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From Gamal Abdel Nasser to Hassan Diab

From Gamal Abdel Nasser to Hassan Diab

Wednesday, 5 August, 2020 - 12:30

Something unusual happened in Lebanon a few days ago. Hassan Diab became a star of national liberation. From now on, no Lebanese ruler will smile and nod to the foreign "Khawaja”. The era of humiliating oppression is over. The era of dignity begins. Gamal Abdel Nasser's animated phrase, "Raise your head, brother", illuminates our path.

Perhaps it is precisely from here, and nowhere else, that we come to understand the deep secret of Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti’s resignation: diplomacy is surplus to the requirements of our relationship with the external world.

Pride and nationalism shape this relationship. This approach has many precedents: Nikita Khrushchev waved shoes in the United Nations. Moammar al-Gaddafi tried to set up a tent there, in the New York open air... These were the pioneers of Easternism, whom we are now imitating as we pack our luggage to head East.

This behavior was indeed neither familiar nor even imaginable: that a first-tier Lebanese official would confront a Western official, even of the fifth tier. What the prime minister has done is shift the paradigm of a country whose rulers have long been described as subordinates who comply with Western dictates.

The blow hit like a sucker punch. Hassan Diab "violently criticized" the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during his visit to Beirut. He told him that his "information is false", on the situation in Lebanon, describing his visit as "not presenting anything new." Other sources added that he let him hear the following: “I am the head of the government of Lebanon, and I do not allow you to give me instructions on what to do. I am not Saad Hariri and will not take your instructions.”

So, the Lebanese prime minister did not nod at his colonizer in accordance with the former’s inferiority complex with regard to the latter, or that of the black man to the white man. The French mandate ended three-quarters of a century ago. Peoples are liberated and being liberated; liberation is a healing process.

The fact of the matter is that Diab's membership of the national liberation club is very legitimate, as a resistor in his words and positions. However, this club has changed a lot from what it had been when it was established after the Second World War. Initially, its leaders had major projects, regardless of our opinion on their projects. Among them were Jawaharlal Nehru, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Kwame Nkrumah.

In the 1970s, the club's figures were people like Saddam Hussein, Hafez al-Assad and Moammar al-Gaddafi, whose only projects were maintaining power. This constituted the first degeneration of national liberation. But since the 1990s, and after the demise of the Soviet camp, the figures began to lose their thunder and their old age began to take its toll on them. After a while, they began to pass power on to their children, erasing the last remnants of what they symbolized. National liberation - a term that has been tweaked to carry religious, regional or ethnic connotations - has become the task of political parties and organizations, the most important of which, in our region, are Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas. With this, the second degeneration was upon us.

During this phase, the star was born. That is why those who described him as "the head of Hezbollah’s government" were not mistaken. Under the party’s sponsorship, the experience of turning current President Michel Aoun into a resistor has already been successful. Thus, on his way there, Aoun created a massive shift in Christian politics and sensitivities. Most of them have come to support national liberation and the alliance with Syria’s Assad and Khamenei’s Iran. Now, with Hassan Diab, we are witnessing the second major transformation, the transformation of the premiership from a state institution to an extension of the revolution. Thus, national liberation has become complete, and, with that, Lebanon’s political history and political traditions also changed radically.

As for the leadership, both its heads have become more like a front that surrounds Hezbollah, its job is attaining national liberation (exactly like the National Progressive Fronts that surround the Baath Party in Syria and Saddam's Iraq).

By the way, congratulations to those who revered national liberation and dreamed of Beirut as an Arab Hanoi, and who chanted loudly, for many years, "we die on our feet, not live on our knees." Today, they find in Hassan Diab a man fulfilling their dreams. Generations after generations of young men have believed in what is being given to them today on a silver platter. The “Hayhat min al-thilla (oppression be-gone)” has become the republic’s philosophy, adopting it from Hezbollah on its 100th anniversary.

In all likelihood, history will remember this era, in both its heads, Aoun and Diab, as one in which the sand that had been blurring our vision was cleared. Before this era, we imagined that having a relationship with the world was better than being isolated from it. Prosperity is better than poverty. Satiety is better than hunger. Life is better than death. This reign is teaching us the virtues that had passed us by, we who believed in those blatant and farcical lies told to us by colonialism and orientalists.

Hassan Diab, day by day, is becoming the most prominent activist in spreading this new awareness. Towards pride, march. To the East, march. These are the orders of the day.

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