Lebanon: Sectarianism and Peace Groups

The fears of sectarian strife may be the reason why a good number of bloggers wrote about sectarianism this week. However, as one may expect, bloggers do not agree on how to define or confront this issue. While some see that it is blown out of proportion, or that ignoring it may bring calamity, others think that it is a blessing and a Lebanese exceptionality. Nevertheless, many anti–sectarian youth peace groups have popped–up in Beirut in an attempt to save Lebanon from the seemingly inevitable future of a civil war or violence such as those occurring in neighboring countries in the region. Lebanese blogs touched upon these topics, and others like building or restoring bridges (literally), best photo awards, jokes and dissent in the March 14 coalition. Here is a sample of posts that I have collected:
How much do the various Lebanese groups or sects know about each other? Very little, it seems. This, according to Abu Ali is the root of hatred and even war:

A dear friend of mine told me recently: “I wish the Shi’a would start acting as true Lebanese, so that we can get on with our lives and build our nation”. I asked her what she knew about the Shi’a and about the South, and she innocently responded with a list of prejudiced stereotypes, which included a Shi’a penchant for self-flagellation. Our conversation confirmed to me again how little the Lebanese know about each other. This is not to be brushed aside lightly: ignorance breeds the fear and mistrust necessary to fuel sectarian hatred and civil wars. […]In a country in which the political system is exclusively sectarian, we grow up to be ignorant (and therefore suspicious) of each other.[I prepared] a “short” document on the Shi’a and on Jabal Amel, the mountain of the Shi’a of South Lebanon….

Sectarian and other forms of identification always takes precedant over the Lebanese identity according to Walid Moukarzil, and this, he declares, is the source of our troubles:

The trouble with the Lebanon is that there are no Lebanese in the Lebanon. The day the Lebanese arrive in Lebanon the trouble will end.

As for Sophia, sectarianism is just a cover up used to subdue and terrorize moderate and progressive voices in the Middle East:

Read the rest here…


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