Sunday, April 29, 2007

Chaos and bloody Kidnapping!

Once, the most hated figure in my dictionary,Stalin, said: "A single Death is a Tragedy, a million death is a statistic"...

First, we had political figures getting assassinated, and we were shocked the first time. Then the assassinations followed, each assassinated shocked people in a less tense degree, except for the ones concerned (George Hawwi: LCP, Pierre Gemayel: Lebanese Forces and Phalange).

Then we have death, and death as people living in Lebanon has seen a lot of it. A lot still have shadows of the civil war dwelling in their nightmares. A lot butchered in the Civil War, and almost everyone lost a neighbor, a relative, or witnessed someone getting killed there. In my building alone, four people were kidnapped, with one dead. When the poor two Ziads were kidnapped and killed in a cold blooded way, the whole terror of kidnappings we experienced during the civil war, came back to haunt me and my family. More interestingly, seems the whole Lebanese are worried, either from random kidnappings or revenge retaliations.

Then of course, we have the memories of the clashes with the Israelis. The Israelis always claim to fight Hezbollah, but end up bombing 80% of Lebanon, and no one can ever forget the 1300 victims, and 5000 wounded. Yet, the death of the two Ziads (with one who is only 12 years old) shock the very foundations of Lebanese social life. The barrier of kidnapping and killing was revived, depsite the fact if the kidnappings were "vengeance kidnappings" or not, the terror was there, and two kids paid for it (just as one died in the Arab University paid for it, accused in theory to be affiliated with the Shamass clan). No evidence who did it, some people say it is vengeance, others say a "third party is stirring trouble". Few camp supporters of both sides think it is from their own group who did that (almost rare).

If what happened was political, then we are heading to a more chaotic bloody chapter in the history of Lebanon. Already Civilians in Ain-Alaq paid the price for the political turmoil the nation is going through because of the greed of 14th of March and the Opposition coalition. The slaughter of the two Ziads already reflected how tense the atmosphere is: Sheikh Qabalan and Sheikh Fadlallah (the top two Shiite clerics) were among the first to denounce it. During the funeral ceremonies, even Walid Junblatt was giving a calming speech to break the intensity of the situation. Walid Junblatt more than once almost gave a "war speech".

Someone said it is the Qa'eda, but that is too weak as a theory applied to practice, for similar reasons. Al-Qa'eda and Hezbollah are arch-enemies. When the US army killed al-Zarqawi, Hezbollah were giving away presents in celebrations. The Hezbollah networks and their welfare system would block al-Qa'eda to build massive networks. Second, Lebanon is too small to allow al-Qaeda to be active in Lebanon. There has been one of the refugee camps that is supposed to have some Qa'eda elements, but it is under siege. Again, very few (if not a unique case) would support Qa'eda in Lebanon. They surely can't rival on Hezbollah's network (despite the fact it is Shiite in nature), not to forget the Muslim Brotherhood have good networks, with proper fundings (that cover the Sunni side).

These are sad times for Lebanon... but again we are living a temprarily shock phase, till things would be calm for another decade or two. As always, no politician is tackling the core problem of Lebanon, rather they are scape-goating the "other" and their foreign clients.

The Proletariat are paying for the greed of their rulers, and still hail them as their rulers, despite the fact they are suffering due their presence.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Day in Lebanese Politics

(Written in Arabic National Dialogue, taken from Annahar)


So, as I said a lot, each faction highlights an epoch of history which serves their current political argument and scapegoats the other. It was very “nice” to remind the Lebanese how the Communists sacrificed a lot, and everybody had a butchery on the members of the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) and the Order For Communist Work (OCW), but he neglected to mention how he was part of the military link-up with the Israeli forces in 1982. The 1982 witnessed the siege of the PLO and the Left-Wing (along with the residents of West Beirut) whereby the grand Zionist butcher Sharon bombed the hell out of that area, of course, in order Bashir Gemayel would become President. I highlighted this fact to argue that none of the war criminals deserves to be outside prison. Moreover, Jaajaa didn’t notice that it was AMAL movement doing the real butchery on the LCP and OCW. Hezbollah warriors then targeted the members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Movement.

The Shallow President

Moreover, our illegitimate groundless President, Lahoud, participated in the Democracy Forum, hosted by the Qatari prince, problem is the Qataris (assumed to be 20% of the overall population) never really practiced real democracy, as the al-Thani dynasty has to have shareholders in everything, and of course, in the end, it is the Prince Hamad bin Khalifa who decides everything. All those processes of introducing democracy to the nation, in fact are meaningless, just to say “Qatar is modern”. Despite the fact females can wear anything they want over there; the local Qataris are forced to wear their veil.

Rafi Madayan

The most interesting feature yesterday was Rafi Madayan when he appeared on NBN in the morning/noon. The points he tackled were several and most intriguing, specially towards the end of the program, Hussam Hussam (the supposed Syrian masked witness for the Tribunal) talked with him via the phone live. Rafi’s points were interesting, and I was surprised that the interview didn’t appear in the newspapers, these were the following points (based on what I remember):

1) 14th of March was a movement that was supposed to kick out the Baathi Syrian presence in Lebanon. Now 14th of March are moving Lebanon from the Syrian Mandate to the US mandate. (although I still insist the day 14th of March was spontaneous mostly).

2) Rafi argued that 14th of March wasn’t supposed to have an economical platform. He finds it amusing that during the Doha round in 2002 all the 3rd World Nations were opposing privatization, while Lebanon wants to adopt privatization as a means of reform.

3) Rafi discussed the Presidential Candidate of 14th of March, and how almost every 6 months a new candidate replaces the older one. He argued that last he followed up, it was Ghattas Khoury, which was the Future (Harriri Family)’s own candidate. Then it became Nasseeb Lahoud, who made a powerful candidate. The problem was that King Abdullah himself wanted him nominated. This burnt Nassib Lahoud, and Madayan suspects that the Harriris did that on purpose in order to push for Ghattas Khoury again.

4) Rafi continued in his critique on the presidential chair, and argued that the problem of 14th of March, that all the Maronites within that coalition are candidates to the presidency.

5) Rafi talked about a potential transition period, whereby sadly there will be two governments, which will make this division among the Lebanese constitutionally legal. Aoun would probably head one of the two governments. This transition is similar to the forging of the Taef Accord.

6) 14th of March failed to oust President Lahoud because they became weak to oust him (nevertheless strong to face the opposition’s demonstrations).

7) Regarding his father’s assassination (George Hawwi), he was very critical. First, he complained how the Security Forces are leaking their find-outs to the media when it comes to Syria. Second, he begins to speculate that others had a hand in it because no way an assassination of such gigantic size (Harriri’s) without the US have an idea about it. Third, he argued that the US satellite archives can display everything (simiar to Google earth). Fourth, the circumstances that George Hawwi was assassinated was different than Harriri’s, in a sense, George Hawwi was on strong relations with all parties, including Hezbollah, and his campaign was not 14th of March, rather dialogue between the Lebanese, and dialogue between Lebanon and Syria. Fifth, the appearance of the Syrian Hussam Hussam was not sent by the Syrians, rather by the Lebanese Information Bureau, which made him suspect that the Lebanese on purpose sent him on that fateful day (Hawwi’s death) to appear in the Media and escalate things against Syria. To Madayan there are more people involved than one party. (We are not sure if 14th of March though if they gave him a proper place, he would have escalated). Nevertheless the points he mentioned are rather interesting.

8) There are plenty of interesting points, but I can’t seem to remember them, but it ended that Rafi’s lawyers will meet with Hussam Hussam to attain evidence that Hussam was being a tool or not and by which side.


Another interesting idea we see about how Hezbollah are issuing orders on who to run for elections, and who doesn’t. The issue is very intriguing. Qassem would say that if the President was not 2/3 elected by the Parliament, then the new president will be persecuted as a traitor. Fine, but that was the case with Lahoud, obviously when you see all the mobilization taking place against the President, it clearly shows that more than 1/3 oppose Lahoud.

Furthermore, Nasrallah’s allegiance is towards the Wali-el-Faqih, who currently is Ayatollah Khamenei. Khamenei probably has no clue what democracy is all about. For this, we will take a look at the Presidential electoral system in Iran. The Wali, ie the Supreme Leader of the Revolution, and his guardian council bar out nominees that run for elections if they turn out not to be Muslim enough, and no woman was allowed to run. The Guardian Council also checks on all Parliamentary decisions if it is according to the Sharia’a or not. Khatami was so crippled to the extent that his block passed a bill in the parliament against the hard-liners which said that the Guardian Council has no saying in the people’s decisions, only to be rejected by the Council and followed by arrests and demonstrations from the pro-Khamenei hooligans (al-Ansar-e Hezbollah: different than Hezbollah over here). The Supreme Leader is also the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah’s Shora Council. May be, Qassem should check with Khamenei why his party’s Supreme Leader is not democratic.

