Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dr. Fawwaz Traboulsi: The Two Independences: Questions of History and its Lessons

MFL notes: While thinking of where to start with chaotic mess Lebanon currently is. I found this remarkable article and chose it because it gave a Marxist analysis of the situation of Lebanon, specially after the assassination of Pierre Gemayel. As always, the veteran ever-struggling Marxist, Dr. Fawwaz Traboulsi, is always providing a detailed analysis of the situation regarding the Proletariat inside Lebanon. This article tends to tackle the problem of Lebanon's bourgeoisie in relations to greed and external relations. It took me 3 hours to translate it, but I felt I have to translate this article and place it on my blog. I am sure the readers will enjoy this analysis. It is taken from here.

“The Tribes whose members shed the blood of each other due to sectarian differences deserve to submit to rule of a foreign nation on order to protect a faction from the bloodshed of the others.” (Youssif Baik Karam to Prince Abdul Qaddir, the Algerian, 1867).

Whoever watches the leaders of the sects giving speeches on the topic independence cannot help but smile even though such a smile is self-pity, on the “selves” who believe those leaders and elect them.

It is as if there is no connection to be mentioned between Independence - or in other words its independence – and the sectarian system which generates the most prominent elements for follow-ship in Lebanese life.

Ever since Yousif Baik Karam discovered the golden rule on the relationship of sects and external following, we have been exercising this disgusting sport, whereby each sect requests aid from the outside when aware of a potential danger, to block a marginalizing attempt, or simply to preserve its victorious location in power/wealth. It Is always the phenomenon of requesting help from the outside on the expense of internal dialogues or providing concessions to the internal opponents. This tends to ignite civil clashes/wars which in their own way become occasions for opportunities of more foreign interventions.

We have to admit also that the Lebanese have sought for the request of aid, or weaponry, and occasionally both together in order to impose themselves on the political (and economic as well as social) system which is isolated and alienating. This system refutes to distinguish the essence of belonging, rights, and what ought to be. We can even say that the Political and Social promotion of the larger sections of the Lebanese groups is accomplished when this promotion imposes itself through violence and the quest of help from the outside on the monopolists of power and money. Hence, we can look at the bloody crisis of 1958 as it was means whereby the Sunni (and Durzi to some extent) elites expressed themselves in terms of participation in political life. This perspective can be used also on the latest civil war (1975-1990) which was the means which the Shiite elites arrived into participating and accomplished change of balance between the Muslims and Christians in positions of political authority.

From the other hand, not once the Lebanese independence was isolated from a trio network which Lebanon lives through since the colonial partition of the year 1920. On the historical corners, two concerned regional parties reach a certain understanding, usually through mediating from an international third party. This reflects as compromise on the Lebanese, or vice versa, completes the elements of compromise internally. This brings a regional agreement and an international arrangement to complete and implement it. In 1943, there was an agreement between Nahhas Basha’s Egypt and Britain which sought to kick out France from the colonial equation in the region, and the Syrian National Movement which gave priority for the independence of the two countries (MFL: Syria – Lebanon) rather the unity between them. In this context, there was a settlement between Independent Lebanon and Independent Syria as well as between Bishara al-Khoury and Riyad el –Solh (MFL note: el-Khoury represented the Maronites in Specific & Christians in General, el-Solh represented the Muslims in General & the Sunnis in Specific) which such an agreement became known as the “National Pact”. Likewise in 1958, the compromise was between the United States and the United Arab Republic (Egypt & Syria) which ended the civil war and chose the head of the army Fouad Chehab president of Lebanon. This compromise also renewed the Lebanese identity and the National Pact at the same time. It is only when the means of compromise are disabled between the regional and international parties, just as was the case in 1973 war, the internal parties fail to reach a compromise among each other. This is case because the internal leaders remained on relying on the outside to serve their affairs and problems or for speculating that this team or that’s external sponsor is heading towards victory in the present forces on an regional or international scale. Hence, this scenario creates an explosion.

I will not stop a lot on the comparisons of the Lebanese independences which all can be described as “absolute.” In a world where the Russian Union lived, with all its nuclear shields, economic wealth, and its industrial – scientific - labor energies, has been struggling to achieve independence in the face of Imperialist America, there were in Lebanon who did not want absolute independence as an alternative. This leads to an economy (MFL notes: in Lebanon), which relies on exported labor and the reliance on all sorts of imports, a nation buried with debts, and sects that remain mortgaging themselves to the outside forces. This of course does not mean to forget about the size of the country or the number of its population (these two points are not limited to capability or value).

But, let us return to the question of independence by looking on the regional and international status.

Washington is receiving blows in a stormy sea manner through its bloody invasion of Iraq, and is passing through a stage of changing its foreign policies towards the region, specially after the latest electoral defeat of the Republicans. Washington is standing on alternatives that are open to dead ends and are ranging from the drums of war against the Iranian nuclear facilities and play a special role in Iraq (that will facilitate the withdrawal of the US forces from trouble). From the other side, there is a complex American – Syrian dance which fluctuates between encouraging Syria to play a “positive” role in Iraq and accusing Syria with Terrorism and waving in its face the International Tribunal.

Doesn’t this call for the declaration of truce between the various Lebanese teams as an alternative to escalations and illusions of victories?

In a situation that has all these mixtures, which were unseen by the region for some years, and it is expected to last (even for some time), shouldn’t this small dear wounded nation to sail carefully between these colliding waves? Isn’t it the gravest error of the Lebanese players to imagine that there are two camps (in Lebanon), which are: American – Israeli and Syrian – Iranian, and it is obligatory to join this camp or that while all they can control are their internal situation? Unless we are prone to believe that alienating problems, at the 14th block, is the declaration of bankruptcy from imagining any solution to solve this country’s problems.

Till now, we lost twice the battle for independence, or to be exact, we lost two battles for independence in the same year (and still going). The leaders of the 2005 independence against “Syrian Presence” have forgotten there is an Israeli enemy and didn’t notice that it reflects the strength of the United States empire after 9/11. As for the leaders of the May 2000 independence and July 2006 from resisting the Israeli aggression and liberation, did not succeed in convincing the rest of the Lebanese about their independence from Syria in their context of “friendship”. The invitation towards a national unity government has been deactivated by both teams because there are dictations of the by the external sponsor towards the other team. It is as if confirming that the external dictations are a destined fate on Lebanese politics while the Lebanese politicians “have their bodies made of diamonds” can’t accept the dictations of this team or that.

Failure in both cases is the discovery that the independence is “assembled”, nothing more.

I would love to see the martyrdom of Pierre Gemayel due to this dual inability to discover the need for such assembled independence.

“When nations change, preserve your head.”

This is not a wise proverb reflecting a small harsh wounded country; it is the peak of wisdom.

Lebanon couldn’t preserve the head of Pierre Gemayel, will the martyrdom of Pierre Gemayel assist in preserveing Lebanon’s head?

Fawwaz Traboulsi

1 comment:

naj said...

Great post!
Makes me even more vigilant about the American's "partition-further" project in Iraq and in Iran. In Iran, a strong central government (and yes strong means not so very wishy-washily democratic as we are used to in the west) and a strong national and cultural identity has prevented it, so far. But Americans are pushing in the west, the north and the south east. Of course, they (traditionally the Russians and the British) have been pushing for over a century, but to no avail. And we do not intend to let them succeed this time either.
Unification and solidarity is the only way out.