Tuesday, February 27, 2007

With hindsight

On the 23rd of January 2007 and then two days after that Lebanon almost slid into civil war. What initiated these dangerous events was the opposition’s general strike. Many voiced their bafflement on why a “simple protest and road closure” that got a bit out of hand had such disastrous consequences.

The answer is very simple if one looks at those events with hindsight, taking in the whole picture. On that fateful day the opposition tried to rob the Lebanese of their most sacred right: their free will in expressing and acting upon their political views and believes!

Let me elaborate, a couple of days before Tuesday 23 of January the general strike was announced and –this is crucial in understanding those events- it was portrayed as a measure of the popular support that the opposition can muster.

The 14 March coalition responded by a general call to consider Tuesday a normal working day and encouraged all its supporters to make an extra effort to show that Lebanon was a country for life, work and prosperity not for strikes, paralysis and death!

In short it was a political vote of confidence; if you went to work you were siding with 14 March while staying home was a declaration of your support of Hezbollah and its allies.

Personally I promised myself to go to work, as a political statement to express my support for 14 March.

The next day the opposition closed most businesses and most importantly most roads by force, by intimidation, by burning tires and by mounting barricades of dirt and rubble –ironically brought form the building destroyed by the Israeli in the last war- on most main roads, effectively paralyzing Beirut.

Hezbollah robbed the Lebanese, those supporting it and those against it, of their ability to freely express their political choice, their freedom of expression. On that day the Lebanese people could not CHOOSE whether to go to work and support 14 March or stay home and support the opposition, they were FORCED to stay home!!

Hezbollah’s actions were similar to stopping citizens from going to voting booth on Election Day, these actions were not only anti-democratic and terrible dangerous, these actions verged on tyranny, robbing people of their free will in expressing and acting upon their political views and believes! And for me no crime is greater than that!

The road took me three hours instead of 40 minutes, but at the end I arrived to my office, proving first to myself and to all those who tried to force a choice upon me, that my free political will is and shall always remain FREE!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Back to square one!

Hezbollah and the rest of the opposition reverted to their old rhetoric: “we still have surprises up our sleeves; we will keep on increasing tension and creating new crisis, until you agree to our terms” A classic hostage situation.

Hezbollah either failed or choose not to learn from the events of those two days, in which Lebanon almost slide into civil war. They choose to turn a blind eye and continue with their escalation, threatening civil disobedience, refusing to understand that if putting Beirut under siege and paralyzing the country did not work, then civil disobedience will surly fail!!!

These tactics will not be successful; they will not accomplish any of the opposition’s goals, unless their objectives consists of bankrupting the country and pushing what is left of Lebanon’s youth to immigrate.

If Hezbollah really wanted a solution then it should agree on the international tribunal and then it will be possible to engage in a constructive dialogue and reach sensible solution. Meanwhile, Hezbollah and its allies are slowly destroying our country in defense of those who killed and are still killing Lebanese citizens.

Friday, February 16, 2007

How low has the mighty fallen

Nassrallah just reiterated his believe that the summer war is still going on against Hezbollah, repeating his promise that god’s party will be once again victorious, clearly implying that 14 March and their supporters are his enemies and he will defeat them...

Nassrallah also explained that there is no use for any multiparty dialogue, declaring beforehand that these negotiations will fail. He also explained that he does not want to meet Saad Hariri, reverting to “we still have many new “divine” surprises up our sleeves that will ensure our victory”

All in all Nassrallah speech brought nothing new, and stopped short of declaring war on 14 March. But I was pretty amazed by his assertion that every leader in the opposition represents all of them. So in this case, congratulations to all opposition members, you are now represented by none other than the great, eloquent and amazing Wiaam Wahab.

How low has the mighty fallen. I hope you are all proud, especially the Aounists among you…

What a beautiful flag!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

14 February

Once more the Lebanese people show courage and resilience beyond measure. Whether you are with or against 14 March, you have to admire these Lebanese citizens who came, from all over the country with their families and friends, to mourn the death of a great man.
Explosions did not deter them; they took buses that could have exploded, like yesterday, and marched on to Rafik Hariri’s last resting place, to freedom square which is divided in two, a side for March 14 and another for March 8, just like our country.

Nevertheless, it was a beautiful day, and the crowd was very diverse, young and old, families and individuals, rich and poor, from all over Lebanon…

By now all parties should understand that each enjoys a large base of support, no one can forcefully change the delicate political balance, without plunging the country into an endless nightmare of violence.

No one can topple the government by coercion, and no one can confiscate Hezbollah weapons by force. The only way is out is through compromise, dialogue and reaching the middle ground…

Till tomorrw

The country is under attack, bringing the horrors of Iraq to our lovely Lebanon, intimidation of the most despicable kind. But no matter tomorrow I will go Down Town and celebrate life that Rafik Hariri died to bestow it upon us!

