Lebanon witnessed this week the brutal assassination of its minister of industry and trade. This terrorist act overshadowed all other events and topics in the Lebanese blogosphere. Nevertheless, the posts were as varied and different as the political inclinations of the Lebanese themselves. Here is a sample of what they had to say:
It is telling when a group of warlords point fingers and claim righteousness when a young man is brutally killed. what is more disturbing however is the Machiavellian “intellectuals” who expect that riding the tailcoats of warlords to a sovereign and independent Lebanon is the way to go. They see a goal (which most us do share) and sincerely believe their path is the “smart one”, yet I wonder if they realize that they have been walking on a treadmill for the past two years.
Abu Kais saw that:
The battle for Lebanon right now centers on the tribunal that will bring the killers of Hariri and others to justice. The court’s local and foreign opponents are stopping at nothing to block its formation, including assassinating members of the cabinet that will approve the plan.
While MarxistFromLebanon mentions an SMS message he received calling for him to participate in the demonstration:
I got this sms on my mobile phone and it seems it is circulating through out Lebanon:
“Imagine Wi'am Wahab, Assem Kanso, Nasser Kandil, Sleiman Franjieh, Talal Arslan, Mohamad Fnesh as your new ministers, Salim Hos as your prime minister and Michel Aoun as your President!
Participate Tomorrow and they will stay home!”
Another point of view from Dr Victorino de la Vega
President Bush, Prime Minister Olmert and their Saudi Islamist friends were quick to blame this horrendous crime on Syria and Iran, even though there isn’t a single shred of evidence against these two countries. Maybe we could ask Dick Cheney and Mike Ledeen to fabricate a few colorful proofs with the help of the Israeli embassy in Niger- think nuclear “yellow cake”… hmm yummy! ;)
In fact, Pierre Gemayel was a leader of The Phalange (“Al Kataeb” in Arabic), an overtly Fascist Christian group modeled after Franco’s Hispanic version of the Nazi Party called El Movimiento Falangista: not really the standard textbook definition of a “democrat”… even by the Middle-East’s notoriously low standards!
The Rambler compares “news” from neighboring countries with “news” in Lebanon:
No News: So, the official civilian death toll in Iraq for October was 3079. Never mind focusing the camera on the living (hell). Numbers are easier to digest. Disturbing, but a fine substitute for Sudoku when you’re stuck for ideas.
No News: The murder of Gaza continues. Israeli business as usual with “targeted assassinations” reliably embellished with a few dead Palestinian kids & mums. Human Rights Watch instructs the caged Palestinians on how better to comply with international humanitarian law by improving their sitting duck skills. And those who can do something (the US), do nothing. The Israeli peaceniks soldier on with a hollow peace message that takes “as its moral yardstick the primacy of Israel's survival as a Jewish state”.
News!: A “targeted assassination” in Lebanon threatens to shake up not only the zoo, but also the region & even the world! We're just so photogenic, so valuable…
Pierre Tristam/Candide’s Notebooks writes the following as part of a lengthy analysis
It’s virtually irrelevant who murdered Pierre Gemayel. The question is: who does this benefit, and what next? Pathetically appropriate questions to ask on this, Lebanon’s Independence Day. By a process of elimination—it has always been all about elimination in Lebanon—you can rule out those whom the murder doesn’t benefit: the anti-Syrian and anti-Hezbollah bloc is on its last leg. It can’t afford a cough, let alone an assassination. …
… Pull up a chair. The situation room is about to get noisy. And make Israel and the United States look like two gentle manatees compared with Hezbollah going Medieval on Lebanon’s ass.
Jean questions the investigations:
Police said today, they had little to report about the assassination.
One must admit, it is rather dazzling, this declaration.
A man, in his car, in a moderatly crowded christian neighborhood, in broad daylight, gets bumped in the back by another car, of which 3 gunmen come out, and shower the man's car with bullets, killing him and his bodyguard..
Did I forget anything ? ah yes… this man, is a Cabinet Minister !!!
Anarchorev posts photos to warn of what might have been the purpose of the assassination:
Not that I subscribe to the hysteria that the Western media and their “leftist” complicits in Lebanon are trying to spread, but I thought I would post a few photos which might paint a more accurate picture of what the planners of this assassination might have been aiming for.
From left to right
Photo #1: A Lebanese army officer tries to stop an angry Christian Lebanese man beating a Syrian driver who sits inside his Syrian taxi car after it destroyed by other angry protesters in Beirut, Lebanon….
Photo #2: Supporters of assassinated Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel show their anger by stepping on a poster of Hezbollah ally General Michel Aoun in the Beirut Christian stronghold of Ashrafieh….
Jij addresses the March 14 coalition, of whom Minister Gemayel was a member:
To the reasonable people in March 14:
The government was limping. It could not have functioned without Shia representation for much longer. Hezbollah was raising the ante. Aoun was emboldened. The demonstrations were going to happen within days if not hours; the excitement and anticipation in the opposition camp could not be overstated…
Then Pierre El Jmayyil is assassinated. March 14 get a lifeline. They switch to ‘blame-Syria’ mode immediately. The opposition is cornered and taken by surprise. …
Any reasonable individual would (and should) ask himself the following question: What on earth do Syria and Iran have to gain from this assassination? Things were going in their favor.
As for yesterday’s rally, it was merely a wave; a wave that washed up against a rock and receded back into the sea. That temporary, almost fickle, nature of the March 14 protests is the reason that people who argue “the Syrians could not have killed Gemayel and all the other politicians because it runs counter to their interests” are wrong.
The Syrians feel pretty secure about Hizballah's ability to hold its own against these waves of protest and fury. So they do what they need to, to gain any sort of advantage on the international playing field.
EDB talks with a enthusiasts who are members of Late Minister Gemayel's Phalangist Party:
A group of young men loitered outside the Kataeb (Phalangist) office in Rmeil until the early hours of the morning. What were they doing? There was talk of marching on the Presidential Palace in Baabda after the funeral celebration. My roommate says rumors spread in Hamra last night that Walid Jumblatt had also been assassinated. Panic ensued. Other friends have been ordered to stay home by their families and loved ones until the dust settles. Will it ever? The custom-made March 14th posters that depict each martyr against the backdrop of his assassination scene were mass-produced for Pierre Gemayel over night and slapped on billboards all around Beirut. Of all people beholden to foreign interests who lack credibility, Detlef Mehlis blamed “pro-Syrian forces” for Gemayel's assassination, from his office in Berlin. A little bird told him. Did the little bird have a goatee and a lot of money?
Prof Abu Khalil had this to say about the Gemayel family and the Phalangist Party:
It is only fair that I say a word about the Lebanese Gemayyel family. No one family in Lebanon has made more contributions to the formulation of a Lebanese version of fascism than this family. Really. In this respect, one has to note that Pierre Gemayyel (the grandfather), and his son Bashir has made great efforts (with the help of Israel) to create a fascist movement for Lebanon modeled after the Nazi party.
And he also asks
Why does the death of Pierre Gemayyel generate more attention–and certainly more sympathy–than the death of hundreds of Palestinian and Lebanese who have been killed by Israeli occupation troops?