or Saad Hariri kissing Hassan Nasrallah (to be honest, I really hope none of you wanted to see either of those), these pictures are for you:

Hariri & Nasrallah

Geagea & Aoun

The “United Colors of Benetton” logo has been changed to “United Colors of Lebanon” to show that Benetton has nothing to do with these. I’m pretty sure Benetton wouldn’t dare to do anything of the sort with Lebanese politicians. Can you imagine the black shirts that would pop up around Achrafieh because, you know, Benetton is Italian and Italians somehow have roots in Achrafieh.

But no matter, the fact that I think ads like this are pointless aside (check my opinion here), I really hope we get to a day where rival politicians can actually find themselves in a room without wanting to kill each other.

Stillborn Nation?

You’re Lebanese. You wake up every day and, wherever you are, your mind revolves around the same thing: what’s happening in your country. If things are going well, you worry they’d go bad. If they’re bad, you worry they go even worse. We always worry. We always try to imagine we can get things to change. We try to make things change. We have tried. We felt we succeeded at one point. And then everything came crumbling apart.

Life in Lebanon is like a chess game. Those who stick it out till the end mentally are those who triumph. I’d like to think this is not the end. I’d like to think that everything all the thousands of martyrs died for is not going down the drain. I’d like to think the people we looked up to did not lose their lives for a country that was always stillborn.

I mean, who are we kidding? Have we ever been truly a nation? We, Christians, ruled for a while. We did not rule fairly. So the civil war erupted. You can believe the cause of the civil war to be whatever you like. But what is definitely sure is that conflict is rooted in injustice. People who feel they are equal do not need to revolt. Then began the Sunni rule of the country. And soon enough, other people “felt” they were subject to injustice, issuing a cascade of events leading to what’s happening today. Have we ever been truly united? Ever since I can remember, I’ve never heard of my country other than being a division of camps. You remember those movies about rival summer camps across the river competing for a certain prize? that’s how things have always been. That’s how things will always be.

I’d like to imagine that a radical change in the “operating system” of this nation is enough to kick it into high-gear. But then we can’t even agree on what type of alternate nation we want.

I know many people who feel sad today. They feel sad because they see their country crumbling and they can’t do anything about it. I am one of those people. You put up a face through the mess. But deep down, you don’t remotely feel well. You feel as if your vote has been taken away. You feel as if all your work in the past five years is suddenly worthless. And because of what? because a certain group felt “as subject to injustice”?

You – we – are now the Opposition again. I believe we always were the Opposition. We excel at being the Opposition. There is nothing we do better than being the Opposition that inspires people’s need to change, instilling in them the will to fight for their country, for their rights, for their every being.

And honestly, even though the previous opposition called itself that way, I believe it did not even deserve the title. An opposition is basically in power when it was the power to crumble a government, which it did.  An opposition does not use the street in an abusive manner via a fully conscious decision, which they did. An opposition does not cry wolf every time it thinks something might possibly happen if a certain scenario were to unfold, possibly damaging its status – and with crying wolf we mean making everyone freak out. An opposition does not really get to choose who runs what in the country. But they did. An opposition should not get a choice in who takes on certain legislative positions, but they were given a choice and their choice was acted upon because, as I’ve said many times before, March 14 felt that certain rights of certain parties need to be respected – like deciding who gets to represent them.

So for all matters and purposes, Hezbollah and Co were not an opposition. They were as much in power as the March 14 movement was. Following Newton’s third law of motion, they were the action and March 14 were the reaction. March 14 couldn’t act because anything they did meant an implicit threat using an arsenal of weapons that’s all too frightening – even for a military power, such as our neighboring state. Hezbollah and Co were not oppressed. They were actually enjoying a stay in power since the early 1990s, even calling for a demonstration on March 8, 2005, to thank Syria for its work in the country – a work that left at least a major sect of the country, Maronites, in ruins after years of political persecution. Hezbollah and Co even lost a general election, even after being shown as frontrunners in many polls.  This means the majority of the Lebanese people didn’t want them to rule. And that was not respected as well.

So for those who are pissed, let me say this… I understand you. And I feel you. But don’t be. We, as people and movement, will be triumphant. Because at the end of the day, what is right and correct will be triumphant. And we are the only ones who, in time, can bring out this country from its everlasting stillbirth.

Borderline Sectarianism

It seems that, as I’m posting this, the figure who’s going to become our next Prime Minister is being formulated. The choice is not one that represents the majority of the sect from which the prime minister is usually chosen. This has given rise to this post.

After the 2009 parliamentary elections, which produced a clear majority for the March 14 movement, this majority chose to go by the choice of the sect from which Speaker of the House is chosen and they voted for Berri. He returned, once again, as Speaker – even though he had a big hand in the political deadlock that preceded those elections. I personally would have preferred a more moderate Shiite figure to take that position. But you have to respect the choice most Shiites in the country have taken and Berri represents that.

Onwards with the PM choice for that year. It was clear Saad Hariri would be chosen and that happened. What was Hariri faced with? months of another deadlock by the opposition, just because they wanted a share in the government that does not conform with the results of the elections. And another figure wanted his son-in-law who lost in my own district to become minister again, having previously agreed that losers in the parliamentary race are not allowed to seek a minister position.  In all decent democratic societies, the opposition is rarely given the opportunity to basically stop democratic rule. It just waits its turn till the next election cycle, hoping those in power messed up enough to let the voters have another opinion.

But of course, nothing in Lebanon works as it should. And after months of rope-tugging, a government was formed.

Flash-forward a year later… this government has collapsed. And now the opposition, represented by Hezbollah (the definite master-head), FPM, Amal Movement and the newly joined Jumblat, want to force upon the Sunnis of the country one of three possible Prime Ministers: Omar Karami, Mohammad Safadi and Najib Mikati.

The question is this: what gives the Shiites the right to choose the highest political Sunni figure when there’s a clear choice for the sect at hand? didn’t they overwhelmingly choose the Future Movement as their representatives in parliament?

For the record, Omar Karami actually ran for parliament in his district of Tripoli – an overwhelmingly Sunni city. He lost. By a huge margin. If that’s not a clear enough choice, then what is?

I guess you can’t expect the opposition to give you the courtesy of a choice when they don’t even believe that you are entitled to one. They are taking power by force and there’s nothing we can do about that. We like our country too much to let it go on a path of destruction we all know they are capable of doing.

To end this… Hasan Nasrallah referenced, in his conference today, the constitution to justify overthrowing Saad Hariri’s government. He then referenced his sect’s rights in choosing Berri as speaker of the house. That’s duality right there. Would people see it? No. His supporters will just keep on chanting… and the country will be screwed more and more and more.