Last week started with a press conference by a Syrian witness who withdrew his testimony from the Mehlis investigation. The witness, Husam Husam, announced that he was forced, coaxed and cajoled by Mehlis, The Hariri Family and others into saying what he had said, but he changed his mind because he “loves his country”.
Needless to say, the Lebanese Bloggers cried foul. Hani from The Lebanese Bloggers called it a “feeble attempts at dividing the Lebanese people whilst they (the Syrians) crumble”. Kais from Beirut To The Beltway called it a “stunt” and said it was a part of a “smear campaign”:
In another effort to discredit the investigation, the Syrian regime, still stuck at Mehlis’ interim report, has been waging a crusade to undermine the witnesses mentioned in the report. Unfortunately for the regime, the investigation has moved beyond the interim report and this latest stunt will not derail it. The suspects are on the way to Vienna and we still have a long way to go.
Kais didn’t let go of the issue. He wrote several posts throughout the week on the matter, but at the end, he concluded with obvious relief: “the investigation was not hurt.”
Many theories about the Husam saga have been tossed around. What they all have in common is their deep skepticism of his motivations. This was Raja’s (from The Lebanese Bloggers) hypothesis:
It is clear, that in return for giving up Syrian officers for questioning, the Syrian regime is trying to bolster its position in its public's eyes…or else, such yielding of power and “sovereignty” would lead to disastrous outcomes on the Syrian streets.
Mustapha from The Beirut Spring however sees the Husam saga as an aberration. In fact, he argued, things are going for the better:
Forget that clown Hossam for a moment; if you look at the Lebanese scene in the last few days, you can’t avoid the feeling that things are not looking as hopeless as they used to.
Mustapha’s optimism didn’t convince too much people; many were disheartened by what they saw as targeting the Mehlis investigation. A sense of despair poked its head on the Blogosphere with headlines like: A Pessimistic Take and The Lost Moral Compass. What added more to that despair was Hezbollah’s intransigence on the international tribunal; the Party of God seems bent on sabotaging plans for such a tribunal, prompting yet another angry round of posts on Hezbollah. Kais went to the extent of comparing them to the Iranian Basij:
In the 1990s we were asked to view them [Hezbollah] solely through the resistance prism. Nobody paid attention to what Hizbullah was creating in the towns it controlled: a mini-Islamic order. This isn't freedom of religion, this is oppression of an extremely moldable community with a history of persecution and neglect by the government and its self-appointed leaders. Hizbullah found it easy to fill the vacuum in those areas and lure some of the disenchanted youth into its ranks (I should add Hizbullah was very “generous”, thanks to Iranian funding).
Lazarus in Letters Apart, wrote extensively about the Shebaa Farms, which is one of the reasons why Hezbollah says it needs to keep its arms.
Some other Lebanese bloggers think (rightly) that other issues are worth pointing out as well. On World AIDS Day, Moussa from Ur-Shalim raises the issue of HIV awareness in Lebanon and says that more should be done about it because “HIV patients are discriminated against at work at in the society, so some simply do not seek help, preventing them from having access to health care”
In the same spirit, La La from La La Land asks her readers to Help educate children with brain injuries.
Lebanon.Profile from Lebanese Political Journal also rest politics aside to write about the “positive news:” The brisk pace of re-construction in Lebanon.