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Lebanon: Demonstrations, Demonstrations

A series of anti-government or opposition and pro-government protests and demonstrations are literally taking the country by storm. Lebanese bloggers are, as expected, expressing their positions, whether pro, con or independent through opinions, analysis, sarcasm, art, etc. The posts quoted here are, as usual, not all inclusive. All the other interesting blogs could not be mentioned for lack of space and time. As the events are accelerating in Lebanon, a lot more is expected from the bloggers, so be sure to check back for updates. Meanwhile here is a sample of posts from some blogs. It is left to you to decide where each blogger stands.

The demonstrations and the reactions to them inspired the following painting by Ibn Bint Jbeil. He also wrote:

What do you see?

Fellow human beings?

or faceless crowds that you can easily dismiss as wrong, irrelevant, peasants, misguided, unworthy, untrustworthy, different, heretical, decadent, uncivilized?

Then there is this letter from Beirut from a friend of Pierre Tristam who will not partake in any demonstration:

No, I won’t take to the streets. Not now, not again. Not for this cause or the other. Every time we take to the streets and for whatever reason, we’re exploited for personal, not Lebanese, volitions. Today’s demonstration isn’t different from yesterday’s. It’s led by the same willful warmongers. I don’t buy that option “against corruption, etc.” Bullshit. I don’t believe in a National Unity government. It never worked in the past and nothing has changed since.

The shortcomings of the leaders of the “Cedar’s Revolution” are the reasons behind the momentum of the anti-government protest according to Charles Malik in this lengthy analysis.

Sophia points out that there are lessons that the Lebanese can learn from Canada’s multiculturalism and also states that:

I have affirmed that the new divide in Lebanon, the economic divide brought upon a traditionally prosperous country by the civil war and by the disastrous management of the state by Hariri, is helping bridge the sectarian religious and ethnic divide. March 14th is the movement of the rich and the few who profited from the new economy while March 8th is the movement of the disgruntled and the numerous left behind by the new economy.

I believe that March 14th deceived the Lebanese and lost the popular support and the political capital it was sitting on since the assassination of Rafik Hariri as much as Bush has deceived the Americans and lost the political capital it was given by the American nation after 9/11.

The media was mocked by Bech at Remarkz for its bias and shortsightedness during the covering of the opposition's protests :

shame on the media that does not understand that the people who are on the streets are not there for “sectarian” reasons but because they're fed up of a government that is incompetent, corrupt, and dangerous.

Shame on the media that twists information according to where the paycheck come from.

Shame on the media that is itself sectarian, replicating the confessional discourse that, we as Lebanese, are guilty of having supplied during the past decades.

Shame on the media that replicates another demon the Lebanese have created in order to stay divided the Syria-bashing Syndrome. Again us Lebanese are so guilty. We have fed the media with our fears. And our fears are now traveling the world as an biased account of the social reality.

Abu Kais has this apocalyptic view of the events occurring in Lebanon:

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”.

And if you are wondering whether these protests will end soon then read this post at Jamal’s Propaganda Site:

If anyone is counting on the Pro-National Unity Government protestors(known as Pro-Syrians in the American press) to get bored and go home, they better rethink their strategy as the entertainment options Downtown are never ending. (A new strategy might be to shoot at people to keep them from expressing themselves.) Some of the protestors are having more fun than they've ever had, even though they still haven't made it past the velvet rope at Buddha Bar and Asia. Kaak, Corn on the Cob, Concerts, Ice Cream Trucks, and Fortune tellers line up the open areas of Downtown Beirut. The opposition is prepared to squat for a long time. No one can question the Lebanese abilitites at squatting as only our southern neighbors can rival us in that department.

In one of her very witty post, ADB writes about the reports of violence, spies and the protests in Beirut:

At the sit-in downtown, I bumped into an elderly American woman sporting a plethora of Hezbollah scarves around her neck, a Hezbollah baseball cap on her head and other Hezbollah paraphenelia attached to the travelpouch around her waist. The travelpouch and white sneakers were a dead giveaway. She was eating something that resembled greasy chunks of pork and wiping the fat on her pants. A friend of mine had described an American woman who attended the “International conference in support of the resistance” a few weeks ago at the UNESCO Palace. She fit the description. He had left the conference after she railed on and on about how much she loves Hezbollah and how Americans love Nasrallah. I stopped to talk to her.

Regular conversations are manifesting the grave schisms in the Lebanese community according to Sietske in Beiroet :

Friends come to me and tell how other friends have insulted them, because they talk of ‘those animals down at the zoo in downtown’. Others come and complain, and say they never knew that so-and-so was such a hard liner, because have you heard what he said …? Some friends are afraid, saying that this is no longer their Lebanon, and that they are disgusted by it all, but in the meantime, they do not sit with so and so anymore, because he said that she said, and you know, he is a maronite, after all. Well, you all know about them, don’t you?

In Lebanon, demonstrations are given nick-names. The opposition's demonstrations going on these days are dubbed the “Foooooool Revolution” by Anarchorev, in contrast to the “Cedar’s Revolution” that was called the “Hummus Revolution”, both foul (fava beans) and hummus are types of foods from Lebanon:

OK, so we went down to the street, and it was packed, and diverse, and yeah I loved the sound effects and music… but seriously, “national unity government”? Come on. Let us get real, what is this “national unity” government supposed to be about? “You’re thieves but we’re OK with joining hands with you to ‘build’ Lebanon if you give us our share [based on what? sects?]”? …. no thanks. But hey, as long as you can topple this government all the more power to you.

Finally this is a quote from a lengthy analysis on the nature of the opposition-protests from Marxist From Lebanon:

From the other side, 8th and 14th of March racism is escalating to new clearer framework. For starters the accusations are viewed by each other exactly what the accuser accuses the accused. In this sense, 14th of March supporters regard 8th of March as Iranian – Syrian puppies who want to integrate Lebanon into the arms of Damascus while versa the supporters of 8th of March regard the 14th of March crowd as Zionist-US traitors who want to serve the West. Such claims are furthering wider the gap between both camps.

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