Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cedar Revolution: R.I.P

A genuine grass-roots movement is a very rare event indeed. But when such developments take place they serve as a reminder of how the power of the people, the ordinary citizens, is the only power that matters. After all the raison d’être of a modern democracy is to promote the general welfare of its inhabitants. The Lebanese and millions of people all around the globe were privileged to witness such a rare event on the streets and alleys and public squares of Beirut. Close to a million and a half Lebanese from all walks of life and from all parts of the country converged on Beirut to send a powerful message: “We are Lebanon and we have had enough foreign interference with our God given rights as a free and sovereign people. We demand a sovereign state and responsible governance.” Their call for freedom and liberty was heard by the “occupiers” and the traditional politicians alike. The “occupation” forces had no choice but to comply, helped by the threat of US armed action, but unfortunately the local traditional politicians managed to co-opt the popular revolution and to wrest control of it by pretending that they were the real force behind it all along. In fact the only interest of these traditional politicians was to salvage their spheres of influence and resume their game of Business as Usual i.e. run Lebanon as if it is a collection of feudal fiefdoms.

It is easy to assign blame to Hezbollah and its major ally General Aoun for the current Lebanese political morass. Hezbollah has continued to flaunt its power by establishing a state within a state, starting a destructive war, holding illegal demonstrations and above all paying homage to foreign powers while General Aoun is all consumed by becoming a President by any means necessary. These efforts could be judged by some as being misguided but in a sense such efforts can be dismissed as typical acts by an “opposition” in its efforts to gain more power. Obviously Hezbollah can be looked upon as being the antithesis of a grass roots movement and its lofty goals of establishing a modern, secular, democratic and freedom loving state. (Hezbollah is considered by many to be nothing else but an extension of the Iranian National Guards). And General Aoun dissociated himself from the goals of the Cedar Revolution as soon as Hezbollah promised to help him fulfill his life’s obsession.

But yet it was not the opposition that has effectively ended the dream of million and a half Lebanese. A group of politicians managed to present itself as the guardian of a revolution that opposed all what these politicians stood for, real representative government, and a modern sovereign non-sectarian state. The leaders of what became known as the March 14 bloc had nothing in common with the aspirations of the brave, youthful, demonstrators of the Cedar Revolution except its name. They forged an electoral alliance with those whose principles are to undermine the state; they could not take any decisive measures either when a war was ignited on purpose by an illegal militia or when a number of cabinet members resigned. They became obsessed with the tribunal , whose work is essential, at the expense of all other governance, they have failed to enforce law and order all across the land and they continued to surrender Lebanese sovereignty . But above all else they have, through inaction, conspired against the Lebanese Constitution by failing to convene the Chamber of Deputies, hold by elections as stated by the law or make sure that the Constitutional Council is fully constituted and is operational. And as if the previous partial list of major failures to lead and govern is not enough they convene again to short circuit the constitution again and to appoint illegally a president . Yes the real and true betrayal of the popular revolution was accomplished and finalized by the unprincipled actions of a majority that either had no interest in seeing democracy blossom or as a result of incompetence.
Yet all is not lost. We the Lebanese citizens must rediscover our “citizenship” (mowatiniah) and throw out all of the rascals in two years time. If we fail to do that then we deserve all what we are getting.

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