If you take a look at the muscle show-down, we have what we read in 1984 called Thought Control which is an integral part of Sectarianism. In what sense I mean integral? In a sense that thought control plays a major role in isolating the Proletariat according to sects, and has the "Sect Defender" representing them. The Sect Defenders, of course, do not carry swords or Katyoshas when it comes to Lebanese Politics since it involves profit, domination, or following elsewhere bourgeoisie, rather they carry the nice business deal.
The first to analyze is the Lebanese Television and the Media. Each Television got its own upper bourgeoisie figures that dominates the Media or Television. For example, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party tends to buy al-Diyyar while Sunnis tend to buy the Future Newspaper. I mentioned the SSNP because it is supposed to be a secular party (at least inside Lebanon and Syria borders) but becomes a sect as the ideology moves from father/mother to son/daughter.
The Media plays a major role in isolating the Sects and controlling their ideas. For example, whenever the two reactionary camps of 14th and 8th of March go into demonstrations, one over-inflates and while the other under-mines the numbers. If you take a look at Annahar or Daily Star newspapers, you will notice that they mentioned few hundred thoughts of demonstrators while the TV clearly reflects over one million demonstrators hitting the streets, while from the other side they went towards the moon.
For the past month, I have been doing an indirect survey on the Lebanese activists, simple citizens, and neighborhoods. Now I know it is not 100% academic, but at least it gave me the results I was seeking. People stick to “allied” channels. This means that the Pro-8th and 14th of March leave in what their leaders or their allies hit them. Actually, couple of Lebanese Forces I know told me they do not watch Future because it is too “Sunni”, while Free Patriotic Movement members expressed that al-Manar is too Shiite. The Proletariat is under control of their “defenders of the Sect”.
Yesterday’s demonstration and the smaller funeral demonstration were Sectarianism in display per excellence. Where I was sitting and watching the demonstration, there were a mixture of revolutionary socialists, communists, and anarchists denouncing the overall Lebanese situation as disastrous while each left-wing school was saying that “We have a long long road to accomplish our goals.” From the other side, there were the softies, who claim leftist supporting, were arguing that the situation is correct, either supporting Seniora government (in case of the Democratic Leftist Movement) or vice versa: the Aoun – Nasrallah alliance.
Yesterday and the day before proved that the “National” heroes are Sectarian and publicly admitting they are using Sectarianism for Political Causes. Indeed, the situation is drastic as ever. Arch-Patriarch Maronite symbol Nasrallah Sfeir, received the wives of Lebanese who lost their children or husbands/relatives went up to Sfeir to support the Seniora government, while the wife of Bashir Gemayel and the Mother of Pierre Gemayel were both using the term “that no good Christian should go down to the streets.” Sfeir gave them their blessings, the highest Maronite religious figure, while S. Frangieh (whose party participated extensively in yesterday’s demonstration and continues today) said that 14th of March lacked anymore Men and sent their women (sexist of you ask me) while on the other hand over charged sectarianism when he said that the Arch-Patriarch was excited towards those women in black.
Prime Minister Seniora invited the “Mufti of the Republic” (sadly we have such titles), who is the highest Sunni reference to go to the Governmental Palace (facing the location of the large demonstration) to do a prayer over there, to again support Seniora government and gain the support of the Sunnis in Lebanon and the Gulf nations. A religious figure entered the Governmental palace to intervene in politics.
Several FPM members answered Sfeir with a logo “We are Christians and support the National Unity Government.” Now, both camps’ Christian sides are debating who is more Christian than the other.
