Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Walid Jumblatt

When a Lebanese Warlord and current Druze leader joins the Tweeting community

Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt recently joined Twitter and essentially broke the Lebanese internet.

Jumblatt mainly dedicates his tweets to a medley of preaching about lost Pan-Arabism, answering questions from followers, sharing his dinner plans, and making sure he says, “goodnight,” every night.

The politician’s quirky and oddly relatable posts have gained him 28,000 followers in under a month.

(That was years before Trump unnerved everyone on Twitter with his antics)

Here are our favorite Twitter moments from Jumblatt so far:

The time he verified his account in the most casual manner:

The time he excused himself for more important things:

The time he channeled Charlie Chaplin:

The time he made googly-eyes and essentially flirted with Italy:

The time we assume he fell asleep mid-tweet:

The time he chose the wrong emoticon and made sleep depressing:

The time he teased us about his dinner plans:

….Then wanted us to guess what they were:

The time he asked our permission to sleep:

The time he said he’ll call us back later:

The time he demonstrated his love for pizza and emoticons, just like the rest of us:

The time he admitted he’s not a Twitter pro just yet:

The time he showed his dog Oscar some love:

The time he killed any rumors that he was Gerard Butler/The Phantom of the Opera:

The time he got his feelings hurt and hilarity ensued:

Engagement of Clooney and Amal Alamuddin: Who has gone crazy again?

 

 Lebanon Goes Crazy For Clooney-Alamuddin Engagement
(Image via Arabia Weddings)

This past week it was announced that Beirut-born Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin is set to be married to Hollywood heartthrob and serial romancer George Clooney.

Alamuddin now holds British citizenship and is an attorney specializing in international law and human rights.

KAT STOEFFEL posted this April 29, 2014

What Is This Goddess Doing With George Clooney?

George Clooney is engaged to girlfriend Amal Alamuddin, and news outlets are scrambling to explain how the Lebanese-British human rights lawyer managed to “snag” and “tame” America’s most prominent commitment-phobe — a man who, we are now reminded, elected not to wed a professional wrestler, a Dancing with the Stars competitor, and a Las Vegas cocktail waitress.

Perhaps what we should really be asking is: How did Clooney manage to snag her?

Alamuddin is 36 and speaks French and Arabic, and her English is probably very posh, because she studied at Oxford and NYU Law. Clooney, 52, did a silly voice in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Alamuddin was named the hottest barrister in London in 2013; Clooney hasn’t been the  “Sexiest Man Alive” since 2006.

Alamuddin looks a glamorous hybrid of Anne Hathaway and Huma Abedin, even when her hair is wet.

Even when she’s super embarrassed.

She has the regal grace of Carolyn Bessette but possibly with even better style?

Not to mention impeccable brow game.

The daughter of the Diane Sawyer of Lebanon, Alamuddin served as an advisor to Kofi Annan on Syria.

At leading human rights firm Doughty Street Chambers, her clients include former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah Al Senussi, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Julian Assange, and the state of Cambodia.

Clooney won a prize for playing a CIA operative in the Middle East in a movie.

The funny part is that the Lebanese Druze warlord Walid Jumblatt is offering to throw the couple a party and expressing hope they would set an example of openness for the Druze community.

Probably, Walid has set his eyes on Amal. Be warned Clooney and stay away from this morass: You might end up with a cut penis

The Daily Star published this May 12, 2014

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt welcomed George Clooney’s engagement to Lebanese-British lawyer Amal Alamuddin, offering to throw the couple a party and expressing hope they would set an example of openness for the Druze community.

Jumblatt, the political leader of the Druze community in Lebanon, described the impending nuptials as “rare good news” in an e-mail to Journalist Lee Smith, according to an article in The Weekly Standard.

“Tell me when George Clooney will be coming to Lebanon so I can greet him in Moukhtara,” he wrote, referring to his ancestral home in the Chouf mountains. “I will bring a delegation of Druze sheikhs.”

“As for Amal Alamuddin, well, she is lucky,” he added. (In what way Amal is that lucky? Was that Maktoub?)

Alamuddin has become a source of pride and fascination in her home country after news broke of her engagement to avowed bachelor Clooney.

In his article, Smith inquired whether Clooney is “good for the Druze,” the official sect of Alamuddin’s father and a tight-knit community that follows a secretive off-shoot of Islam.