Civil War and History: What Ought to Be Done

Last but not least, I would like to tackle what Antoine Zahra said about opening investigations of the Civil war till 1975. I would like to say why the politicians are imposing a bad case of amnesia on the Lebanese whereby only this part or that part of the history is highlighted. Either the whole history is open, because we have the right to know (to borrow Saatchi & Saatchi’s logos) what happened then. Despite the academic research of a lot of people, and the opening of the US archives of the early war years, there are more to be known, we need to know the “what happened”, “how it happened”, and the “why it happened” with all the details. It is already shameful to see people like Aoun or Junblatt not being put on Trial, but it is more disgraceful not to know every single detail of what has happened during the war. All the parties or personnel who participated in the history have those dark spots. For example, I wouldn’t mind hearing Adwan yelling loud and clear he was the first Lebanese to contact the Israelis, Joseph Abu Khalil (Bashir and Pierre Gemayel’s convoy to Israel) had the guts to spill out everything. I wouldn’t mind seeing Amin Gemayel talking about the clashes with his brother. I wouldn’t mind hearing Berri how he opened fronts from 1984 to 1989 almost on all present parties (Palestinians – Junblatt’s Socialists – Communists – the rest)…and what his party (in fact all parties including the LCP) did.

There is a famous song that goes: “Welcome to the Jungle”. Anyone else fed up from Lebanese politics ?


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Friday: Hot Religious Activism

Sunni Grand Mufti Qabbani, who actually did a prayer ceremony in the Governmental Palace, said: "If political strife ignites today, it will only take a few months to burn the whole country, not 16 years," Qabbani added, in reference to the Civil War." (link)

I really do not think it will take months to burn the whole country, it will take probably a week. The Arab University clashes reflected how in one day a whole country can burn in hell. With a tiny unknown sniper, riots spread through out the country, while minorities (in the region they are in) felt threatened either for political affiliations, or simply belonging to a wrong threat. AMAL and PSP did informal check-points, and Lebanon was in a state of chaos. It reflects how the party oriented members (can we replace the term party members with Militias members yet?) Each camp's (government/opposition) has charged its own audience to enter heavy clashes with the other. The pace the riots broke due to the AU showed how fast Lebanon can burn. Actually, this time we do not have cantons (except for AMAL-Hezbollah locations and the PSP's Druze location, after both kicking out the minorities within their heartlands). Other than that, we will have utmost chaos whereby each street would be dominated by a party (similar to West Beirut after 1984). This of course, in case a civil war breaks out, but "luckily" for us, none want it, even though the religious leaders are intervening in politics, or the politicians hijacked the religious sect spokesmen for personal or mutual symbiosis reasons.

Sheikh Fadlallah accused how the Lebanese love foreign intervention, but contradicted himself without refering to his own camp. To be objective though, Fadlallah is not an advocate of Wilayat el Faqih which Hezbollah follow in Lebanon. Sensitivities between Iran and Fadlallah appeared when Khatami visited Lebanon but did not visit Sheikh Fadlallah.

It took Adwan from Bkirky to say that Jaajaa would make a perfect candidate due to "not allow Lebanon to be used by Syria and Iran to obtain better negotiating deal", ok, the question is, why from Bkirky? Better yet, why allowing all those religious representatives speak about Lebanese politics, it is none of their business. Religion stays at home between the individual and his/her God. Don't the supporters of this party and that party (and I exclude no one) feel weird that they are muscles for their leaders' interest? Whatever happened to civil law that they all preach (including Hezbollah, despite the fact their leadership is a Shora Council). What about all those war criminals from the civil war? Suddenly we want to believe they all love life (latchi lal tnain).

Then somebody tells me "yes but we are Lebanese, we believe in Freedom of Expression", hell yeah (not!), then why I prefer to keep my identity secret if I didn't get some juicy threatening emails from time to time, and worry that my family get involved in this turmoil (marhaba freedom of expression). Due to this "freedom of expression", I guess one day I will stop blogging myself. Of course, should I be a religious affiliated person ala clanship logic with allegiance to a sect leader to say what I want? What disturbs me most is that I see more neutral people beginning to take sides among the two, and explain it: that is the only logical route! Now is it really the only logical route? Personally, nothing is logical... those who take sides are participating in annhilating Lebanon to kingdom come. So somebody would say, this is reality of the situation, I say wrong again, those who accept such a reality contribute to sustain it. The Bolesheviks were a persecuted minority refuting to step down from their goals till they declared their revolution... ponder about that for a while.

Speaking of logic, isn't strange to see for the past four years the "supporters" loving other "supporters" only when their leaders love each other. If someone tells me well yes, but this party has resistence as a target or that party has freedom as a target, I say that is over-inflation, if it is contributing to daily re-ignite Sectarianism... shoo hal khabsa we are living in, what do you think? (and please do not look what this leader or that leader said to copy paste an answer). Resistence, as its official term, was launched on secular basis, in the name of freedom, by the Resistence front, which had the Lebanese Communist Party, Order For Communist Work, and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (then they were different than now, and if you read my Lebanese Left Investigation, you will understand that even the "then" I had serious issues.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Regarding Virginia Tec. Tragedy

Probably whatever happened in Virginia Tech reminds us of a good documentary called Bowling for Columbine by Michel Moore. I highly recommend the documentary to be seen since it is more relevant than ever.


Pic's link

Hamra Street

Who would believe that Hamra St during the crowded day and peaceful night are the same? I usually need two Panadol tablets to walk from beginning to the end of Hamra St during the day, but love it during the night.

The Arab League: Waste of Time

Well, what to expect from the nations that historically sold out not only on the Middle East to secure their own interests, but also on their own people such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia?

Basically, the Arab leaders got nothing to hope for except safeguard themselves from Iran’s political invasion. Saudi Arabia and Egypt claim they historically sacrificed a lot, but history remembers them as ruining the 1936-1939 demonstration – rebellion for the Palestinians (along other factors of course).

Moreover, Saudi Arabia meddled for a long time and used Lebanon as its front against others. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Saudi Arabia was involved on fighting Nasserite (reactionary Arab Nationalism) by supporting Christian Militias. In the 1970s, like almost all Arab nations, they contradicted themselves. They were the primary financers to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) till the Arab Nations overall indorsed the PLO after the 1967 Arab defeat. More often, the Saudis were always a pawn for the US administration to broker a deal that goes for their interests, such as Riyadh’s, which isolated Kamal Junblatt. Philip Habib also relied on the Saudis to muscle the Syrians into accepting short run goals. More recently, on LBC with Marcel Ghanem, Bolton said that several Arab leaders played a role in encouraging Israel to bomb Hezbollah (which of course Israel bombed almost everything but Hezbollah). If we follow the process of elimination, Arab leaders directly involved with the Lebanese Affair are not that many: Jordan – Egypt – Saudi Arabia (in terms of having welfare of seeing Hezbollah crushed). Jordan is no longer a political player, so we limit everything to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The latest to be witnessed by the Saudi interference in Lebanese Affairs (in parallel to the Iranian) is when the Lebanese opposition announced their civil disobedience which involved closing down routes. It is ironic that Qassem and Hajj Hassan argued that such form of escalations will last days and weeks till the Seniora government is given the boot, suddenly in the evening, we see the Grand Mufti of the Sunnis, Qabbani, announcing the end of the demonstration, after al-Bandar visited Iran towards the evening.

Now of course, we can thank the Saudis, along with ALL the Arab leaders for sending their foreign ministers during the July War to meet with Lebanon’s Prime Minister in Down Town (under US protection), while most of Lebanon was burning in hell. The funniest part is on a debate featuring Fawaz Traboulsi against a Saudi spokesman, who was yelling that he condemns adventures and undemocratic decisions (referring to Hezbollah’s solo operation) but he was speechless when Traboulsi bombarded him with questions such as “What does the Saudis know about Democracy?” or “When last time the people were represented”…etc. It has to be noted that Saudi failure to manage their own affairs brought extremists like Bin Laden, not to forget how oppressive the regime is towards their women.

The Egyptians are no better case. The term “US satellite” shines loud and clear from Moubarak’s regime. The man didn’t take any decisions towards the Israeli aggression on the Lebanese, and worse, he suppressed all forms of demonstrations that were going towards Lebanon. Historically, Egypt played a role in triggering the 1958 confrontations, took temporarily a piece of Palestine (following King Abdullah’s footsteps in 1948), and of course, and triggered the worst agreement which will lead Lebanon to a civil war in 1975 (the Cairo Agreement of 1969). I will not discuss how Egypt is still abusing the Arab League for its own affairs, only to have its hegemony broken by Saudi Arabia and recently Qatar. They opened the 1973 war, like the Syrians, in order to attain bargaining hands (mainly to restore the Sinaa Zone). Moreover, they negotiated with the Israelis while promising the PLO leaders to bring forth their demands, which of course ended up neglected and Sadat as disappointed to see the PLO and the Syrians joining hands in a rejectionist front. There is no need how to mention how Egypt’s dictatorship system brought forth the brotherhood, and still pushes people to endorse the Brotherhood’s logos as an alternative to Moubarak’s.

Both nations do nothing lately but oppress their own people and serve the US foreign policy. It should be interesting how the Saudis deny any contacts with the Israelis while Olmert said there is a Quadro – Committee with the Saudis in it, establishing contacts with it. The funnier part Levni going to Qatar even though Qatar does not recognize Israel, while Egypt long ago (ever since Sadat’s disengagement plan started officially in 1974) recognized Israel.

