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Sources of Contradiction Between Hezbollah, Lebanese Nationalism!

Sources of Contradiction Between Hezbollah, Lebanese Nationalism!

Wednesday, 27 November, 2019 - 09:15

In Lebanon and elsewhere, when a sect, any sect, at the peak of its power and aggression, is confident in its weapons and satisfied with its external relations, it is impossible for a national project to arise.

This happened twice, but then, there was no national project at all. The first time, when a sectarian branch was strengthened with the strength of the Palestinian resistance weapon; and the second time, when a sectarian counter-branch was strengthened with the weapon of the Israeli invasion.

Today, for the third time, a third sectarian thought is intensifying while a national project is being born. This makes a significant difference: in the two previous cases, the two sectarian projects could fabricate a national ideology and pretend to adopt it. In the first case, this “leftist” patriotism was linked to resistance to Israel and colonialism. Moreover, this camouflaged sectarianism has been able to claim a social and reformist extension of that patriotism.

In the second case, the right-wing patriotism was linked to the resistance to “outsiders”, the control of arms and the provision of stability to preserve the status quo described as “superiority”.

Kamal Jumblatt on the one hand, and Bashir Gemayel on the other. The two were assassinated as leaders of two groups, each saying it was Lebanon.

In the present case, such an assertion, one that adopts patriotism, will become increasingly difficult. It is enough to return a few days to the “civilian parade” that gathered tens of thousands of people on the occasion of Independence Day, to see that the fledgling patriotism is completing its mission, and it does so at a distance of the light from Hezbollah. That celebration of independence seemed independence by itself.

Independence from the stubbornness of previous celebrations, from the shield that used to separate the people and civilians on one hand, from the military and the authority on the other… Independence from the former superior nature of the event, which was replaced by a celebration that ascends from the street… Independence from a dead language with dull and folkloric messages…

The same occasion was also a break from an absurd way of criticizing the independence: “We have not paid blood for it. We have achieved political independence, but not an economic one. It is a fabricated independence of a fabricated country ...” These are also arguments buried with their counter-arguments.

In other words, the new Lebanese took to the street to reject a whole set of ideas and perceptions… To declare their adherence to a homeland that should be based on rules other than those on which it was founded and led to the current situation.

The men in power, on the other hand, re-played the celebration they performed year after year since 1943. This time, they looked like an unnecessary surplus. They looked funny and sad at one time.

Beyond this, the Lebanese national project has already come a long way towards self-formation. Hezbollah’s resistance seemed completely remote. Here, it is fine to say that such a sectarian and religious party is ineligible to coexist with a national project that is anti-sectarian by definition.

A solely religious party? It might coexist. An adaptable sectarian party? Perhaps. But for both; a religious and sectarian party, the difficulty is great. In this case, being national is also confronted with the big extent to which the party is linked to Iran. Here, it is not only about being influenced by a model, or about a mere religious loyalty, a mere tradition of clothing and behavior, rituals, or mere financial assistance, or armament. Here, all these dimensions come together in a unique relationship, one that is difficult to digest patriotism.

Other elements have complicated the relationship between the two sides: by intervening in Syria, the party has provoked very broad segments of Lebanese interested in change.

There are two more important points: the party’s way of avoiding the Israeli threat is not unanimous,

as many Lebanese believe that this method, imposed on them, is more costly than the cost of the Israeli danger itself, at the security, economic and political levels.

Second, the requirements of the current situation, especially the blockade of Iran and its allies, and the uprising of Iraqis and Iranians threaten the Lebanese with more sacrifices and put their national project at risk.

Thus, the interests of the party in facing the “US attack”, is now identical to the interests of the system that the people are revolting against.

The resistance has become a cold and obsolete project, afraid of the new nationalism and frightening it. The party’s conspiratorial arguments are not convincing. Some leftists, who considered it an ally in the social battle, discovered that the Aounists were its only ally.

There lies the dilemma that is as difficult to ignore as it is difficult to solve, which may end the homeland itself. If the reality requires the Lebanese patriotism to turn a blind eye to the issue of arms, pending the judgment of God; then the same reality prevents Hezbollah from turning a blind eye to the nascent Lebanese patriotism. The attacks of the Ring Bridge, Martyrs’ Square, Riad El Solh and the city of Tyre are a living example.

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