Due to religious restrictions, Druze are discouraged from marrying outside the faith. Last year, the family of a Druze woman who eloped with a Sunni man beat the man and cut off his penis, sparking widespread condemnation, including from the PSP.

Jumblatt criticized the insularity of his community and said he hoped that the new couple would spark a dialogue about the future of the sect.

“It would be useful after the occurrence of the barbaric act,” he wrote, in reference to the attack, “for the Druze community to hold an internal dialogue over the future of the sect. … Where will the culture of rejecting the other that breeds intolerance and hate lead? Does that not create a threat to the future?”.

Read more: http://dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2014/May-12/256153-jumblatt-welcomes-clooney-to-druze-community.ashx#ixzz31WQtsIWP
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb

“The weathervane” Jumblatt discusses current politics of Lebanon. Or maybe Not

Walid Jumblatt is the Druze warlord during Lebanon civil war that lasted 14 years. After his father Kamal was assassinated by the Syrian President Hafez Assad in 1976, Walid naturally inherited the traditional coat of leadership of his tribe.

Walid is a graduate of the American University of Beirut (AUB).  As the US began its preemptive war on Iraq, Walid sided with the US invading forces saying: “I’d rather be a street sweeper in New York than a leader in Lebanon”.

Somehow, Walid believed that the wind was strongly shifting on the US side and that it is urgent to ally with Bush Jr. against the Syrians and the Iranian… and the countless imaginary enemies that he think are vying for the leadership of the districts of Chouf, Alley, and Rashaya

Alex Rowell posted in Lebanon Now, on Nov.20, 2012: “Uncertain breeze in Moukhtara. Talking to Walid Jumblatt”

“As we shuffled into a lavish sitting room in his Ottoman-era mansion in Moukhtara first thing Tuesday morning, Walid Jumblatt’s day job was already underway. We joined what soon became a line of people waiting, for whatever purpose—requesting tuition fees for children, resolving a dispute with the neighbors in Clemenceau—to meet the Druze chieftain.

When Jumblatt entered, his tall, lanky frame stooped as he walked, his facial expression half-annoyed and half-amused, as though incredulous at having to deal with such banality.

After speedily acceding to a few requests, he ushered us into another sitting room, adorned with a floor-to-ceiling portrait of slain Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

The following interview was done with Walid Jumblatt, leader of Lebanon Progressive Socialist Party (PSP):

In general, walking through the house feels like touring Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace. “But I don’t have the Bosphorus outside. Istanbul is a beautiful city. The only other city as beautiful, until they destroyed it, was Aleppo.” he replied (Referring to the latest round of fighting in Aleppo between the Syria regular army and the rebels)

Such was the tone for much of our conversation with the enigmatic Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader. His reputed political acumen—along with his less-flattering notoriety for abruptly switching allegiances—have earned him the nickname “the weathervane” .

The nickname as Michael Young explained: “a local leader whose every premonitory move is dissected by those trying to get a sense of Lebanon’s political winds.”

If that is so, there appears to be an uncertain breeze in Moukhtara today. For though Jumblatt tells NOW that he is “not March 8 coalition” (the current power) those in the March 14 coalition hoping for Jumblatt jumping ship once again to their side may well be in for disappointment.

There were reports over the weekend that the PSP is planning an initiative to ease internal strife and promote dialogue. Why did you decide to do this?

Jumblatt: We have an initiative parallel to the efforts of the President Suleiman who is calling for dialogue. We just want to help President Suleiman. At the same time we have consulted with Prime Minister Miqati and [Parliament Speaker] Nabih Berri.

We have to find a way to get out of this blockade where nobody is speaking with anybody, and the only way to reach that is launching an initiative. I hope it will succeed, I don’t know. I have charged my comrades in the party to go and visit all the political parties and actors possible, starting tomorrow, from March 14 to March 8 to independents.

Why did you not join March 14’s recent boycott of the cabinet?

Jumblatt: Why should I join them? I’m not March 14!

But you openly blamed Syria for the assassination of Wissam al-Hassan.

Jumblatt: Yes, and March 14 are blaming Miqati. Miqati did not kill Wissam al-Hassan. I’m sorry, I refuse categorically all the accusations of March 14 against Miqati.