The Peace Initiative of course will never be implemented by Israel unless if all Arab States agree to turn their eyes towards the other end, ie away from the Palestinians. The Saudi dynasty and the Moubarak regime (soon to become a dynasty when Moubarak’s son takes over as a “democratic” president) wouldn’t have lasted that long without US support. The whole Peace Initiative is a dead end, specially when the Saudis try to refer to “No Peace and Normalization with Israel till every invaded Arab land is returned to its owners” (of course starting probably after 1948), but to show their people “they are working for Lebanon. Not till this very day we have seen anything tangible coming out of the Arab League. Just a forum place to meet up and the leaders would say: “We hope” and “We wish for this to happen…”, not to forget “in solidarity we really pray….”

I still wonder how people are optimistic, especially in Lebanon, between Saudi Arabia/USA and Syria/Iran, wow we are so lucky and loved. Not to forget any day we may see Israeli Planes hovering our heads again and bombing the heck out of Lebanon (a tiny sample of what the Palestinians are living through on daily basis). We sure are the center of attention everywhere in the world, aren’t we lucky?!

Recommended: Joe Sacco's Palestine

Well this book is not really a book, but worth dozens of books: Joe Sacco: Palestine. The Book is written in a comic form with the most remarkable language that tells the story of Sacco's adventure in Palestine, and what he saw. Edward Said wrote the introduction, and for anyone interested to see life in Palestine or Zionist illogical "logic", then I highly recommend this comic to be read. When a friend of mine recommended the book to me, I was rather taken by surprise, in terms of "what do you mean a Comic book", guess I was proven wrong.

It tackles different issues, issues that are so many to count, but I liked the idea of certain Palestinians argued that they can easily communicate with the Arab Jews but not with the European Jews (who in Palestine back in 1910s marketed their racial idea of Zionism) who broke up the harmony of all sects living togather in the "holy lands". The Book also provides in a very smooth manner the Palestinian/Israeli clashes from different perspectives.

Pic 1 taken from here
Pic 2 taken from here

Friday, April 13, 2007

Investigating the Lebanese Left (Part III): Opportunities and Threats

Check Part I and Part II

Opportunities and Threats

The most powerful tool to build a progressive platform which emancipates the proletariat despite race, gender, color, tendency, nationality, and religion is knowledge. Without knowledge, no radical movement will take place. The Democratic Leftist Movement (DLM) tried to do a last minute patch-work and ended up supporting any party in face of Syria.

The first step in understanding how to build a movement in Lebanon depends on a two-fold dimension in terms of knowledge. The first is understanding the history and its political/sociological/economical actors through out the history. In the end, a person would come to you and say: “why do I need to understand what Presidents Helou or Shamoun did back in the 1950s and 1960s? I care about the present!!”

In a summary, the present is due to the result of the past. The whole current crisis is nothing but one pit-stop among several pit-stops, and more would come. The present is the result of the past. Whatever happens, from a Marxist historical point of view perspective, it can be analyzed in order to evaluate the present and even predict the future.

The second dimension understands the whole world in terms how it functions. As Zinoviev stressed on the notion (at the 2nd Congress of the Third International), the Capitalists got their own international, we need our own international to face theirs. Capitalism has been evolving, while class difference has been on the increase. This has been the case through out the world, and not only Lebanon (although it is funny how the DLMers think that class difference would shrink once Lebanon enters the WTO). The whole world is interrelated as what Immanuel Wallerstein would call “the grid” or our simpler definition: a Matrix. Each nod effects the other. For example, Mexico’s economy crumbled down in 1994, most of the countries received shock-waves as a result of this collapsed economy. Chavez won elections recently in Venezuela, it had its impact in the Middle East. Over 3.6 Trillion dollars rotate on daily basis, and the WTO refutes to integrate the Tobin Tax (taxation on Direct Foreign Investment) on the basis that this is intervention on the freedom of the market, which to them comes a priority over stable markets. Nevertheless, it is important to understand the global and local dynamics from a Marxist perspective in order to build a progressive revolutionary platform (unless the Anarchists want to say Anarchist, but I know even they rely on our methodology to criticize Capitalism).

This of course involves the knowledge of what each leftist school preaches. For me, for example, Social Democrats in the 21st century seized to be leftists as their entire economies are based on what Schroeder said in his final term as “hailing Blairism as a third way” which has nothing welfare oriented rather privatization and market liberation. For me I say I am a Socialist, because as comrade Serrati said at the Second Congress of the Third International (1920): “I say I am Socialist because there is no Socialism but Communism”, I agree, the rest have evolved to become Social Democrats (who afterwards evolved towards the Right-Wing”.

This leaves me with two schools who at least preserved their revolutionary aspects, the radical schools of Communism and Anarchism. A lot of reactionary trends distorted these two schools’ aims (despite my heavy disagreement), but the core essence is their aims. For me, Stalinism is not even within the leftist school, it is a form of distorted socialism merged with Nationalism, one-man-show program, and selling out the Proletariat for Party gains. Tony Cliff called it State Capitalism; Ted Grant called it simply reactionary. My primary focus would be on Marxism in facing Stalinism and some “ultra-revolutionaries” who think the left is about supporting Hezbollah or liberating Palestine.

Again, as I mentioned earlier (in Part I), no one has a clue what is Marxism but self-proclaim themselves as Marxists, and some call themselves leftists because they think secularism is a leftist ideology). In any case, the world itself shrank in size, just as competition forced capitalism in less than a century to make the world small (specially with the breakdown of the Soviet Union).

The Internet itself created a large universe and made the world smaller. A lot of us use the messenger for example to exchange information and experience with comrades from all over the world. We are blessed with the greatest archive to exist in the Marxist History. Actually even the Anarchists use the archive called: “Marxist Internet Archive” (MIA) (link: which includes all forms of information on Marxism and other thinkers, as well as historical analysis and much more diversified topics. The immense material of the website makes us fortunate in order to inherit their experiences and victories, their errors and defeats, and most importantly, we learn from them. The DLMers would say such information are irrelevant to the current situation, excuse me Mr and Ms DLM, how the heck you define yourselves as the left, if you have no clue whatsoever about what the left is really about. Another person, from the LCP, would come and say: “these material are fascinating and nice to know about, but that is it”, wrong again, how about trying to find out why their party crumbled down to ashes, and more importantly why they are Communists? Why uncountable numbers sacrificed their lives while singing proudly the International?

Communication between the different comrades over the world has always been present, but at a much slower pace. Furthermore, the revolution in mass media paved way to expose Marxism to more people than ever. Contacts between the active internationals, such as the Defense of Marxism, Committee for the Workers’ International, International Socialist Organization, and the International Socialist Tendency, have taken place. In fact, I established contacts with all of them. My advocates however are the Defense of Marxism, for they have been successful to spread in 3rd World nations such as Pakistan, and the heroics of Lal Khan and his fellow comrades. The CWI have been rather controversial during the July War, but they have been also active in Palestine and Israel, while Comrade Yossi in Israel has written one of the finest pieces in attacking Zionism and shedding light on the Zionists’ shameful racist history.

Yet, different problems rose while communicating between the Internationals and the 3rd World Countries. Some of them failed to understand the situation of the nations on domestic level. For example, the IST were trapped in a certain Cliffite framework despite the fact Tony Cliff himself at a one point was rebelling against all stagnant figures. The IST blindly were trapped in the anti-Imperialist perspective, and believe that the RESPECT coalition can take place elsewhere as simple as that. Allow me to be clear, Galloway’s famous interview with Sky News was fascinating because he did shed light to the situation we are living in, but he is no revolutionary as the Palestinian Jew Tony Cliff. We can’t just blindly raise our finger against any anti-imperialist maneuver against the US. Hezbollah are not a solution to Lebanon, specially for their Proletariat. Moreover, we will do wrong the Proletariat to simply support any feudal or sectarian feudal system for in the end, our goal is the emancipation of the Proletariat. Already all Internationals agree that al-Qa’eda are much worse as a regime than the United States administration, and will never qualify as an ally (thank heavens for that). The IST have some hard working members in Lebanon, and they are willing to get their hands dirty to achieve their goals, but again, they should avoid to fall into the fiasco of the Opposition/Government, for in the long-run our goal is to establish a new pillar of a Marxist Movement out of the ashes of the old. I had several disagreements with them, but at least they are much better grounded than the rest. Patience is virtue, and it is not necessarily at our life time establish a revolution, rather if we can pave way for the next generation, or even the next five generations, then that route should be followed. Europe and its circumstances can’t be exactly replicated. I should note that the affiliates with the IST in Lebanon coexisted a powerful relief network which hit rank 3 during the July War after the Red Cross and Karitas.

The CWI and ISO have established contacts with several Lebanese activists, and they too are well-grounded in the ideology. When discussing with an ex-member of the ISO, I was fascinated how similar we thought, sadly that was on the individual basis. The organizations have been in conflict for a while (and they in turn against the IST) for petty syndicate laws, and then worked on increasing the gaps in order to establish their own influential spheres. These too followed were affected up to a certain extent with the powerful character with Cliff, but they expanded their sphere on others as well. Most importantly, when we say we are Trotskyites, it does not mean we worship Lev Davidovich Bronstein aka Leon Trotsky, but we separate ourselves from the Stalinists and their reactionary movements. Some of the comrades in the previous three internationals fell in the error of transforming Trotsky as an icon. All three internationals should be aware not to follow a superior attitude of the West (usually undermining the Comrades intentionally/unintentionally capabilities or rush them to be active).

