The Decaying Idols!

An informal poll at Al-Arabiyyah website showed that a little over 23% of the voters, totaling around 50,000, believe that Hezbollah’s activities have had a negative impact on the region. This is a very significant, if not too scientific, indicator. There is indeed a rising current in our midst that is becoming more and more willing to challenge the traditional nationalistic jingoistic consensus. For all their lingering appeal, and despite the emotionally charged moment we are going through, the nationalists and the Islamists are being challenged on their very holy grounds. The idols may not be falling yet, but they are getting chipped and cracked and are beginning to sway and tatter. There might be some for us yet.

14 thoughts on “The Decaying Idols!

  1. Dear Ammar,Although not realted. but your position sometimes buzzles me, so please help calirfy:What do you think Of Fouad Ajami and Tony BadranThanks

  2. No self respecting historian will want to make a prediction when surrounded by the fog of war. But I am not a historian I would ke willing to take the risk of looking into my crystal ball. Believe it or not what I see is a clear and unencumbered vision. When this conflict is over, and it would be, I see a replay of what happened at the end of the six day war. The stakeholders, primarily the Lebanese in this case, will become engaged in some serious introspection and evaluation of what has been achieved and at what cost. This evaluation and introspection will result in taking a position that would not be favourable to HA’s military wing, Nasrallahs leadership, Bashars lack of leadership and Ahmadinajjads grandiose dreams. If that does come to pass then at least we can that the terrible price that we had to pay was not a total loss.

  3. This is good. We ought to stop following those fanatics that keeps on leading us to war and destruction. When you have a mad man living next to you where you are much weaker than him, you have to act smart.Hope more of us would see the light. Let us work harder to achieve peace…

  4. I think the meaning of this significant indicator is that 23% of the people recognize that the shit is totally hitting the fan.However, your interpretation of where this same twenty three percent lays the responsibility for the mayhem is a reflection of your wishful thinking.Even the fact that Saudi and Egyptian and Jordanian leadership are criticizing Hezbollah only indicates that they are worried about their own skins… as usual and as you always point out, and yet in this case it requires them to sell Hezbollah down the river, lest they upset their own cozy relations with the US… as well as neglect the warning signals on the horizon of Iranian and Shiite power.Do you really believe this reflects some big change of consciousness of even the people of any one of these hedging countries?No way…… the populations will if anything be driven even further into their anti-israeli vengeful mindsets.And as for the Lebanese……. hmm … let me consult MY crystal ball…….My prediction is that the it doesn’t matter what the Israelies do.. They can bomb the SHIT OUT OF Lebanon….. they can destroy the homes of every village in southern lebanon… drive hundreds of thousands of people further into poverty and despair… and even wipe out a portion of Hezbollah (do you really imagine they could wipe it out in its entirety?) …even kill Nasrallah.And in the so called END, which never is an end… out of these pathetic smolderingashes…will form another generation of pissed off people.WAR never led too any deep introspection and evaluation, except if you want to include.. planning the next war and avenging.the problem with anyone believing that it is possible to wipe out an insurgency…or a militant group that along with its supporters makes up a huge percentage of the population… is that, similar to the USA’ s failed war on drugs….or war on cartels, failed counter-insurgencies, or delusional war on terror, it is completely HOPELESS. For every drug runner you erradicate or every militant you eliminate, one if not two are born out of the destruction. There is always someone to fill that void… that demand…And so, the end.. even if the rest of the Lebanese engage in fine introspection and decide collectively (laugh!) to attempt to deter Hezbollah’s power… that will only last as long as the rebuilding of these towns… And eventually… well inevitably (!) … there is the return of the repressed…. or the oppressed as here the case may be……but i will revisit the subject of the return of the repressed on your next post…. with its invitation to freudian analyses…..

  5. Zenobia, I did not meant to sound overtly optimistic, heavens forbid, after all, I am a heretic. But, I just wanted to point to the existence of a real trend of sorts among the educated class that can use and afford the internet in our region that is somewhat more pragmatic and risk-averse, and that will not want to see the region dragged into new ands expanding conflicts. The exact make-up of this segment should the subject of future studies. But its existence and significance has been attested to in several such anecdotal episodes.Amr,Fouad Ajami is quite the erudite scholar. Some might want to disagree with some his more overt stands, but his scholarly contributions to debates on the modern Arab culture and history is not something that can be dismissed off-hand or at all. He raises serious issues, he provides tentative answers, and challenges our basic assumptions about a host of things that we used to take for granted. As for Tony, well, he has become actually a good virtual friend of mine over the years, and we have finally managed to meet a few times over the lat few months. He is definitely not as hotheaded as he comes off on his blog. We should not confuse the blog for the blogger.

