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Macron, Fairouz, and the Last Ring

Macron, Fairouz, and the Last Ring

Monday, 31 August, 2020 - 11:00
Ghassan Charbel
Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

It is beautiful to see Emmanuel Macron return to Lebanon through the house of Fairouz. A few weeks ago, he entered Lebanon through the devastated neighborhoods and the destroyed port of the capital. Perhaps the French president wanted to remind the Lebanese of the last bridge that weathered the storms, which is the Fairouz Bridge.

Nothing much unites the Lebanese. Recent years have multiplied the disconnection between the springs they drink from and the dictionaries they invoke. They differ in reading the inside and its traps, and in understanding the outside and its transformations.

Macron knows that the state of Greater Lebanon proclaimed by General Gouraud a hundred years ago is shivering and dying… And that the Lebanese spent their lives torn between the failure of marriage and the impossibility of divorce. They have always lived in a country on hold. It flirts with death, but does not die. It hopes to restore life, but does not succeed.

Macron became familiar with the game and the players… He was able to build a conclusion. Greater Lebanon fell into the hands of the warriors of Little Lebanon, into the grip of little men… Those are the generals of their own islands, whether you call them sects, regions, or strongholds.

None of them has a mandate that surpasses his island… None of them enjoys power outside his region. For this reason, they all excelled in erecting walls and drastically failed to build bridges.

Who knows, maybe the birth of Greater Lebanon a century ago was premature. Maybe the Lebanese were not ready for this difficult map. It is a map that was drawn to provide an umbrella for minorities fearing for their freedom, culture, or way of life. Minorities, who are anxious about time and their lack of crowds that give them strength and immunity.

Most likely, Macron has heard from his aides that anxiety has overwhelmed Lebanese citizens. And that Greater Lebanon was rifting rapidly whenever a major component entered into an alliance with an attempted coup in the region.

In a fragile country, the adventure is like gambling, and the losses are heavy. Kamal Jumblatt put a great burden on Lebanon. Bashir Gemayel did the same. Hassan Nasrallah is also doing so, but from a different side.

Lebanon was not ready for change, which Jumblatt the father dreamed of, by embracing Yasser Arafat. Geography punished him and the Syrian era began. Lebanon was not ready to welcome a coup of the magnitude that Bashir Gemayel tried to organize, so geography punished him with assassination.

Lebanon has no ability to withstand the major upheaval posed by Hezbollah’s regional role. The geography has punished Lebanon with isolation, exacerbating its rapid fall into bankruptcy.

The Lebanese did not possess enough patriotic selfishness to seek their own escape from the region’s hurricanes. They engaged in coalitions and conflicts beyond their capacity and turned into warriors and pawns.

What would the Lebanese get if they won their battles on other maps and lost Lebanon? Moreover, Lebanon is being pushed into all these wars without a clear or explicit mandate. The country is forced to accept losses that turned fatal in the recent period. No Lebanese party currently has a salvation plan that enjoys the support of the basic components. There are no officials capable of rescuing the country in these difficult turns.

These are ordinary men or less than ordinary. These have nothing in common with the spirit of Fakhreddine, which was awakened by the Rahbani brothers to teach the Lebanese a lesson of patriotism and openness. They have nothing in common with “Medlej” from “Jibal as-Sawan”, who was martyred while defending the gate.

The Lebanese politicians have nothing in common with the nation of Fairouz and the Rahbani brothers. The nation of dreams, love, ingenuity, and convergence. The nation of acceptance of others, the right to be different, and the constant search for bridges. The homeland of poems, melodies, joy, “mawaweel”, and lanterns. The nation that rejects all forms of injustice, whether it comes at the hands of a foreign occupier or a tyrannical project from within.

The Lebanon of Fairouz and the Rahbanis was subjected to terrible torment… Killings, assassinations, and great wounds… The Greater Lebanon has not stopped giving birth to falcons. But it did not learn. The country of the cedars did not stop producing tyrants. But it did not learn. Chaos and mediocrity reigned. Governments, parliaments, and presidents that do not deserve to be named as such.

Bloodsuckers mingled with money addicts and ruin collectors. The country exploded under the weight of arrangements, dealers, adventures, and disinformation campaigns. The country collapsed, and they remained idle.

The Lebanese digests insults as they drink water. The port disaster could have passed like a traffic accident, despite its horrors, had Macron not raised his voice. He toured devastated neighborhoods that no official dared to visit. The Lebanese drink insults. The Elysée master is more concerned with preventing the disappearance of Lebanon than those gentlemen, who are lying in the Republic offices or casting on its screens.

He advises, blames, and knocks on their doors. He uses his credit to embarrass them in order to accelerate the formation of a government that allows Lebanon to beg and repel the hunger of its citizens. Pirates stole the country. They threaten to kill an entire people and use bullets to punish those calling for change.

In the first centenary of Greater Lebanon, the Lebanese stand stripped of all their dreams.

The Constitution has been stepped on. The law became a trap. Coexistence turned into a journey on broken glass. Officials are masked dead bodies. Nothing remains of Greater Lebanon except for a chandelier hanging above a huge void. A bracelet in the hand of a lost century.

All that remains is Fairouz. The only cloud that promises rain. The last silk scarf that wipes away the tears of emigrants. Nothing remains but the big voice that echoes that of Greater Lebanon. The voice that transcends maps and borders.

From that pure fountain, from the values of patriotism, beauty, art, and freedom, Macron wished to start his decisive journey to Lebanon. From the home of the icon, whose voice rings like bells in the consciences of the broken and the tormented… This brilliant president hides underneath his clothes an excellent writer. His attitude is reminiscent of the courage of his ancestors.

His approach reflects France, the country of human values, the country of poets and writers… On the anniversary of the first centenary, the “Seller of the Rings” visits the lady, who is truly considered the last of the rings in the hand of Greater Lebanon.

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