The most as I mentioned have been my favorites have been the Defense of Marxism. I established contacts with couple of members from North America by chance. Our logic have been parallel, and I could not have agreed more with any international. I just wish that all the internationals drop their petty clashes, and unify for the sake of the Proletariat, but sadly that can never happen. The Defense of Marxism have been utmost patient, stressing on establishing the clandestine nucleus in Lebanon, and no matter how many years it took, the clandestine nucleus should be formed and solid. It should be based on the sciences of Marxism, and all members should be ready to expand the sphere and be practical on grassroots level. No matter how many “comrades” of the DLM or LCP that tell me this is a waste of time, and real emancipation starts from above, I would reply that this is not the way of the revolutionary, this is the way of the reactionary reformists who would do nothing but sell out on their supporters. I seriously doubt that life in Tsarist Russia was better than Lebanon now, but with mass building via establishing secret debate circles in different locations, then spreading to different streets, after the clandestine was forged, they eventually became prepared till the Bolsheviks’ revolution was isolated, and treason rose from the inside under the bloody reign of Stalin. Patience was what needed. Lenin and Trotsky refuted to reconcile with any person who deviated one step away from Marxism, and eventually they both took that beliefs to their grave. Lebanon at least allows freedom of expression (unless a feudal/sectarian politician is targeted), and chances are much easier with the availability of internet, because the success of the clandestine depends highly on the success of the flow of the communication. If there is no flow of communication, no progressive movement can ever form, whether from a horizontal or vertical management perspective.

The Independent Leftist Movements did their impact for almost a decade within the leftist sphere in Lebanon, but as I mentioned them in Part I, they were meant to create space in the absence of radical parties, not someone stupid from the DLM telling me that I have to be 14th of March to join their glorious shrinking movement or an LCP telling me we have to support Hezbollah in order to oppose the CIA agents in the government. What is even sadder, almost none of the “comrades” know that Lenin was not only a revolutionist, but also one fascinating economist. These acclamations are the cowards’ path to either attain opportunities to become leaders, or to avoid the real path of hardship and pain of establishing the underground vanguard party which will REALLY seek a better life for the Proletariat. We, as “leftists”, who I define as the revolutionaries, need to establish activist space to be existent, currently, we lack that mechanism, while the different factions of the left (be that Communist or Anarchist) clashing with each other and among each other. There is a saying that is popular in Lebanon that goes: “Every six comrades gather up, they open a store” indicating to what extent the left is divided.

I must stress to the revolutionaries, in case any clandestine should begin, the deadliest enemies would be those who claim to be leftist. The LCP, ever stuck with the greed to be the axis of the Lebanese left, would fight to the skin any potential radical movement to be active in Lebanon (and I assume that is the case elsewhere) not to exclude the right-wingers DLM with their hypocritical logic that “either you are with us or you are a Syrian Baathi agent.”

A lot of proposals have been given regarding the unity of the left, but the problem is where do we begin and how do we begin? Are the Durzi sectarian Progressive Socialist Party of the feudal/Sectarian lord Walid Junblatt leftists? They lost whatever socialism they had when Lebanon crumbled into militia cantons after 1984, and eventually dissolved the Lebanese National Movement. Someone proposed that the SSNP – Ina’am Raad faction can be tagged leftist, since he aimed to transform the party from a Syrian Nationalist to radical socialist party (and tagged by several current SSNP a traitor)? Are those Arab Nationalists who attempt to revive Arab Nationalism which inspired the Stalinists in the 1960s leftists? What about the DLM, whose sole foundation was to construct a unified left but ended up as puppies to Sa’ad Harriri and Samir Jaajaa? What about the PFLP of George Habbash’s faction? We all know the PFLP-General Command ended up to be a Muslim based rather a Socialist based perspective? George Habbash’s faction was Stalinist, mixed partial Marxist revolutionary goals. This faction is highly controversial as Leila Khaled’s famous operations still win the hearts of the plenty in the Arab World (including mine to say the truth, I really respect her courage).

The last to call for the unity of the left was the Lebanese Communist Party. Yet, experience taught us that the current leadership (as well as the post-1990 command) want nothing but hegemony of the left. On the last celebration of the Birth of the LCP, its general secretary Khaled Hdaidi called for the unity of the left in Lebanon, but afterwards the LCP’s star Ziad Rahbani delivered the most Stalinist speech ever heard: “If you are not part of the party, you are a parasite.” (I guess I am a parasite in that case so are tens of thousands as well). My analysis as well as others of the fellow comrades, the LCP did such an initiation to get the free lancers in working on the project separately, while the LCP isolates them and achieves political hegemony over them. If the LCP want to establish real unity, they should start with doing serious revision within themselves, as well as their Democratic Youth League.

About four years ago, there was another attempt to achieve a similar unity, which was called the Leftist Platform. The project, like the Khat el Moubashar (Direct Line) started with great hopes, but barely lasted two months. It at least brought the first real attempt to unify the left, while its cadres were the youth. Green activists or Socialist based Gay right activists even joined, along with the Independent Leftist Movements, Trotskyites, Communist Students (an off – shoot from the LCP and ended up dissolving itself within the DLM), as well as other freelancers. The disastrous result was they fought with each other, and the Leftist Platform collapsed. It should be noted that they were all youth during those meetings, and the only old person was none-ever but the clown Elias Attallah trying to establish hegemony like he did now with the ridiculous DLM.

Other left-wing organizations became active in Lebanon despite the fact they are not 100% leftist such as Green Line. Green Line started as a tiny NGO which grew to become one of the most powerful grass root organization on the ground not only to protect Lebanon from the environmental damage generated by Capitalism, but also to be a pioneer in facing corporate globalization. They may lack a revolutionary platform, but at least they achieved some down to earth goals on the ground, and they got radical factions that oppose any negotiations with the WTO and go straight against it.

Another group, left-wing in nature, and radical, but still has a long road to go is ATTAC. ATTAC on an international scale is diversified and suffered major blows. I will not dwell on the status of ATTAC on the international level, but will focus on Lebanon. Each group of ATTAC throughout the world has its own autonomy, some have been reformists others have been revolutionary. ATTAC Lebanon has been catching my attention lately with their released brochures, and seems they adopted the revolutionary side. They would prove important in Lebanon for alter-globalization activism and in the absence of any experienced movement in such a domain. After further investigation, ATTAC started with the wrong people opening it as a social club till the radicals established the real alter-globalization movement in Lebanon. Time will tell if they can have any impact or not specially the current generation has to a challenge to clear the blunders of the older generation, but based on the brochure I read, I think they might be on the right track, but still, like Green Line they are not a revolutionary party, specially the Proletariat’s Party. Their activism is based on supporting alter globalization movement and fix the system. They like Green Line are potential activist space for the time being.

The third category are Helem, the first NGO established in the Arab world whose task is to defend the rights of the Homosexuals/Queer/Bisexuals individuals to exist equally as those who are tagged as “straights”. Helem means in the English Language as Dream. Probably they did one a hell of an entry in the Lebanese Scene when they demonstrated against the US invasion of Iraq. While all traditional parties were demonstrating, a group of independent leftists, half of them reformists in nature, along with the Gay Movement did a symbolic parade that topped the news in the campaign, spearheaded by the different factions of the Leftist Platform, under the Banner of No War! No Dictatorship! (ie No to the invasion and no to Saddam). The Rainbow flag appeared the first time in Lebanon under much controversy, specially homosexuals/bisexuals were and still are persecuted on social level (and sometimes police level). The topic of Helem would deserve another post on its own, something I will hope to do soon. I will mention briefly some inputs I gathered on that NGO. It definitely takes courage to establish such an NGO despite the Arab or religious atmosphere (be that Christian or Muslim) we live currently; I would also like to add that a lot of the leftwing themselves face difficulty to digest such activists, specially those who embrace socialism/anarchism as the path to emancipate the society. Sadly, some gay activists became isolationists and focused on establishing themselves as a minority against the “straights”, or believe that the only solution to establish their existence is through gay coalitions. The left-wing gay movements tend to believe that the only way to achieve salvation to the society is through the emancipation of the society as a whole, similar to the left-wing feminists.

There have been a fourth NGO that aims towards Secularism, the Civil Society. This aims in promoting secularism, such as the “Conference of Secularism”, under the Patronage of the “Red Priest” Gregoir Haddad, but even within these activists, people fell into the error of opposition/government or 8th of March versus 14th of March. Within the movement, there have been secular activists who went against both trends, who are against both. Yet, secularism alone can’t be simply shoved into society. In any case, as I mentioned in my first part, being secular does not make you a leftist. Most of the hard-core business oriented business elites are secular usually in nature. The movement has been isolated, but at least it is like the others provides a miniature space for activism.

I stated some of the several “space” movements that aim to achieve couple of left-wing goals, but each is focused on a tiny aspect of the overall problem. They have been active but sadly they are not revolutionary parties. They can’t do change, they can only hinder what Capitalism will eventually bombard the people in Lebanon.