  6. Ammar, Surely you are not serious when you say that we should not confuse the blog for the blogger? How else is a person to be judged except his/her output?

  7. Ammar, I agree with you that this might be a positive sign. Before I jump to that prediction, I would first make sure that people did not oppose simply because they are Shiites and they themselves Sunnis, as may very well be the case. In that case they would be taking the right stand for entirely the wrong reasons. That said, it’s also interesting that the rate of disapproval of Hizbullah runs much higher in Lebanon itself. I posted a piece on this in my blog ( and frankly, found the level of support for Hizbullah in the Arab ‘street’ rather disturbing. Any thoughts?

  8. Faysal, The more destruction we have, the more radical people are going to get. But there is also enough frustration-driven radicalization out there as result of lack of developments, lack of employment, corruption and deteriorating living conditions that is also getting channeled into this. Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere are positing themselves as the more socially active, capable and earnest alternative out there, and the people have been buying it for years, for the lack of other alternative. The regimes, of course, are making sure that the more liberal and secular alternatives are being crowded out. AS I said in this post, the talibanizations of or souls have long proceeded the talibanization of our social and political realities, and is indeed a necessary prelude to it. Ghassan, I did not meant to say that blogger and blog are completely different entities, but that they cannot be considered as completely identical. The bloggers are far more complex creatures and cannot be reduced to their blogs in a complete and perfect sense. Their personas and their interests are often too varied and numerous to allow for that. Perhaps, this is why many, like me for instance, have more than one blog or site, not to mention their non-virtual activities that they have to do, both out of passion as well and to make a living. Blogging does not pay as you know, nor does it change regimes, albeit it can contribute to that. This said, one of the hazards of blogging is that sometimes one tends to wax too philosophical for the point he is trying to make, and, as such, tends to obscure the original point. What I was trying to say to Amr is that while Tony sounds too obnoxious on his blog, he is actually a pretty personable guy when you meet him. So, Mr. Tony, see what fallacies and inaccuracies defending you is landing me into?

  9. Amr, Having just read your Ajami quotes, I can only say this is indeed exactly the kind of statements that obscure Ajami’s work as an academic, where he, in fact, excels. I don’t know why he does that. I mean, we all have a feeling of disgust sometimes, born out of frustration, towards our culture and our people, but in these statements Fouad does tend to take matters to a certain extreme whose main causes can only be found in his personal experiences as an Arab, I guess.Good luck in your new ventures, and Ayman’s blog is really cool, and Across Syria has indeed matured a lot over the last few months and does provide interesting glimpses into Syria’s soul far from the politics of it all. Too bad you are leaving it, but I trust your talented colleagues will carry on the legacy. Do stay in touch.

  10. Dear Ammar,Thank you for you comments. I think I will have to leave my future ambassador job to you. Ajami, academic or not, enriching the debate or not, that is not the point, hawkish “Arab scholars” now speak for us, where in fact they don’t.These people make a living out of briefing Washington D.C. on how to most effectively hurt the Arabs and their legitimate cause and aspiration of freedom and democracy.For Ajami, Arabs are sunnis, Shiites, etc…they are whatever Israel and the US administration wants them to be.Now as far as Tony, well, I don’t care for hotheaded blog, in fact that is not the issue. I wish for him to rot in hell with his boss Daniel Pipes and his pro-Israel, Campus watch, and the defense of democracies bullshit organizationsIt is a shame that he take on the job of briefing on Syrian prisoners of conscious while he hates Arabs (Syrians are Arabs) and lives in some an imaginary Byzantine land in a world where Anatolia in now called Turkey. Being anti-theocracies and anti-dictatorships should not and will not blind us from what’s right and what’s wrong.The next big thing is that we are going to do the anti-campus watch and will discredit these self haters, so the world would now that they don’t speak for us.

  11. Dear Amr, The good thing about this country is that it affords you a fair opportunity to stand up for what you believe in. So, by all means, do so, and if you believe that some people, no matter how high or low, smart or dumb, scholarly or not, are hurting your cause and are indeed misrepresenting you, shout out in defiance and get organized and get your voice heard. After all, we are some homogenous entity out there, we are a very diverse people with diverse opinions and takes on every conceivable subject, and the more active we are on all fronts, and regardless of all the disagreements that we might have, we will end up making a difference. And frankly, if we cannot make a difference in this country, we cannot make a difference anywhere. So, go for it, Amr, and good luck.

  12. I(we)will…And as they hit below the belt we will too (of course in accordance to the norms of democracy that we all very much respect and admire)These are enemies PERIOD. all sho? academia ?!! Academia my ass. they don’t even qualify for prostitutes in my book. which FYI is a very diverese book.Thank you Alex for your support.

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