December 05, 2006

When death becomes a way of life

By Abu Kais

It has been gradual but was bound to happen. Hizbullah’s people are turning other Lebanese into enemies.

Angry mourners chanting "death" to Premier Fouad Saniora buried Tuesday a young Shiite man killed in riots pitting supporters and opponents of the Beirut government.

Mourners marching behind Mahmoud's coffin, while beating their chests to express anger, chanted: "Shiites' blood is boiling."

Shia blood has been “boiling” since Khomeini kidnapped Shia Islam and Hizbullah started farming humans in Lebanon.

“Death to Israel”, “Death to America” and now “Death to Siniora”.

Somehow, these death threats always backfire and countless Shias under the spell of the lords of jihad die instead.

I am reminded of a repulsive music video by a Lebanese singer I used to admire and respect: Julia Boutros. Julia, a Lebanese resident of Dubai, felt a rush of excitement upon hearing one of Nasrallah’s speeches during the war, in which he addressed his fighters as his loved ones (Ahiba’i). So she turned the speech into a song.

In the video, Julia leads groups of children amid ruins, and children morph into masked fighters.

As a Lebanese Shia and a father, I was appalled by this video. Who gave Julia the right to prescribe a future of violence? As a critic of the July-August war, and someone who lived under Israeli and Syrian occupations, I was filled with anger at both regimes at various points of time. I will probably never forgive Israel and Syria for their crimes in Lebanon. But I will not prescribe death and "martyrdom" to my child.

During the Israeli occupation, Julia released a song entitled “We Refuse to Die”. It was my grandmother’s favorite song (that and a song by Fairuz about the south). My grandmother was from Arnoun, one of the first villages in the former security zone to be evacuated by the Israelis and their proxy militia. Born at the beginning of the 20th century, she lost her father in World War I and had to steal food to survive during the great famine. She would tear up every time Julia performed her song on TV to images of the occupied south. “We refuse to die, tell them we will stay, your land and your houses, and the people who labor,” were the words she repeated.

“God knows if I will live to see Arnoun again,” she often told me.

She didn’t. She died the year Michel Aoun launched his liberation war against the Syrians, more than a decade before the withdrawal.

When I visited Arnoun in 2000, it was a minefield. The village she described was gone.

I was raised by my grandmother. Not once did she tell me that I should die. Her husband, who met her at a tobacco field when she was a teenager, threw a fit one day when I threatened to quit college following an argument with my parents. “You will graduate,” he would order me.

I graduated three times after that, but he wasn’t there to see it. Both he and my grandmother, two Shia villagers who migrated to Beirut to raise their children, did not see their favorite grandson (or so they told me), graduate. Both, however, instilled in me the rejection of death as an objective in life. They were both illiterate. My grandmother never missed a prayer. Yet she never told me that I should sacrifice my life. They said go and learn, and hoped they would see the day when I am successful with children of my own.

My grandparents are with me every minute of the day telling me to embrace life and look forward. They weren’t perfect people, but they did not allow anyone to stand in my school to tell me that the future is in sacrificing your life over a dead cause.

My grandmother would not appreciate that this singer is telling my child to take the door to death, when the door to life is wide open.

My grandparents would not appreciate a group of thugs hijacking the hope they carried in their hearts until their last day on earth. They would be sad that Shia youth are dying because to some, war does not end when the occupier leaves—it’s self perpetuating, a circle game where children grow up to be fighters, and new enemies are born every day.

Posted by Abu Kais at December 5, 2006 09:43 AM
Comments

Beautiful. Bravo. I will not taint this post with any comments. Thank you, Abu Kais.

Posted by: BadVilbel at December 5, 2006 09:48 AM

Until they love their children more than
they love death, this jerk circle
will continue.
Thanks for sharing your family history.

Posted by: nbpundit at December 5, 2006 09:55 AM

This is a perfect essay. Get it printed in Lebanon if you can.

And you've said exactly what makes my blood boil. No one has the right to destroy the lives of the innocent by teaching them to hate, by making them want to fight.

