Monday, April 16, 2007

Civil war

Last week, the Lebanese people commemorated the 22 anniversary of start of civil war. And each Thursday Marcel Ghanem, Lebanon’s most prominent TV presenter, hosts a talk show, “Kalem al Nass” on LBC. So on the eve of that infamous anniversary the show was about the civil war, and Ghanem asked the Lebanese a crucial question “will you be willing to take up arms again and fight your fellow Lebanese…”

Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 male callers professed their willingness, even their eagerness to fight. I was not surprised… You could feel this “esprit de guerre” or war logic in the streets, in conversations, in any social gathering, even between educated people.

Lebanese politicians are famous for their changing allegiance and overnight alliances, yet the current rhetoric of exclusion and accusations have deeply affected the population at large. I fear that the gaping chasm which divides our society will need years and years to heal, if the situation does not deteriorate.

Finally, many would ask how a people who suffered the horrors of civil war embark on the same dark path another time, in less than 20 years (the war ended in 1990) the answer is simple it is young fools, who never witnessed the last war that are most eager to start a new one. Of course with the help of even bigger fools, politicians and divine leaders, who think that they can accomplish in a civil war what they failed to do in the pseudo-peace we live in…
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