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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Crosses, Crescents and the Curse of Lebanon

This post does not discuss present day politics in Lebanon for their own sake. Rather, I just want to highlight the behaviour of the various churches in Lebanon be they Muslim or Christian, their absurdity and their negative effect on the progress of democracy. Of course now that I have stated my goal, it seems like too monumental a task for one post, so I will stick to the "highlighting" part and add some commentary.

First, the Patriarch, ever so wise and calculating and capable of transcending the moment to capture eternal truths and policies that stand the test of time. Right... Well, his holiness - the same holiness that rejected a move to Baabda to topple the president in order to protect the precious right of the maronites to the presidency, thus legitimizing the Sunni mufti's move to lead prayer in the Seraille - has declared that family values are geopardized in the protests that the opposition is holding. His argument is that the protests are "mixed", mixed gender of course. God forbid that those boys and girls trying to topple Siniora should choose to take a break and have sex in one of those conveniently sturdy tents. How absurd!!!

Next, the Sunni Mufti - the same Mufti who would not stop singing the praises of the Syrian regime when they were around in Lebanon - recently decided that since it was ok for the maronite clerics to protect the president, then it must be his natural right (if not duty) to protect the Sunni prime minister from being toppled by Shiites and Christians.

As for the Shiite clerics, where do I begin. This particular brand of beardies has decided that it is both its natural right and divinely assigned duty to bear arms outside the realm of the state and to launch cross border operations that rain death and destruction on the Shiites and the other wonderful sects of Lebanon - all to protect the honor of the umma. Sheeeeeeeesh.

Of course that is not to say that the clerics of all the sects of Lebanon are not equally bad, they are. Don't get me wrong, I believe that the people of Lebanon have the right to practice religion and to follow whichever ugly bearded funnily dressed anachronistic clown that they choose. What the clerics do not have the right to do however, is trample upon the political realm issuing "advice" here and there and protecting politicians when convenient.

I think we have a right to a country where the churches and the state are separated. Where if Siniora's government is going to stand, then let it stand - just as long as the Sunni preachers of Friday noon are not the ones who save it. If the president in Baabda is going to stay in office, let him stay in office - just as long as the Sunday morning sermon in Bkirki isn't what saves him. And last but not least, if the people of Lebanon decide to wage war on Israel or not wage war on Israel, then let them make their decision freely - as long as it is not influenced by clerics schooled in Qom and Najaf.

The proper avenue for political debate is the institutions of the state. Namely parliament. Vote whomever you want to office, then topple them if they usurp power and break the constitution. Do it using democratic means, the ballot boxes, or demonstrations if need be. But do not let the clergy make your decisions for you, and do not let them have an influence on political matters. They are divisive, destructive and believe unwaveringly in ideas that were put forth over a thousand of years ago.


Lazarus said...

excellent post.

- l.

M. said...

The problem is how do you make the Lebanese understand all this?