But I would add that it's just as barbaric to the children on the other side. No one has the right to look at a child and assign him (or her) to being "the enemy", and make plans to harm him!

Hizbullah what has been doing to the future is a crime, and it's completely unforgivable!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 5, 2006 09:58 AM

Have a look at an in-depth-study of how the brave hizbonazi cowards intentionally and deliberately waged war under the cover of a shield of Lebanese civilians:

http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/human_shields.htm

Human life means absolutely nothing to them and they are now attempting to take the entire population of Lebanon as hostage.

Posted by: ankhfkhonsu at December 5, 2006 10:16 AM

Abu Kais:
My name is Shula and it is obvious that I am Jewish. What the Israelis did in Lebanon (both times)is horrendous.Lets stop this vicious circle of hatred. Have in you, a heart that understands and forgives the Israelis. I have learned to forgive all the daily fatwas and hatred spawn by Arab TV, etc. I believe that by my actions there will be peace in the Middle East, in spite of the Nasrallahs, Assads and Ahjmenijads of this world

Posted by: shula at December 5, 2006 10:21 AM

Thank you Abu Kais.

It is very that a cancer has been allowed to grow in the ME.

Several years ago I was shocked to learn that Yasser Arafat died one of the wealthest men on the earth, with an estimated personal fortune worth between US $300M to US $1.3B. And that the PA is still paying Suha Arafat approx US $100K per month.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat (see Financial Dealings)

War draws money. Lot's of money.

NGO's, charities, and governments all pour money into the "official" and "unofficial" pockets of both victims and agressors. In the ME, greed combined with ideology, ignorance and poor laws have created a situation where humans have become the factory tools to keep the money flowing.

The ME finds itself in a situation where the followers of animals like Arafat and now Nasralla have allowed their children to be used as tools to enrich the ruling clergy thugocracy.

What a sad, sad waste of human life....

Imagine what could have been if all that energy were directed to construction rather than destruction.....

What a sad commentary on the state of civilization in the ME....

Thank you, Abu Kais. Please keep speaking out.

Posted by: Oso at December 5, 2006 10:26 AM

Nicely said, sentiments I myself agree with

However, martyrdom is a highly valued trait in shia theology, so why bother calling yourself a shiite?

Posted by: NM at December 5, 2006 10:36 AM

Abu Kais- What a great writing. Thanks for sharing that story about your family. Very touching.

Posted by: Jim Hoft at December 5, 2006 10:56 AM

Terrorist leaders are like Julia. They convince other people to die, to take up suicide missions, but they never kill themselves.

It's always easier to gamble with someone else's money. Or life. There is no risk.

But why are we the only ones who can see the truth. Why do so many others beat their chests, cry their tears, shout their slogans, and give their lives for an evil cause?

Posted by: sol vason at December 5, 2006 11:11 AM

There was a Ted Koppel special last night on the Discovery Channel about his travels around Iran. For me, the most disturbing scene was of a class of little boys on their first day of school (making them presumably 5 or 6 years old.) As they marched into school they were made to chant "Death to America" with their little fists raised in the air.
I can't help but think that there is a special place in hell for those who teach children to hate. I don't care if I sound self-righteous.
Hezbollah sympathizers in the west (Europeans in particular) who only see the movement as sticking it to the big bad Israelis need to open their eyes to this kind of behavior. It's more than just telling children that hatred and revenge and violence are OK. It's telling them that these things are HOLY. Does it get much worse? Does it? It's time to pass some judgment. It's time to pick a side.

Posted by: Cristobal at December 5, 2006 11:31 AM

Hi -

Doesn't surprise me at all.

The Syrians are following, abetted by the Iranians, a standard destabilization campaign according to the KGB cookbook. They learned from the masters, and are implementing the final destruction of Lebanon as a functioning, multicultural society.

Part of that, and it's a trait you can see with the Palestinians as well, is the demonization of the political other, the political opponent, with the explicit goal of dehumanizing them, enabling even those that the revolutionary elite choose as their tools to enable the revolution (i.e. their taking power: mark my words that this will be called a revolution if the government crumbles).

