Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday Blues: The problem is us

Politics in Lebanon: The problem is us
By Liliane Assaf

What is puzzling nowadays is how many people try to understand Politics, in view of politics as some kind of science and only very highly intelligent creatures are able to comprehend it. People spend years reading books, watching the news, whether they were biased ones or objective ones, it doesn't really matter, does it? Because they know what is really happening, they are on to “them”. And you don't and aren’t.

Such phase occurs to a lot of people, I know it did to me a long time ago. I read a lot of books and watched the news, biased to this and biased to that; bearing in mind that it is never absolutely objective, is it? As I was trying to discern from different sources by reading books written by subjective and objective (to a certain point) authors, and that depended on where I was getting at. Eventually I perceived that everybody had their reasons, they really were good persons and even Heroes, but life snuck up on them when they weren't looking (that is when reading subjective books) and that’s why some problems occurred (i.e. war). Nevertheless when reading objective ones, those people were not heroes, they were criminals and mafias.

After cursing the TV all the time, and swearing on the street for the laziness and failure of our government to provide us with a civil country, with side-walks, with road signs, and traffic lights, with order... After getting pissed and yelling at the Lebanese people themselves for not even trying to act civil as well, I fell into a vicious dilemma of who I should be really blaming.

This is when I have decided to stop reading political books, newspapers and watching the news. I shut down any source of news that had to do with politics. And this was the day I realized, politics are stupid. It's a bunch of actions done by silly, greedy, mean, hypocrite and evil people who only care about their own selfish needs that only influence the common people defectively.

The conclusion I came out with, was that they might appear to be fighting according to those so called credible sources but beneath it all they would have probably set an agreement of some sort, i.e. screw a third party viciously. They had two truths, the one that they shows us on the news, and the one that they keep to their own.

Now of course, hating politics so much does not prevent me from getting acquainted with facts and interpreting them, and that is for one reason only which is not to be oblivious. Because I do not want to wake up one day, like I did on Tuesday the 13th of July, to see that a war has started in Lebanon while I was out of the country vacationing and thinking Lebanon was just fine and I will be back there on the 16th. As a matter of fact this is why I did this blog, while not being able to believe there is a war in Lebanon, and I wanted to convince the world that we Lebanese are not war people, we are not people who resolve their issues with guns and tanks, and that this war has caught us off guard. We were cheated.

But the truth is? We are war people, not because most of the Lebanese population wants to fight and kill, but because we have surrendered a long time ago to the enemy. We have given up believing that we are capable of taking care of this country. We show the world how disorganized and divided we are.

Why should we? We’d be irrational persons to think that Lebanon is the best country on this planet, because Lebanon is just another country. We are not God’s chosen nation, I would like to believe that God’s chosen nation are all countries. Nonetheless, Lebanon is my home. So if my home is very humid and missing walls and roofs, if the roof is leaking from the rain and if the doors are broken and everyone can get in and out. I should fix it!
If someone else who shares this home with me decides to do a war with a neighbor, I ask you why don’t I have a say in this while it is my home as much as it is anyone else’s.

If I am not a parliament member, or a minister or a municipality member, does this make me any less of a Lebanese citizen?

We have to face it, Lebanese people are divided, not because of ethnicity and the diverse religions, but because we are divided within ourselves. We let any small thing divide us from our brother, cousin, neighbor and certainly a stranger.

These lyrics for Pink Floyd were on my mind all the time, and I couldn’t believe them more than I did during the war. “Together we stand, divided we fall.”

14th of March the date and not the political party - although it is silly that I have to point this out – was a day to remember, a day that a large slice of the Lebanese population has agreed on one thing. It was one month since PM Rafic Hariri was assassinated, but the Lebanese people were not only there to know who assassinated him, but also to know who assassinated other former politicians, to know who ruined this country and made it what it is today, to discover who messed with it and messed with the Lebanese. But most importantly, the Lebanese on 14th of March wanted to say to the world and to each other that they wanted PEACE, not just a peace from wars and foreign interference, but a peace from bad economy, a peace from headaches and selfish politicians.

I would like to tell the Lebanese: “Let’s go tell our government, we want a change, we do not want foreign meddling and we want better programs and order.” But why would anyone listen to me? I am just another citizen like them; I am not a selfish politician who steals money from the poor, and gives the rich.

Latterly, politics are stupid, it’s a word to describe mistakes, conspiracies, greed, selfishness, childhood complexes and childish behaviors. But this doesn't mean I don't care for the well-being of Lebanon and every other country for that matter, for providing a better educational system, sidewalks, more order, road signs, scholarships and relieves.

To say the least, we are no longer stuck; we are in fact moving... backwards. I have lost hope.


  1. You're right on one point. Lebanon is governed as the people deserve. However, you make an illogical jump when you ask to be consulted when one part of the country goes to war. It is exactly the lack of governement you mention that forces people and communities to defend themselves. That is why so many individual Lebanese have a gun at home. That is why there is a need in South Lebanon for Hezballah. Hezballah is like the Mafia in NY, a replacement for a government. When people say it is a state within a state, my first quesiton is: What state?

  2. Yes I understand that at one point Hezbollah took things into their hands because the government wasn't doing anything. But when the government decides to take care of things again, Hezbollah refuses??? It is a state inside a state (or something trying to become a state). Sheikh Nasrallah should learn when to let go.

  3. Anonymous:
    The issue of Hizballah's war this past summer has nothing to do with the government's neglect of the South!

    To claim so is a complete distortion of the facts and arguments underlying the current political situation in the South.

    In the past the Lebanese government has not shouldered its responsibilities not just to the South, but to all rural areas of the country - Akkar, Bekaa, the South - and this neglect allowed fundamentalist elements like Hizballah to flourish amid an otherwise religiously restraint populace.

    Over time, this neglect became integral to Hizballah and Amal's retention of power, and instead of working through the government to amend the situation they encouraged it to continue and worked through institutions outside of government instead of through government itself.

    These two groups had the power to fix the problem of a lack of state in the South over 15 years but chose not to. They exploited the situation.

    I find it utterly disgusting that Hizballah continues to claim that it is working in the interests of the people of South when it can so easily barter their lives in exchange for what? Two prisoners? No, in exchange for the interests of two autocratic and oppressive regimes.

    Good for you anonymous. Hizballah needs more donkeys like you to peddle its distorted message.

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