The day after Hassan’s death, we saw PSP flags at the March 14 Youth rally.

Jumblatt: They have removed those flags. This is a small trap fixed by some idiots. We are not March 14. And I’m not March 8. I’m just in this coalition trying to fix up things as much as I can, taking into account the environment which is terribly sectarian, and some people don’t care, it seems. They’re just attacking here and there; they don’t care about the possible sectarian strife that could engulf Lebanon.

Which people are you referring to?

Jumblatt: Some high-ranking leaders. Because in this country everyone is becoming high-ranking, nobody is low-ranking.

What do you think of the Ahmad al-Assir movement?

Jumblatt: When the moderate Future Movement is absent, any vacuum is filled, so this is why Sheikh Saad [Hariri] should come back and lead what his father did: the moderate Sunni trend.

How are your relations with Hariri?

Jumblatt: We are friends on personal terms but we differ on political issues. We speak occasionally.

Regarding Hassan’s assassination, do you think any Lebanese parties were also involved?

Jumblatt: I just accused the Syrian intelligence. Of course they have partners and agents here. But I’m not going to accuse a political party, like others did, because they don’t care if there is sectarian strife.

And I was very clear, just as with the murder of Rafiq al-Hariri, that if Hezbollah has enough evidence that Hariri was killed by the Israelis, as Sayyed Hassan claimed at one point, then let him present this evidence to the international tribunal. I’m not going to accuse any party because my concern is that civil strife must stop.

So even if you have suspicions, you’re not going to voice them so as to maintain stability?

Jumblatt: I do not have suspicions. I am not a lawyer or a prosecutor. You have an international tribunal where people can go and present evidence.

If you believe the Syrian regime is killing senior Lebanese officials, then why do you support the “dissociation” policy (al na2e bel nafss)? Shouldn’t Syria be considered an enemy state, like Israel?

Jumblatt: Syria being an enemy state? Not at all, I’m sorry. This is a monstrosity.

We are accusing the regime, but Syria is Syria, Syria is our background, Syria helped us during the civil war, it fixed the balance inside Lebanon, it helped create the Taif Agreement, it supported the resistance. We have to distinguish between the regime and the people. And the army, which fought very bravely against Israelis during the 1982 invasion.

So the regime itself should not be considered an enemy?

Jumblatt: OK, if it is, then what? Tell me what can we do? This is the 19th month of the Syrian revolt and the whole international community is just doing nothing. They are watching Syria being systematically destroyed. It seems the “Friends of Syria” don’t care about Syria.

How can the Syrian conflict be ended?

Jumblatt: Well, if you have a solution, tell me. Just after the battle of Baba Amr (a quarter in south Homs), I called everybody in the West that I know—the British, the French—to help the rebels to get adequate weapons to shoot down helicopters. They said, “We can’t do it because it will end up in civil war.” And at that time, the civil war began.

How do you feel about the Druze in Syria?

Jumblatt: I’m concerned about Syria. The Druze are Syrian people. I don’t look at the sectarian aspect.

If there is no intervention in Syria, what happens?

Jumblatt: Nobody asked for intervention in Syria; just helping the Syrian rebels. Now it’s chaotic, because everybody is intervening in his own way, from the Arab world and from individuals, and now we have the situation whereby yesterday in Aleppo some so-called free brigades announced they don’t want to be part of the Doha Agreement, they have announced the “Islamic Emirates” in Aleppo.

This is the disorganized help of the Arab and Western world because everybody is sponsoring somebody else. And what’s the result? Total chaos.

Do you worry about a Sunni-Shiite war in Lebanon?

Jumblatt: When I say sectarian strife I’m speaking about some Sunnis and some Shiites. This cannot be solved except by sitting at a table and talking to each other. That’s it.

And if some in March 14 still insist that the weapons of Hezbollah can be delivered at any price? No. The weapons are a very sensitive issue, and these weapons should be part of the defensive strategy that is being elaborated by President Suleiman.

One day these weapons could be part of the Lebanese army, but that cannot be at the push of a button, we have to wait. I mean it took the Irish 20 years to decommission the weapons between Protestants and Catholics. Now, it’s a much more difficult issue in Lebanon.

You said recently that it will take a new Taif Agreement to resolve Hezbollah’s weapons. What did you mean by that?

