My Big Heretical Heart!

Or, How I Can Love Hariri, Tweini & Syria all at the same Time!

I thought this dialogue is too important and needs to be given more visibility. For it gives me the chance to clarify further my position on why I oppose the Syrian regime. 

The Comment

I just don’t understand how you could ever think of Syria’s involvement in Hariri’s assasssination and how by any chance I saw you on TV mourning Tueini as if he was your role model. I just want you to have more insight into the politics of the region and suspect others like Junblat and Mossad and not preclude the high probability of their committing this heinous crime. Regarding Tuieni’s assassination, I surely denounce it but let’s not forget how his spiteful stir-up of the Lebanese hatred caused the killing of many Syrian workers and other individuals and led to growing enmity between the two blood-related peoples.

–Posted by I love my country to Amarji – A Heretic’s Blog at 1/09/2006 02:05:54 PM

My Reply

I love my country too, which is why I hate this regime. It sucks our blood like a vampire and preys upon us like a vulture. Had the President and his ilk not being totally caught up in their power games and struggles, had they not been so blind as to the changing world around them, had they not been so incompetent and foolish, we would not have been in the position we are in today, with our country on the verge of another series of potentially disastrous developments.

I say, potentially, because if we are willing to break the barrier of fear for once and confront the real reason for our misery at this stage, we might still be in a position to prevent the implosion of the country and bring about regime change ourselves, and save our country from an unnecessary face-off with the powers-that-be in this world.

Still, let’s play it dumb for a while and let’s assume that it is indeed the Mossad, or Jumblat, or anybody but our idiotic leaders, that was behind Hariri assassination, even then, the Syrian regime is still to blame for the problems we are now facing today. You know why? Because they failed to read the very obvious signs that have been gathering around for many years now, signs to the effect that it was time to pull out of Lebanon, to focus on internal matters, to reinvent the regime and its basic structure, to go along with the necessity of loosening one’s grip on power and allow for more participation in the decision-making process, to focus on fighting corruption and dealing with the serious developmental challenges that this country is facing. The signs were obvious, the warnings were being issued by all and sundry, to no avail. To no avail.

To Bashar & Co., this is was never about patriotism and national interest. This was always about their particularistic interests, their grip on power. They tell us about patriotism, reform and conspiracies, but all they really care about is staying in power and fleecing the flock.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being fleeced, bled-dry and devoured, no matter how piecemeal. I think I deserve better than this. I think the country I love deserves better than this.

My opposition to this regime has always been premised on this idealistic love for freedom and country, believe it or not, and not the Hariri assassination, and I have been doing most of my opposition while back in Syria, armed with nothing but my Syrian citizenship and my own talents and skills. So, my current daring is not related to my being in the US at this point in time. I have been saying very much the same things when I was back in Syria.

For at least fifteen years now, countries in Eastern Europe and some in Latin America and Southeast Asia have been working hard at developing and modernizing themselves. But under our regimes, most of them anyway, our region has been doing none of that, because our leaders are more interested in power than reform on the one hand, and because they are unequal to the task of reform on the other. Since those who are equal to the task will constitute a serious threat to the regimes’ hold on power, even if they appear uninterested in power, then, these people cannot be allowed to function freely, they cannot be allowed to run their NGOs and companies and achieve what the state is failing to achieve.

For this reason, regimes such as the Syrian regime can only pave the way to disaster and implosion. This is the essence of my opposition to it.

As for my reading of the Hariri situation, you don’t have to agree with it, in order to agree with me on the necessity of regime change from the inside. All you have to do here is love your country, as you say you do, and seek what is best for her, which is not necessarily what is best for the regime.

On the other hand, I do admit that I have always respected Hariri and Tweini. They both worked as hard as they can for their country. Hariri may not have been Mr. Squeaky Clean to some people, and being in the position he was in having to deal with the kind of people he had to deal with all the time in both Syria and Lebanon, I don’t think he could have afford it really. Still, his love for Lebanon was manifested in his support for the tens of thousands of students who were sent to study abroad at a time when few others were paying attention to the importance of such moves, and in what he did in downtown Beirut, Sidon and other Lebanese cities. He might have taken from Lebanon somehow, but he clearly gave as well. The taking in Syria is too blatant to be denied, but where is the giving?

