The Republic's Guide (and Understander Aoun)
Hazem Saghieh Al-Hayat - 18/09/06//

The Lebanese resumption of bickering (but more intense than it was before the war) presents new and dangerous facts. One of these facts is that 'fighting Israel' is no longer a rupture in history or a currency that can be exchanged in all markets. One should not expect that because he 'fights Israel' his rivals will overlook what they see as his mistakes or flaws. His supporters are only using 'fighting Israel' as a new argument for their support for him.

On the other hand, this means that the rift between the Lebanese can by no means be concealed by the so-called 'national Cause'. However, it also means that the case in question, and because it was frequently misused, has lost its sanctity and is no longer sufficient to install its symbol as an impeccable leader of all the Lebanese.

This was evident in the fact that many Lebanese believe the war brought nothing but havoc and destruction. After the war, many among them have grown more cautious and fearful that sectarian relations are edging closer toward eruption. It goes without saying that this contradicts the simple theoretical assumption that 'fighting Israel' unites everyone. This also requires extraordinary wisdom and an end to using the language of incitement and mobilization, as well as, of course, the need to keep the means of violence exclusively in the hands of the state. Continuing to have some people armed and some unarmed could be more dangerous than any time before.

Hezbollah, however, acts like one who sells a Syrian currency outside Syrian borders, unmindful that this currency cannot be exchanged beyond Qamishly. He believes the lie of 'national cause', and then he demands others to treat him accordingly. He wants them to honor him with the title of the infallible leader of all Lebanese, simply because he had 'fought Israel '.

This was at least suggested in the recent TV interview with Hassan Nasrallah, in which he insulted every one who have the least sense of personal dignity or those who have just caught the scent of freedom and democracy from afar.

The Hezbollah Secretary General decides intemperately and arrogantly what is permissible and what is not. He distributes medals based on his classification of people into supporters and traitors. He put an end to periods of tolerance and began a new one where he gives certificates and awards as though he is the 'Guide' (murshid) of the, until now, sinful Lebanese Republic. As for his spokesmen, they tear a strip off their critics, setting an example of their eloquent understanding of politics and the relation with the 'other'.

There is no doubt that Nasrallah found, and finds, several applauders, just as he found an 'understander' (not an ally!), such as Michel Aoun, who strengthens his belief of being the Republic's Supreme Leader. There is also no doubt that the pretext of 'fighting Israel' is still deceiving those who fell for it in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982 - and that they will continue to fall for it until Judgment Day.

But all the Lebanese are not of low intelligence, as shown by understander Michel Aoun. And, of course, they are not all aspirants to imaginary presidency, which is up for grabs at any price, as is the case with understander Aoun.

The Lebanese in their short history have seen many politicians whose supporters elevated them to the rank of prophets while their rivals continued their criticism-turned-slander campaigns. This is applicable to Fouad Chehab, Kamal Jumblatt, Moussa al-Sadr, Bachir Gemayel and Rafiq Hariri, who bore more than a sarcastic TV show.

It is also applicable to Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ayatollah Khomeini, and others who understood that the history of this country does not start from scratch and cannot be made by a false founder.

The characteristic of the current Republic, which was founded on freedom and was a safe haven for persecuted fugitives from dictatorial and semi-totalitarian regimes, is that it is a Republic without a 'Guide', and when it does appoint one, it will no longer be the Lebanese Republic.