Jumblatt: I was assaulted, directly by everybody, by all the excited people of March 14. I did not say that. Even if I said that, it was a slip of the tongue. [Laughs] (See note 1)

In that case, how do you advocate resolving the issue?

Jumblatt: You have to adequately address the Shiite community. You have to speak to them. But at the same time, some have committed a big error, because they have been ordered, by the Iranians, I don’t know, to go and fight inside Syria for the regime. But this is not their policy, this is the policy of Iran.

I hope that one day the Iranians will change and address the Syrian people and not the regime, because they are losing a lot of support for their stance. At the same time, some parties of March 14 also are arming the rebels, so the policy of [dissociation] should be addressed to both parties; to Hezbollah and March 14.

Regarding elections, is there an electoral law you favor?

Jumblatt: I’ve not been consulted by anybody. I just hear rumors that some high-ranking people want 50 districts, and others want proportional representation. I have not been consulted. I am ready to discuss to see. Because some people have already started fixing their Armani dresses to become president.

Do you feel the law needs to be changed?

Jumblatt: Of course, one day we have to fix up a modern law, but to do that you have to fix up a modern Lebanon, and to fix up a modern Lebanon, my father spent 19 years trying to do it, and he failed to deconfessionalize the system. I mean we are not even able to fix the civil marriage issue, which is stupid. We oblige the young Lebanese people to go to Cyprus, to Istanbul, to Paris, but here we don’t allow it because the clerics, Muslim and Christian, are against it. They have privileges; they get money to separate the people.

Going back to elections, if we assume the 2009 law is used again, you will likely win in Shouf and Aley, so the question on many minds is whether you will align with March 8 or 14?

Jumblatt: I will align with myself for the time being. I stick to my own belief that we have to fix up a kind of middle ground to avoid this terrible division between 14 and 8.

Do you foresee any changes in Christian districts?

Jumblatt: I have no idea, I don’t work on statistics. They work, they are obsessed with statistics. Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea are obsessed, I really don’t care. My concern is how to deal peacefully with each other.

After Hassan’s assassination, do you fear assassination yourself?

Jumblatt: I have never spoken about myself, like others, who like to speak about themselves, and to have bodyguards and huge convoys. Like my father, I have relied on destiny. I am here just because I like it.

So you’re not more or less afraid than before?

Jumblatt: I was never afraid. When you get afraid like others you get paralyzed mentally.

Do you think the Gaza conflict might affect Lebanon?

Jumblatt: No, Gaza just proved once again that the arrogance of Israelis can just be destroyed, [like] when the Israelis invaded Beirut in 1982. This myth of Israeli superiority is again buried by the rockets of Hamas, by the people of Lebanon, seven times. So it’s a myth, but what can we do, this state is based on a big fallacy supported by the West.

One day, the West will discover that the huge amount of money they spend on Israel is just a catastrophe. Because only a peaceful solution based on two states can—maybe—reach some stability.

I think maybe it’s too late, because now with the settlers there’s no space for two states.

So you prefer a one-state solution?

Jumblatt: Well this was an intellectual approach by people like Edward Said, but consider now the right-wing tendency of most Israeli society and the absence of the peace movement, except one wise guy, he’s a friend of mine and we correspond with each other, Uri Avnery, and I always read his articles and send comments. Amos Oz too, and Amira Hass, she’s excellent. But Israel peace movement, which demonstrated in Tel Aviv after Sabra and Shatila genocide and which caused Sharon’s downfall, is no more.

You wrote this week that Gaza could lead to a “new status quo.” What did you mean?

Jumblatt: After the 1973 war, came the Camp David agreement, which separated Egypt from the Arabs. But now Gaza is fixing up a new formula. The inner land of Egypt is Gaza, and the Egyptians are always concerned about the fate of Palestine. So Gaza is defying the old order.

Same thing in Golan, one day the ceasefire agreement of 1973 will be changed by [whoever] comes in control of the Golan Heights. Lebanon will also have a new status quo [once] we get back the Lebanese occupied territories of Shebaa. Israel is no more safe from its surroundings. Later on, I hope that King Abdullah will fix up reforms. But the surroundings of Israel have changed. Fortunately that’s good.

Are you worried about the rise of Islamists across the region?