The case for Tweini is even more easily justified. By opening the pages of an-Nahar to liberal intellectuals from all over the Arab World, and not just Syria and Lebanon, to discuss issues that no other newspaper would have touched, Mr. Tweini, demonstrated his deep appreciation for freedom and for liberal and liberating values. Yes, I didn’t know him personally and I did miss the chance to meet him on a number of occasions, but I do consider him a soulmate, nonetheless.


13 thoughts on “My Big Heretical Heart!

  1. Good job Ammar those were some heart felt worlds. I also knew that Hariri wasnt some staunch Lebanese nationalist, he had to work with very shady characters over the years but he always tried to make the best of bad situation. Assad is following the path of Saddam and were all know where it will end up.

  2. Nicely put. However Tueni was a racist MF. He pushed for hatered between the syrian and lebanese people to push for the syrian pull-out. I don’t think that was a nobel thing.Hatered and Racism as means to get freedom!! that does not sound good to me.Anyways, his killing was atragedy to free doubt about it and would only give racisit pro-israeli lebanese nationlists another reason to distance themselves from their neighborhood.

  3. I am above anything else a member of the human race. Other identities follow and are by definition subsidiary. As a result any abuses to individuals anywhere around the world are of interest to me. Liberty, freedom, democracy, and human dignity become only slogans unless they are applied universally. Our obligations are not limited to what happens only in our backyard but if we are to be taken seriously and if we are to act with a sense of justice , morality and ethics then we will oppose tyranny, dictatorship, injustice and exploitation wherever they occur. It is our duty to take such stands otherwise what does it mean to be human?A major error that is often committed by many is that of practicing selective indignation. I cannot be opposed to heinous acts only when they occur in a state that I happen to be a citizen of. If I oppose an action at home then I oppose it the world over.This is might not be the ideal Blog to speak about environmental philosophy and universal ethicsbut let me remind you that we are living in an interdependent world whereby political boundaries are becoming increasingly irrelevant since they are artificial in the first place. The argument that sovergeinty permits a natio/people to do whatever they choose within the artificial borders of the state has become totally unacceptable in a world where many of the outcomes of human activities create transboundary problems.I oppose the assasination of Harriri , Hawi, Tueini and others and I oppose assasinations in Baghdad, Gaza, Israel or any other place in the world. In the same token my support for modernity obligates me to oppose the criminal tyranical Syrian Ba’athjust as much as I am opposed to the Azeri dictatorship or the Iranian fascists.

  4. Let’s set up the record straight! Lebanese (at least the majority) did not have hatred toward the Syrian PEOPLE, but it is toward the Syrian mafia REGIME! Show me any article written by Tueni that show even a slight hatred toward the Syrian PEOPLE?

  5. Tueni!! well Tueni was too smart to spell out his hatered directly.His followers are the lebanese nationalists. and those people hate everything that is arab/muslims/ is a sample of what they think: the way he used to say “soori, el soori, etc…)If he ever felt the love for the syrian people then he might as well expressed it.He never did..Besides I am not alone, even Muslims in Beirut had a hard time voting for him in the last election.Don’t get me wrong however, I was troubled by his killing, and was very very sad.Happy Holidays

  6. I do understand what you are saying Syriana. Tueni’s affiliation with MF has always been problematic for me as well. But such affiliation made within the context of a country with a big identity crisis and within the context of an ongoing civil war have always had an element of necessity in it, rather than reflecting a clear cut choice on part of the intellectual involved. For this reason, I cannot judge Tueni only on the basis of his affiliation with the MF, or on the basis of what other people who belong to it have had to say, Tueni has a more complex legacy than this, and when examined properly, I think, this legacy will afford us a more favorable assessment of this man and his character.

  7. Syriana, obviosly I have no clue who you are but this last post eeks of prejudice, discrimination, hatred and bankrupt categories.Can you possibly justify the usage of such abhorent language: “Even Moslems had difficulty in voting for him”. Is one to assume that one is confined to a particular pattern of thinking that is dictated by what the entry , on their ID card, for religion. Are you suggesting that all what you need to know about me is my family name? Is that how you classify people?

