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    A critique of pure resistance‏

    Recent weeks have seen Hezbollah’s leadership grow more and more esoteric and convoluted in their definitions of what precisely constitutes the Resistance, and when exactly that Resistance has completed its task.

    On May 25, Hassan Nasrallah announced that the Resistance, once trumpeted as a national Lebanese institution, would now be defined as the few, the proud, the Hezbollah rank-and-file. The rest of Lebanon is simply not enlightened enough to know when or from whom they need the Resistance’s protection. Certainly we never would have guessed that the people of west Beirut, Aley, the Bekaa or Tripoli needed resisting; the Resistance moves in mysterious ways.

    Then, on June 19, MP Hassan Fadlallah cleverly identified attempts to liberate the Shebaa Farms, the Resistance’s solemn quest of these past eight years, without massive bloodshed as in fact a dastardly betrayal of the Resistance and its principles. We wouldn’t want to steal their thunder, of course, but we wonder if this isn’t simply displaced heartache over Bashar al-Assad’s flirtations with the Zionists. Men can be so cruel.

    But perhaps most alarming was Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem’s ruminations this past week on what the Resistance really is. No longer just a “military reaction to occupation,” now “the Resistance is a vision and a methodology to follow,” apparently, a contrarian Tao, an organizing principle of Lebanese life. Resistance, as its own raison d’être; these guys must be hell to order a pizza with.

    Back in reality, the picture is a bit clearer, if not quite as sophisticated. Hezbollah’s resistance credibility is simply slipping away at an ever accelerating rate, and they know it. Even back in 2000, the Shebaa Farms were a straw grasped in the wake of the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon. Now, they face losing even that excuse to hold on to their weapons. And after the pitched battles of this past May, the Lebanese people have a perfect understanding of just what those weapons would be used for without the nasty Israelis to kick around anymore.

    The signs are already evident that Hezbollah’s public support is constricting. The Sunnis, Druze and Christians who gave them grudging admiration for their ability to stand up to the Israeli juggernaut have been betrayed. The Shia of the South and southern suburbs of Beirut have little stomach for any more deadly adventures south of the border, although it remains to be seen if this will be reflected in the polls.

    Hezbollah’s attempt to redefine “resistance” as whatever they say it is may fool some, but increasingly it’s not fooling many. Lebanese poets and philosophers are sadly in short supply these days; most people just want to make a decent living and watch their sons and daughters grow up in a peaceful and free society. They want the life that resistance to occupation was supposed to deliver, not weapons as ends in themselves.

    NOW Lebanon
    June 26th, 2008

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