Lebanese Secularism 101

I was reading the country study about Lebanon prepared by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace based in Washington in collaboration with Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) of Madrid. One of the most important bits in the study was the part on Lebanese parties. I suppose this post is aimed at the non-Lebanese and non-Arabs, just to introduce them to the absurdities of Lebanese “democracy” and “nationalism”. In fact, the entire sectarian system is absurd and proves the argument that Lebanon is a failed state, and not a nation-state at all (such a position is adopted by James Mayall in his book “Nationalism and International Society”).

The main parties in Lebanon at the moment are:

1) Future Movement (Tayyar al Mustaqbal) led by the Al-Hariri clan, claims to be secular, is actually a sectarian, Sunni party. Its current leader Sa’adeddine Al-Hariri enjoys life in Paris and is continuing in the tradition of his father.

2) Progressive Socialist Party (Al Hizb al Taqaddumi al Ishtiraki) led by the Jumblatt clan, claims to be secular, is actually a sectarian, Druze party. And anything but progressive and socialist. According to the latest reports, its leader actually has a generation of young Druze willing to die for him. Is reported to suffer from political schizophrenia, gives extraordinary speeches, and likes to forget that he was one of the primary pro-Syrian figures in the past 15 years.

3) Lebanese Forces (Al Quwwat al Lubnaniyya) led by warlord Samir Geagea (after a number of bloody coups during the war), is “officially secular” (according to the country study mentioned above), is actually a sectarian, Christian, Maronite party. Only recently removed the cross as its official symbol, although most of its followers still use it.

4) Free Patriotic Movement (Al Tayyar al Watani al Hurr) led by self-declared za’im (elite) and obsessed-with-the-presidential-chair maniac General Michel Aoun who recently returned to Lebanon after 15 years of exile, is for all propaganda purposes secular, but is actually a sectarian, Christian party. Claims to have “many” Muslim supporters, but so far no one has seen them. Invisible perhaps? Must be a Lebanese Forces conspiracy.

5) Amal Movement (Harakat Amal) led by corrupt za’im Nabih Berri, is refered to on the Lebanese street as being “relatively secular”, but is actually a sectarian, Shi’ite party.

6) Party of God (HezbAllah) led by Hassan Nasrallah, self-styled “resistance movement” that admittedly had tremendous success in bringing about the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from Lebanon, continues to define itself as a “resistance movement for all Lebanese” and criticizes attempts to call it a militia, although it is improbable that a non-Shi’ite (sectarian or secular) would be allowed to join and rise up in the ranks of “the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon”, claims to have widespread support across the sectarian spectrum for its resistance activities, but so far we have only seen few supporters (and no members) from other sects. The rest are invisible perhaps? Must be a Zionist conspiracy.

Bush hails this as a great democracy and a great nation with a free-thinking and freedom-loving society. But I continue to be a strong supporter of the movement “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East”. Well, too bad it is only served Kosher. But the Jewish people have the right to do that (but the “Muslim countries” are anti-Semitic because they treat their Jewish citizens as second-class).

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One response to “Lebanese Secularism 101

  1. Pingback: tygerland » A secular Lebanon?

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