Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Israeli ambassador to the UN addressed the Security Council yesterday. While he made his case for Israel's right to defend itself against the "bloodstained long-reaching arms of Syria and Iran", his speech was also an attempt to fan the flames, internally, in Lebanon. His references to "the country whose fun-loving, business-minded, entrepreneurial and liberal population has been tormented by decades of oppression, sectarian strife, fundamentalist violence, religious conflict, Syrian control, political assassinations, terror and full-fledged civil war" was a call to arms for the Beiruti Sunnis and Christians, who miss the good old days.

Have you ever heard the representative of a country that is at war with another country, speak in such a condescending, belittling and manipulative tone to his counterpart? Yes, we know what's best for you, Lebanon, while we're bombing every road, bridge and airport in your country and slaughtering dozens of civilians. How out of touch is this guy? He must be taking cues from Michael Totten, whose selective memory from many a boozed up night spent chatting with the funloving offspring of Christian militiamen in a bar in Gemmayze, left him with the misconception that the Lebanese all long for the day when they can vacation in Tel Aviv.

Israeli ambassador to Lebanese ambassador:

"Your Excellency,

You know, deep down, that if you could, you would add your voice to those of your brave countrymen. You know, deep down in your heart, that you should really be sitting here, next to me, voicing the same opinion. You know that what we are doing is right, and, if we succeed, your country will be the real beneficiary. I am sure many of our colleagues around this table and in this chamber, including many or our neighbours, share this sentiment."

Needless to say, the Israelis have contributed more than their fair share of terror, political assassinations, oppression (during the 18 year occupation) and sectarian strife (suport for the Christian rightwing militias, the murderous proxy Southern Lebanese Army, etc). But it is also indicative of the misconception many Israelis have of Lebanese society. Reading through the comments on Jamal's blog posted by Israelis, I get the sense that they think the Lebanese can be bribed into submission, with the promise of free-market capitalism, trade with Israel, prosperity, etc. It's touching that they think the Lebanese want to be just like them, if they could only rid themselves of Hezbollah. And to be sure, many a Christian do. But that limited view neglects two simple facts: 1) that Lebanon, as some Christians in Broumana-- a very Christian village to the north of Beirut-- admitted a few weeks ago when Hezbollah supporters rioted over a sketch mocking Nasrallah, is now a "Shia country"; at least demographically, the Shia have a plurality, and by any demographic forecasts, will someday soon hold a majority. And the Shia overwhelmingly support Hezbollah. We're talking close to 90% of them. 2) The Shia of the south are the actual neighbors of Israel; not the Beirutis, not the Tripolians and not the Mount Lebanonese, nor the Druze of the Chouf. Of course there are Christians, Sunnis and Druze who live in the south, and of course-- Israel also bombs other parts of the country. And let us not kid ourselves about Lebanon being a sovereign and free entity. She is not, and will not be until the confessional system is abolished, the warlords and embezzlers are brought to justice, and Saudi Arabia, France, the US, Israel, Syria, and Iran (the list goes on) stop meddling and molding. Given that fact, the Shia will only protect and pursue their interests.

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