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Sunday, October 14, 2007

On Inevitability - Lebanon

It has been relatively clear that Lebanon is headed on a spiralling path - back to revisit its own tragic past. The new generation destined to repeat the tragedies of their fathers and forefathers albeit with a new twist or two... My problem is not with the inconsistencies that the Lebanese have inherited, but that once again, Lebanon comes face to face with its contradictions and only realizes it when its too late to mend.

That aside, and all international politics aside for a second; the "program" of Hezbollah, for example, has never been in line with the "vision" of Lebanon as a tolerant country and a home to (oppressed) minorities. On the other hand, the Lebanese themselves have never acted in line with that vision and in fact often act against it when given the chance. Our history is riddled with instances of one or two minorities oppressing the others, and I don't recall there ever being a period of internal harmony. This is simply because the "ideologies" and programs of the minorities run so opposed to one another. Given the chance, why not impose your will and your program - especially since the ideologies cannot coexist peacefully?

Naturally, no stable equilibrium can be achieved when there are forces pulling in different directions so strongly that the very fabric of the state is compromised.

And while the Syrians (i.e., the regime) made a living in Lebanon out of directing these forces inwards or neutralizing them to keep the country "lucrative" - politically by remaining relevant on the international scene and financially through corruption - they are no longer physically there, so they now exert an external force of their own. They understand the inconsistencies in Lebanon very well, only this time it serves them to tear Lebanon apart.

Contrary to popular belief, I doubt that left to their own devices the Lebanese would do more than oppress each other. Viewed from that light, external politics are minor in that they cannot prevent the conflict that is so inherent to the fabric of the little country. What international players can do, however, is influence the result - and aftermath - of the seemingly impending clash.

Whether things can be resolved peacefully depends on whether any side would agree to lose peacefully, which is clearly not only doubtful but answered in the negative, both historically and more recently.

The conclusion is clear, I just don't think anyone of us can stomach mouthing it.