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Hezbollah, the United Nations, and the murder of Rafik Hariri


 

Excellent and enormously consequential reporting by the CBC… Also infuriating, depressing, and, sadly, not all that surprising.


 

Hezbollah, the United Nations, and the murder of Rafik Hariri

  1. Bad link

  2. Bad link

  3. "Bellemare had not been Washington's choice for the job and U.S. officials did not hold him in terribly high regard. They were aware he had been spending much of his time obsessing over the trappings of his UN offices, ordering in tailored clothes, boasting about his prosecutorial prowess and designing a personal coat of arms.

    His underlings had watched, bemused, as he dispatched security staff to Beirut's more fashionable shopping districts to inquire about having the family crest embossed on pieces of jewelry.

    "If I was given to conspiracy theories," said one of Bellemare's former officials, "I'd think he was deliberately put in there so as not to achieve anything." "

    Sigh.

    See the Bellemare Coat of Arms, here:
    http://archive.gg.ca/heraldry/pub-reg/project-pic

  4. "Bellemare had not been Washington's choice for the job and U.S. officials did not hold him in terribly high regard. They were aware he had been spending much of his time obsessing over the trappings of his UN offices, ordering in tailored clothes, boasting about his prosecutorial prowess and designing a personal coat of arms.

    His underlings had watched, bemused, as he dispatched security staff to Beirut's more fashionable shopping districts to inquire about having the family crest embossed on pieces of jewelry.

    "If I was given to conspiracy theories," said one of Bellemare's former officials, "I'd think he was deliberately put in there so as not to achieve anything." "

    Sigh.

    See the Bellemare Coat of Arms, here:
    http://archive.gg.ca/heraldry/pub-reg/project-pic

  5. I thought it was, like, a meta-irony type thing.

  6. There are of course many important tangents to this story. Here is one:

    Since the prosecution team is heavily staffed by Canadians, one of whom likely leaked the documents at the.heart of this story, two conclusions are likely to be drawn by international observers:

    1) Canadians are not competent to run complicated international investigations/prosecutions; and
    2) Canadians can not keep a secret…

  7. There are of course many important tangents to this story. Here is one:

    Since the prosecution team is heavily staffed by Canadians, one of whom likely leaked the documents at the.heart of this story, two conclusions are likely to be drawn by international observers:

    1) Canadians are not competent to run complicated international investigations/prosecutions; and
    2) Canadians can not keep a secret…

    • … Except that the thrust of the story is not what happened to Hariri, but rather what happened to the INVESTIGATION. The botched (or was it deliberately stifled?) investigation is what's being exposed here. This would necessarily involve criticism of how the inquiry was managed and the development of sources within the investigation. Key to this story is the targeted killing of one of the Lebanese investigators and the dodgy testimony of another — Hariri's security head.

      Also, any national inquiry taking 5 years (producing no indictments) amid political jockeying and turmoil would experience leaks of information. I'm not sure your contention that a multi-national, multi-jurisdictional investigation experience a leak is an indictment of Canadians involved in said investigation.

      Kudos to the CBC for some top-flight international reporting. Their work was instantly a headline item in the Washington Post. Interesting to note that French is widely spoken in Lebanon, and that may have helped the journalists develop sources. That and the CBC's formidable expertise in the region, having covered many stories in and about Lebanon for 40 years.

      • I'm saying that since the prosecution team has a large Canadian component, and since the documents were leaked to the CBC, the leaker was likely Canadian…or at least that is the assumption that many will make.

        Apparently not you, though.

        • Give the CBC's coverage of the Lebanese civil war, the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, the death of a Canadian peacekeeper in Lebanon and the more recent sealift of Canadian-Lebanese during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, I think it's natural — not suspicious — that CBC was on this story. They, unlike many news organizations, have full-time foreign correspondents in the region.

          Other news organizations have cut their foreign bureaus deeply and many now "rent" footage from CBC, doing voiceovers from afar. Or, they send in a correspondent after the fact to do some rooftop satellite commentary before flying them back home. Whatever one can say about CBC entertainment programming, their news organization is still at the top of the league tables when it comes to substantive coverage of foreign events.

          • Depends on the region, but I agree with you about Lebanon, because of the historical connections you mention. The CBC was doing top-shelf reporting of the Lebanese civil war back in the 1970s.