The only way to counter this is for those with moral authority in the population to come forth and denounce the hypocricy of those who claim to be revolutionaries but are in reality deeply reactionary and whose only goal is the naked grab at power. This can only occur if there remains control over the principle means of distributing information and the pseudo-revolutionaries do not feel that bloodshed, of killing those with moral authority, is opportune at this point in time.

Then they simply pull back, force the situation to spiral downwards, and then pull back up and repeat their set formula.

It works in weak, splintered countries with no strong central authority. This is Lebanon, no?

It's a tragedy unfolding before our eyes, and the situation is only going to get worse. God help the Lebanese.

John

Posted by: John F. Opie at December 5, 2006 11:58 AM

I can't help but think that there is a special place in hell for those who teach children to hate.

I'm not religious enough to believe in justice after death. If we desire justice, we're going to have to make it in this life. But I would fully support the creation of hell on earth for such people. Let's start with pits of fire, just like those descriptions of hell! It's been a long time since I read Dante, what other torments does hell have again?

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 5, 2006 12:47 PM

I read your story with tears in my eyes. I 'am' not "Israel" but obviously being an israeli - I can't help it but feel one way or another 'guilty' for whatever tragedies the israeli army has inflicted upon lebanon but more so upon the lebanese people. (even if i never even knew about those atrocities).

I'll never NEVER understand what it is that make people hurt other people (who they don't even know).

I admire your stance, Abu Kais. As a matter of fact it sorta coincidentially comes together with what I was trying to explain to Mr. AlGhaliboon on my blog... "Respect for Life" that has to be greater than anything (ANYTHING) else in this world.

Tse.

Posted by: tsedek at December 5, 2006 01:32 PM

and Hizbullah started farming humans in Lebanon.

Farming humans...you couldn't have put what's going on better

Posted by: Dirk at December 5, 2006 01:50 PM

I concur. "Farming humans" is the perfect turn of phrase.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 5, 2006 02:22 PM

A really lovely piece of writing, AK.

Posted by: Lee Smith at December 5, 2006 03:44 PM

Great piece, Abu Kais.

And Josh, look for Dante here.

Posted by: harrison at December 5, 2006 04:50 PM

This reminds me of a piece of wisdom gleaned from Ender's Game, back when I was but a lad. To paraphrase, "The power to kill is the only power that matters, because those who lack the power to kill will always be subject to the will of those who do."

Extremists like Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, et al have no compunction about killing anyone and everyone they need to in order to achieve their goals. From Theo Van Gogh to Pierre Gemayel, those who revel in killing are imposing their will on those of us who do not. The Danish Cartoonists are in hiding under police protection to this day, Iran marches inexorably to Holocaust v. 2.0, and Lebanon collapses under the weight of violence and assassination.

God help the Lebanese? God help the entire region. God help the world. The West sleepwalks to catastrophe.

Posted by: Nate at December 5, 2006 05:11 PM

I wonder if Julia Boutros will be fighting the Jews and her fellow Lebanese personally?

Or is she, being a modest individual, content to allow other people's children to seize the honor of martyrdom while she consoles herself with a long life and the proceeds of her singing career?

Posted by: Amos at December 5, 2006 06:38 PM

The West sleepwalks to catastrophe.

Look back at your quoted wisdom. We're the ones with the big bombs and missile. They're the ones sleep walking into a catastrophe.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 5, 2006 08:06 PM

Abu Kais,

Your story is quite moving and inspiring and represents a great tribute to your grand parents. Your grand father had an amazing level of strength and wisdom, despite his lack of education and resources. You are very lucky to have had him in your life. I'm very proud to see that a fellow compatriot has managed to break away from the cycle of violence and hatred that so many in the South have embraced and has chosen to use his excellent writing skills in the fight for a free and united Lebanon. A Lebanon for all Lebanese, be they sunnis, shias, christians, Armenians, druzes, kurds or Jewish. Amen.

Posted by: Maya at December 5, 2006 10:41 PM

AbuKais,

How do you suggest dealing with Hezbollah?