I will not tackle the Shiite aspect as the majority of the Shiites do not recognize any authority except that of Nasrallah’s. Actually when the Governmental Palace yesterday was under siege, the security forces were answered with such a sectarian claim. Hassan Nasrallah might be one a heck of a politician, and probably his party is one a heck of Class A guerrilla warfare disciples, but again Nasrallah is not only a sect leader, but rather also a Cleric. He is also head of the Shora Council (Council of seven that heads over Hezbollah) and has a reference towards the highest Shiite representative, who currently is Khaman’i (the current Wali-el Faqih). Probably the bulk of this demonstration is Nasrallah since, through his funding from mostly Iran, established the highest welfare system/network for his Sect followers since the Government is too busy to focus on the poor people of the South. This has been historically the situation. Augustus Norton sites that while the South lacked any hospitals, schools, and extensively several locations without even roads, the government allocated only 0.7% to the South (that is why at a one time the bulk of the South was Communist during the 60s and early 70s). When LBC’s political satire show “Basmat Watan” (an oxymoron that has twin meanings, which can either mean in Arabic: Nation’s Smiles or But the Country is Dead) made fun of Nasrallah, hundreds of thousands hit the street and headed towards Monot St., which is a center for people of all Sects to party but also got a Christian Symbol. Nobody was able to stop this angry crowd till a speaker on a car broadcasting Nasrallah’s words telling them to go home and he was not insulted.
All of this and I didn’t mention of course Walid Junblatt’s monopoly over the majority of the Durzi Sect under a banner of “Progressive Socialist Party” which has no relations (sadly) to Socialism.
Aoun yesterday opened a speech towards a crowd size that he always dreamt of addressing with the same Presidential speeches he used to give from the Presidential Baabda palace: “O people of glorious Lebanon…”, and began attacking the opposing camp. In any case, he started to speak about how the President has to be always a Maronite, while the Prime Minister and Chairman of the Parliament have to be respectively Sunni and Shiite. For this, I thought at least Aoun finally spoke something progressive such as demolishing the Sectarian system, but ended up with the sentence: “To take out this Sunni leader and replace it with another Sunni leader to represent the whole Lebanon” (contradictory no?). Aoun, like all Sect leaders, also stressed on the notion of “Ta’ayosh el Moushtarak” which means “shared living”. This notion indicates as if different tribes are sharing a common land, and sadly in this situation (as all leaders of both reactionary camps) all use such a terminology. The term clearly celebrates Sectarianism and the need for it to remain (or else all of these clowns would be in the long-run out of the picture if we had a path called Civil Marriage).
Another Sectarian motion appeared was in New TV’s reporters. Even though I find it a very healthy step to see ladies in skirts dancing with ladies in veils (mixture of Christian and believers of Shiite), but the camping zones were separate. The Marada and Free Patriotic Movement’s camps were parked one side of the location, while AMAL and Hezbollah were sleeping over the other side. New TV also pictured some of Hezbollah and AMAL supporters around 1:30 in the morning dancing in the streets, yelling Ali Ali Ali (the highest symbol of the Shiite Sect).
It should be interesting though that Syria's official channel was broadcasting the entire demonstration yesterday, including of its' ex-archenemy Aoun's speech. I wonder why? (interesting in a sarcastic manner)
The demonstration was overall well organized, and that is something Hezbollah learns to do well (in a very impressive manner). Meanwhile, the siege on the governmental palace was something else. I found it very ironic and a brilliant message to demonstrate in the face of the Governmental Palace while the 14th of March figures were forced to look and hear the million demonstrators chanting “Seniora” out, but from the other side, the siege was not necessarily since it encouraged more Sectarianism. Seniora again gambled on the International Support while Berri as always played on two ropes that “I agree with the Dialogue” while his supporters were demonstrating against it. (Not the dialogue among the business men were effective). Yet, ironically, it took Hezbollah’s organized Mass demonstration (wearing white hats) to break the siege and stood between the Security Forces and the Demonstrators.
In the end, this is a clear letter to Bush from both camps, that Lebanon is 100% democratic (in the Post Syrian Mandate) as long as the leaders themselves are being democratic. In my case, I tend to stick to the notion of Marx’s identification of Capitalist Democracy whose theme is that the Proletariat every certain time intervals are fooled to vote for their own oppressors. Indeed, the situation of Sectarianism is increasing, and this is another display of Class Struggle whereby the bourgeoisie, through capital, are maintaining Sectarianism to win over their sects then form alliances against each other. The notion clean government by the 8th of March camp does not stand since they are equally as dirty as the others in governmental issues and bureaucratic corrupted decisions. Meanwhile, the Proletariat are drifting further and further under Nationalistic logos each Sect leader defines it the way he or she wants.