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    I Resist; You Don’t Exist

    The feeling of being stepped on as a citizen or humiliated to the core is one that cannot be underestimated in today’s Lebanon. It is difficult to overcome the challenges facing those of us who live in this accursed region without the protection of state institutions. But any semblance of the state, again in a region where the notion of the state is so often a moveable feast, has been systematically crushed, the latest example being Hezbollah’s total disregard for national security when it broke into Rafik Hariri International Airport last Saturday to pick up the former head of General Security, Jamil as-Sayyed, when he returned from Paris.

    What is left to hold onto in a country controlled by an arrogant and sectarian militia that protects itself with Iranian arms, deludes itself that it has the unyielding support of the Shia community and believes that it can thrive on the past glories of its war of resistance against Israel?

    Indeed, the Resistance was supposed to solely resist the Israeli occupying forces in South Lebanon, and despite the reservations many people had regarding the ideology and evolution of Hezbollah, the Party of God fulfilled its mandate in 2000 and won the thanks of a grateful nation.

    So what has happened since then? When Hezbollah inherited the Lebanese political scene from the Syrians in 2005, it focused its efforts on fighting the Lebanese government, its institutions and its people.

    Its “divine victory” against Israel in 2006 could not be questioned, and Hezbollah became greedier and more arrogant. It wanted everything, and the power game got ugly. Today, it has exceeded itself, even by its own outrageous standards.

    To be fair, the mask of the Resistance fell away over two years ago on May 7 on the streets of Beirut and days later in the Druze Mountains. We’ve been trying to resist it ever since, but the tools we made in 2005 have been taken from us one by one. The May 7 attempted coup, an imposed government of so-called national unity and the Saudi-Syrian “deal” are just a few of the events that have slowly eroded the gains of March 14, 2005, and today all we have to cling to is the hope that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) ensures that justice prevails.

    However, this last hope is under attack every day by Hezbollah because the party wants to put an end to the court, and when Hezbollah demands something from the Lebanese, it is not enough to say no. “No” is tantamount to treason because it is “no” to the Divine Resistance. “No” means a long fight that will more often than not unfold into lethal mayhem.

    Because of its resistance activities, Hezbollah feels it has the right to hijack the country and force its agenda on all Lebanese, because we are nothing more than its mignons. Because the Resistance insists it is cut from more honorable cloth, the rest of us have to endure the wounds – physical and mental – that have been inflicted upon us and give up our right to try to know who has been killing our leaders since February 14, 2005. Simply, Hezbollah does not want the STL to find out the truth.

    Because of the Resistance, Lebanon has to bury its potential to grow as a hub of freedom, development, co-existence and culture in the region. Hezbollah prefers Lebanon to be a battlefield for regional confrontation. Without conflict it is nothing.

    Because of the Resistance, the government and state institutions cannot make or implement sovereign decisions. It cannot even issue an arrest warrant for Sayyed when he defames the prime minister. Hezbollah wants Sayyed to say what he said and wants to send a message to the Lebanese authorities that Hezbollah is the final decision maker on everything.

    Hezbollah won’t stop repeating the phrase forced into the ministerial statement that the defense of Lebanon consists of the army, the Resistance and the people, although more than half of the Lebanese (as it was established in the parliamentary elections in 2009) do not want to resist. As for the rest, they are merely expected to applaud and blindly follow instructions.

    Today Hezbollah wants to put an end to the course of justice, but the party’s ego stops it from seeing that the urge for revenge can easily replace justice. Revenge does not need evidence and does not differentiate between the killer and the community he comes from.

    If the STL is abandoned at the barrel of a gun, the Shia, all of the Shia, will be punished for a crime no one knows who committed. Does Hezbollah really want this to happen to those who have already sacrificed enough for their so-called party? Who will then save the Lebanese from the poisoning hatred that expresses itself every day in Sunni-Shia neighborhoods of Beirut?

    Hezbollah has convinced everyone that the Shia stand behind it no matter what happens, and now the human shield it has been protecting itself with for years will have to once again pay the price for the party’s arrogance, with more blood and more tears.

    The fault is not only Hezbollah’s, as nobody has tried to understand the Shia community’s dynamics, which are more complicated than what Hezbollah is trying to convey. This misconception can make the urge for revenge that much more aggressive and primitive.

    The only tool we are left with in order to avoid revenge is the STL. We need to hold on to it, stand up for it and trust it. The fear we feel today should push us to break the stereotypes we have of each other instead of adopting them as an excuse for vengeance.

    Civil wars can start because of preconceived ideas, and we know better than most how brutal and long civil wars can be. Have we learned nothing from our past?

    Saadallah Wannous, a Syrian playwright and intellectual, said before he died in 1997: “We are dominated by hope.” In Lebanon, we have no choice but to stay hopeful, because if we don’t, we will lose ourselves.

    Hanin GHADDAR
    NOW Lebanon

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