The most important factor dominating the Lebanese Left is the informal connections between different left-wing activists. To say the truth, Lebanon is not such a big place, and almost everyone knows everyone. Those informal nods are probably the closest thing to do an activity, as it appeared during the July War. A person wants to know something or needs a favor; Comrade X would give him Comrade Y for info. That is the case in Lebanon, but rarely anything works on a political level. I already displayed on a national scale how all such projects crumbled down without achieving any permanent results. Those networks are usually beneficial on academic or personal level, and sometimes like the whole nation is running in such a system, employment level (and not that much too). Those informal connections usually come in handy to break the ice between different organizations, but at the same time almost all the organizations (political and social) have something against the other, and end up scavenging in a competitive form, for glory. That is the case in most of the time, sadly. If there is a general interest to really rebuild the left in a progressive manner, then these informal contacts would prove handy.

The left has a long road to go through, and their members refuse to do the first most important thing to become at least leftist (depending on the school): Learn your history, and learn your ideology. That is why I am not affiliated with anyone in Lebanon because 90% each is scavenging against the other, specially on the political level. Platforms do not attract people, it is dogmatism that brings people, and not that many in the “Lebanese Left” since Sectarian elites are doing a better job, while the “Left-Wing” are caught up to encourage this sectarian movement or that.

In the end, the Proletariat are suffering, while clowns like the DLM would tell you: “The Proletariat would be victorious if 14th of March triumphs” while the LCP would go on an anti-thesis level: “The Proletariat would win if the CIA affiliated government is trashed.” To the DLMers, either disband or change your name. To the LCP, either learn what Marxism is really about or simply join Hezbollah. The radical ones in all political and institutional ones should leave those reactionary movements and form at least a unified revolutionary front.

No War But Class War


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Causes of the Civil War

Written For the Blog: Renegade Eye
Tomorrow, the painful memory of the beginning of the civil war began. I will try to put a summary of a summary on why the war broke. Someone tell Lahoud to stop thinking he is not legitimate President in a non-technical sense.

There are several factors that tackle the events that led to the break-out of the Lebanese Civil War. Theodor Hanf (in his book Irrevocable Covenant) and others discuss different reasons that become entangled in the end, and trigger the Lebanese Civil war in 1975.

The first reason according to Hanf that the war broke out is due to the nature of Lebanon and its political structure. Lebanon is a state composed of communities whereby one community can never dominate the rest. This balance of power forced into Lebanon democracy as the best solution between the different communities. The second factor would be the class-income distribution between the sects to be involved in the 1975 clash. All the communities got their elites as well as their lower income wage earners. The 1960s witnessed class inequality on the rise among the different communities which made the major Sect leaders aim to mobilize the masses easier against the others. A third factor is the perception of the Muslims and Christians of Lebanese Nationalism. To the Christians, Lebanese Nationalism is strictly Lebanese and nothing else (as long as they were in power) while the Muslims regarded Lebanese Nationalism as complementary to Arab Nationalism and didn’t mind having both. This would play a major role in the different factions who would ally with the Palestinians. These double standards of Nationalism would threaten the Christians’ sense of Lebanese independence.

Another dimension to Theoder Hanf was the Palestinians’ activities in Lebanon starting from the late 1960s and the arrival of large quantity of combatants in 1970 after Black September in Jordan. This tipped the balance of power among the Lebanese communities as the Left-Wing considered that the Lebanese army was already biased for the Lebanese Christian Leaders and the PLO’s mass arrival can balance the power against the “isolationist” Christian Leaders. The Palestinians used Lebanon since the late 1967 as a base to launch operations on Israel. This spread fear among the Christians that Lebanon’s independence was marginalized and they became a minority in Lebanon as the PLO learnt their errors from the Jordan 1970 experience and armed its allied parties in Lebanon. They further established networks, since the PLO got no place else to go and Lebanon was the only country allowing them to launch their military operations. Solidarity to the Palestinians was expressed through the Muslims (mostly the Sunni) but with the aim to change the system in a limited manner while the left-wing Lebanese National Movement aimed to demolish the sect-based system. The PLO eventually transformed the Western Part of Beirut into its stronghold.

A third dimension to several authors is the Army and its incapability to dominate or control the PLO. The Lebanese Army was always a weak army compared to the neighboring armies’ strength of Jordan, Syria, Israel, and Egypt. The purpose of the army, as advocated by head of the Phalange Party, Pierre Gemayel, that the nation’s strength would be its weakness. Having a weaker army means discouragement for other nations to feel threatened. Nevertheless, despite its weakness compared to other institutions, the army has been the core balancer of power between the Christian Militias and the rest of the communities. The Army from 1967 till 1969 entered several confrontations with the Palestinian Commandos in order push away the PLO from the borders, primary allies of Kamal Junblatt and the Left-wing, till the Cairo agreement was signed. After 1970, with the PLO still expanding their networks and continuing with their operations on Israel, the Christian Parties decided to transform their parties into militias. The Left-wing leaders organized mass demonstrations against the Army’s crackdown attempts on the PLO.

The Regional Situation also played a role into contributing factors that would eventually lead to the break out of the Lebanese Civil War. Ever since the end of the Six Days War, the PLO received massive support from the gulf nations in compensation to the great humiliating Arab Defeat. The Cairo agreement was drafted between the PLO and the Head of the Lebanese Army, which was approved by the Lebanese Parliament, gave the PLO legitimacy over the camps, safe influx of arms from Syria, and made West Beirut the safe-haven for the PLO warriors. The Cairo Agreement’s aftermath also made the Christian Leaders, after the influx of more PLO warriors from Jordan, to focus on their own strengths. According to Dr. Moubarak, the Arab states blocked PLO operations from their borders but encouraged the PLO’s use of arms and support in Lebanon. (Walid Moubarak, Position of A Weak State In An Unstable Region: Case of Lebanon (The Emirates Center For Strategic studies & Research ,2002), P. 3) Syria on the other hand, had its own Palestinian Militias active in Lebanon, the Sa’iqa. They were always a support to the PLO’s activism specially if the Lebanese Army pressured the PLO in a military sense. What aggravated the situation more was the fact Kamal Junblatt was the Minister of Interior, who was the PLO’s primary ally, to this, the Christian Leaders never liked it.

The International Arena also played a role into negotiations. Kissinger never struck deals with the PLO, rather with Egypt and Syria after 1973 war. The PLO were regarded as Refugees with no rights whatsoever which forced its leadership to bomb its away to attain recognition and a bargaining card via Lebanon after they changed policy and have a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza (which will happen in the Oslo agreement). Israel’s policy was also dramatic which increased the tension between the Christian Leaders and the PLO. Whenever the PLO launched an operation, Israel responded mainly on the South and the refugee camps. When Israel bombed in 1968 the 12 Middle East Airlines, Israel signaled a message to all leaders of Lebanon to control their half of the borders and cripple the PLO. The development of the Peace Treaties between Egypt and Israel via Henry Kissinger got al-Assad to develop the three nation (Syria, Jordan and Lebanon) – four people unity strategy (Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, and Jordanians).

The US administration, under Kissinger’s dominion, was bothered with the turn of events inside Lebanon. With the escalation of the Lebanese situation, Kissinger was worried that Israel would be dragged to war with Lebanon, which in turn would trigger another regional war in less than a year. Furthermore, Kissinger didn’t want to see Israel entering a war because finally an Arab nation (supposedly the strongest military then), Egypt, decided to follow the Step-By-Step with the Zionist State. Nevertheless, PLO operations threatened a regional war. Syria already took a positive step with the States after the 1973 war, and agreed to follow the disengagement plan. The problem was Syria always supported the PLO from cross-border artillery, or its Palestinian made militias: the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA). This did not stop Syria from establishing good contacts with the Christian Militias, in case, according to Syrian calculations, the other side dominated. To the Syrians, they wanted intervention into Lebanon, but not a left-wing Lebanese Party establishing a socialist government that would shake the whole region. Worse, they wanted to dominate the PLO politically in order to become the sole spearheads for the “Arab Cause”. This clicked with Kissinger on a latter stage to cripple the PLO.

The Division of Lebanon into Two Camps intensified matters. The Leaders of the “Lebanese Front” declined to lose one bit of their political advantage and public sector recruitment benefits (6:5). Imam el-Sadre radicalized his Shiite base and moved closer to President Suleiman Frangieh’s coalition hence forth isolating the Sunni Sect and the Left-Wing (who were attempting to link their demands with the crisis of the South). Junblatt became the recognized Muslim leader in the Arab world, as he got the support of Syria and Egypt as well as the presence of the PLO armed groups broke the hegemony of the Christian domination. His bargaining would be narrowed down to reform the system in return of limited strikes of the PLO against Israel. Pierre Gemayel and Camille Shamoun wouldn’t want to lose any privileges for their parties stressed and accompanied the army in their clashes with the PLO. Should the Christian leaders accept any declines, the warring Lebanese factions probably would have been avoided with a new Status Quo (Fawwaz Traboulsi, A History of Modern Lebanon, Pluto Press (2007), P. 180)

The state, due to the interests of both camps, has lost legitimacy in the eyes of the left-wing camp. The erosion of the State started when Israeli Commandos entered West Beirut and assassinated three PLO figures in 1973. The Army was present and didn’t do anything as Ehud Barak stated he remained for one hour in the Verdun area disguised as a blond woman in a skirt. Escalations occurred from the soon to be Lebanese Front Alliance and the Lebanese National Movement leaders. Since 1970, the future LNM leaders called for demonstrations every time the Army (usually backed with Phalange supporters) attacked the PLO.