            The only other organization with roots and pedigree like that that comes to mind in Lebanon is the New York Times, which has had some excellent people there over the years (including Thomas Friedman, who was a dream middle east correspondent: fluent in Arabic and Hebrew, quite a feat for a boy from Minnesota).

    • If your hypothetical "international observers" are morons, than you may have a point.

      But, following that logic, can't you say the same things about the U.S. military, given the Afghanistan wikileaks incident – particularly since the Canadians and Dutch didn't have the same problems?

      Every large organization has individual leaks. Making wild generalizations about an entire country based on one example is not a sensible thing to do.

      • If you want to call the UN International Independent Investigation Commission's Hariri team a "large organization", sure.

        • "The tribunal currently has an annual budget in excess of $40 million and more than 300 employees from 61 countries. It has a headquarters, a team of prosecutors, a defence office, judges, clerks, investigators and research staff, even access to detention facilities, but not a single accused."

          300 employees in 61 countries meets my definition of "large organization."

          • Oh well then.

            "Nothing to see here. Large organization, you know. Can't bring an indictment, but we sure can leak. Carry on…."

          • I'm really not sure where you're going here. I don't think anyone's defending the UNIIIC. My point was solely that I doubt the fact a CBC reporter broke a story on a malfunctioning UN entity is going to make one whit of difference to what international observers think about Canada and Canadians, their competence and their trustworthiness.

          • I hope that you are right. I hope that no one is noticing.

            Still, I suspect that it won't exactly burnish our reputation.

      • According to the cbc there are six sources from within the STL.

        That's not a leak, that's a gusher.

  8. Iran's front line attack base, Hezbollahland, once known as 'Lebanon' is not the kind of place where real justice can be found, there is only the politics and violence of power, that's all that matters to them. There is only one country in the middle east interested in justice, that's why Muslims and Arabs try so hard to eliminate it.

  9. Iran's front line attack base, Hezbollahland, once known as 'Lebanon' is not the kind of place where real justice can be found, there is only the politics and violence of power, that's all that matters to them. There is only one country in the middle east interested in justice, that's why Muslims and Arabs try so hard to eliminate it.

    • Turkey?

      • Iraq! Dude, we totally liberated it!

    • You may be right on the first count. The second comment reflects the kind of racism which helps explain why peace in the Middle East is so difficult to achieve.

  10. Turkey?

  11. Iraq! Dude, we totally liberated it!

  12. … Except that the thrust of the story is not what happened to Hariri, but rather what happened to the INVESTIGATION. The botched (or was it deliberately stifled?) investigation is what's being exposed here. This would necessarily involve criticism of how the inquiry was managed and the development of sources within the investigation. Key to this story is the targeted killing of one of the Lebanese investigators and the dodgy testimony of another — Hariri's security head.

    Also, any national inquiry taking 5 years (producing no indictments) amid political jockeying and turmoil would experience leaks of information. I'm not sure your contention that a multi-national, multi-jurisdictional investigation experience a leak is an indictment of Canadians involved in said investigation.

    Kudos to the CBC for some top-flight international reporting. Their work was instantly a headline item in the Washington Post. Interesting to note that French is widely spoken in Lebanon, and that may have helped the journalists develop sources. That and the CBC's formidable expertise in the region, having covered many stories in and about Lebanon for 40 years.

  13. You may be right on the first count. The second comment reflects the kind of racism which helps explain why peace in the Middle East is so difficult to achieve.

  14. I'm saying that since the prosecution team has a large Canadian component, and since the documents were leaked to the CBC, the leaker was likely Canadian…or at least that is the assumption that many will make.

    Apparently not you, though.

  15. If your hypothetical "international observers" are morons, than you may have a point.

    But, following that logic, can't you say the same things about the U.S. military, given the Afghanistan wikileaks incident – particularly since the Canadians and Dutch didn't have the same problems?

    Every large organization has individual leaks. Making wild generalizations about an entire country based on one example is not a sensible thing to do.

  16. The link's fixed now. Thanks.

  17. If you want to call the UN International Independent Investigation Commission's Hariri team a "large organization", sure.

  18. Give the CBC's coverage of the Lebanese civil war, the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, the death of a Canadian peacekeeper in Lebanon and the more recent sealift of Canadian-Lebanese during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, I think it's natural — not suspicious — that CBC was on this story. They, unlike many news organizations, have full-time foreign correspondents in the region.

