25 May 2006

Liberation Day: the Good, the Bad and the Bullshit

Today is no longer an official national holiday. PM Saniora decreed earlier that it should not be. The rationale: we need to work harder to catch up with progress. Yet most, if not all schools and universities in the Bekaa, Southern Beirut and South Lebanon closed today to commemorate Liberation Day.

Today most of Lebanon relives the triumphant liberation of more than half of Lebanon from the Israeli occupation. Invasion and occupation: started before 1978, completed 1982.

On the 25th of May 2000, after 22 years of resistance led by Lebanese from many different parties and from the north, south, east and west of Lebanon (my Lebanese secular way of saying different sects) Israel officially announced its withdrawal. Back then, during the years of the resistance, sectarian differences were not yet amplified by the magnifying glass of the all-caring and compassionate international community.

On that day, and for the first time in its history, Israel was forced to withdraw and acknowledge defeat. I remember that day clearly. I remember the surge of euphoria that I felt. How I regained my confidence in activism. Those feelings became dilute when Baghdad fell.

Today the other most of the Lebanese don’t want to celebrate for fear that this may indirectly give credit to those obnoxious pro-Syrian parties that took part in the resistance. This is the ugly face of our Lebanon that we can no longer hide (thanks to the microscope of the international community). This is when and where everything done or said finds itself transformed instantaneously, spontaneously and magically into a gruesome incomprehensible sectarian beast.

Some of these most Lebanese genuinely believe that Israel withdrew from Lebanon on the 25th of May 2000 out of its own accord and from the kindness of Sharon’s ailing heart, and that the resistance was in no way even remotely responsible. Israel was simply and honestly complying with UNSCR 425. It means nothing that it took them almost 20 years to do that. Now this I believe is one big smelly pile of bullshit.


jij said...

Amen to that. I would also like to add that Lebanon's sectarian divisions even almost managed to ruin liberation day itself back in 2000. Some people were incapable of being happy. I remember the ubiquitous sneering comment "well this is not a real liberation we'll only celebrate when Syrians are out" and of course the almost immediate nagging about "ensuring the safety and the return of the Lebanese refugees" (i.e. collaborators with Israel). Even on such a glorious day, we couldn't celebrate together. But I still think that it was the happiest day (half-day?) in our recent history.

Bashir said...

jij, you are right.

the perpetual refugee said...

The reality is that Lebanon was Israel's Vietnam. That's the reality.

I hope that we can learn from Vietnam and move forward, make amends and live our lives.

Nouj said...

Add this to the 10(Israeli)commandments:- Thou shalt not celebrate on Liberation day.
"And Bush and Condi looked and saw that it was fine".
The guys who were in Khiam prison were bad, the guys who fled to Israel were good. We should bring them back so they can finish what they started.

bashir said...

Hi perp, the sad reality is that, unlike Vietnam, it is not over yet.

But what's bothering me more now is the internal Lebanese strife that is hindering the normal living of our lives.


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