What the Lebanese Uprising is all About
What the Lebanese Uprising is all About
The Lebanese Uprising has entered its second week, with salient truths that deserve attention:
The First is that the Uprising still has not brought forward any clear leadership, although its demands are; and by the way has its advantages and disadvantages.
The Second is that it has made necessary a second speech from Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary General; who effectively is the political and military governor of Lebanon, in which he moved from directly threatening his opponents to openly accusing them of treason and intimidating them by using his black-shirted ‘partisans’.
The Third is that this Uprising does not seem to enjoy any international sympathy; which is ironic, since Nasrallah is accusing the organizers and protesters of being funded by foreign embassies. The same accusation was levelled by Hezbollah’s media against the Iraqi protests too.
The Fourth is that President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), which is now the Christian subordinate henchman of Hezbollah, has been its master’s voice. From the moment of receiving the Shiite militia’s message, it began its own actions against the protesters in the Christian areas, under the pretext of defending Aoun and FPM leader Jebran Bassil, who was the ‘cabinet’s strongman’.
The Fifth is that, for different reasons, the protesters are still not making the direct connection between the rampant corruption and the ‘security services’ deep state’ which has been running the show in Lebanon for more than 30 years. Those 30 years that are frequently being mentioned both by innocent and ‘not very innocent’ protesters in the streets.
Well, let us expand on the above.
Despite the accusations of Hezbollah’s Secretary General, the mere fact that the current Uprising is still leaderless proves that it has been a result of accumulated suffering of ordinary people. The authorities – not only the cabinet – has treated this suffering by drugging, distraction and deception. This is obvious knowing Lebanon’s political system, its fragile structure, the lack of consensus, and the subservience of almost all political players to a de facto ‘occupation’ that follows its own local and regional agenda.
A couple of days ago, when black-shirted thugs ‘revisited’ the squares and streets, they simply reconfirmed a fact that the Lebanese have always wanted to deny. Indeed, at present, the ‘security services’ establishment is in action not only in order to re-open blocked streets by force, or saving protesters from the wrath of those thugs; it has been busy for some time ‘creating’ a public opinion that is concentrating attention on corruption alone, and alluding to one group in particular.
However, the reality is that ‘security state,’ which has been ruling Lebanon behind the scenes since the mid 1970s, under the auspices of Syrian military and security presence, has been the main sponsor and beneficiary of corruption. This, was gradually and simultaneously, taking place since 1979 along with the regional project of the Iranian Khomeinist Revolution.
Thus, Lebanon’s politicians had only few options before them; either accept to be part of the corruption-based set-up, being physically liquidated, or go into exile. Thanks to the establishment’s ‘capabilities’, even the government’s resources became available; legal files against foes were prepared, pseudo-leaderships were created, the media were ‘domesticated’, and everything that would suit the wishes and ambitions of the ruling elite and their associates in securing Lebanon as a satellite became a priority.
Even those, who were willing to bite the bullet and sacrifice for the sake of Lebanon, were eventually destined to pay with their blood the price of leaving ‘The Big Prison’. The Lebanese, may remember well from that period the scandals of money laundering by some banks, deals kickbacks, monopolies, as well as financial blackmails, and across the border protection-money mafias.
So, when today’s protestors innocently parrot ‘lists’ of names of politicians accused of corruption, and huge fortunes they have allegedly amassed, they do not question the reliability of these ‘lists’, their authenticity and those behind them, although the existence of corruption has never been in doubt.
Furthermore, as far as the ready-made accusations of treason, Hezbollah is levelling at its enemies “in defense of the Resistance (against Israel)”; this looks bizarre even to the most naïve. For how is it possible for someone who openly admits receiving money, arms, and support, and takes pride in being a religious and political follower of Iran, to accuse others?!
Since 1979, the “Resistance against Israel” - for those who may have forgotten - has helped destroy three leading Arab countries; which are now partitioned and confiscated by Iran.
Since 1979, Israel has grown stronger, richer and more advanced, while Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon have gone backward, as a result of the collapse of institutions and services, emigration of the talented and educated, destruction of social fabric, and spiraling of religious and sectarian exclusionist extremism.
Since 1979, in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, education has deteriorated, judiciary was compromised, liberties were stifled, security was shaken, and human development markers plummeted, while regional powers fight for influence and territory at their expense!
Today, when Israel ranks among the world’s top research nations in fields like artificial intelligence, nano-technology, advanced biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, desert agriculture, and competes on a par with the best in West in scientific publications; Tehran-dominated Arab countries suffer terrible living standards, environmental crises – such as desertification and pollution -, epidemics, social, religious and sectarian close-mindedness.
One example is Lebanon, a country, where an American and a French university were founded in 1866 and 1872, respectively, along with many leading private schools; hosted also the Miss Europe pageant in the 1950s, was the financial and service Middle Eastern hub for global companies, and the leading international engineering and maintenance base for major world airlines. However, this country now suffers from frequent shortages in electricity supplies, is unable to handle seasonal bush fires, solve a long-standing garbage treatment, manage to adequately export its agricultural products, protect its citizens of fake medicines and carcinogenic materials, deal properly with rising unemployment, and prove a safety net for its old, disabled and under privileged.
To sum up, Lebanon’s problem is far greater than a vague connotation of ‘corruption’; hence, solving it requires more than new cabinet and early elections.
It is a problem of a country that is prevented from being a sovereign, free and independent nation; only to be used as a bargaining chip for this or that regional player, or as a ‘letterbox’ for global and regional powers. A problem of a lost identity, a deeply entrenched political culture, and a selective popular memory.