L'Orient - Le Jour du tac au tac

A collective apathy that will continue to kill: My introduction to war and why Lebanon may never prosper – Part 1 | 6 juin 2008

J’ai reçu ce message il y a quelques jours. Il s’agit des remarques d’un jeune d’origine libanaise sur les récents événements et les quelques réflexions qu’il a tiré de son expérience au Liban :

 » I had prepared to write a piece on the strategic outlook of Lebanon’s near future. One that tried to make sense of the confusion that has clouded the recent events in Lebanon. My parents grew up in this country and I returned here a year ago to pursue a professional career, hoping that I would better understand my attachment to this unpredictable state. I spent the previous year before my arrival in Beirut writing a thesis about Lebanon, studying the need to incorporate Hezbollah and Shia aspirations more appropriately into the confessional system. I argued the need to implement reforms, such as a new electoral system and a cooperative plan for security to gradually move away from our intransigent sectarian framework. To me, it seemed easy. A gradual shift was needed away from confessional power-sharing toward a system where elected representatives would also be responsible to a national electorate rather than just a sectarian enclave. This would help diminish the monopoly of power by zu’ama and be a constructive first step toward creating a collective Lebanese national identity – something that is largely absent beyond rhetoric, and in fact is a necessary precondition of our system of governance, known more widely as consociationalism.
My research made me believe I was aptly prepared to assess current events and contribute to the progress of this country. Accordingly, I actively engaged in civil society and began work at a reform institution, but I was still uncertain of the effectiveness of my efforts. The shameless developments of the past week, however, have forced me to question all that I wanted to believe to be true. The dangers of Lebanon’s subversive political paradigm and its inevitable invitation of conflict have been brought to the fore, only to be eclipsed by a state of insouciance, as euphoria has swept through the country upon news of a peace accord and the election of a new president. This concomitant interplay of these improbable opposites has proven to me what I was too afraid to admit: Lebanon suffers from a clear case of a ‘memory for forgetfulness.’
With the memory of the war seemingly forgotten, the Lebanese population and our political leaders yet again will almost fail to learn from price of conflict, taking the dangerous risk of leaving the question of sectarianism open-ended and without a clear solution. My personal testimony through the recent conflict shows that although tensions have been pacified by the illusive edification of the Doha Agreement, sectarian identity will supersede Lebanese statehood so long as the population remain vacillate toward calls for change.
The emotional rollercoaster that has accompanied the recent events has turned me away from the foggy strategic forecast that I had started to write and that many academics have engaged in the last week, each one contradicting the other in an imbroglio of analysis without any concrete steps forward. It disposed of the blind idealist in me, which would normally not justify acts of violence and appose the use of arms. It purposely leaves out the editorial that has framed blame in a context of power politics between the United State’s regional objectives and the nascent Shi’a crescent. And it definitely doesn’t pretend to understand, nor compare, the government’s sudden decision to alter the status quo against Hezbollah and actively confront its mounting influence against the violent actions of the Party of God and their sanctified call to maintain their weapons. My story does, however, invoke a question that everyone in this country must ask themselves if there is to be a future of coexistence.
What are you willing to do to prevent the next round of conflict? (…) « 


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