Saturday, May 10, 2008

Time zones

This is what I have to say about the latest series of political speeches in Lebanon: Nasrallah speaks as if there is no future, but Jumblat, Hariri and Sanioura speak as if there is no past. For Nasrallah, the past performance and actions of the Loyalists is the only reference point. The past (?) collusion of some of them with Israel, their current alliance with the US and the intersection of some of their positions with the Israeli agenda, as well as the incapability of the Lebanese state to liberate the South and to protect the resistance appear to be the only unit of measure. On the other hand, the trio JHS has been delivering speeches and addresses as if the past did not exist, as if the resistance was not under threat of physical elimination by the Loyalists very allies, as if members of the Loyalists had not destroyed Beirut many times and invited and supported the Israelis when they invaded it, as if there had not been a number of youth killed by the thugs of the Future movement in Tarik al Jadideh and Ard Jalloul, as if there was no Future movement militia in Beirut brought from the North (seen by many on TV and in the streets before the fighting) or PSP (Jumblat) militia (which has murdered Druze political opponents in the mountains), and as if the State was all powerful, belonged to all its citizen, and capable of extending its authority onto the 4 corners of the country and to fend off Israeli agendas. When you start so far away from each others, the next stop is Xanadu, as my friend Anna would say. The first thing these guys should do is get into the same time zone. This is if they want to find a way out.

PM Sanioura gave a speech today from the grand serail. Besides the attacks and refutations of Nasrallah's rhetoric, he made the following offer: The fate of the contentious decrees (which, he said, have not come into effect) is to be decided by the Army; all armed presence is to be removed from the streets; the sit in and the strike are to be lifted and the airport re-opened, a new president is elected (I assume he meant army general Sleiman, but he didn't say that) following which a national unity government is created in which neither the parliamentary majority nor the opposition have veto power, and the new government will prepare for elections on the basis of the qada (district), with minor "demographic" (read sectarian) adjustment. He added that this offer can form a basis on which one can build to get to a compromise. I think so too.

Moments later, the army responded by taking positive steps and reinstating the airport chief of security. The Opposition accepted to remove all armed presence, but promised to keep the "civil disobedience" going. En passant, it reminded Sanioura that the decrees are as effective as can be, as they have been sent to the UN for support in implementation.

In West Beirut, and for a reason I cannot fathom, sand barricades have been erected, blocking traffic in almost all the main streets.


Leila Abu-Saba said...

Thank you for your clear and intrepid reporting. I hope your family and you continue to be well, and I hope that things calm down, and that the kidnappings etc. will get resolved and suppressed, insha'allah.

Leila Abu-Saba said...

PS I see your blog linked all over the place this weekend. I'm glad people are hearing about Land and People - the internet does democratize the news.

Anonymous said...

big respect for the blog, have been reading every day..

Anonymous said...

thank you for your blog. and for keeping it going now.