Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Four Comments in the Wake of the Lebanese Disaster

Four Comments in the Wake of the Lebanese Disaster

Sunday, 9 August, 2020 - 10:45

1- The Lebanese regime is no longer merely one of “plunder”, “cronyism”, “sectarianism”, or the other familiar descriptions. After the latest disaster, it has become a regime hostile to nature itself. It has become an unrestrained monster.

In addition to those who were killed or went missing, those who were displaced after their homes were destroyed and those who lost their livelihood, the calamity was able to produce geological activity referred to using terms such as "dispersion", "obliteration", or "deracination."

The “Lebanese Hiroshima”, the “Lebanese Chernobyl”, these are phrases used by some of the international media.

We know that "dispersion" is not new to this country, as we’ve seen precedents of it in the quarries in the mountains and in the process of stealing sand from beaches. This time, we went from the sporadic massacres of nature, from pogroms, to a genocidal massacre, to Holocaustization.

Entire neighborhoods are in ruins. The country is now without a capital. A commercial capital by the sea is now without a port.

We know that when nature goes insane, it can destroy itself. Beirut’s ancient history tells of a huge earthquake destroyed, in the middle of the sixth century, the city’s Roman Law School.

We also know that vicious wars chew cities up, or parts of them. World War II is especially notorious for this mission. Recently, we saw Bashar al-Assad and his Russian masters make an art out of the eradication of Aleppo...

The regime in Lebanon combined the madness that can come from nature and the absolute viciousness of war. When it faces its citizens, armed with these two characteristics, it declares only its hatred and contempt for them. They are redundant human beings who are dispensable, them and their world.

What is astonishing about all of this is that these criminals are not an imperial state a totalitarian power or rulers described as charismatic or heroic, who are experts at doing such things. They are frivolity at its most absolute and banality at its purest. With that, they had already survived a revolution that brought hundreds of thousands down to the streets, and they may survive today, despite the last terrible disaster. This calls for much contemplation and even more historical pessimism.

2- It was humiliating to the rulers of Lebanon for the French President Emmanuel Macron to deal with them the way he did. Distinguishing, more than once, between the people and the regime. Between the pain of the governed and the corruption of the rulers. He said that he only met with officials because "decency" required it, and stressed that his country's aid to Lebanon would not get to the hands of the corrupt.

These corrupt officials did nothing but justify his statements, as they all abstained from resigning, and some of them were even preoccupied with clamping down on insults that “encroach” on their detestable names and symbols. Then, they responded by rejecting French medical aid!

The fact is, this schism between those governing and the governed is known to the Lebanese, or many of them. But when a state like France behaves on this basis diplomatically, through its president, this multiplies the affront. However, an affront is incomplete so long as its subject is not offended. This is what happens in Lebanon.

3- Many Lebanese, especially those who welcomed Macron on the streets, expressed their longing for reestablishment of the French mandate. This declaration, coupled with insults to the rulers, came a century after the emergence of "Greater Lebanon" and 77 years after its independence.

This longing is unrealistic, at least because the era of mandates and colonies has ended. However, the experience of the Lebanese, and many peoples in the "Third World," allow for adding the word "unfortunately" after "has ended." Independence and liberation, as countless experiences demonstrate, are not in themselves sufficient to justify themselves and their virtue. They need something else.

In Lebanon in particular, some of us believed that, after the small war of 1958 was concluded with a happy ending, Chehabism, then that the 1975-1989 war also had a happy end, reconstruction. Both were not happy endings. Bringing happiness appears to be beyond our capacity, just as fighting corruption and establishing a respected judiciary is beyond us... and to change our rulers on our own.

4- Hassan Nasrallah addressed us again.

However, his Eminence the Secretary-General presented the state as innocent thus far. It now faces a first test, one that it may fail and may pass. Thus, we remembered our experience in the October Revolution once again, that his party is, in the end, is the regime’s protector. As for the victimization that he said his party had been subjected, he denounced and condemned it, without stopping to address the reasons behind it. For fighters are those who have doubts when there is an explosion, be it small or large, and before its causes are known. Arms are always accused of destruction. This is how the majority of people think, and this is what they feel. A very small minority may be inclined to accuse the "National Bloc Party" or the "Tashnag Party".

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks