Sunday, August 06, 2006

To Die for a Cause but Not for a Country

Because a Country is not a Cause? Safeguarding your roots, your people, your identity, your life as you know it, is not a Cause?

Would you care to remind me what Cause the Palestinians are dying for? And what Cause did the sixteen people whose memory stands tall in Martyr square as an ever renewed symbol for sacrifice, sovereignty and liberation die for?

What are your Lebanese passport and nationality. Are they clauses in a contract between your interests and a readily replaceable land that is providing you with stability and comfort? Is that what they are?

And why do you stand livid in the face of the ongoing crimes against Lebanon and the Lebanese? Because you stand for The Cause of human life and rights and against violence and war crimes? Have you felt and done the same for people dying of poverty, hunger, and disease in the forsaken corners of the world? Have you felt and done the same for people subjected to bona fide genocide in Darfour?

Say you choose to live and fight for a Cause, than die for it, and I'll embrace you and your choice, but to say that you would die for a Cause but not for a Country while you're vociferously protesting and condemning attacks against your people and your country, is either misguidedly foolish, or downright hypocritical.

Ok. Maybe not hypocritical. That was impulsive and not well thought out. I apologize to anyone who took offense. To me a Country is a Cause, because it represents much more than a piece of land with a borderline. And I strongly believe that we cannot build or rebuild a country, or fight for its freedom, if we don't believe in it as an entity, and as a Cause. If you disagree with that, then you're not hypocritical. You're just wrong :)

20 Comments:

Blogger rouba said...

fouad i can 'vociferously' protest the war on lebanon because of the injustice and the barbarism and all that. my cause is the injustice my people have been subjected to, just like the palestinian cause; my country and my cause are not interchangeable; i would not defend my country at all times because it is my country, i do not like to subscribe to a piece of land. maybe it's because i grew up somewhere else, but it is the people's suffering and the oppression i am talking about; THAT is a cause, and not the borders of a piece of land.
maybe you and i are reiterating the same thing and it's abt semantics, maybe not.
i identify with my country, with the cultural identity, but i do not make my country my identity (it's the same thing with religion, politics, etc etc).

12:21 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Who are "your" people, gaea? why do you call them that? What and how much do you have in common with the people who are dying and getting displaced?

12:26 PM  
Anonymous anne k said...

I am sure I cannot begin to imagine the spectrum of emotions you have been going through these past weeks. Apart from offering virtual sisterly hugs, I feel at a total loss...

Lebanon is not my country, but besides following the situation closely, wanting to throw up at least 10 times a day and feeling useless, I've been wondering a lot about my own attachment to my country (-ies), about exile, identity, about choices we make.

To answer your earlier question, I don't believe I could fight to death for "my country/ies" Not belonging to one particular community, being neither here nor there makes me feel like I belong to the whole planet. I couldn't really be "for" one place on principle (of course, I have stronger affinities with some countries over others)

But whatever the country or the community, the one thing that sends me into a violent rage & that I have difficulty controlling is blatant injustice. Hitting on someone deliberately. Gratuitous destruction of what someone holds dear. Stealing something the other has worked hard for.

It's not a intellectual response, so don't tell me I'm being simplistic :-D It's like, you know, the way, in French, a kid will go "c'est dégueulasse" when he witnesses something unfair ?

It's difficult to express in a short comment. Anyway, the thing is sometimes, I don't know how to transform that violence into positive, efficient action... and I feel I am going around in circles like a dog biting its tail.

How do silent majorities unite and become efficient ?

12:57 PM  
Blogger rouba said...

this is what i'm saying; it's not because they're MY people that i'm defending them (i actually initially wrote "those" people but erased it, damn!). i told you i identify with them because of my background, my family, etc. but as you know we're all different in lebanon so i don't know what you mean by "how much do you have in common with them". i feel strongly abt this because it's personal, but the cause of oppression is the same whether it's lebanon, africa or nashville. i would risk my life saving them yes, not because they're MY people but because they're suffering and they're innocent.
i can protest because i feel strongly abt this (of course because i identify with them due to my background!), and because i know more abt it than other people with different backgrounds, so why not spread awareness?
and as an aside, what are you still doing in nashville, why are you not on the front in lebanon?

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is it hypocritical to scream injustice and protest for a cause or a country and tell the whole world about it without willing to die?
if you are one of the protestors that are willing to die for the country ,good for you but I still think that the people left here can at least keep your cause alive.
By the way you can say all day ,you re willing to die for a cause and when it comes it to it your love of life will not let you.I guess we will never who will be and who will not unless it happens. Yes, words are cheap.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

How about you start calling this common background Lebanon, mm? Let me tell you this Gaea, the incredibly diverse and not always compatible lebanese populace can only come together in unity under one flag, the lebanese flag. If we don't start by accepting and believeing in OUR NATION then there will always be more things to pull us apart than things to bring us together. And by the way, we have a lot of common background with our neighbors south of the border, so why not join the borders and call this whole area Israel? I guarantee you that this will insure the people who live on this land more peace and prosperity than they ever were able to provide to themselves. Would you subscribe to that? Gaea, We NEED a common identity, a common denominator. This citizen of the world business is pretentious intellectual drivel. I have roots, a land, a people, and I am willing to put my life on the line for their own. Not blindly, not foolishly, but without hesitation if I know it will have a chance of making a difference. And please be halfway decent and don't ask me, as an aside, why I am in Nashville instead of being on the front. Using such cheap arguments doesn't speak very highly of those who use them. I am and will keep voicing my ideas and my beliefs until I will be able to do more. Thank you very much for your contribution Gaea. Have a nice day.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Oh and anonymous, let me quote a sentence from my post "Say you choose to live and fight for a Cause, than die for it, and I'll embrace you and your choice". If you did not get that, then I have nothing more to say.

2:20 PM  
Blogger rouba said...

fouad chill

2:46 PM  
Blogger redfox said...

Fouad
as I said I choose to live...I will not die for any cause (including my country).
Now, back to you, and I do hope you will take the time to answer me for once, what are you willing to do? What are you doing? writing? great!! I think it is more than a fair share in this conflict. But you don't. So...what ARE YOU DOING???
The questions that you ask others...you should excpect to revert to you? I hope you can gratify us with answers...

3:53 PM  
Blogger Ramzi said...

What is a country Fouad, really, but a cause?

5:17 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Thank you Ramzi.

Redfox, I don't get it. Why are you attacking me. Because I said that I believe in my country and am willing to give my life for it if need be? I did not fault you or anybody else for not willing to do it, and I clearly said it in my post. The reason I brought it up was my constant fear that many lebanese expect more of their country than they are willing to give it in return. Which is why so many of us have turned their backs and left. Mine is an ideological question stemming from frustration and grave doubts about the future of my country. I am trying to get a grasp, simplistically as it may seem, on the core root of our problem. And this is the best answer I have come up with so far. That many of us, and most certainly those we choose to rule over us, are more interested in their own well being, and the well being of the small groups they represent, rather than the interest of the general population. This is all likely to be a direct result of the incredible diversity of the lebanese population. Hence my strong belief in a common cause uniting us, that is peace and prosperity within our borders and amongst our people in our country Lebanon. This will not be achieved without sacrifices, which is the reason why I asked that "question".

And what am I doing? from where I am, I wish I could do more than blog my frustration, contact senators, have 2 TV interviews, talk with Peace supporting journalists and bloggers on the other side, and keep my productivity and sanity relatively unharmed. I really wish I could. And if there's an organized united popular movement in Lebanon along the lines of what I have voiced in previous posts, then I will try everything I can to fly to Lebanon and be part of it.

I hope this answers your questions Redfox.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A country is simply a state holding a nation together. The Lebanese are a nation, a people, who developed after (mind you) France created that border for Christian Lebanese (don't take that as an offense, I consider the Christians the only ones with any brains or national pride). Arabs traditionally never believed in the nation-state, never had nation-states, for so long. It's a CREATION, one that not everyone can have. Look at Kurds. Do I propose they all die for the sake of creating what, a country? In fact, there are so many nations on this earth it is impossible for every one to have a country. So no, a country is not a cause in all cases, and if more people promoted the cause of living and stopped glorifying death perhaps we'd have less violence in the name of our countries.

Although please don't get mad for my comments, I love your blog and all your writings because they are passionate and have heart. We need more of it.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Achillea said...

if more people promoted the cause of living and stopped glorifying death perhaps we'd have less violence in the name of our countries.

Or less violence in the name of any other cause. It's not just countries. People ought to try more living for their causes instead of killing or dying for them.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Lebanese Meze said...

Fouad this is a very difficult subject, one that I hadn’t given much thought until your initial question couple of days ago. The question asks too much of me and I can only speak for myself (please take that under serious consideration). Yes, I am Lebanese, o of Armenian descent, but the civil war forced me out when I was only 11. I returned in my late teens until my early twenties and left again until 3 months ago. As I write this, I’m preparing to leave again. I want to answer this question not only because you asked, but because I want to finally find out for myself. With all its difficulties, Lebanon has been good to me and my family, no question. However, living in a country with so many different sects in such close proximity may be a contributor to my distance from the matter. But, I digress. Living the life I’ve lead, call it, in the Diaspora, in exile or whatever else it may be called I feel I don’t belong to any one country, although Lebanon is the only HOME I know. There are times I feel jealous of those adamant for a cause (Palestinians, maybe), but then rationality or pragmatism prevails in me (or does it?). I don’t want to weasel out of answering this question whole heartedly, but all I can say at this stage is ‘it’s ain’t easy being me.’ ?

But, for whatever it is worth:
Fouad, you asked and my answer is this: I am not ready to die for any cause or country and I can only answer as to whether I will sacrifice my life for my children, only if I’m lucky enough to have them one day.

Whether this answer would label me as a hypocrite or plain wrong, I will neither agree nor disagree. I just want to live in peace. I just want to live, and some may agree, living is by far the more courageous thing to do.

3:41 AM  
Blogger redfox said...

Dear Fouad,
I do respect what you are doing and I do apologize if I came across as aggressive. The last thing I wanted to do was question your ideals, values...and actions. I actually admire you a lot for holding on to them. My excuse, if any, is the tension I live in on a daily basis since this war started and that renders any human being insane and edgy.
As for uniting as Lebanese behind one cause, it is indeed the only way the country can survive and flourish. But is it possible? I speak of experience, I don't think it is. I have never followed a political or religious leader, I tried supporting people whom I thought cared about Lebanese interests above all others...and I was disappointed each time. I felt 'used'.I am simply tired of hoping and trying to find ways to 'serve' my country. But I believe people like you should carry the torch and lead the way. And if one day, Fouad,an 'organized united popular movement' as you call it sees the light, you can count on me to be in the front rows.
Respectfully, Red

4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so, so sorry about what is happening in your country.

Not every American supports what Israel and the US is doing in the Middle East.

7:38 AM  
Blogger PeaceMan said...

http://www.jihadwatch.org/

What does the Arabic word jihad mean?

One answer came last week, when Saddam Hussein had his Islamic leaders appeal to Muslims worldwide to join his jihad to defeat the "wicked Americans" should they attack Iraq; then he himself threatened the United States with jihad.

As this suggests, jihad is "holy war." Or, more precisely: It means the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims.

The purpose of jihad, in other words, is not directly to spread the Islamic faith but to extend sovereign Muslim power (faith, of course, often follows the flag). Jihad is thus unabashedly offensive in nature, with the eventual goal of achieving Muslim dominion over the entire globe.

Jihad did have two variant meanings through the centuries, one more radical, one less so. The first holds that Muslims who interpret their faith differently are infidels and therefore legitimate targets of jihad. (This is why Algerians, Egyptians and Afghans have found themselves, like Americans and Israelis, so often the victims of jihadist aggression.) The second meaning, associated with mystics, rejects the legal definition of jihad as armed conflict and tells Muslims to withdraw from the worldly concerns to achieve spiritual depth.

Jihad in the sense of territorial expansion has always been a central aspect of Muslim life. That's how Muslims came to rule much of the Arabian Peninsula by the time of the Prophet Muhammad's death in 632. It's how, a century later, Muslims had conquered a region from Afghanistan to Spain. Subsequently, jihad spurred and justified Muslim conquests of such territories as India, Sudan, Anatolia, and the Balkans.

