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Friday, December 01, 2006

March 14, shape up or shut up...

Alright so Hizballa, Berri and Aoun have taken to the streets in huge numbers (regardless of the relative participation of each). They have shown what we already know, i.e. that they have the support of most of the Shia community and some of the Christian community.

I have previously argued, and continue to argue, that it is not politically intelligent for March 14 and government supporters to "stay home" as Jumblatt urged the March 14ers to do yesterday. A successful foreign initiative (doubtful) not withstanding, I have no doubt in my mind that the March 8 camp will continue to hold protests, camp out in downtown and escalate (as they themselves have promised numerous times) until Siniora's government falls.

You see, one has to be able to differentiate between the isolated demonstrations (even though they were huge) that March 14 organized after the Karami resignation and after each political assassination on one hand, and the sustained, continuous demonstrations, sit ins and political escalation that the aptly named current opposition (to everything not them) is planning and holding. March 14's post-Karami protests were just that, protests. This is sustained political pressure to achieve a well defined goal, and it is at its best.

At this rate, I don't think that Siniora's government will be able to hold for long if HA is to continue escalating. They look weak, and they look dependent on foreign support, and that is a recipe for failure. But the appearances are false. The Siniora government has the support of most of the Sunni and Druze communities and a lot of the Christians, it has the support of most of the upper middle class and of many of the seculars and academics, and it should show that to the world, and more importantly to the Lebanese. To the March 14 movement I say this:

If a million Lebanese people repeatedly took to the street to protest against the assassination of a person, why can't the same million people and more take to the streets to protest the assassination of hope, the prospect of democracy, and the dream of a stable prosperous future. The assassinated politicians were killed because, to their supporters, they were the symbols of that hope, now hope itself is being targetted. Is that not reason enough to mobilize? Have no doubt, this battle is for the future of Lebanon, and not taking action today will affect our tomorrow.

I still believe that if the opposition plan is to topple Siniora, then the best defence of the March 14 government is an offensive against the president. Bear in mind that if Siniora's government falls, then the country is indefinitely in the hands of the opposition, which also owns the positions of presidency and speaker of parliament, and thus practically no longer an opposition but a ruling party. Again that is simply unacceptable. If there is going to be a vacuum in the executive branch, then it should go all the way up. Prime minister for president, the simplest of equations. Then everything is in parliament's hands...

Restated briefly, there will be no civil war if March 14 takes to Baabda. The opposition is enforcing an equation: "Its my way or not at all". In response,
I think its time for March 14 to shape up and take action or shut up and abandon their cause, for good. The idea of a "Beirut Spring", a la Samir Kassir, is what gave me hope for the future, and I interpreted the independence uprising of March 14 partly as an embodiment of that hope. The so called opposition wants to hijack our future and align us with an axis of perpetual struggle. I prefer my struggles to be for a prosperous future, not ones initiated and sustained indefinitely by ideologues, demagogues, mullahs and dictators. If a peaceful future is the future that March 14 wants, then it is time to act. If the dystopia of "1984" is acceptable to them, then so be it, keep talking and don't take action. Either way, let us know, so we can abandon hope.


Walid said...

It's getting lonely rooting for th eopposition here on the blogosphere. Thanks for being there and keep up the good work...

R said...

I see you have grossly misunderstood my post walid... Maybe i should rephrase a few of the sentences in that post...

I was just complaining that March 14 has failed not because of the reasons that the opposition mentioned, but because it has not managed to confront the opposition's undemocratic means successfully. Stay tuned for another post on that.:)

Solomon2 said...

If a million Lebanese people repeatedly took to the street to protest against the assassination of a person, why can't the same million people and more take to the streets to protest the assassination of hope

My guess is that the chess-playing carpet-weaving puppet-masters didn't expect the protest to happen and were not prepared - and in their hearts, the Lebanese people knew that. This time, however, everyone has been informed that this attempted coup d'etat has been prepared in advance and many alternate courses of action devised in case of any "resistance" to the "resistance". So almost everyone is too scared to move a muscle, and simply hopes it will all blow over.

It's straight out of Sun Tzu: paralyzing your enemies without a fight. Very clever.