This is not a rhetoric question, you're invited to answer, maybe even write an article about it.

Cheers

Posted by: Lira at December 6, 2006 01:52 AM

Very nice post Abu Kais. I just found this video that highlights another culture of death:

http://blacksmithsoflebanon.blogspot.com/2006/12/video-if-you-think-lebanon-is-messed.html#links

Posted by: Blacksmith Jade at December 6, 2006 05:10 AM

Abu Kais

If I can forgive you and your family for allowing terrorists to attack Israel for so many years and killing our flowers, you can forgive me, and Israeli for past dealings in your country.

ABu Kais, mya you and your family have peace this Christmas.

Best regards.

Posted by: Marty at December 6, 2006 05:28 AM

Excellent post. I anxiously await the next news from the stand-off in Beirut.

How long until the Lebanese army takes action?

Posted by: Urban Infidel at December 6, 2006 07:40 AM

Julia Boutros is a Nasralah supporter? I thought "Boutros" was Arabic for "Peter", that is, Christian.
A bit of a confusion here of behalf of Julia, I should think.

Posted by: Anat at December 6, 2006 08:31 AM

"Fun with Labels: Protest, Opposition, Siege, and/or Coup d'Etat in Lebanon:

Even if one man's protest is apparently another man's attempted coup, there's still something just a little bit off about the rhetoric surrounding recent events in Lebanon. Commentators are at pains to distance what is happening now from what happened when the March 14th movement (or Cedar Revolution, if you prefer) peacefully camped out in downtown Beirut. It would be impossible to track down every instance of the sort of rhetoric I'm talking about, but Abu Kais, currently guest-blogging for Michael Totten, is a pretty representative example, referring to the situation as an "occupation of downtown Beirut" and a "coup attempt". And, our own Lounsbury has already posted on similar framings over on ...Or Does it Explode? that amount to: "How dare people we don't like use non-reprehensible tactics? Bad people should only use bad tactics!"

The overall message here is not subtle: These people may have co-opted the symbols of patriotism and of peaceful protest, but it is only an act, and while March 14 was an organic upswell of democracy, this is thoroughly staged and insincere. It is nothing more than a Hizbullahi/Syrian/Iranian power-grab, at the expense of Lebanon's legitimate government. In Abu Kais's words:

Hizbullah can never be a fair player in Lebanese politics. Its political structure as well as its raison d’etre – a jihadist militia with a political agenda— prevents it from playing by the rules of democracy, let alone Lebanese democracy. Do not be fooled by Hizbullah members’ sudden love for the Lebanese flag. They were following orders.
Now, there is good reason to distinguish the current moment from March 14: for one thing, given Hizbullah's militia and organizational capacities, it's not unreasonable to fear that this time around is a lot more likely to turn violent if whoever makes the decisions within Hizbullah decides that the current strategy isn't paying off. But, the way the differences between this and March 14 are emphasized reeks of a double standard - thus one man's protest being another man's coup d'etat, such that anything certain actors do is necessarily illegitimate - and more importantly it obscures (worrisome) similarities between the two, similarities that reflect deep-seated problems in Lebanon's political system that will tend to play out again and again, if with different names, so long as they're not seriously addressed.

First, in referring to itself as the 'National Opposition', and at least anecdotally referring to those not in the opposition movement as 'enemies of the nation', the current protest movement/coup attempt/siege/whatever-you'd-like-to-name-it has fallen into the trap of painting its opponents as not just wrong, but illegitimate. This is certainly not unique in Lebanon - those of us who follow developments in that country should be used to seemingly every faction referring to itself as the 'real Lebanon' by now - but it does mirror the rhetoric of the March 14 movement, both in 2005 and now, when speaking of the current situation as strictly a Syrian/Iranian power grab (allowing them to conveniently ignore that this stems at least partially from Shi`a under-representation and the unresponsiveness of the system towards calls for change). It may be an obvious point, but when factions both see each other as illegitimate, that's, umm, bad.