Two incidents will trigger the Lebanese civil war in 1975 despite the fact some confrontations occurred between Junblatt’s socialists and the Phalange militia earlier to the zero hour. The first is the demonstration led my MP Ma’ruf Sa’ad against Protein Corp. in Saida. The corporation itself has the Ahhrar’s Camille Shamo’un as one of its primary shareholders. The army shoots on the demonstrators, and the Pro-Nasserite MP Sa’ad is killed among others. Riots break up between the Army and the Nasserite, leftist, and Palestinian supporters. President Frangieh refutes to hold the army accountable while the Phalange supporters did several counter – demonstrations in solidarity with the army. After a month Frangieh transfers two officers from Saida while its governor was placed on probation. Eventually Pierre Gemayel objects on the rotation of the Army’s officer transfer. A month later, the Project of establishing Protein in Saida was abandoned and the government decides to compensate the fishermen. The Next day, April 13,1975, a shoot out takes place in Ain el-Remaini at the Phalange (which is assumed an operation on Pierre Gemayel) while the Phalanges retaliate by shooting a bus going to Tel el-Zaatar camp. The war would break and would last for a decade and a half. (Fawwaz Traboulsi, A History of Modern Lebanon, Pluto Press (2007), P. 183).

Different factors boiled down to trigger the Civil War in Lebanon. Whether it was class inequality among the sects which allowed the “Sect-Defenders” to mobilize their supporters against the “other”, or the newly balance of power between the Leftists and the Christian militias has triggered down the civil war. The presence of two armies, the PLO guerilla warfare organized commandos and the Lebanese Army, definitely shoved the direction of Lebanon towards a new civil war. Philip Habib once compared Lebanon to a vacuum that sucked in the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Israelis, the United States, and others into its whirlpool.

Keep in mind that this is just a summary of a summary for the causes why the Civil War broke, I didn’t tackle the events of the war. All are to be blamed. Just to make a remark, the causes which triggered the war on Lebanese level, the Christians and the Left, changed as the civil war, accompanied with different foreign interventions, progressed till 1990. The war is divided into different reasons, which changed as the turn of events progressed. This reflects also the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homeland triggered a chain reaction that reflected badly on Lebanon. In the end, the Proletariat suffered the greed of the elites.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Investigating the Lebanese Left (Part II): Its Current Status

The Current Status of the Left

Check Part I
Communism as a rule bases itself as the spearhead of the Proletariat, embodied by the people’s vanguard party, in order to attain the goals and interests of the working class. The Lebanese Left has been far from attaining this goal, and when the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) was winning its battlefronts, the clash with the Christian Militias was not based on Class Struggle, despite the fact their Platform was based on demolishing the confessional system, application of transparency, placing supremacy to civil law above personal law, achieving optional civil marriage, and transforming the public sector from a 6:5 equation (6 Christians – 5 Muslims) to a merit system. Probably 1975 – 1976 was the peak for left-wing movements; however, this also includes the alliance to the PLO whose leader Arafat was establishing a state within a state inside Lebanon to strengthen his own forces.

The current situation is disastrous for the left. For starters, anyone claims to be leftist. I remember in the year 2000, members of AMAL movement and Future Youth (Sunni Harriri’s supporters) told me that they are leftists. The current bi-polarity has demolished any chance to attain a progressive left-wing based activism. For starters, the current bi-polarity is based 100% on mobilizing the masses in a sectarian manner which has forced the supporters of the Sectarian Parties (Lebanese Forces – Free Patriotic Movement – Future Movement – AMAL – Hezbollah – Progressive Socialist Party – others) to become more sectarian with a survival logic: “either they win politically and throw us out on a social level or vice versa.” No current progressive platform can be implemented and worse, be heard. I have been accused to be insane by both reactionary camps, while the term ‘traitor’ has been tagged on my forehead ever since I loud and clear declared that I oppose both camps. Worse, each camp accuses me with affiliation towards the other camp. Having described the situation on a personal level, I am sure that would provide my readers with a glimpse on the social disease from which the Lebanese are suffering from.

The Democratic Leftist Movement appeared on the scene quickly because its leader, Elias Attallah, was shoved by 14th of March and won him the Parliament (a plan of 14th of March leaders to establish hegemony on the politically assassinated). The problem is the DLM directly endorsed their platform, even on the economic level. Their logic is “being leftist is being supportive of 14th of March”. They rely on Monot St. nights for recruitment and they are still shrinking in size. They over-exhausted the memory of Samir Qassir and now people are leaving them.

The Lebanese Communist Party has been tackled a lot. The LCP is facing competition between two reactionary Stalinist Leaders, under the names of Khaled Hdaidi (current General Secretary) and Sa’adallah Mazra’ani (2nd in Command). The LCP strangely did a minor comeback on the LCP level or the Democratic Youth League (اتحاد شباب دمقراطي). The Youth League was given to a non-party affiliate to manage that section. In any case, last year, the LCP and its different branches called for a demonstration on May Day (May the 1st, known as Workers’ Day) and gathered 15,000 participants. Yet, it has to be recorded that most of the participants are non-party affiliates, such as Dr. Fawwaz Traboulsi. Ever since May Day, the LCP returned on the negotiation table with other parties, mainly those affiliated with 8th of March. Part of the success of the LCP miniature comeback is due the artist Ziad Rahbani’s revival on the political scene and swearing allegiance, in a Stalinist perspective, to the Party. When the first demonstration occurred, the DLM succeeded in mobilizing 5000 members on daily basis.

Whatever has been spoken does not reflect the reality of the left. The Left in Lebanon is far greater than that. Its numbers vary between 130,000 to 150,000 left-wing activists. Some people estimate up to 240,000 , but there is unknown number of how many left wing activists. The tip of an iceberg appeared when George Hawwi (General Secretary from the late 1960s – 1988) was assassinated in the elections of 2005. There couldn’t have been an event that gathered large numbers of activists that surprised all other parties. Most of the participants were non-party affiliated, although their parents were at a one moment members of the Lebanese Communist Party or the Order For Communist Work (OCW). In Down Town alone, the number of participants was estimated to exceed over 60,000, during the funeral ceremonies, while in Teghreen (Hawwi’s home town), the number of people alone exceeded 100,000. Such numbers were last scene in 1973-1975, specially in a rally that occurred in 1973 in the South which gathered 76,000 in the honor of Farajallah Helou (who was melted in acid by the hands of the Arab Nationalists of Nasser in Syria). The number that showed up during George Hawwi’s clearly reflected the number of free lance activists that are inactive due to lack of space. If such a number were active in a single institution with a progressive organization and platform, a lot can be achieved for the Proletariat over here as well as everywhere else (we apply Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution Theory).

Most of the ex- Party members of the LCP and OCW were dumped into the garbage bin once the civil war was active. A lot of the members, based on my interviews with ex-members, received their training in the Socialist Camp. Several other comrades turns out they can speak Russian perfectly well and when drunk, they reply “Da” rather “yes”. The party lost its grip when the Soviet Union collapsed (and a good thing too in order to build a true Proletariat movement). A lot of OCW simply scattered among different Right-Wing party members who are mostly now figureheads of the Government as well as opposition. Some names would include Hassan Krayem (with DLM), Ahmad Fatfat (with the Harriri), and Mohammad Beydoun (AMAL). Actually, most of the late Rafiq Harriri’s advisors were ex-OCW members. The DLM for example are behaving as scavengers to leech off those scattered comrades under the banner of “World Trade Organization is Social Justice for Lebanon”.

A lot of activist groups tried to build their own autonomous groups. The Anarchists are trying to establish their own groups, but ended up in failure. I will tackle those in the next post about chances and opportunities. The fact that the left is distributed between both capitalist reactionary camps does not mean the end of the story, for the battle continues.

In any case, the Left is far from the revolution. This does not mean we are a hopeless case in Lebanon.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Investigating the Lebanese Left (Part I): Its Problems


As I stated in a lot of posts through out my blog, the left suffers from several problems which leads to the conclusion in a similar way Rene Descartes stated couple of centuries ago: it is dangerous to construct new material on a building with an old infrastructure. Best Solution is to me is to tear down all those leftist schools in Lebanon and start from scratch. It is too dangerous to construct new schools based on the old. For example, the Democratic Leftists started as an off-shoot from the Stalinist Lebanese Communist Party, the Independent Leftist Movements from the universities, and Communist Students. They mixed their ideology with the right-wing elitest economies of Harriri and Politics of Junblatt in order to survive within 14th of March. Sadly, being secular is not enough to be classified as leftist, despite the fact few of them claimed that Tony Blair is a leftist. The goal of this post is to investigate the causes of the left and how it collapsed in Lebanon, and what are the different prospects and dangers for the left to be revived (if the term left is logical, since I only believe in revolutionary Communism).