Jumblatt: No, not at all. We cannot change the Arab world. Do you want somebody to convert them? To what?

We have to take into account the rise of Islam, be it Shiite or Sunni, and try to see the future and develop, not only culturally but economically.

We have so much wealth in this Arab world spent stupidly on buying weapons or treasury bonds.
We can have our own development in all the Arab world.

This interview has been condensed and edited. Justin Salhani contributed in the questioning.

Read more: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=458843#ixzz2CysHYeNT

Note 1: The weathervane is famous for his “strategic slip of tongues” that he terms as “La7zat takhali“, a way of asking forgiveness for wrong and faulty political directions. Walid Jumblatt changes his political positions as he feels that his local hold on power is threatened. For example:

1. After the Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in 2005, Jumblatt named the Assad regime with all kinds of monstrous fish and recanted a few years later as he found out that Syria is still the most influential regional power in Lebanon.

2. When Bush Jr. invaded Iraq in 2003, Jumblatt claimed that “I’d rather be a street sweeper in New York than being a leader in Lebanon…” . Jumblatt thought that the winning power in the Middle-East was definitely the US, and then recanted when Israel was defeated in the preemptive war of July 2006.

3. Jumblatt excited the government to crack down on Hezbollah’s ground communication lines in 2007 and demanded peace and forgiveness as Hezbollah invaded the branches and arm safe-houses of his party and the Hariri clan movement (The Future) in Beirut…

The only other warlord that displaces Jumblatt in faulty strategic political decision is Samir Geaja, whose decision brought calamities and disaster to the Christian communities…

Militia warlords may face international trial: As easy as ABC

Two easy legal venues are available to bring to trial the Lebanese militia warlords of the civil war who committed crimes against humanity after 1986, particularly the common tactic of “genocidal ethnic and religious cleansing” and transfer of citizens

First, any eye-witness to a case of torture can bring a warlord to trial. The legal case is easy to submit to the International Court Tribunal and can prevent this warlord leader from traveling overseas and be apprehended in airports. Dozen of these cases have been successful: Palestinian lawyers have lodged complaints and scores of Israeli military officers are already apprehended as war criminals.

For example, the main reason Israel Netanyahu PM agreed to obey the ruling of Israel High Court for vacating a settlement in Beit Eel was that Israel and the political officials will inevitably have to deal with the International Court Tribunal in La Hay.

The warlord leaders will also discover that all their assets overseas (liquid money and properties) can be ceased…

Second, the political parties of these warlords, organizations, movements…that contributed and participated in the crimes against humanity can be investigated by international legal teams on behalf of the World Legal Organization and Amnesty International.  The report of the investigators will pinpoint the responsibilities of the leading personalities in the crimes committed.

The criminal organizations will be banned to participate in world community conferences…and the major benefit is the opportunity of preserving historical records of the civil war

Most militia warlords are in power in Lebanon and acting as if they cannot be legally touched. Why?

Because the same warlords issued a general amnesty in 1990. But the international legal cases go beyond what particular a State wants. For example:

Nabih Berri (Chairman of the Parliament) committed genocide against the Palestinians in refugee camps.

Walid Jumblatt publicly admitted of executing all his prisoners and dumping them in deep wells, iniInterviews and in speeches

Samir Geajah (Lebanese Forces) admitted publicly to crimes against humanity…I watched a rerun of an official scene of execution of a guy condemned for being a “spy to the Lebanese army“. The scene was in a forest with hundreds of members and Geajah himself giving the order. The brothers of the victims are still alive and sounding the bell every year.

There are many books by Lebanese of eye-witness accounts and autobiographies for being engaged in this dirty civil war.

Exposing one such warlord will put the pressure on the other political criminals to listen seriously to the demand of the people to step aside and let reforms be contemplated…

There is already an International Court Tribunal for Lebanon since 2007 and related to the assassination of late Rafic Harri PM…and scores of potential criminals are being investigated in that case.

We urge Lebanese who are eye-witness to crimes against humanity (torture, execution of “prisoners”, transfer of citizens…) to come forth. Most probably, those already settled overseas should feel secure enough to taking bold and courageous legal steps to save the Lebanese who are still suffering from indignities and constant humiliation from the still ruling warlord militia leaders…

Many foreign correspondent and journalists covered extensively Lebanon civil war and published eye-witness accounts of the dirty war.