Maybe more importantly, the current demonstrators do not represent a programmatic opposition so much as an alliance of factions that feel they would benefit from bringing down the government. This is reminiscent of the failure of the March 14th movement to put together a government that reflected its goals - its parliamentary list, built more on the formula of winning than opposing the status quo, fell apart almost immediately after it came to power. In other words, the opposition - apparently a Hizbullah-Aoun alliance, for the most part - knows that it wants to bring down the current government, and has a list of reasons (of varying legitimacy) for doing so, but there's little chance this stunt could create a viable opposition program that doesn't crack up the moment its temporarily-shared interests evaporate. Given that, and the high possibility for the situation to degenerate into armed conflict, it's difficult to see much good coming out of the demonstrations currently camped out in/occupying/beseiging downtown Beirut.

My larger point, though, isn't whether I think Hizbullah are nice people with laudable goals (I don't), or whether their Shi`a constituencies have grievances that the system has consistently failed to respond to (I do), or whether critics of this opposition are right to question its sincerity (I think they are). Rather, I'm claiming that this opposition and the March 14th/Cedar Revolution opposition are not from different planets: the circumstances are different this time around, but both movements have suffered from problems - de-legitimizing their opponents and reliance on unstable tactical alliances - that continue to dog Lebanese politics and undermine real attempts to change the status quo. The faces and the goals are different, but the underlying problems are not."

Interesting response to Abu Kais's position.

http://www.aqoul.com/

Posted by: Que? at December 6, 2006 08:49 AM

Thanks for showing me and evey Lebanese who is starting to lose hope in our people that there are still distinguished individuals from Lebanon such as yourself.

Posted by: Nancy at December 6, 2006 09:19 AM

Marty, Shula and tsedek,

I cannot speak for Abu Kais, but I can tell you that I personally harbor no ill feelings towards the people of Israel. I actually believe that they would have made far better and reliable friends to Lebanon than any other so called friend we have in our neighbors the Syrians or Palestinians. There is a reason Israel entered Lebanon in 1982. They had to take care of the PLO that had turned Beirut into its own battlefield. I remember that the mosque near our house turned out to be a PLO base with radio communications, weapons and a bunker. I just wish Israel got out in 1983 rather than 7 years later. It is not easy being so hated by all. I personally cannot understand anti-semitism in Europe and in the Arab world. I don't know any Isaelis, but I do have good friends in the US who happen to be Jewish and they share the same values I do, so I have hope that it will get better. Those of us who grew up in the civil war know very well what it's like to wonder if the bus you're on is going to explode and kill you. My heart goes out to you, no one deserves that. I wish you all happy holidays as well.

Posted by: Maya at December 6, 2006 10:24 AM

Que, that's a very smart item you've posted there. It's essentially my feelings on the matter as well. The only thing it lacks is a recommendation for what to do about the whole situation.

Posted by: glasnost at December 6, 2006 11:46 AM

I will never forgive Lebanon for failing as a nation and allowing Hizbollah to arm and attack my country, unprovoked.

Gee, that was helpful.

Tears from prime ministers and bloggers are plentiful in Lebanon. Guts, and sweat are in short supply.

Posted by: Israeli at December 6, 2006 01:14 PM

"Farming humans...you couldn't have put what's going on better"

Yes, the Lebanese are vegetables. Who is robbing the Lebanese of their agency here? The author of that line or Hezbollah?

Posted by: Israeli at December 6, 2006 01:20 PM

Yes, the Lebanese are vegetables. Who is robbing the Lebanese of their agency here? The author of that line or Hezbollah?

Hezbollah has been allowed to brainwash children and ignorant people. Those are the ones robbed of agency. As an Israeli you should be familiar with that problem, how many Palestinian children have been taught to want to kill Jews? Can you think of any other culture that teaches children to write suicide notes?

Yes of course the Lebanese should not have allowed this, as the Palestinians should not have. But they did. Ignorant, foolish - taught a horrible religion that deprived them of basic self preservation and of all natural wisdom, they allowed it. So now what?

