The conference of the seculars in Lebanon was a tad short of a total fiasco.
I attended the concluding sessions on the second day of the conference. This activity was spearheaded by Bishop Gregoire Haddad and his Civil Society Movement. Although we were told that forty organizations were involved, the participants were just a few dozens, most of them young enthusiasts of one of the cults of Guevara (Guevara I respect, cults I abhor).
I asked the coordinator of the organizations participating in the event about this low turnout. His excuse was that they did not hand out invitations. Those invited got it by mail or email. And those who were handed invitations were the political parties and the parliamentarians, who obviously were not too eager to participate.
The concluding session was a reiteration of old clichés, wishful thinking and declaration of intents. It was agreed that plans of action will be planned later by some action committee that will be formed. Details of the topics discussed in all sessions can be found here.
This event was followed by a movie called “Dukannet el Sheikh Ali” (Sheikh Ali’s Shop). The picture could not be seen. The sound was inaudible. But we were told that it was a senior-year project. It is about three students, a Moslem, a Christian and a leftist (who represented the non-believer or the atheist or the secular). The movie was a mix of dialogues and interviews by these three and Sheikh Ali who is the shop keeper. While the Moslem and the Christian were shown in part of the movie in their respective temples worshiping, the leftist was shown in his cluttered room with pictures of Guevara, K. Jumblat, and Bob Marley etc. covering the walls and an empty bottle of booze on his table.
The events ended with singer Sami Hawwat and his group singing to the few dozens of activists adorned with Guevara-T-shirts, berets and kufiyas.
Here too the coordinator told me that Hawwat’s participation was not announced because they did not know early, during the planning, that he was going to contribute. He also complained that the media did not publicize the conference and that they don’t have enough finance to do so themselves.
What I saw: no money, no coordination, no participation, good intentions, wishful thinking, and no secular laws in the near future.
To be continued…