Tomorrow I will go and celebrate life, condemning all those of prefer death, destruction and endless war.

Till tomorrow, may that day starts and end bloodless, vibrant with life and peaceful!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It just got personal!

Saturday February 10, 2007 in the lobby of Faray Mazar Intercontinental Hotel, a group of eight couples are sitting around a table chatting about everything and nothing, and of course about the political situation.

Meanwhile, MP Ibrahim Kanan, a follower of General Aoun, the ally of Hezbollah, with three of his bodyguards, passes by. Unfortunately, one of the men sitting in the table utters the three deadly words “We want to live!” made famous by the “I love Life” campaign of March 14.

MP Kanan stops and glares at that unfortunate person and then moves on…Ten minutes later the MP comes back and stand in front of the table, shouting “what do you mean by you want to live.” The unfortunate man stands up and politely introduces himself saying, “I want live, means I want to come to Faray and have fun, means that I want to send my children to school!”

-“The people you have been following for the past year and a half will lead you to your own destruction” vehemently answers the Aounist MP.”

“I am not here to get into a political discussion, I just want to go out and have some fun with my friends. Thanks, it was nice meeting you!”, answered back the unfortunate person.

-“I am the MP of this Qadaa, and this is my region, you will hear what I have to say!!!”

“No thank you, I told you I am not here to discuss politics!”

The unfortunate man turns and start heading back towards his table to sit down. One of the bodyguards unholsters his weapon, smacks him on the head with its butt from the back and fires two shots in the air!

The unfortunate man is my brother in law, and this happened yesterday in front of my sister and their friends.

Thank you Aoun for your democracy, peacefulness and empty promises, now I can better understand what happened last Tuesday and Thursday. Now I can understand who fired the first shots in those days!

Thank you Ibrahim Knaan and thank you Aoun, we will not fire or even hit you or any of your supporters back, we will just see you in court!

Finally, let me reiterate my brother in law, his wife and my own insistence that “WE WANT TO LIVE!”

UPDATE: I have posted a rather graphic picture of my brother in law wounds just after the attack. It is just below this post in an effort not to shock any sensitive reader.

Thank you Aoun!

First let me apologize for the graphic picture.

Notice how the wound is closer to the back than to the front of his head, which proves he was hit from the back.

And notice the date on the right bottom side (11-2-2007) this proves that the incident happened close to 12 pm and not at 10:30 as Kanaan claimed!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New front

Hezbollah running out of options in their futile and bloody campaign against a steadfast 14 March, have turned to the only front that can still offer them a semblance, and I stress a semblance, of a victory. After five long months of pseudo-military operations in the streets of Beirut, Hezbollah just turned its attention south.

Their drive is focused on two fronts, they’ve picked up their provocation against Israel, with the alarming reports about explosive planting along the border, and the planning of new operations and soldiers kidnapping, which will be soon followed by Hassan Nassralh’s apologies and confession of his total ignorance of the consequences of such attacks. Meanwhile, Hezbollah have been raising their yellow flags all over the border, to show their profound patriotism (sic)

The second front of their attack targeted the UNIFIL forces. Several weeks ago, they started a vicious campaign against the UN forces accusing them of helping the Israeli and even harboring Jews –as if it was a crime- and former members of an old Lebanese pro Israeli militia (Lahed’s). Two silly and unsubstantiated claims, which only aim to threaten the UNIFIL and prepare the ground for some possible future attacks against them.

Hezbollah must understand that whether it is in the south or in the streets of Beirut such threats, aggressions and attacks will lead only to more death and destruction with no gain what so ever for Lebanon or its people. The only way out is peace and dialogue!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Silver lining

It seems that there is hope for a peaceful settlement to Lebanon’s crisis, or so it seems…

After last week brief glimpses of hell, Lebanese politicians got a little scared. Nassrallah announced that this is a political disagreement and could only be solved in political means, a big shift from his previous claims of forcing change through demonstrations, road blocking and paralyzing the country.

Additionally, as I stated in a previous post , it is possible to get an idea of future events in Lebanon by decrypting current events in Palestine. For example when I wrote Parallel fates, the situation in Palestine was enflamed while in Lebanon it was pretty calm, a few weeks later hell almost brook loose in Beirut.

So at the moment the situation in Palestine is mixed, Fateh and Hamas are still fighting each other and the intensity of their confrontations changes by the hours. But the main event was the agreement of both parties to hold “peace” talks in Mekka, in response to King Abdallah’s invitation.

So will we witness a Taef-2 in the short future? (Taef was the post civil war Lebanese peace conference, that effectively ended the war in 1990) While on the other hand a possible big confrontation is looming on the horizon as February 14 approaches.

All in all the good signs outweigh, not by much though, the bad ones. So let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the better, because the worse is unimaginable...