The Beginning of the Lebanese Left

There is no definite idea what year the Lebanese Left started in Lebanon; however, the early records show that the Lebanese Communists started their activism in the early 20th Century in terms of Union movements. By 1910, a translator according to “Parties of Lebanon”, was the first to translate the term Socialism into Arabic as Ishtirakieh. The Lebanese comrades used to move through out Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, and played their role in forming Socialist based trade unions. By 1917, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Petrograd and Russia provided a moral boast in Lebanon and conveyed a clear message: if the mighty Tsar can be ousted outside his throne in Russia, the same can be repeated in Lebanon and Syria. Then there was no Lebanon, rather, there was a minor autonomous province in Mt. Lebanon, under a governor with an Ottoman citizenship.

1917 was also an important year for the Lebanese, because the Armenians started to arrive towards Lebanon, due to the butchery of the Ottoman Empire in performing one of the bloodiest genocides on the Armenians. The Armenians were more interactive with Europe than the Lebanese/Syrian Communists. They already had membership in Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnekht’s “The Spartacus League”, a revolutionary school which opposed the reactionary reformists in Germany at a one point of time.

By 1922, contacts between the Lebanese/Syrian Communists were established with the 3rd International, then Stalin’s goons Yaganovich, Kirov, and Bolganin and others did not fully destroy the Bolsheviks. The Communists were distributed between Syria and Lebanon, just as borders were heavier when the British finalized their acquisition over Palestine and borders were constructed. Jordan was also carved out of Syria as compensation to King Abdullah the First (actually to persuade him from not restoring kingdom of Syria which is brother Faysal the First, became the first King over Iraq) and swayed both sons of Shareef Hussein to forget about the Middle East and settle for these two nations (since the British broke their word when they encouraged Shareef Hussein to rebel agains the Ottoman Empire).

With hopes and activism taking place, in 1925, a meeting of five comrades took place in Beirut and decided to build a Lebanese – Syrian Communist Party. Eventually both parties would split up, specially with the return of the Stalinist Khaled Bikdash from the Soviet Union to Syria and established authority over the Lebanese faction. It should be noted that the first demonstration against the French in Lebanon occurred on May the First 1925, which included 7000 comrades demonstrating against the French mandate. The glorious event witnessed the participation of the Armenian comrades who arrived to Lebanon, spearheaded by Artin Madayan, of the Spartacus League, and that triggered the building of the Party. The comrades already were active and established the first red cell in Bikfaya, where the Tobacco Union was formed. They were forced directly to work underground, because France and the newly born Soviet Union disagreed.

Ever since, the Lebanese Communists fluctuated, sometimes boomed, sometimes collapsed, till post Civil War, they suffered from almost total paralysis.

Problems of the Communists/Leftists in Lebanon

The first problem of the Lebanese Communists was the deviation from the revolutionary ideology. They were mass oriented, and recruitment was booming, the first confrontation occurred when the Lebanese Communists endorsed Arab Nationalism as an identity of Lebanon as a nation in the face of the French Mandate. This created by 1926 several confrontations with the 3rd International, which by then Stalin was beginning to annihilate the Bolsheviks. In the Marxist Ideology, we do not believe in any form of nationalism, rather we believe in the will of people to determine their fate. Now if any Zionist want to yell at me about their freedom, we do not mean expelling Palestinians outside their homes and promote a racial ideology. A Proletariat (those who do not own the means of production and suffer from Alienation towards the world due to their work) is a Proletariat wherever you go, be that a Jordanian, Mexican, Israeli, US, French, Russian, Chinese, or anywhere else of the world. The goal of the Communists is to emancipate the Proletariat towards a unified front against their oppressors. We do not believe in any ideology, rather we perceive any form of nationalism as an elite created bourgeoisie which divides the Proletariat through out the world (except in the Market).

The Second problem is not keeping the logic of class struggle in their platforms. The comrades created fabulous platforms, but they were not Marxist based, rather they are Lebanese oriented, which limits their goals to Lebanon as a setting. This problem we still suffer from it now, members of the Democratic Left or Communist Party would travel outside Lebanon and become inactive because they are not Lebanon, rather joining the first progressive Socialist movement in their area and be of assistance to emancipate the Proletariat. After all, we the revolutionary Marxists are Internationalists, and henceforth we do not disagree with our fellow revolutionary activists wherever we are. The problem is that the Communists in Lebanon drifted away from class struggle (actually a lot of the LCP wonder naively if there is class struggle, while the DLM embrace the World Trade Organization to “save Lebanon from the claws of the Baathi Syrians”.

Third, by 1936, the Palestinian crisis has spilled chain reactions through out the Arab World. The year 1936 is a famous year of the revolutions. In Syria, the Atlas nations, Iraq, and several nations, different insurrections occurred, while Lebanon was facing a political turmoil between the French and the Lebanese elites. Palestine in specific witnessed the Palestinian insurrection which started as a one year Demonstration then a two year revolution. The Palestinians could not tolerate anymore to witness British brutality or Zionist butchery against them. They rebelled under the banner of Arab Nationalism. This caused a rebound in the Arab world as they endorsed Arab Nationalism as a salvation to the crisis. The British were forced to move 20,000 soldiers to Palestine while Odre Wingate initiated the secret training of Zionist Night Squads (which will become the core of the Haganah and the Israeli Defense Forces). The British transfer of soldiers is considered to be the greatest military transfer before World War II. Partly of Arab leadership corruption trying to bargain their way with the British on Palestine’s expense (hence crippling the revolution half way), the Egyptian, Jordanian, Saudi, and Iraqi Monarchs participated in messing up the Palestinian Revolution. Prior to 1939, Ben Gurion was willing to accept a partition plan while after the 1939 insurrection was crushed down to pieces, he decided to push the Yishov into taking the whole Palestine, annihilating it, and bring Israel to existence, even though according the UN partition plan, the Jews were still a minority even on their Jewish side of Palestine.

The Lebanese Communists, like all Communists, indorsed Arab Nationalism as a means of salvation against European Imperialism. A unified Arab Strong Nation is more than enough to end the Palestinian crisis as well as face Western Imperialists. The problem is that if that nation occurred, a new form of Imperialism would occur, and the Arab Nation in the minds of the Arab and Lebanese elites was not endorsed in a revolutionary class struggle Soviet style federation. Worse, on a later stage, Nasser’s experimentation of Socialism, accompanied with corruption, will bring forth the rise of the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt. This created massive conflict with the Stalinist, now Moscow based, headquarters. Even the Stalinists opposed the concept of Fatherland or nationalism till World War II erupted and pushed Stalin to promote the “Mother Russia logos”, exactly the opposite of what Lenin and Trotsky did despite the odds against them.

Fourth, with Stalin capturing the Soviet Union, and annihilating the 3rd International, all revolutionary Communist Parties became pawns for Moscow’s foreign policy. They had to abide by Moscow’s policies. Whatever Moscow wanted, the LCP had to follow, some comrades were even secretly interrogated by the KGB, such as George Hawwi himself. Stalinism struck the Lebanese Communist Party, which was already suffering from the brutal character of the Syrian Based Stalinist Khaled Bikdash. Farajallah el Helo (as time will tell later) was melted in acid bit by bit) under the blessing of such a character, Jamal Nasser, and the Syrian Baathis (different than al-Assad’s model of the Baathi party). The danger of Stalinism has transformed whatever Marxist ideas the “comrades” were dedicated to achieve towards a “A No Party But the Party” logic. The Central Committee dictatorship, spearheaded by the General Secretary was dominated in the Lebanese Communist Party, like all other revolutionary parties. The Party seized to be mass oriented, despite the fact it restored its popularity by 1970, whereby the Socialist Kamal Junblatt (his Lebanese version of Socialism) unified arms with the Communist Coalition and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (with its socialist oriented leader Ina’am Ra’ad).

Jamal Nasser’s unity with Syria caused maximum damage to the Communists in Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon. The Communists in Lebanon were executed, persecuted, and they were forced to go under cover. The fate of the Communists in Syria and Egypt caused them to be totally annihilated. Meanwhile, two new Arab style of Communism were about to rise. A small cell of George Habash’s Liberation Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) were founded by students from the American University of Beirut, and the Lebanese Communist Party’s Stalinism proved too much and caused a faction to split up and build the Order for Communist Work.

The PFLP automatically suffered a split, but they were active wherever they were, and like the LCP, they endorsed Arab Nationalism and mixed it with Communism, in the name of Liberating Palestine. The new faction (after one year) PFLP-General Command was led by a more reactionary figure, Jibreel.

The OCW was however a different case. It started as an off-shoot of Arab Nationalism, then became mixed with Maoism (another form of Stalinism a la Agricultural model), and a variety of revolutionary Marxism. Actually, between 1958 - 1975, a certain view of Arab Nationalism was constructed from a left-wing perspective, to which Junblatt's Progressive Socialist Party, LCP, and OCW affiliated themselves to. Arab Nationalism and Communism do not mix, if anything Arab Nationalism, specially Nasser's version, dettered the Communists, and caused the Muslim Brotherhood to rise.