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 6, 2006 03:31 PM

Israeli,

I am very ashamed of what Hezbollah did to the Israeli soldiers this summer. I really hope that the IDF soldiers are eventually returned safe to their loved ones. Israel had every right to defend itself and I just watched the video Israel released today showing Hizbollah launching rockets from civilian neighborhoods using people as human shields. While I know I cannot change your mind or your feelings about the Lebanese people whom you've just insulted and blamed for what happened to your country, please keep in mind that the citizens of Lebanon have suffered the worst losses in this war. On a personal note, I can tell you that my brother-in-law's family lost their home and everything they owned this summer. Their entire building became rubble. My brother-in-law's best friend died with his family while fleeing. The bridge they were driving on got hit and a family of six died with it. My sister had just bought a brand new SUV, it only had 200 miles on it. Their SUV was hit and they have no idea why. My brother-in-law is a doctor and has no political affiliation whatsoever. Also, please remember that the Lebanese Army never fired back against Israel even when it got hit and 4 lebanese soldiers got killed. If one of the toughest armies in the world, the IDF, was unable to defeat Hizb, how can you expect us to do that. Our political leaders who dared oppose Syria are being murdered mafia style, those who wanted better relations with Israel (Bashir Gemayel) were murdered. I used to hate Israelis for occupying Lebanon and destroying the power station over and over, leaving us, for as long as I remember, with rationed electrical power (4 hrs per day), until I met some amazing Jewish Americans who showed me that life is not just black and white and people deserve to be judged for who they are and not for their nationality or religion. I believe I am a better person for that. I wish peace to you, your loved ones and both our native countries.

Posted by: Maya at December 6, 2006 09:00 PM

"they allowed it. So now what?"

Josh, my point is that Lebanon is primariy responsible for Hizbollah. It's fairly simple. However the Lebanese don't seem capable of fully graspisg this concept.

Maya,

I'm sorry if I insulted you personally or the Lebanese generally, but my criticism is sincere. Of course you can't change my mind about the Lebanese people, but the Lebanese people could. And I'm sorry for your family's personal losses.

"If one of the toughest armies in the world, the IDF, was unable to defeat Hizb, how can you expect us to do that."

It's quite simple. Get over your primitive tribalism and antisemitism and recognize what it means to be a nation. Grow up. If your prime minister had laid the blame for the war squarely on Hizbollah, where it belonged, and not just rhetorically but in his heart backed by real deeds, the Lebanese army, the IDF and perhaps international forces could easily defeat Hizbollah. Of course, this would mean solidarity with the Jewish state and calling Hizbollah what it is, a terrorist organization backed by Iran and Syria. I don't expect to see any such Lebanese maturity in my life time, but please surprise me.

As long as you continue to personally argue that there is NOTHING that you can do to make your country decent, you will not gain my respect. Nations that harbor terrorists who start wars are not innocent victims but perhaps there really is no such nation as "Lebanon" in the first place.

Posted by: Israeli at December 6, 2006 09:53 PM

...please keep in mind that the citizens of Lebanon have suffered the worst losses in this war.

That's how it always is.

Soldiers are trained and equipped for combat, and usually have a medic in their squad and medivac to a field hospital a radio call away.

Civilians don't have any of that. Usually, all they have is a first-aid kit and maybs a little training.

Civilians always suffer the most in war.

Posted by: rosignol at December 6, 2006 10:01 PM

Of course, this would mean solidarity with the Jewish state and calling Hizbollah what it is, a terrorist organization backed by Iran and Syria. I don't expect to see any such Lebanese maturity in my life time, but please surprise me.

They can't do that because Israel is run by infidels, enemies of God. Muslims can't ever side with you, and they can't ever admit fault when you're the wronged one. Also I doubt that they can ever, under any circumstances, side against a Muslim who kills an infidel.

That's the culture. You're less than human to them, and it's humiliating to them that you want to be recognized as having rights.

I'm glad I live on the other side of the world from a culture like that.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 6, 2006 11:02 PM

On the positive side, if there are any Muslims in the middle east who have the beginnings of a concept of common humanity it is in Lebanon, where they're being forced to live with others, suffered civil war and will probably have another one soon.

