Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Lebanese hole is as deep as the Syrian wound | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Today the Syrians know who stands with them and who is against them, as revealed by Iran, and likewise Hezbollah. But the major shock for the Syrians today comes from Lebanon, and many of its politicians! This is especially as Lebanon knows the injustice of the Syrian regime and its cruelty, which has had a hand in Lebanon for decades, planting the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah among the Lebanese, as a product of the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut axis since the Khomeini revolution. How can “democratic” Lebanon, a country eager for freedom, stand with the Syrian regime that brutally represses its people?

Today confirms that we are greater advocates of pan-Arabism than those who claim to be in Lebanon, and we are also more honest. We believe that the Arabs can be more sophisticated, educated, and free, and they do not deserve sectarian leaders, or the inhabitants of caves and holes. We believe that the Arabs are not suicide bombers, but they are civilized, visionaries, and advocates of peace. Of course the Arabs are not Nabih Berri (the Rafsanjani of Lebanon), or Walid Jumblatt, a man whom we may have affection for, but this is complicated by his many fluctuations. Jumblatt once told George W. Bush after the first elections in Iraq: “It is strange for me to say, but this process of change (in the region) is happening because of the U.S occupation of Iraq. I was skeptical about Iraq until I saw 8 million Iraqis casting their votes 3 weeks ago…It was a new beginning for the Arab world. The Syrians and Egyptians all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen…we can all see that”! So why has Walid Jumblatt not seen, commenting on the formation of the new government in Lebanon, that the wall of fear has fallen in Damascus? Where is Jumblatt the Arabist, and Beirut for that matter, congratulating the Syrian troops fleeing to Lebanon from al-Assad’s regime?

I once wrote about the “Lebanese hole” and today I say: it is as deep as the Syrian wound as the Lebanese will testify themselves. My friend Hazem Saghieh wrote in “al-Hayat”, commenting on the position of some of Syria’s Lebanese allies, saying: “Those Lebanese allies’ job is to mediate between Nasrallah and his servants. They compete on television to deliver Nasrallah’s message to his servants, and convince others that it is good for them to remain in this subordinate relationship”.

Saghieh is not alone, for Abbas Baydoun amusingly wrote in the newspaper “al-Safir”: “it is surprising that in Lebanon we are outbidding the Syrians in terms of support for their regime, and that this regime has more prestige in Lebanon than it does in Syria. This is strange, but funny and depressing at the same time”. Of course, the new Lebanese government is one of the most depressing issues to emerge recently, particularly as it was formed in this manner at a time when the Arab people, especially the Syrians, are rebelling in search of dignity.

I write this and I have a good relationship with [Lebanese Prime Minister] Najib Mikati, but there is a difference between us, namely those keen on the Arab identity of our countries, and between the diggers of the “Lebanese hole”, and the followers of the Syrian regime and Iran…We are keen on our Arab identity, and they are keen on their sects, and that is the great difference between us! Just as one may lose his friends in a war, alas we have lost many of our Lebanese friends in the battle for reason and humanity! It is true that Lebanon is part of our mindset, but it is also part of our current ethical and political disaster.

Some might say that Lebanon is a small country, but as the ancient Arabs used to say: Most fires start from a little spark!