I urge Robert Fisk and a few of his colleagues to be the catalyst in encouraging the Lebanese and start the process of lodging legal cases, strong with the documents they possess…

This June, 27 non-government associations convinced former civil war “fighters” to come forward under the organization of “Our Unity, Our Redemption” and deliver their eye-witness accounts. The first meeting gathered in the Newspaper syndicate in Beirut and the former militias talked to the audience.

The first batch was composed of Mohyeddine Chehab, Asaad Chaftari, Ziad Saab, Haidar 3ammacha, and Rafic Kattan.  Asaad Chaftari already published part of his accounts several years ago.

This is an excellent starting point into gathering a tight legal file for further processes…

Note 1: Post inspired from the article of Mohannad Haj Ali (researcher in London) published in the Lebanese daily Al Nahar

Note 2: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/political-self-criticism/

Beware of the senile stubbornness of an 88 year-old Patriarch; (Nov. 4, 2009)

A serious conclave of all Christian sects (heretic or not) in the Middle East is required.

First some history is needed to set the background.  The Christian Maronite sect was considered heretic by both the Orthodox Church of the Byzantium Empire and by Papal Rome.  The Maronites were monotheists (One God; not three as of Father, Son, and Virgin Mary) and also they believed in only the spiritual existence of Jesus not his physical nature.  Thus, this sect was persecuted by two strong Empires with central Churches.

When the Crusading forces entered the Near East after sacking Constantinople, on their way to Jerusalem in 1100, the Maronite sect decided to pay allegiance to the Pope.  Thus, this sect was saved from being labelled a heretic sect, doomed for constant persecution, and enjoyed the military and political backing of Rome.

This sect has migrated to the northern mountains of Lebanon after the schism of the year 1000 between Rome and Byzantium, and the subsequent major massacres of the “heretic” Christian sects.  Since then, the Maronite sect obeyed the decisions of the central Catholic Church of Rome, both the spiritual and temporal.

The Church of Rome  was the main temporal decision maker in Europe, and thus the Maronite Church facilitated the infiltration of colonial establishments as trade centers, first in Sidon and then to Beirut, to the French and the Italians.  The British and Russia established also commercial centers in Lebanon and had to circumvent the Maronite influence by encouraging respectively Protestantism and the Russian Christian Orthodoxy.

During the civil war of Lebanon (1975-1991), the Catholic Church proved to be mostly impotent to end the war that relegated the Maronite to the third political power, instead of the first since the independence of Lebanon. It also happened during the civil war that a new Patriarch was to be elected. Rome selected her favorite Bishop and the Christian militias selected their own. No Patriarch could be elected after four rounds of secret voting. Thus, Nasr Allah Sfeir was elected to overcome the impasse.

Since then, Patriarch Sfeir made it a personal vendetta to counter Rome’s interference in the Maronite decisions when opportunities knocked.  This Patriarch was openly favorable to the Lebanese Forces militia during the civil war and going even stronger now.  It is to be noted that the current leader of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Jaajah, is the officially a convicted murderer a spent 11 years in prison.

Jaajah was politically liberated in 2005 after serving 11 years in prison for assassinating prime ministers, many officials, and running a state within a state, a forming his own court martial tribunals.

Currently, Lebanon is at an impasse: the appointed Sunni Deputy Saad Harriri (with the largest block in Parliament) was to form a unity government five months ago; he failed, delivered his resignation, and was then re-appointed with a mere 72 vote out of 124; Harriri has no success so far to forming a unity government.

Patriarch Sfeir would like us to believe that the majority should form a government so that Lebanon could enjoy a democratic system of parliamentary opposition. Sound sweet to the ears of the non-initiated western politicians on Lebanese political system.

First, the new Taef Constitution, enacted in 1989 during Lebanon’s civil war, striped the Maronite President of major rights and forced upon the Lebanese a system of fair representation by the major religious sects in any government.  Now the Chiaa, the majority in Lebanon (forming more than 45%) of the population), are in the opposition; if they refuse to participate in a government then the President cannot abrogate a government devoid of any Chiaa ministers commensurate to their ratio.

Thus, a unity government is a must to form any government constitutionally.