Necessity is a teacher.

Baby steps.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 6, 2006 11:05 PM

Josh,

Lebanese culture, as you describe it, sounds very primitive.

Posted by: Israeli at December 6, 2006 11:09 PM

Lebanese culture, as you describe it, sounds very primitive.

I don't think it's really so primitive.

It's something different that simulates tribal attitudes but will be a much tougher nut to crack. It's mostly Islam.

Though all of the usual societal pressures that warp unfree people are at play, Islam is capable of creating this sort of tribalism from scratch, even in the absence of all of that - this can be proved by the native Brits who perpetuated the 7/7 massacre. They didn't grow up in a tribal society at all, but who could distinguish any difference in their attitudes from those who had? There were none!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 6, 2006 11:47 PM

Everyone rants about HEZBOLLAH but no one suggests a solution.

How about some suggestions for a change?

Posted by: Lira at December 7, 2006 02:05 AM

Lira, you probably realize that your web page has been down all day.

I have been trying to think up with some answers to that question.

I've posted a thoughts in this thread on Beirut Spring, and in this comment thread (not the main posting) on my own weblog.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 7, 2006 02:23 AM

Minus all of the details, my main point was this:

I would think the best hope is to take advantage of the fact that Lebanon isn't a totalitarian state, yet and do "culture jamming". It's hard to fool people when they're completely conscious of what is happening. So we need to raise the consciousness of the Shia. They need to see manipulation as manipulation. They need to see hatred as foolish and unfair. etc.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 7, 2006 02:28 AM

Everyone rants about HEZBOLLAH but no one suggests a solution.

How about some suggestions for a change?

Around here (USA), if a group of people is hellbent on overthrowing the elected government and resorts to force to accomplish that goal (this is generally referred to as 'insurrection'), the preferred solution is to arrest them and put them in prison until they come to their senses (or until they die of old age, whichever comes first).

If they're not smart enough to let the police arrest them, they get shot while resisting arrest.

If the police can't deal with them, the Army gets called in to do the job.

In other countries, this is the kind of situation that is resolved by the credible threat (or application) of violence by people wearing uniforms associated with a government organization.

I dunno how you deal with it in Lebanon.

Posted by: rosignol at December 7, 2006 02:49 AM

Rosignol is 100% right.

In the US we deal with such things with absolutely overwhelming force. In such cases there will be no amnesty for underlings, everyone is going to jail till they die of old age, or more likely, shot dead during a siege.

And we have funny federal agencies that have on occasion been a lot more brutal than the police. You don't want to be in a siege with the FBI or the oddly named, "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms".

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 7, 2006 03:08 AM

It's true that one of the interesting things about American democracy is that while anyone can run for office, we're absolutely uncompromising about the government's monopoly on force.

Anyone (other than the government) who uses force in the United States will be crushed instantly. If we have to drop bombs on buildings in the US, the authorities have and will do that. If we need 100 men lined up with machine guns, there will be 100 men lined up with machine guns, with no delay. If we need tanks, there will be tanks.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 7, 2006 03:16 AM

I suppose I exaggurated a little.

We don't tend to use machine guns for police work. We use snipers.

Also, I can only think of one case where we used tanks.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 7, 2006 03:27 AM

It's quite simple. Get over your primitive tribalism and antisemitism and recognize what it means to be a nation. Grow up. If your prime minister had laid the blame for the war squarely on Hizbollah, where it belonged, and not just rhetorically but in his heart backed by real deeds, the Lebanese army, the IDF and perhaps international forces could easily defeat Hizbollah. Of course, this would mean solidarity with the Jewish state and calling Hizbollah what it is, a terrorist organization backed by Iran and Syria. I don't expect to see any such Lebanese maturity in my life time, but please surprise me.

As long as you continue to personally argue that there is NOTHING that you can do to make your country decent, you will not gain my respect. Nations that harbor terrorists who start wars are not innocent victims but perhaps there really is no such nation as "Lebanon" in the first place.

There's only one missing element here: Why should anyone from Lebanon give a flying f*** about earning your respect?

