Lebanon: Dichotomies R Us

Dichotomy: a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities, “the dichotomy between theory and practice”…

For example, Tajaddod Youth quotes Nassib Lahoud as saying:I am a Maronite when I’m not doing politics”, and the writer believes that this iscertainly one of my [his] favourites from a politician. [He believes] it sums up an ideal in one sentence, a day when Lebanese would deal with each other not as Muslims or Christians, Druze or Maronite, but as citizens of a secular state.

As citizens of a secular state” he says, yeh right. Wonder how it escapes us that the above quote only shows why “a secular state” is not possible. This quote simply voices the core of the Lebanese problem, that of the “Lebanese Identity”. A moderate and respectable “Lebanese leader” will identify himself by his sect first and foremost, even when he is making an anti-sectarian statement for a secular Lebanon. And if you live in Lebanon, you don’t have to look far to see what the rest of the “Lebanese” believe and say when asked about their national identity. You get dichotomies, trichotomies and quadrochotomies that are fit for case studies in psychological anomalies.

But then again, is there really something as a “Lebanese Identity”?



  1. Delirious · · Reply

    “trichotomies and quadrochotomies” 🙂wallaw ya moussa, of course there is something called Lebanese identity. it is just lost in the “hi, kifak, ca va’s”. ps: the word verification is “preans”. sounds like a real word 🙂

  2. So Nassib Lahoud is not allowed to practice his religious beliefs at home?Are you saying that we must ban religion all together so we can achieve a secular state?Nonsense, all that is required is that people stop making political decisions with religious/sectarian motives in mind, and that is exactly what Nassib Lahoud is saying here.

  3. ms. tee · · Reply

    Ramzi,I think what Nassib Lahoud is saying is a problem when the identity itself, in this case “Maronite,” is also a political one. Which, in the case of Lebanon, it is – like most other sectarian identities. “I am a Maronite” is not an innocent statement in this context. It is not like saying “I go to the Maronite church and believe in its teachings” – unless Nassib Lahoud lives in Macronesia, for example. In fact, the political identity “Maronite” has little to do with the religious one. And that is what (I understand) Bashir is saying and I agree with him.So, you ask, how is that Lahoud’s fault? How can he express that he is religious only in private? You might even accuse me of putting words in his mouth. My answer would be: as a politician, he should know better than throw around banal political statement that mean absolutely nothing in the Lebanese context.

  4. Moussa Bashir · · Reply

    thank you ms. tee 🙂 that is exactly my point…

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