The most important event in Lebanon this week was the long-awaited “National Dialogue” taking place between various Lebanese group leaders. The meeting is important because the country was becoming dangerously divided.
On one side, an alliance largely between the Sunnis, Christians and Druze, is vehemently opposed to Syrian influence and is campaigning to oust the Syrian-backed President Emile Lahhoud. On the other, the predominantly Shiite camp is hostile to the United States and has friendlier views of Syria and Iran.
That the meeting took place was hailed as an achievement by itself. Many point to the fact that it was the first such meeting to take place without foreign sponsorship. But the Lebanese bloggers are yet to be convinced. In fact, they have proven to be a very skeptical and cynical bunch.
Jamal, From Jamal’s Propaganda Site, started his post before the talks had even started with: “Here’s to a failed National Dialogue”. He wrote, in reference to the leaders: “The best thing that could possibly come out of these people is a truce”, and concludes cynically: “But it doesn't matter, unfortunately I think the dialogue will be successful, and we will be told that we can love each other again.”
Zadigvoltaire from Beirut Notes complained that “Even when they talk, the heart of Beirut stops”. He was referring to the draconic security measures that brought Beirut to a standstill.
Kais, from Beirut to the Beltway, sums up the Lebanese mood:
Lebanese are expecting the worst and hoping for the best today, as their leaders meet face-to-face for the first time in years to hash out differences over key national issues. There isn't a lot of optimism in the air, with commentators calling the conference the country's last shot at national reconciliation.
..if this meeting fails, it will be even more depressing to see that perhaps Lebanon as a country, as a nation, is a failed idea
The heightened drama and cynicism have pushed other bloggers to take a humorous approach. Kais posted a photo commentary on the pictures taken inside the meeting, while Mustapha (your author) and Jamal posted mock dialogues and unanswered questions respectively. Lazarus from Letters Apart compared the event to scenes from The Godfather.
The meetings are still taking place and everyone is waiting for the results. French Eagle sums it up best (French): “While we’re waiting for the results of this national dialogue, there’s nothing to say.”