    Other news organizations have cut their foreign bureaus deeply and many now "rent" footage from CBC, doing voiceovers from afar. Or, they send in a correspondent after the fact to do some rooftop satellite commentary before flying them back home. Whatever one can say about CBC entertainment programming, their news organization is still at the top of the league tables when it comes to substantive coverage of foreign events.

  19. He thumb clickers … it was a joke. Israel is not the only quasi-democratic country in the region. We just often forget about the Muslim country that extended voting rights to women in the 1930s.

  20. "The tribunal currently has an annual budget in excess of $40 million and more than 300 employees from 61 countries. It has a headquarters, a team of prosecutors, a defence office, judges, clerks, investigators and research staff, even access to detention facilities, but not a single accused."

    300 employees in 61 countries meets my definition of "large organization."

  21. Oh well then.

    "Nothing to see here. Large organization, you know. Can't bring an indictment, but we sure can leak. Carry on…."

  22. I'm really not sure where you're going here. I don't think anyone's defending the UNIIIC. My point was solely that I doubt the fact a CBC reporter broke a story on a malfunctioning UN entity is going to make one whit of difference to what international observers think about Canada and Canadians, their competence and their trustworthiness.

  23. I hope that you are right. I hope that no one is noticing.

    Still, I suspect that it won't exactly burnish our reputation.

  24. Depends on the region, but I agree with you about Lebanon, because of the historical connections you mention. The CBC was doing top-shelf reporting of the Lebanese civil war back in the 1970s.

    The only other organization with roots and pedigree like that that comes to mind in Lebanon is the New York Times, which has had some excellent people there over the years (including Thomas Friedman, who was a dream middle east correspondent: fluent in Arabic and Hebrew, quite a feat for a boy from Minnesota).

  25. "Not surprising" some of you say? "Peace is difficult"? Oh but that is exactly what you're avoiding, the "surprise" that we are no longer Lebanon of the 70's. "Difficult" is how it's been to manipulate us into another civil war. CBC's report portrays us as something from the 70's, if not medieval time. Centering our world around any politician, dead or alive? Fixating on feuds, and not national goals? That's not us, it's who you like to believe we are. To keep believing that, you black out Lebanese nationalism. I hope the STL is not reduced to another manipulation, to undo nationalism, our decolonization movement in effect, in order to colonize us again through a civil war. Belittling our intelligence by branding any politician's portrait in our face is like having a pilgrim sneak into a pawaw, to pose as a native. You negate the Lebanese sophistication in politics, then talk down to us which just makes you look clueless.

    Your report suspiciously overlooks the case of false witnesses in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. In Lebanon, Saudi-manipulated banana republic members suspiciously let go of these false witnesses after they were expose, when a grandma who watches police drama would tell you that these false witnesses were the lead to the real culprit.
    Second, if this was more than a political manipulation, why do you accuse entire religious subcultures and not individuals? CBC is being an echo box for Israel and Saudi Arabia, and a corrupt banana republic in Lebanon all equally eager to frame the Lebanese opposition. This Banana republic was reported by a Pullitzer winner, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, to have imported into Lebanon in 2007 a Saudi mercenary group Fatah-al-islam. This sunnite extremist group (pardon the regressive sectarian label) attempted to fuel a civil war but the Lebanese army apprehended them. If you want a real investigate report, read Hersh's, "The Redirection" in the New Yorker of March 5 2007: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070… .
    The west confused by misconception doesn't realize that 9/11, the Taliban, and rampant extremism in the last decade were attributed to Sunnite extremists (Not representative of Sunnites). Hezbollah on the other hand are Shiites, and in the most of the middle east a minority bullied by regressive Sunnite regimes. As the US manipulates a religious vendetta among us "the natives", they charge at Sunnites one moment and st Shiite the other. They call this keeping the balance of power, which translates to keeping the vendetta, a colonization tool, alive.
    Excuse the sectarian labels here, but that's the regressive language the west still speaks, while Lebanese nationalists elevated their thinking and now equate sectarianism (sort by religion) to racism. Nationalists are the second largest bloc in the Lebanese parliament, after Hezbollah.

    You the "not surprised" in denial about a nationalistic movement emerged in Lebanon in 1989. You portray us as obsessed with politicians, dead or alive, to negate that we now follow a higher principle: national sentiment in Lebanese means we reject religious segregation and (oh no!), we're no longer prone to foreign-fueled civil wars. Darn, that's the only way to colonize now that good old fashioned Indian Acts, and putting natives in reserve has to be done "indirectly". Why is it done? Gee I don't know, why did colonization happen in the first place. Romans wanted wheat, Americans wanted oil … land, water, just review the Ice and Sun theory, and Chris Hedges books on why the US is addicted to war. Refer also to Aaron Huey, a photograph who denounces how the US manipulated the Lacota native tribe in the US, out of their land. Thank God for Americans who don't report like the CBC does.

  26. So when we don't fall into a civil war the easy way in Lebanon, you bring in the big guns, a CBC supposedly investigation?! It reminds me of the Indian Act where European settlers in Canada belittle the intelligence of the natives. Native Canadians are protesting this act even today, because it pigeon holes First Nations tribes, by saying that breed determines a person's belonging to a tribe. Intellect, the natives answer. Intellect is how we have always picked new members of First Nations. CBC's news report about Lebanon pigeon holes Lebanese by their religious sect, and portrays them as worshipers of political idols, dead or alive. Intellect, the Lebanese natives answer. Intellect, which lead to nationalism, is how we decolonize our country from sectarianism and choose to belong to a religiously diverse nation. Without foreign-fueled sectarianism, it's impossible to manipulate us into civil wars. If CBC News was respecting our intellect, it would elaborate on the false witnesses in Hariri tribe, and it would speak of accused individuals, as in a modern society, not of accused factions as in a medieval society. Catch up CBC, many in Lebanon are defined by the 1989 turning point towards a Lebanese national identity, described by Daniel Rondeau's Chronique d'un Liban Rebel. We're not defined by feuds. We're not returning to the past no matter how cleverly colonial your reports are, so how about you join us in the present!

  27. So when we don't fall into a civil war the easy way in Lebanon, you bring in the big guns, a CBC supposedly investigation?! It reminds me of the Indian Act where European settlers in Canada belittle the intelligence of the natives. Native Canadians are protesting this act even today, because it pigeon holes First Nations tribes, by saying that breed determines a person's belonging to a tribe. Intellect, the natives answer. Intellect is how we have always picked new members of First Nations. CBC's news report about Lebanon pigeon holes Lebanese by their religious sect, and portrays them as worshipers of political idols, dead or alive. Intellect, the Lebanese natives answer. Intellect, which lead to nationalism, is how we decolonize our country from sectarianism and choose to belong to a religiously diverse nation. Without foreign-fueled sectarianism, it's impossible to manipulate us into civil wars. If CBC News was respecting our intellect, it would elaborate on the false witnesses in Hariri tribe, and it would speak of accused individuals, as in a modern society, not of accused factions as in a medieval society. Catch up CBC, many in Lebanon are defined by the 1989 turning point towards a Lebanese national identity, described by Daniel Rondeau's Chronique d'un Liban Rebel. We're not defined by feuds. We're not returning to the past no matter how cleverly colonial your reports are, so how about you join us in the present!

    • Keep saying that, and you might actually believe your own words.

      • or.. What I said is confirmed by the leaks from the US white house. Saudis "asking' the US to cut off Iran's head". What more do you need to read to see that the use is trying to fuel a religious vendetta, and the Lebanese opposition is saying no thanks? As natives, we don't fall for colonization, and fabricated civil wars quite like we used to.

        Besides, it is called prejudice when you can only believe bigotry-confirming stories about us the natives, or the "savages" as your colonizing predecessors used to call us. Positives facts about us on the other hand you automatically dismiss as euphoric. The fact is that the patriotic party formed the opposition by having several Lebanese factions sign on a Memorandum of Understanding, where they agreed to separate religion from state, and uphold a constructive Lebanese national vision. That's why the Lebanese opposition is our decolonization movement. How does it surprise you that a US regime that takes "off with their heads" request from a medieval Saudi regime, would want to frame and sabotage the lebanese decolonization movement?

  28. Funny that your issue is with Muslim countries, yet you help "stone" a part of the Lebanese opposition through this CBC report, which aids the Saudi dictatorship and their puppet Banana Republic in Lebanon.
    In Western-speak (I call it that because for Lebanese nationalist sectarian labels are seen as bigotry):
    Saudi dictatorship = Egyptian dictatorship = Lebanese Banana Republic's ruling majority = sunnite oppressive regimes = US-labeled good guys (?!)
    Taliban = 9/11 = sunnite extremists
    Hezbollah = shiite = typically a minority in Arabic country
    Minorities in Arabic countries include Christians, Shiite, and obtuse regimes make life difficult for them.

    You also forget that some Arabic countries are religiously diverse, and include Christians like me, but I guess stereotyping us makes it easier for colonizers to call us "savages", and excuse their crimes against us. European settlers in North America anyone? When colonization is honestly over, you will realize this: Long ahead of the rest of the world, in 1989 to be exact, Lebanon started to reject religious segregation and considered it a form of racism. This was triggered by the patriotic movement that emerged in 1989, and that gave us a different direction. Our country will be a flagship for true religious diversity for the world, and you will learn from it not to use the "N word equivalent", which are sectarian labels. True diversity means mingling among religions as occurs in Lebanon, not a cold distance separating different immigrant neighborhoods, or a Saudi paranoia from all things different. Imagine what you'll learn from us if CBC's nudge towards a civil war in Lebanon doesn't succeed.

  29. Funny that your issue is with Muslim countries, yet you help "stone" a part of the Lebanese opposition through this CBC report, which aids the Saudi dictatorship and their puppet Banana Republic in Lebanon.
    In Western-speak (I call it that because for Lebanese nationalist sectarian labels are seen as bigotry):
    Saudi dictatorship = Egyptian dictatorship = Lebanese Banana Republic's ruling majority = sunnite oppressive regimes = US-labeled good guys (?!)
    Taliban = 9/11 = sunnite extremists
    Hezbollah = shiite = typically a minority in Arabic country
    Minorities in Arabic countries include Christians, Shiite, and obtuse regimes make life difficult for them.

    You also forget that some Arabic countries are religiously diverse, and include Christians like me, but I guess stereotyping us makes it easier for colonizers to call us "savages", and excuse their crimes against us. European settlers in North America anyone? When colonization is honestly over, you will realize this: Long ahead of the rest of the world, in 1989 to be exact, Lebanon started to reject religious segregation and considered it a form of racism. This was triggered by the patriotic movement that emerged in 1989, and that gave us a different direction. Our country will be a flagship for true religious diversity for the world, and you will learn from it not to use the "N word equivalent", which are sectarian labels. True diversity means mingling among religions as occurs in Lebanon, not a cold distance separating different immigrant neighborhoods, or a Saudi paranoia from all things different. Imagine what you'll learn from us if CBC's nudge towards a civil war in Lebanon doesn't succeed.

    • You're a Lebanese Christian, right? (Notice I put "Lebanese" first, and I do apologize for labeling you by your religion)

      I have a nagging feeling that a Shiite Hizb-Allah member or even a non-member, will not say the same words — at least in public.

      I've heard many Lebanese Christians express themselves the same way you have – "national unity national unity national unity". Hizballah and their Shia base are the most fundamentalist large sectarian group in Lebanon, which is why they don't look at Lebanon as a national / nationalist project, but as a religious project.

      Your hope for a religiously tolerant society in Lebanon is a sad fantasy given Hizballah's aspirations and behaviour.

      One of the saddest things I've seen all year is to see your prime minister meet and "kiss the ring" of Assad and Ahmadi-Nejad, and even Jumblatt, the Druze leader changing his tune from openly calling Assad a pig and other derogatory terms, to eating crow and embracing him ideologically. And what about your current president? He used to be a general fighting Hizballah and rejecting their Khomeiniist ideals during the Lebanese civil war, and now he's embracing them with both arms as president…

      It is sad and depressing to see what's happening in Lebanon, because it is clear that all the anti-Iran and anti-Syria leaders that have all changed their tune are doing so to save the lives of their peoples, to preserve the Lebanese republic and prevent another civil war.

  30. Pawaw? Romans? Seymour Hersh?

    OK, here's what we've got: the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people — under the supervision of the reverse vampires — are forcing our parents to go to bed early in a fiendish plot to eliminate the meal of dinner. [sotto voce] We're through the looking glass now, people.

    …and scene.

    I am very sorry that you disagree with the CBC, but if Neil Macdonald is an Israeli stooge, then I am Sidney Crosby.

  31. Pawaw? Romans? Seymour Hersh?

    OK, here's what we've got: the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people — under the supervision of the reverse vampires — are forcing our parents to go to bed early in a fiendish plot to eliminate the meal of dinner. [sotto voce] We're through the looking glass now, people.

    …and scene.

    I am very sorry that you disagree with the CBC, but if Neil Macdonald is an Israeli stooge, then I am Sidney Crosby.

    • funny isn't it, when the North American natives you colonized with fabricated civil wars compare notes with Lebanese natives the STL might be used to coerce into a civil war? Divide and conquer, again, really?… really?

      Didn't you think the natives woudn't find each others' books, each other's website, and notice history repeating itself. It's like Chris Hedges wrote, his people won't examine their history, they don't know where they've been nor where they're going. If you don't believe the native, read what an American analyst said about that:

      Walter Russell Mead wrote about history repeating itself: the settlers who exterminated and replaced the natives in North America are reviving that same policy in the middle east. A political scientists would be an "elitiste liberal" on this site, but try to get yourself to read him , he afterall, has a degree in the subject (that's elitiste liberal degree to you!): http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080701faessay8740

  32. According to the cbc there are six sources from within the STL.

    That's not a leak, that's a gusher.

  33. Keep saying that, and you might actually believe your own words.

  34. For the record Aljazera did a story with almost all the information in the CBC report over a month ago.

  35. For the record Aljazera did a story with almost all the information in the CBC report over a month ago.

    • For the record: That sort of thing happens all the time and almost nobody watches Al Jaz in Canada anyways.

      • What always happens? plagiarising, or the denial about the authenticity of CBC news?

  36. Well, at least your being consistent with this new minimalist approach to blogging. Is it a self impossed exercise in composition to keep your blog entries to one or two lines or is this all that you are allowed?

    You are a columnist with something close to a national profile. Would it hurt so bad to fill out your posts a little?

  37. Well, at least your being consistent with this new minimalist approach to blogging. Is it a self impossed exercise in composition to keep your blog entries to one or two lines or is this all that you are allowed?

    You are a columnist with something close to a national profile. Would it hurt so bad to fill out your posts a little?

  38. For the record: That sort of thing happens all the time and almost nobody watches Al Jaz in Canada anyways.

  39. or.. What I said is confirmed by the leaks from the US white house. Saudis "asking' the US to cut off Iran's head". What more do you need to read to see that the use is trying to fuel a religious vendetta, and the Lebanese opposition is saying no thanks? As natives, we don't fall for colonization, and fabricated civil wars quite like we used to.

    Besides, it is called prejudice when you can only believe bigotry-confirming stories about us the natives, or the "savages" as your colonizing predecessors used to call us. Positives facts about us on the other hand you automatically dismiss as euphoric. The fact is that the patriotic party formed the opposition by having several Lebanese factions sign on a Memorandum of Understanding, where they agreed to separate religion from state, and uphold a constructive Lebanese national vision. That's why the Lebanese opposition is our decolonization movement. How does it surprise you that a US regime that takes "off with their heads" request from a medieval Saudi regime, would want to frame and sabotage the lebanese decolonization movement?

  40. funny isn't it, when the North American natives you colonized with fabricated civil wars compare notes with Lebanese natives the STL might be used to coerce into a civil war? Divide and conquer, again, really?… really?

    Didn't you think the natives woudn't find each others' books, each other's website, and notice history repeating itself. It's like Chris Hedges wrote, his people won't examine their history, they don't know where they've been nor where they're going. If you don't believe the native, read what an American analyst said about that:

    Walter Russell Mead wrote about history repeating itself: the settlers who exterminated and replaced the natives in North America are reviving that same policy in the middle east. A political scientists would be an "elitiste liberal" on this site, but try to get yourself to read him , he afterall, has a degree in the subject (that's elitiste liberal degree to you!): http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080701faessay8740

  41. What always happens? plagiarising, or the denial about the authenticity of CBC news?

  42. You're a Lebanese Christian, right? (Notice I put "Lebanese" first, and I do apologize for labeling you by your religion)

    I have a nagging feeling that a Shiite Hizb-Allah member or even a non-member, will not say the same words — at least in public.

    I've heard many Lebanese Christians express themselves the same way you have – "national unity national unity national unity". Hizballah and their Shia base are the most fundamentalist large sectarian group in Lebanon, which is why they don't look at Lebanon as a national / nationalist project, but as a religious project.

    Your hope for a religiously tolerant society in Lebanon is a sad fantasy given Hizballah's aspirations and behaviour.

    One of the saddest things I've seen all year is to see your prime minister meet and "kiss the ring" of Assad and Ahmadi-Nejad, and even Jumblatt, the Druze leader changing his tune from openly calling Assad a pig and other derogatory terms, to eating crow and embracing him ideologically. And what about your current president? He used to be a general fighting Hizballah and rejecting their Khomeiniist ideals during the Lebanese civil war, and now he's embracing them with both arms as president…

    It is sad and depressing to see what's happening in Lebanon, because it is clear that all the anti-Iran and anti-Syria leaders that have all changed their tune are doing so to save the lives of their peoples, to preserve the Lebanese republic and prevent another civil war.

  43. hi AlexB. I'm a Lebanese who rejects self-hatred in Lebanon. Like all ex-colonies, colonization left a scar of self-hatred in us. Some of our people bully themselves even after their colonizers have left. They do so by saying that they are incapable of other than sectarianism, incapable of a national vision, of a religiously diverse country. Also like every colony, we have a decolonization movement. This phenomenon has been described by published native american and african american authors as well, as they analyzed how to pull their ethnicities back on their feet.

    Decolonization happened on paper in 1943, but mental decolonization started in 1989, when an alternative leader (G. Michel Aoun) said that our fears of each other, chirstians vs zunite vs. shiite (Hezbollah) are founded in artificial divides, and we're not ignorants nor bigots, which means we are capable of diversity and equal rights for all. This triggered a new sense of dignity in Lebanon, the opposite of humiliation from civil war rumors. This also brought Hezbollah out of the woodwork to talk. The dialogue happened very slowly, from 1989 to 2005, and over that time we learned that before there was a Hezbollah, there was a South of Lebanon short on schools, hospitals and equal rights. Like Haiti, and other ex-colonies, we fixated on the capital. We also inherited from colonial times a sectarian rulign class, which believes that shiites are in some archaic vendettas with Sunnites in power. Few Lebanese care for these antiquated conflicts, they just wanted equal rights. Israel joined the Lebanese banana republic in treated southern Lebanese as dispensable as well. Pushed into a corner, short of Lebanese national vision, they formed they own subcountry that is Hezbollah. Hearing that made it clear how to undo the schism: treat all lebanese as equals, don't drag Lebanon, made of 17 religions and counting (we're hoping for 20), into antiquated vendettas that corrupt ruling classes fuel, to stay in power. This is when Hezbollah and 3 other once-alienated group from the south, west, and north of the capital sign memorandum of understanding with the patriotic party (advocate of equal rights). In these MOU's they agree that they need to disarm once we have a real democracy, that there's never an excuse to attack or endanger Lebanese citizens, and they list their demands and their intention to use democracy to achieve them. So you see the narrative telling one group of Lebanese that the otehrs aremonsters doesn't work. "Monsters" are no more than once crushed people, that we now have the option to uncrush and bring back to democracy. When you look closer, Hezbollah does include a variety of mentalities, from fundamentalist to people with health care and education goals for their area. their flaws not withstanding, they build the hospitals, schools and roads that our public institutions robbed them of. They also changed their 1980's speech to "we want to separate religion from state, and end religious segregation". This doesn't mean all hezbollah understand what that means, but some do. The "civil war" didn't work because we went beyond demonizing and asked people "what drove away from democracy". They answered. We're doing something about it. The west should be pro-, not anti-conflict resolution. But I guess, the appeal of trying to colonize one more time is too strong for some! If the west was informed, they would remember that they set out fight sunnite extremists, the Taliban. Shiites (excuse the western sectarian-speak).

    No one excuses past violent acts by Hezbollah, but we're all responsible of not having a national vision between 1943 and 1989, and provoking the neglected southerners into forming a country within a country (Hezbollah). Their illegal militia turned Lebanon into a playground for US-Iran figthts in the past, and cost innocent Lebanese lives. That was not right, nor is teh loss of any human life. Through the signed memorandum of understanding, they now agree.

    You asked if I am a Christian. Imagine if you were a civil rights activist, and someone asked you how black or how white you are? Your first answer would be: the point of this, is to get you to not be concerned about that. I am a Christian who lets people believe I am a muslim the first 10 minutes of the conversation. I do so to find out if they are prejudiced against muslims. This prejudice fuels self-hatred, the scar of colonization in Lebanon, and the one we are replacing with national sentiment and a sense of dignity.

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