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Lebanon…The Social Support Base Will Break the Wall

Lebanon…The Social Support Base Will Break the Wall

Friday, 27 August, 2021 - 11:00

During the civil war, demarcation lines separated the regions of Lebanon, leaving every faction or sectarian community able to barricade itself behind them and build its statelet or autonomous administration in the areas under their control. Since the return of barricades seems impossible, separating the Lebanese or isolating them from one another is impossible as well. However, one side, at this stage, is trying to isolate its sectarian, doctrinal, or partisan community from the others using various means to maintain its pervasive presence among its sons and prevent a loss of confidence in the faction’s choices. In this vein, it has been striving, since the first few days of the “October insurgency,” to build a virtual wall separating the community from others and making communication between that community and the others in the country impossible. It has used every tool in its kit, from financial resources to stirring sentiments and incitement, to create this schism.

On October 19, 2019, that is, three days after the “October insurgency,” Hezbollah’s secretary-general demonstrated, in the speech he gave then, his deep concern for distancing a foundational community, whose sons has taken part in the Martyr’s Square protests, from a new course for approaching politics, social issues, and the economy that has been crystalizing since the revolt began. That revolt and the course it set demonstrated the scale of the changes to Lebanon’s social composition, threatening the Lebanese status quo and its political forces’ future.

At that moment, Hezbollah decided to defend the entire ruling clique, both its loyalists and its domesticated opposition figures. At its core, this decision was one of self-defense and defending the gains the party had made after years of working to shape (the ruling clique and the authorities) to its liking. It was capable of doing so thanks to its abundance of military, ideological, and sentimental power, which have turned it into a ruling party capable of defending the regime and controlling the state. That pushed Hezbollah to stand behind the ruling clique and everything it has done, to stand against the Lebanese’ righteous demands that the clique be held accountable for its corruption and failure to administer the country and its wealth. It did so for a clear reason, as abandoning any of the clique’s factions would destabilize the clique and bring it all down, with the factions falling like dominos.

After becoming convinced of the impossibility of containing the revolt and developing a deep mistrust of its political and cultural rhetoric, which was and is being put forward by university-educated youths of the post-March 8 and 14 generations, as well as the reexaminations that the post-war generation has developed, the party was left perplexed by the massive gap between its ideological discourse and political rhetoric and the uprising’s demands. It faced the problem of being unable to understand their logic or rejecting it altogether. On the other hand, the still divided and flustered uprising met the party with social and political standard-setting that has found its way into the party's support base and is expanding in line with the exacerbation of economic pressures, leading to a direct confrontation between them.

After national and communal solutions to those problems faltered, and with no faction capable of remaining neutral, Hezbollah, through its secretary-general attacked “October 17.” In his latest speech, Nasrallah accused the insurgency’s political groups of being funded by foreign powers aiming to fragment Lebanese society. “Since October 17, work has been ongoing to fragment the state, sects, towns, and villages as an alternative to civil war… what is demanding is striking Lebanese society,” he declared.

Attacking politically and socially active groups, accusing them of cooperating with regional and international embassies, warning that non-governmental organizations are tools for foreign interference, the talk of Lebanon as being suffering under the weight of US sanctions, holding “October 17” responsible for the country's financial and economic collapse, and pushing the idea of a conspiracy against Lebanon, are nothing but an attempt to distract some Lebanese, especially the county's Shiite community, which is suffering just like the others. All of that is an attempt to contain dissent within the community, which has begun to pose questions and to become skeptical about the party’s domestic and external choices. The community has begun to appear uneasy and restless because of proposed solutions' failures and Hezbollah's reiteration of the same justifications, with the partying insisting on pushing a narrative that is no longer convincing.

Based on the above, Hezbollah, sooner or later, will realize and may admit that the Lebanese insurgency will dispel all the accusations that have been levied against, and that its standards will form a holistic national configuration. The party's community will go past the wall that it is trying to build between the community and the other Lebanese. This wall will not be tougher to break than that of Berlin, and this strengthens the conviction that creating a schism or isolating the community is impossible.

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