  8. Ghassan,wake up!! Lebanon’s sectarian politics is a reality. I did not invent it. and Instead of you, Mr. Ideals, jump into calling me names, you could have objectivly defended the man, like Ammar did. I was trying to show you how Jibran was looked at by others, which is by larg his mistake. I guess you are too stupid to see that.Ammar, Try to see the difference between Jibran and His father. Jibran could have presented him self better and expressed his hypothetical love to the syrian/arab people better, he did not. Anyways, I think I did my part, I grieved the man, and was troubled with his killing. Being an Anti-Assad does not mean that I am blind to the future interests of my country. I don’t see any syrian interests served by having Anti-Arab, Pro-Israeil french speaking Pheonician be in power next door.I know my interests well.Ammar, being anti-assad is one thing and being anti-syrian is another. I see in you a future leader, so be aware of this point, becasue you will lose are doing a great job indeed, and I admire it. keep up the good work, but don’t lose sight

  9. Syriana, I hate to abuse the hospitality of our host Ammar but I believe a short comment, and a final one , is in order as a result of your last tirade. It is apparent to me that we are experiencing a failure in communication.I had objected to using old fashioned and meaningless categories in analysing a problem and in particular to the very broad generalizations such as” even Moslems had a problem in voting for him” and your more recent statement that your objection is not about what he said, “he was too smart to say it openly” but it is his “nationalist followers who are araband moslem haters”. You see my freind where is the problem, I never even mentioned Gibran. You on the other hand seem to be obssesed with him. You object to ideals when they do not serve your goals but you are more than willing to use them to justify narrow, nationalist based interests. I would much rather we use ideals that would benefit the commonwealth rather than a special group within it.If we are serious , and I am not sure that we are, about our desire in joining modernity then our first task must be opennes to new ideas, self criticism,the ability to accept the other and above all reject the traditional ,tribal,sectarian, obsolete and insidious method of analysis and thinking. And as a last thought please avoid ad hominems, a discourse , if this is what we are having, is so much more pleasant without shouting.

  10. I appreciate your advice Syriana. Indeed, these are quite the sensitive topics for all of us in Lebanon and Syria and the region as whole. But, I am sure that you, Ghassan and I are on the same sides, albeit we might have some different ways of looking at some things. By the way, if there is a group consisting of few hundred thousands Pro-Israeli French speaking self-styled Phoenicians in our midst, living in a country consisting of handful of millions divided in groups of similar or larger size, then, frankly, we have now choice but to find ways to accommodate them. The Kurds in Syria and Iraq, by the way, are now being denounced in a similar, and they are indeed exhibiting similar tendencies, that is, they are increasingly wagering on their close affiliations with a foreign power (in this case, the Unites States) and are working to establish closer ties with Israel, the only regional power willing to deal with them. Our inability to deal with our internal diversity, in the ethnic, religious, sectarian and ideological sense, is serving to alienate and radicalize many groups and is creating the potential for more conflicts and mayhem in our future.

  11. “If we are serious , and I am not sure that we are, about our desire in joining modernity then our first task must be openness to new ideas, self criticism, the ability to accept the other and above all reject the traditional ,tribal, sectarian, obsolete and insidious method of analysis and thinking.” Indeed, Ghassan, I cannot pretend to speak for Syriana, but, if I understand him correctly, I think he’ll have no trouble agreeing with this statement of yours. So, in truth, despite this heated exchange we remain in agreement on the key issues.

  12. Ammar,To make things clear, I am completely against Arabism (in the political sense), maybe more so than lebanese nationalists. However creticizing one does not mean embrasing the other. I am hoping here that you dont ask me tell me to accomadate the faciest arab nationalist as well?As for accomadating the self-hating “Levantines”, well I would love to do so, however I think that this bunch is quite more dangerous than you described them, they will pose real danger on syrian national interest in the future.Kurds I think are a different story, they are a different ethnic group and they were really brutalized by Arab nationlist regiems. I would even go further to ask the Arab goverments to applogize for what they have done to them.As for Ghassan, well, I don’t agree with his simplistic idealistic views, and if he think that democracies are built on wishful thinking and ideals then he is mistaken. Democracy is nothing more than a balance of interest of the people.I believe in contractual goverment, a goverment that provides its citizens with security and food on the the table.So in order that to happen the people have to have freedom, and adopt modenrity, etc…The assad clan is my worst enemies. but not my only enemy.

  13. I completely understand, Syriana. Thank you for making this quite interesting. Let’s keep on doing it.

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