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The Many Meanings of 1982: Failure, Fundamentalism and Lies

The Many Meanings of 1982: Failure, Fundamentalism and Lies

Sunday, 28 August, 2022 - 09:45

The year 1982 is being recalled often in Lebanon today because it is the 40th anniversary of many things. That year, the clash of sentiments and ideas that were born with the emergence of the country itself was crowned. But it was also the year that launched a new race to part ways and stirred hatred of the other that has not ended or waned.

Many celebrated some of the incidents witnessed in 1982 while others abhorred them. Many others celebrated the incidents that the former abhorred and abhorred incidents that the former celebrated. One side’s festival was another’s funeral, and vice versa.

Some saw an opportunity in the expulsion of the armed Palestinian resistance from Lebanon that year, while others decried the fact that they had been rid of this resistance and saw that their hopes and aspirations had been expelled with it. Some bet on resisting the Israeli invasion after they themselves had been resisting the Palestinian resistance.

Some were optimistic about Bashir Gemayel’s election as the country’s president, leaving it to others to celebrate his assassination a few days later.

Some considered history to have been founded with the foundation of Hezbollah, and some considered this party’s foundation to have arrested history and that it will remain arrested until that party is defeated.

The suffering witnessed that year turned it into a year of blood and tears; at the same time, more sweets had been distributed in celebration than any other. Since then, fleeting moments of tranquility have not been enough to inspire hope for a sustainable calm upon which a robust peace could be built: these moments resemble pains that abate in the day only to resurface in the night.

This, then, is the Lebanese way of life. This is how life goes.

Many things were revealed by the experiences that led to 1982 and those that ensued from the events of that year. However, one thing we know for certain is that failure or suspending the pursuit of meaning is its first headline.

The Lebanese, after armed clashes that went on from 1969 to 1973 and many concoctions about reconciling the “state and revolution,” failed to agree on the matters that had to be agreed upon if their lives were to continue: a united strategy that ends the presence of an armed force that parallels that of the state and ensures the country’s Muslims a fairer share of power and the Palestinian civilians living there a decent life.

Israel arrived and did half the job, leaving us divided around it as we had previously been divided about the Palestinian resistance.

These two divisions found their monumental embodiments in the Two Years War and the War of the Mountain.

We became divided again when one segment of the Lebanese resisted Israel and another segment feared this resistance.

The grip of the Syrian army and security apparatuses on Lebanon’s neck prevented this last division from openly exploding.

Syria’s grip over the country was also a matter we were divided over, just as we would later become divided over the assassination of Rafik Hariri and politicians, journalists, and security officials and over Hezbollah’s aggravating role in Lebanese public life.

Meanwhile, fanaticism and subjugation were the second headline. Almost no one wanted to contain their victory when it seemed to them that they had been winning.

The general Christian position, with the support of some of the Shiite traditionalists, was to opt not to meet Moussa al-Sadr’s modest demands for reform, and so the latter threw himself into the laps of Fatah and Damascus.

The Muslims generally took the position of not openly stating their desire to disassociate from the Palestinian forces and have the state monopolize access to arms, though the interests of the Muslims themselves could only be guaranteed by such a monopoly.

The majority of Christians, after the Israeli invasion, would accept only Bashir Gemayel as president of the republic. Having politicians like Camile Chamoun and Pierre Gemayel in office was no longer enough.

The majority of Shiites, after the Iranian revolution, would accept nothing less than to carry arms, whether national territory was occupied or not; nor did they accept anything less than a fully-fledged state with its own arsenal, culture, and way of life, that parallels the Lebanese state and Lebanese society and controls them.

As for the third headline, always the most important, it is the lies blended with ideology.

With the Palestinian revolution before 1975, the lie had many names “national,” “socialist,” and “anti-imperialist.” Between 1975 and 1982, the Palestinian resistance was revealed as the “Army of the Muslims.’’

As such, it found that the Christian city of Jounieh was a pitstop on the road to Palestine.

In the same context, the Lebanese army was split, and what was called the Lebanese “Arab’’ Army was established.

In this sense, 1982 saw a major shift as the “nationalist socialist anti-imperialist” lie ended and the liars became more truthful in their lying: the Shiite resistance was an “Islamic” resistance, after the Christian resistance - which was never in the anti-imperialist camp in the first place - had been “Lebanese” resistance.

It has been 40 years of not agreeing to anything in principle and of collective willingness to do everything possible to humiliate and oppress the other, as well as falsifying the facts with the available deceptive terms…

Hezbollah, from this angle, is the biggest and most bitter fruit that grew out of these perpetual tragedies that have come with an obvious fact: we won’t agree.

The principle of “they see what we don’t and we see what they don’t” becomes an absolute principle with this party. We look at a wall facing the two of us, and each one of us sees a totally different color to that which the other sees.

Neither through the Taif Agreement, nor the Doha Agreement, nor the National Pact that preceded them or the 2019 revolution that succeeded them did we straighten things out. With that, we insist that things will be straightened out. Why this insistence? Really, why?

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