Monday, August 14, 2006


Ceasefire or fay knights? We'll see.

Meanwhile, Mustapha from Beirut Spring makes some good points today:
Time To Be Righteous

The time is right for liberal forces in Lebanon to speak with force and belief.

Before July 12, the debate between Hezbollah and the rest of the Lebanese had a classic pattern: When a Lebanese party reproaches Hezbollah for their weapons, they respond with a barrage of intimidation, bullying and self-righteousness. “How dare you question us?” “You sound exactly like the Israelis,” “Who are you to judge us?” sweetened with an assurance that the weapons are only for deterrence and will only be used against the “Zionist enemy,” followed by veiled (and not so veiled) threats: “we shall cut the limbs and heads of those who will try to disarm us and pull their souls out of their bodies”

The problem was not Hezbollah’s responses per say. The problem was the fact that a lot of Lebanese (mainly the Sunnis) actually felt a hint of shame for criticizing a force that appeals so much to populist Arab public opinion. Especially if you watch Aljazeera and the way they insinuate that the Lebanese who don’t support Hezbollah serve the interests of Israel.

At this junction, we need to be more righteous than Hezbollah, because our cause is, in fact, more just.

We should cast aside the shame we feel every time we pressure Hezbollah. We should have an internalized belief that our cause is righter than theirs. Our dream of a prosperous, pluralist, democratic Lebanon is much worthier than their narrow-minded medieval dream of an Islamic resurrection; our culture of life trumps their culture of death and martyrdom. A mother bragging about her son being a doctor is better than a mother bragging that her children are all “martyrs”

We should have an internal belief that modern wars are fought economically, by competing in production and innovation. A prosperous, plural Lebanon is a stronger foe than a militant, xenophobic Lebanon. Prosperity is about uniting families by preventing immigration. It’s about dignity. It’s about prestige and influence. A militant Lebanon will only create destitute, wretched and scattered about citizens who feed off other people’s charities.

When we argue with Hezbollah, we should be firm in our beliefs: We are right. They are wrong.
Also worth a look today: Michael Totten and Lisa Goldman.


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