Posted by: glasnost at December 7, 2006 08:05 AM

There's only one missing element here: Why should anyone from Lebanon give a flying f*** about earning your respect?

I agree completely. It's irrelevant. But Maya felt "insulted" by my criticisms of Lebanon and hence we can infer that to her my "respect" was important. Go figure. I personally think Israel worries too much about being "respected" by her enemies as well. I would have supported an even more aggressive offensive against Lebanese targets in the south with increased disregard for international outcry.

Posted by: Israeli at December 7, 2006 09:20 AM

I would have supported an even more aggressive offensive against Lebanese targets in the south with increased disregard for international outcry.

As a nation of six million surrounded by 100 million people who don't like you, do you see long-term strategic problems with this tactical approach?

Posted by: glasnost at December 7, 2006 11:36 AM

As a nation of six million surrounded by 100 million people who don't like you, do you see long-term strategic problems with this tactical approach?

Being outnumbered ~18-1 by people who don't like you means you have big strategic problems now. You need to deal with that problem for there to be a long-term to worry about.

Posted by: rosignol at December 8, 2006 02:46 AM

Ok I hope someone has a chance to read this part of the thread.I want to start by saying thank you Abu Kais for this post and that I hope that there is a significant portion of other Lebanese shiia who share your views.It is refreshing to see a shiia from Lebanon who is more moderate,seems more open and reasonable,who doesn't blindly follow Hezbollah or Nasrallah just because he is a shiia cleric.It is also good to see a shiia who is supportive of the goals of March 14th in spite of flaws they may have,they are still offering a different and hopefully better vision for Lebanon.

I also want to commend you on your personal courage in expressing your views which seem to be contrary to what is supposed to be and also seems to have become the popular sentiments among a significant segment of the shiia population,as best exemplified regarding how a culture of death seems to have been heightened and become so commonplace particularly among the shiia segment of Lebanon.

Posted by: Brent at December 8, 2006 05:36 PM

As I've been posting all day...no, there is nothig the Lebs can do about Hezbollah. Nate (?) had a great Card quote about the will to kill. Scholar, the Western MEANS is irrelevant because we are cowed into submission by every unflattering media image, and by its feedback with our overdeveloped humanitarian instincts. A man with a salad fork and no inhibitions can kill a man with a .45 who feels bad about drawing it.

Victory over Hez will be won when their constituency, whoever that is, cares less about being hungry tomorrow, or being ashamed or humiliated next week, than about being dead today. Somehow Arab rulers have been able to induce submission into their subject people, yet Israelis, Americans, etc., seem to be unable to.

However, in the past, this has not been so. Leaving out Israel's Biblical wars of annihilation, look at American with the Indians, or America with the Japanese. If you inflict enough casualties on the foe, they will quit, even if they are brave and skilled and motivated.

We didn't beat the Indians because they decided we were good guys after all, we beat them because they decided not to let their casualty rate reach 100%. Same for the Japanese, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the "brave" ones had to be overruled by the "cowardly" ones who saw no way to avoid annihilation. Fortunately the "cowardly" ones somehow managed to do this.

The only think keeping foes of the West alive is our distaste for senseless bloodshed. However, as it becomes clear that bloodshed is the only thing that makes sense, bloodshed will becomne more popular.

Ultimately, Lebanon will have to kill enough Hez and, probably, the Shia they hide behind, till those Shia decide to worry less about their charities bringing them free food and more about being bombed, shelled and machine-gunned to death.

Or, as I say, everyone who does not wish to die can leave Lebanon, then the Hez can go ahead and attack Israel and get everybody left in the country dead just as quick as the IDF can reload. Then the sane Lebanese can return to what is left of their homes.

If you have the Hez-Israel war with sane Lebanese in place, they will suffer terribly till they decide to subdue the Hez themselves and announce their surrender to Israel. Which will be very humiliating, etc., but will presumably be better than being dead. (Right?)

Incidentally, we don't buy this whole "humiliation" trip so much. You had better work on reducing this whole big pride thing, it will get a lot of you killed.

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