Patriarch Sfeir know that formula but he is trying relentlessly to put obstacles to the formation of a unity government under the guise of “democratic practices”.  The other problem is that the new Parliament has no longer a majority of Deputies:  Since the election in June, the 8 Druze Deputies of Walid Jumblatt have taken a neutral position, and thus denied the previous majority any claim to current majority.  This fact also, the Patriarch is happy to forget and resumes his senile stubbornness.

What is in line to the Christians in the Middle East? How to go from here?  Since the Christians of all affiliations are confirmed minorities in every States in the Middle East,  I suggest that all Christian sects (heretic or not) existing in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey meet in a formal conclave to decide on fundamental programs of administrative and executive assemblies to regaining their rights as minorities.

It is totally irrelevant to dwell on abstract dogma, but to find pragmatic common denominators for feasible detailed programs for survival as a culture.

I sincerely feel that the major Christian sect of “Roum Orthodox” (over 7 millions in the Near East) change their name:  This name reflects allegiance to a long defunct Byzantium Empire (and current Greece is not a proper political or spiritual substitute). The same will go to all sects paying allegiance in their names so that Christianity in the Middle East reflects a patriotic feeling of belonging to a specific people and nation.

It is urgent that a unity executive body with wide range of power be confident to quickly and swiftly preempt any laws that might restrict their fundamental rights, or encourage other religious sects to gaining rights not proportional to their numbers.

Note:  Three years after publishing this article, Patriarch Sfeir was pressured to resign by Rome (he is over 88 years), and a new more opened minded Patriarch was elected.  It is rumored that Rome knew that Sfeir encouraged the US government of G.W.Bush to resume the war on Lebanon in June 2006, after 33 days of terrible Israeli devastation of our country.

Note: The role of opposition and allied political parties to the government have been reversed shortly after this article.

Big Rodents Leading the Assault for Mother Freedom (March 1, 2005)

In the last two weeks, since the assassination of former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafic Hariri on February 14, a milestone achievement was won in Lebanon.

Every night, thousands were converging to Downtown Beirut to mourn at the tomb of Prime Minister Hariri in the Place of Martyrs.  Every Monday, thousands were gathering there to demonstrate and protest.  The Lebanese people want to know who assassinated Hariri, nine of his bodyguards and counselors, ten bystanders and about a hundred civilian injured in a road blast.

The people want effective, impartial and speedy investigation in the matter.  The political leaders of the opposition refuse to do political business as usual until the perpetrators are divulged.  The people refuse to do business or are forced to shut down their stores. In fact, Lebanon is becoming a poor country and much so lately and no refreshing indications are pointing to any economical recovery. The people are duplicating the Ukrainian example by constant presence and persistent political pressures.

This Monday, February 30th, the students from various universities slept overnight in Downtown Beirut in order to circumvent the order of the Minister of the Interior, Suleiman Frangieh, to ban any demonstrations and gathering the next morning. By day break, they peacefully forced the lines of the Army units barring entrances to Beirut and flocked by the thousands to encircle the Chamber of Deputies.  The Chamber was summoned to ask the Cabinet one question: “Who assassinated Hariri?”

After the interrogation in the Chamber of Deputies, the current Prime Minister, Omar Karame, was to submit to a vote of confidence. The main slogan was: “We want our freedom, self determination and independence from the Syrian tutelage”.  A few of the corollary slogans were: “Syrian troops out of Lebanon”, “Syrian intelligence services out of Lebanon”, “Down with the Lebanese heads of intelligence services and all security agencies”, “The resignation of the shadow government” and “Bachar Assad is nominee” which means that the Syrian President should be next to go.  The only flag raised was the Lebanese flag which helped mollify the orders of the Lebanese army and internal security units to disperse demonstrators and provided a common denominator to all political factions.

The morning session of the House of Representatives saw many deputies taking full advantage of this climate of freedom and popular support.  They delivered speeches that crossed all the red lines in political discourse, euphemisms in coded words and taboos statements since 1991.  They were about to divulge details about the perfidies, machinations, threats and mafia dealings among the Syrian and Lebanese biggest rodents of the public funds.  The evening session climaxed by the resignation speech of the prime minister along with his whole Cabinet members.  It was rumored that he was the last one among the powerful ministers to be conveyed the order for the resignation of the government.

