Lebanon needs to be independent from the whims of its sects. All the sects should be “disarmed”.
22 November is the national independence day of Lebanon. This year, Prime Minister Saniora’s government came up with “Independence, Liberation, Freedom” as a motto for the celebration of 22/11.
“Independence” from the French mandate in 1943, “Liberation” of the South of Lebanon from Israeli occupation in 2000 (thanks to Hezbollah, Syrian and Iranian help) and “Freedom” from the Syrian interference in Lebanese public life.
P.M. Seniora’s objective is obvious: an attempt to bring together the two major divides in Lebanon, or what have come to be known as 8th of March and 14th of March with a dash of history. But this did not work.
On the eve of 22/11 clashes in the South, between Israeli forces on the one hand and the Hezbollah and Lebanese army on the other hand (four Lebanese died), show how fragile “independence and liberation” are.
Disregarding recent Israeli violation of Lebanese sovereignty, some of us Lebanese started “shouting” that we should disarm the “resistance” because it is a “threat” to the sovereignty of the State.
I see another “greater” threat to the sovereignty and unity of the State of Lebanon. Not only Hezbollah and as a consequence the Shiites have weapons, but almost each of the other sects is “armed” with a total control of at least one major facet of our life. This gives each sect the power to decide and guide wholly one or more of the economic, military, educational, foreign, and other policies which influence the entire population regardless of their sect. This control over each one of these aspects – which is distributed among the sects by law or enforced by tradition – contradicts the principles of sovereignty, unity, the role of the State and the concept of equality among citizens.
If we really seek democracy, development, freedom, equality, liberation, independence… then I believe that all the sects should be “disarmed”. No sect should have, for any reason, any authority, above or greater than the authority of the State.
Michael Moore’s letter to President Bush on Iraq:
Dear Mr. Bush:
I would like to extend my hand and invite you to join us, the mainstream American majority. We, the people — that’s the majority of the people — share these majority opinions:
1. Going to war was a mistake — a big mistake. (link)
2. You and your administration misled us into this war. (link)
3. We want the war ended and our troops brought home. (link)
4. We don’t trust you. (link)
Now, I know this is a bitter pill to swallow. Iraq was going to be your great legacy. Now, it’s just your legacy. It didn’t have to end up this way.
This week, when Republicans and conservative Democrats started jumping ship, you lashed out at them. You thought the most damning thing you could say to them was that they were “endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party.” I mean, is that the best you can do to persuade them to stick with you — compare them to me? You gotta come up with a better villain. For heaven’s sakes, you had a hundred-plus million other Americans who think the same way I do — and you could have picked on any one of them!
But hey, why not cut out the name-calling and the smearing and just do the obvious thing: Come join the majority! Be one of us, your fellow Americans! Is it really that hard? Is there really any other choice? George, take a walk on the wild side!
Your loyal representative from the majority,