23 January 2007

Strike and What the Sect-O-Meter did not Measure

Once upon a time, fifty or more days ago, about a million Lebanese took to the streets. They were protesting about some things. They shouted, they screamed and they camped close to the offices of the prime minister and his cabinet. They ate kaak and aranees of corn near the offices of their elected parliamentarians.
But what was the response?

1– A racist campaign led by ministers and representatives of the nation, accusing the protesters [most of them Lebanese with no other nationality] of adopting a “culture of death” that is incompatible with the superior Lebanese “life loving culture” [forget the fact that some of the accusers were themselves warlords].

2– A campaign of racist–sectarian–fascist insults calling on the low–life–dirty–tfeh–not–like–us to go protest somewhere else, like at the site of their demolished homes in Dahiyeh and the South. What about the others that are not from the Dahiyeh or the South? Well let them go with them too.

3– A campaign calling for the division of Lebanon into cantons because those protesting do not have the genetic makeup to become civilized–cosmopolitan–savvy Lebanese with the ability to go shopping.

4– Myopic, loud statements by some representatives of the government saying: we don’t care, you can stay as long as you want, and we will not even blink an eye.

5– The sect–o–meter* was used to determine the sect–concentration of the protestors. It measured a high concentration of a certain sect proving that they are not worthy of any response. What about the other Lebanese from other sects present? What others!? The sect–o–meter did not measure any other!

6– And so on…

What is the result?

The result is today.

The result is an escalation of the protests into strike, riots and confrontations, reminiscent of the spring of 1975, the year when history was paused (and still is) for Lebanon.

LBC mentioned 5 deaths and more than one hundred injuries during the day. A reporter expressed her dismay because in some places, the opposing parties were Christian Maronites. She even asked them, at one location, for the reason that they were protesting and facing members of their own sect [skin?!] since the sect–o–meter did not measure the presence of Christian Maronite in the sit–in protests during the past fifty or more days.

One comforting difference between today and spring 1975 is that the army is still intact. But what's new is the criticism, by the "pro–government leaders", of the army’s performance today.

By the way, Hezbollah is not the only armed party in Lebanon and I believe all Lebanese should be disarmed before it is too late.

*The sect–o–meter is a proud Lebanese invention (like hummus and tabbouli) that can measure the concentration of sects in any crowd. It still needs some fine tuning though.


sweetscentofbeirut said...

Lebanon was doing very well when the French were in power a long time ago.The country was actually civlized at one point and time.Maybe we need to get the French back in lebanon.

Since 1975 lebanon has been in the ruins and I dont think lebanon will ever be the same.Because us Lebanese can never agree on anything.

The famous question of "what is your family name" is now more famous than ever.

hillz said...

good post bashir. I hope 14 march govermnet won't be dumb and screw the army as they manage to screw other institutions.

Bashir said...

there is also this question: "where are you from". a 'polite' way of trying to figure out your sect when the family name does not work.
as for the French part of your comment, that is debatable.

Bashir said...

hilal: I hope so too

Ms Levantine said...

You definitely have a point Bashir: we have a huge structural problem in Lebanon. It is useless to ignore it or to dismiss it as irrelevent.

In life you have to play the cards you are dealt. In Lebanon the reality is a divided, even a fragmented country.

What is needed are rational solutions, not emotional outbursts; on both sides.

Ibn Bint Jbeil said...

"sweet scent of Beirut,"
pardon my "french," but it's bullshit to say that the french established civilized behavior by occupying lebanon. they actually created and re-affirmed sectarian division by arming and uplifting one sect over all others and driving some to commit sectarian violence against their countrymen and neighbors in order to cause civil strife, so that they (the french) can stay in control. what the french are actually adept and expert at is perfume. ever since the Bourbon Dynasty (Louis 13th, 14th, 15th etc.) and the extravagant opulent Rococo of إستفراغ that characterized it, French society had been obsessed with the constant invention and reinvention of perfumes to cover up their very shitty smells. You see, they didn't bathe their bodies often. Nor did they cleanse their imperialist and aristocratic minds. so they were obsessed with wigs, makeup, perfume and highly decorative cover-ups that aimed at presenting a "civilized" face.

nightS said...

allah yostor!

Liliane said...

I don't agree with #2, It does exist, but in this post it seems to be much worse!

But I have to say, I liked the Sect-o-meter! Very nice one

Sophia said...

Dear Moussa,

I think the opposition has shown a lot of restraint given that the Sanyura minority government do not seem to give it a damn. But remember what happned during the Frecnh revolution ?

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

“A racist campaign led by ministers and representatives of the nation, accusing the protesters [most of them Lebanese with no other nationality] of adopting a “culture of death” that is incompatible with the superior Lebanese “life loving culture” [forget the fact that some of the accusers were themselves warlords].”

Jumbalatt is actually a Kurdish name of Persian origin just like Al-Joozoh (the uber-racist mountaineer-mufti of Jabal Lebanon), Saniora is a European “Infidel” name, Kashan is Turkic … etc.

It’s highly ironic these people would call Hassan Nasrallah and the Arabs of South Lebanon’s Jabal ‘Amel “foreign agents” in cahoots with the Persians!

Truly they have no shame.

NancyD said...

As I am reading the comments of the people trying to show that they are non-sectarian I can still very easily distinguish their sect and it is a shame...Why don't we get over it and think beyong the box???

notorious said...

nice post bachir, nancy u cant distinguish the sect, u can distinguish weather they oppose the gov or not, dun 4get the opposition is made of shiia maronite orthodox sunni druze a lil arman.


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