The main question now is: “What next?” The opposition is demanding a neutral government to prepare a free election for the House of Representative in mid April. Who ever heard of any neutral government?  How any neutral government can function if indeed the real and de facto government is in the hands of the security and intelligence forces?  The only option for the opposition forces in order to secure its credibility is the pressuring of the President of the Republic, General Emile Lahoud, to step down.

It is clear to all Lebanese that the security and stability of Lebanon is based on a free, democratic and stable Syria.  Until that development happens, Lebanon is in for a dangerous and very uncertain phase in its political life regardless of the vocal supports from the United States, France, the United Nations, Egypt or even Saudi Arabia.

This is a very exiting moment that we are experiencing but the nagging question remains: Lebanon was suffering many infamies and the same humiliations for many years under the same and current deputies, political leaders and ministers who are now in the opposition but used to be part and parcel of the same régime for many years before they were removed from the current government. In fact, our House of Representatives itself, elected by the Lebanese, was indeed assassinated several times in grotesque circumstances. Under the two Hariri governments which included many of the current opposition leaders several human rights laws were enacted and rescinded the next day by the same deputies by orders from Syria. For example, the procedures for legally arresting citizens are a case in point.  Not only freedom was banished but self determination was blatantly and ignominiously trampled without major protests.

Isn’t a tangible act for freedom more important than a general notion of freedom?

Isn’t a heroic stand for self determination of the highest power in the land more important than a general concept of self determination? Since when did political leaders attempt to rationally explain complicated matters to their supporters in order to show their strengths? All they had to do was to galvanize their supporters under the banners of freedom, self determination and independence from Syria in order to gather as many demonstrators as today.

So, what gives that the same leaders are so much more conscious about freedom and self determination after the assassination of a former prime minister? In fact, several months earlier, a failed attempt at the life of an opposition deputy was perpetrated; His body guard died and the deputy was in serious health conditions. Why no major demonstrations for investigating the attempted assassination were called for and political pressures not activated?

It seems that a dozen of big rodents who were devouring large holes in the cheese of our public funds and who were left out in the cold were relying on Hariri’s funding of the opposition to refill the shortages in their resources. Now that the alternative funding was assassinated the options were limited and drastic. If a political leader (zaim) is faced with the two alternatives of choosing between physical threats on his life or the cutting of funding, I have no doubts that the latter option is by far the less dangerous and less damaging to his life.

I agree with Deputy Walid Jumblatt, a leader of the minority Druze sect and speaking for the opposition, that the new generation of Lebanese youth who did not experience the long and protracted civil war has dreams that do not match the views of the traditional political parties and their leaders. The new generation does not want to be associated with the infamies and atrocities committed by their predecessors.  They care less for the sectarian rationales and little minded behaviors that drove their predecessors to eliminate one another and crawl safely into their own stuffy and narrow cantons.

The social and political climates are different and the instinct of survival of the new generation is forcing issues that the traditional local and regional powers prefer to be dormant as long as possible. The new generation is ready to accept any foreign support and aid in order to bypass this stagnant environment that is killing any opportunities for progress and self development.  The perception of the new generation is that if the old guards of Lebanon political system, including the opposition, are left to decide for its status then priorities will not change that much.  For now, freedom, self determination and independence, why not?  Next, what are the dreams and objectives of the new generation?  Would they like to have civil marriage enacted as the law of the land?  Would they like to have greater job openings and affordable lodging in order to gain the first step toward independence? Are they claiming decentralization of the administration?  Are they seeking to abolish all kinds of discrimination on the basis of origins, sects, sex, race and physical handicaps in jobs, education, and government functions?

The old guard would like to have quickly an inefficient neutral government to perpetrate the status quo.  They would like to have, pronto, a huge piece of the pie now and fast.  They are used to always have a piece of the pie regardless of the shape, form and content of the government.  Would the new generation fall in the trap again, like the previous generations, for quick relief in the political system with no pain and hard sacrifices or a new spirit is born that is not ready to take dictates from the conventional political leaders? The new generation has to organize itself and decide for themselves what they want and what should be the next steps from this critical impasse that can decide the future of Lebanon in the coming two decades.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Blog Stats

  • 965,561 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 476 other followers

%d bloggers like this: