Monday, December 12, 2005

What Needs To Be Done

Two hundred kilograms of explosives waiting for Gebran's motorcade and tearing it to pieces is not an outsider's job. The murderous precision of this act screams an inside job under the auspices of the syrian regime. Sit-ins, candle vigils and anti-syrian graffiti are no longer the answer. The cedar revolution at freedom square was a great first step, but it is no longer sufficient. There's only one thing to be done. Lahoud needs to step down, or be brought down by force. The Lebanese youth, the beating heart of this dying nation, need to march to Baabda, and put an end to the reign of this vermin once and for all. The wooden puppets belong not in palaces but on wooden sticks over an eager blaze. Time is running out. We need to take charge of our destinies, for once be our own heroes, not light candles and call for help, but take action and make room for new blood and new leadership before an otherwise inevitable downfall. Change has to be imminent. If Gebran's martyrdom is not enough to propel us through the whirlwind of metamorphosis and revolution, then mark my humble words, nothing EVER will. Pride cannot be bought. Freedom cannot be borrowed. Let's just remember that as we watch Gebran's charred body prematurely sink in the entrails of our mother soil.


Blogger Ghassan said...

I strongly agree! But we need to know the consequence of going to Baabda first! I think it is a political decision by the political leaders! We can ask each Lebanese to be a police officer (NO ARMS!!!) watching each movement to catch anyone who may plant a bomb or doing reconnaissance. We need to tell everyone that we will defend this country! We should ask for help from anyone, any country who is willing to help!

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Ghassan said...

Fouad, no doubt that the loss is great and it appears that the longing for freedom, liberty and dignity is again set back. But the implication, in your post, of the need for violence must be rejected. An eye for an eye will produce a world full of blind people. I share your concerns for Lebanon and feel your pain because your pain is also mine but I submit that what is needed is a major clear recognition on the part of everyone that the killings must stop and that we, the people will not accept or condone any abuses to either freind or foe. Vigils and grassroot demonstrations have not been totally unsuccessful. We need to demonstrate our resolve that we hold human dignity , personal freedom and the right to dissent as sacred. If we do that then the leaders will follow.
We as a society have accepted violence as a potential solution for our problems for too long and as a result we have collaborated with our enemies in lowering the standards of what is acceptable behaviour.
We have all been complicit in the murder of Gibral Tueini and all the others because we acquiesed in the past.We owe it to all the martyrs to resolve that we are totally committed to the cause of liberty and freedom for which they have paid the ultimate price but we should not descend to the barbaric behaviour of those that plot against us. Honourable goals call for honourable means. Peace and justice will eventually carry the day.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Ghassan #2: A march onto Baabda to depose a so-called president is not an act of violence. It has become a mandatory act aimed at saving whatever is left of a nation on the verge of total dissolution. Non-violence is one thing, non-action is another. Slogans and sit-ins have become obsolete. Passive resistance works, of course. India won its independence and we threw the syrian troops out. But when there's so much corruption and treason, our only hope remains an iron fisted leader and an unabated rule of loyalty and order. Under the current circumstances, this will never happen unless we take action, and quickly at that.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Ghassan said...

Foud, I obviously agree with the goal of your original post but my objection was to some of the strong language such as"Lahoud needs brought down by force." and futhermore "wooden puppets belong...on wooden sticks over an eager blaze". Let us not forget that civil disobedience can achieve more honorably the goals that we aspire to. A march on Baabda is one thing and storming it is another. I believe that Lahoud has become irrelevant and the present government should even marginalize him some more.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Delirious said...

Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution"?

11 Dec 2005 01:02:19 GMT

Source: Reuters

By Alaa Shahine

BEIRUT, Dec 11 (Reuters) - In Beirut's Martyrs' Square, 11 photographs hang on a wooden wall, showing hundreds of thousands of anti-Syrian protesters thronging the city's streets after the February assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

The pictures, yards away from Hariri's burial site, bear testimony to a surge of street anger -- dubbed the "Cedar Revolution" by the United States -- that prompted Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon after a 29-year military presence.

Nora Mourad protested for 40 days before the April pullout but now she cannot look at the pictures without regret.

"At that time, I felt we were making history. But now when I walk past the place I feel bitter," she told Reuters.

The protests erupted because many in Lebanon blamed Syria for Hariri's killing, a claim Damascus strongly denies. A United Nations interim report has suggested that top Syrian security officials and Lebanese allies planned the assassination.

"It is good that we have pictures to prove that we were there ... I feel that we have moved 1,000 steps back since then," said Mourad, a political activist.

For many like her, the protests that saw thousands of former civil war foes camping together in tents and calling for national unity offered a rare chance to break away from the delicate sectarian politics that fuelled Lebanon's 1975-1990 war and have stymied reforms ever since.

What happened next, however, was a wake-up call.

Not long after Syria withdrew its troops, cracks appeared in the loose coalition that had organised the protests, with Michel Aoun, a leader of Lebanon's Christian Maronites, breaking away in a row over alliances for May-June elections.

"Opportunistic new alliances were formed, with so-called pro- and anti-Syrians making common electoral cause to defend entrenched interests," the International Crisis Group think-tank said in a recent report.

"Elections meant as a starting point for reform were a reminder of the power of sectarianism and status quo."


Although the vote was the first in nearly three decades to take place without Syrian troops on Lebanese soil, an electoral law drawn up to protect Damascus' allies in a 2000 poll produced an unlikely coalition of Syria's allies and critics.

Divisions soon appeared and threatened to stall key political and economic reforms. A wave of explosions piled pressure on the government to patch up its rifts as fears mounted that the country was slipping into chaos.

"The elections ruined everything," said 24-year-old Mourad who is studying for a masters in international affairs at the Lebanese American University.

"Everyone wanted a bigger slice of the pie. The slogans about national unity turned out to be hollow," she said.

Even students -- one of the main groups in the anti-Syrian protests -- turned on each other, with student groups linked to political parties scuffling during student union elections in violence that underlined the tense political climate.

Some say spring hopes of a new era of national unity were always little more than wishful thinking in a society with few strong secular parties and civil society movements.

"There was consensus on forcing Syria out but little agreement on anything else," said Abdel-Rahman Za'za, 29, a mechanical engineer. "Nationalist movements cannot be built on this."

Osama Safa, head of the Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies, said secular activists had only a minor role in the anti-Syria protests.

"The driving force behind the demonstrations was the sectarian parties which had a certain political agenda like the Syrian withdrawal," he said.

"The secular and civil society people had no choice but to take part in the demonstrations but what they hoped for was a bit unrealistic. It was an unfinished revolution for them."


In the modest apartment that houses the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections or LADE, Dourin Khoury is more optimistic, seeing slow but steady progress.

"There is a golden opportunity for the civil society movement to gather itself and organise a campaign against sectarianism," said Khoury, executive director of the non-governmental organisation, which monitors local polls.

"Our politicians need more political awareness but things are gradually improving. For the first time, we have a prime minister not appointed by Syria," she said, sitting in front of poster of newspaper columnist Samir Kassir who was killed in a car bomb in June and who was sharply critical of Syria.

Mourad, also a member of LADE, listed some other signs of a slowly improving awareness of democracy: professional unions have asked LADE to monitor their ballots and independent secular groups have been created at some universities.

"I can't be completely pessimistic. We have campaigned for the impossible so we may achieve what is possible."

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're so right... If only more of you were here in Beirut! We should have walked to Baabda on March 15th. We almost did. Political parties stopped our spontaneous drive. The urgency is for the people to show Lahoud they don't want him as President. We should force the maronites with the key i.e. Aoun and the Patriarch to stop refusing this fact. Aoun is turning more and more into a traitor. (I wonder how come the young guys who used to be beaten in his name continue to support him...)
The youth were so ridiculous yesterday in front of the Nahar because of the multiplicity of empty slogans and their pathetic immaturity! The young leaders who used to represent them during the intifada and in the camp were overwhelmed and discouraged... I hope today's sit-in at 5 o'clock will be stronger and more representative of the civil society, I have the feeling it will (tanteets al achrafieh -I used to be one of them so I can call them like this- are back and courageous:-)). Yalla. Ilal amam.

5:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is talk of spontaneous walks up to Baabda on December 25th, on Christmas day for Christians, to demand the resignation of Lahoud!

more to follow...

8:13 AM  
Blogger Fouad said...

God be with us all. I really wish I were there with you this very second. I fear this is going to be the final litmus test. Our country's one hope lies in its secular youth. If we fail, or fail to adequately react, there won't be much to hope for at all. We cannot lose this one, or we will lose everything we have or ever dreamt of having. Yalla. Inshallah kheir. Gebran's death ironically gives us hope for a better future, but we shall not let his blood and his words go to waste.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Fouad! I fully agree. Having said that, candle light vigils and maching to overthrow the Bastard of Baabda ('BOB') are not mutualy exclusive. We started with the first, let's move on to teh second (and more important) item on teh agenda.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Ralph said...

This all reminds me of the a scene from The Life of Brian. Members of a revolutionary group sit around and decide that they should take action. They stand up, only to sit down again and decide to discuss it some more. You should watch it, it is really funny.

There is no such thing as secular youth in Lebanon. The return of party flags to Martyr's Square is not a good sign. It makes March 14th look like a round of Simon Says. What is stopping you? Go! Do it! What the hell is stopping you??? Waiting for Junblat, Geagea, Hariri or whoever you pay allegiance to to issue an order?

11:41 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Ralph, if you are in Lebanon, gather your friends, spread the word, lead a small group if you can and let it be the seed around which a larger group crystallizes. It sure is hardest to initiate the process, but once it gets rolling, nothing can stop it.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Callon said...


I am not Lebanese. I'm not Jewish, either... but before you give up because people are not "taking to the streets" I have a suggestion for you. Have you heard of a man named Simon Weisenthal? He died recently, but he led a very interesting life. Action doesn't have to be violent or loud to be effective. Your photographs and words are potent. Now that your photos of Lebanon have been posted, maybe exposing those whom deserve to be exposed could be a rewarding project for you. Hope you feel better. Peace.


12:22 AM  

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