Today, jihad is the world's foremost source of terrorism, inspiring a worldwide campaign of violence by self-proclaimed jihadist groups:

The International Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders: Osama bin Laden's organization;
Laskar Jihad: responsible for the murder of more than 10,000 Christians in Indonesia;
Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami: a leading cause of violence in Kashmir;
Palestinian Islamic Jihad: the most vicious anti-Israel terrorist group of them all;
Egyptian Islamic Jihad: killed Anwar El-Sadat in 1981, many others since, and
Yemeni Islamic Jihad: killed three American missionaries on Monday.
But jihad's most ghastly present reality is in Sudan, where until recently the ruling party bore the slogan "Jihad, Victory and Martyrdom." For two decades, under government auspices, jihadists there have physically attacked non-Muslims, looted their belongings and killed their males.

Jihadists then enslaved tens of thousands of females and children, forced them to convert to Islam, sent them on forced marches, beat them and set them to hard labor. The women and older girls also suffered ritual gang-rape, genital mutilation and a life of sexual servitude.

Sudan's state-sponsored jihad has caused about 2 million deaths and the displacement of another 4 million - making it the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of our era.

8:15 AM  
Blogger PeaceMan said...

http://www.jihadwatch.org/

What does the Arabic word jihad mean?

One answer came last week, when Saddam Hussein had his Islamic leaders appeal to Muslims worldwide to join his jihad to defeat the "wicked Americans" should they attack Iraq; then he himself threatened the United States with jihad.

As this suggests, jihad is "holy war." Or, more precisely: It means the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims.

The purpose of jihad, in other words, is not directly to spread the Islamic faith but to extend sovereign Muslim power (faith, of course, often follows the flag). Jihad is thus unabashedly offensive in nature, with the eventual goal of achieving Muslim dominion over the entire globe.

Jihad did have two variant meanings through the centuries, one more radical, one less so. The first holds that Muslims who interpret their faith differently are infidels and therefore legitimate targets of jihad. (This is why Algerians, Egyptians and Afghans have found themselves, like Americans and Israelis, so often the victims of jihadist aggression.) The second meaning, associated with mystics, rejects the legal definition of jihad as armed conflict and tells Muslims to withdraw from the worldly concerns to achieve spiritual depth.

Jihad in the sense of territorial expansion has always been a central aspect of Muslim life. That's how Muslims came to rule much of the Arabian Peninsula by the time of the Prophet Muhammad's death in 632. It's how, a century later, Muslims had conquered a region from Afghanistan to Spain. Subsequently, jihad spurred and justified Muslim conquests of such territories as India, Sudan, Anatolia, and the Balkans.

Today, jihad is the world's foremost source of terrorism, inspiring a worldwide campaign of violence by self-proclaimed jihadist groups:

The International Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders: Osama bin Laden's organization;
Laskar Jihad: responsible for the murder of more than 10,000 Christians in Indonesia;
Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami: a leading cause of violence in Kashmir;
Palestinian Islamic Jihad: the most vicious anti-Israel terrorist group of them all;
Egyptian Islamic Jihad: killed Anwar El-Sadat in 1981, many others since, and
Yemeni Islamic Jihad: killed three American missionaries on Monday.
But jihad's most ghastly present reality is in Sudan, where until recently the ruling party bore the slogan "Jihad, Victory and Martyrdom." For two decades, under government auspices, jihadists there have physically attacked non-Muslims, looted their belongings and killed their males.

Jihadists then enslaved tens of thousands of females and children, forced them to convert to Islam, sent them on forced marches, beat them and set them to hard labor. The women and older girls also suffered ritual gang-rape, genital mutilation and a life of sexual servitude.

Sudan's state-sponsored jihad has caused about 2 million deaths and the displacement of another 4 million - making it the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of our era.

8:23 AM  
Blogger jooj said...

Guys, let's all remember that although blogging is great, it still has limitations. It can be quite frustrating.

Fouad, there is no unified definition of what a country is. It could be political, cultural, geographical etc...

Talking about Palestinians, they NEVER had a true country to start with - in the formal sense. I believe they are fighting for all the "causes" the combination of which may produce a country (or a state for this matter): culture, identity, dignity, human rights, safety, geographical borders ...

When it comes to third world countries, it was other stronger powers that drew the maps. Some people might not feel this is enough to make a cause, hence the divisions and people's choice of "causes".

And by the way, speaking about countries, kis im dawlit Israel

10:03 PM  
Blogger Akiva M said...

"And by the way, speaking about countries, kis im dawlit Israel"

Right back atcha, Jooj.

11:47 PM  

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