Dr. Fawwaz Traboulsi would become the first Arab to translate Trotsky’s and John Reed’s books into Arabic, and a come back to genuine Marxism was restored till again the Civil War and the Israeli invasion would cause the OCW to drift again, while its leader Mohsen Ibrahim would impose his one man show figure. The point is though, the OCW had with it at a one time, the greatest thinkers of Lebanon combined, before all losing faith and sold out on their goals. Most of the political parties in current times have their main figures coming from the OCW, and I will leave their names as a surprise as I will do another post on their names and where they ended.

Back to the point and not drift away from item four, the Communists suffered a lot due to the fact of Stalin and his goons taking over the Soviet Union, and transforming the USSR from a voluntary Union to a dictatorship empire.

Problem five is lack of full knowledge of the Marxist Ideology and their experience. The majority of the Communists in Lebanon are not aware why they celebrate May Day. They are not aware how the Proletariat (with Marxist and Anarchist nucleus cells) organized the Chicago Hay Market demonstrations in 1886. They are unaware how the 2nd International organized the first global solidarity movement in 1889 raising the red flag through out the world as a solidarity for the Proletariat and in honor of the fallen ones. For example, a stupid Democratic Leftist member told me: “if Che Guevara was alive, he would have supported 14th of March”, which is not true since Che Guevara would believe in the revolution (despite his errors on the ideological level), while a member of the Democratic Youth League (the LCP’s youth party) would tell me that Che Guevara would support Hezbollah against Israel, which is also not the case at all. Che Guevara would support the people’s revolution against both, the Zionist leaders of Israel, and the religious leadership of Hezbollah. To be more exact, Che Guevara’s last years were involved extensively in reading Lenin and Trotsky’s books while attacking Stalinism and denouncing it in terms of any relations to real Communism. The Communists today lack any knowledge, some comrades would read The Communist Manifesto, and then sweat bullets, others naively read Mao’s Little Red Book and then self-glorify themselves as doing an achievement.

That is the problem, there is no guidance to understand what is the meaning of Communism, the sciences devised by Marx and Engels, how the ideology is constantly updated, and most importantly, the Party is not everything. In case the party is corrupt (such as the LCP and DLM), then the comrades can dissolve it and dump its Stalinist leadership. It is rather shameful that members of the LCP do not know the meaning of Dialectical Materialism or Historical Materialism, or what is the impact of the World Trade Organization, rather they support Hezbollah blindly because they “are resisting Israel” or “fighting US imperialism”. This a lie. No Party can be built without having full knowledge of their ideology be that Anarchist or Communist (I would say these two since the other schools of the left are reformists). As Lenin said: “A revolutionary party is guided by a revolutionary theory”, but sadly, there is no theory to guide the LCP, and specially not the DLM.

Moving to Point 6, the Stalinist Nature of the Party taught the comrades to rely heavily on the Soviet Union, but the Soviet Union collapsed, as it should have been, in order for the real Marxist movements to be revived (even though Lebanon has been a hard case, while Palestine has been even harder). The LCP and OCW performed wonders against the Israelis during the 1982 invasion. They, along with Ra’ad’s SSNP, blocked the Israelis from entering West Beirut for a whole month, which taught the rest of the world that the Israeli Army can bleed. More interesting, the heroics of the secular resistance front, founded by the LCP and OCW, and joined by the SSNP, to kick out the Israelis from West Beirut, and afterwards force them to retrieve towards the South (where Hezbollah and AMAL along with the Resistance Font bombarded the invaders with all kinds of operations). The LCP and OCW started the resistance to Israel, and played a crucial role. However, the comrades did not understand why they are fighting the Israeli Army from a Marxist perspective, all they had in their mind that they were the evil Zionists who kicked out the Palestinians from their houses. They never understood that their secular resistance was vital to block any resistance fronts from being transformed into religious whereby their warriors would go to heaven, They never understood that they should be representing the demands of the workers, and worse, they should never ever have allied with the rest of the reactionary parties (even though they themselves were reactionary as well). With the death of the Soviet Union, the party crumbled down, and a lot of people abandoned the OCW and LCP (as well as the PFLP) to join more reactionary movements, whether religious or right-winged.

Seventh, desperation struck the comrades. Two brilliant artists dominated the sphere of art in Lebanon, their names were Marcel Khalifi and Ziad Rahbani. Marcel Khalifi played fusion Jazz with oriental music, while Ziad Rahbani, at an age of 17, started writing musical plays from a Communist perspective. Rahbani’s plays were a hit, and still are, and some people compare his character to a God, due to his genius eye of capturing the turmoil of the people in a most comic way. The Problem with Ziad, as always, he was a Communist in spirit, but in reality also a Stalinist (and his latest speech at the Foundation Memory of the LCP proves it). His disparity triggered a lot of the youth to become desperate and simply sit at Cafes and imitate Ziad’s famous characters instead of opening the books of Rosa Luxemburg or Paul La Farque and learning what the meaning of revolutionary Communism is really about. The leftist leaders never allowed for real change, and fought at every moment potential progressive movements.

When the Civil War was over, while the LCP was at its worst moments, a new wave of Leftist movements was triggered in 1996-1997. Suddenly, people read about independent leftist movements, not affiliated with any party, popped out of the blues in university, and some won elections at their areas. The most well known two student groups are the No Frontiers Group (based in the American University of Beirut) and the Direct Work Group (based in Balamand). The problem again with those revolutionary groups, they lacked a fixed organization. They were, as I read, horizontal, and anything horizontal without a fixed ideology is a double edge sword. By 2001, those leftist independent groups, which included a variety of leftists ranging from Anarchists and Social Democrats to Socialists and Communists, scattered over 11 universities (mainly private and slightly public). Most of them collapsed either on their own, or due to the interventions of the Democratic Left and the LCP. Each is seeking to carve their way and blocked any potential growth for these groups. Actually, there was an independent group which was supposed to carry the concept of these university groups, which was called the Direct Line, but it crumbled down quickly due to power struggle and lack of organization, you can’t have a revolutionary movement without the revolutionary theory. The good part about these groups, they provided space for comrades to attain organizational experience and become future cadres, and the bad news is that they were limited to universities. I think currently the remaining groups are in Balamand and AUB, I am not sure though about the rest.

Moving to point 8, there is a problem of people supporting Communism or even the left in general from a hereditary aspect. Some of the old guard members of the OCW and LCP told me that the Communists as a coalition prior to the Civil war had about 60,000 between members, trade-unionists, and sympathizers. A lot of their children became communists or left-wing supporters from their parents. Taking into consideration of earlier problems discussed, we are aware of the deformed ideology inherited by the children, and in most of the cases, they proceed into deforming the ideology. In such a case, the youth embrace a wrong logic which does not reflect Marxism as it is, rather, a deflected form of Communism.

Point 9 reflects on the hopes and destruction of the capacity of the comrades. In a matter of speaking, almost everyone is exposed to Marxism in school. In school, for example, students in the history courses study the Bolshevik revolution and to what extent the Bolsheviks had to fight their way to sustain it between 1917 – 1924. In other courses, for example Philosophy, Cultural Studies, and Sociology, Marx and Engels pop up more frequently than others. In terms of Political Economy, World Affairs, and Globalization, Marx, Lenin, Bukharin, Trotsky, and Engels, as well as other thinkers (advocates of the dependency theory) appear. Despite the fact that Antony Giddens’ book is reductive, and Marx and Engels (as well as others) are not properly dealt with, the passion for changing the current reality rises within the youth. At later age, the youth do not pursue properly Marxism properly and disregard it as a childish dream. There is a saying in Lebanon that is very popular: “If you are not a Communist before the age of 18, you do not have a heart. If you are a Communist after the age 23, then you are without a brain.” 90% of those who disregard the sciences of Marx, Luxemburg, and Lenin is due to the fact they have no idea about what is really class struggle (imagined usually as people running to the streets with swords fighting the bourgeoisie), no clue about the oppressive nature of Capitalism, and no proper idea what are really the demands of the ideology (or as far as the left for the matter, such as a group of Anarchist Feminists who think that Anarchy is about Homosexuality).

The myth of Che Guevara has been incredible in Lebanon, the one man army who inspired revolutions through out the world, and in Lebanon Che Guevara has been a hero not only for the leftists, but also as far as for the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, but very few bothered to read about his books. Others put that dictator, Stalin’s pic, on their wall, and next to it Che. Sadly, Stalin made one a hell of an impact in Lebanon from the perspective of the man who saved the world from Nazism. This is not really quiet true. Stalin was in alliance with Hitler till 1941, and worse, when Hitler invaded the USSR, Stalin for the first six months suffered a nervous breakdown to the extent orders came out of the Kremlin without carrying his signature, rather from one of his goons. Worst ever, Stalin’s ruthless machinery is responsible for the death of their people due to brutality and the no-retreat command (any soldier in the battlefield takes couple of steps backwards, the commanding officer has the authority to shoot that soldier). The “Red Army” did enter Berlin prior to the US army, but what the comrades in Lebanon do not know that the US could have entered before the Red Army, but preferred to wait for them in order to enter Berlin together. The Red Army entered quickly when reaching Berlin to install the Soviet Flag on Hitler’s Palace. Last but not least, none of the Lebanese Communists know that 81% of the Soviet weaponry was merged with US technology (source: Khrucheve Remembers By Rouchenko).

The Lebanese Communist Party and other factions gambled on these myths, in order to recruit. Once the youth enter the LCP, they are either disgusted from proceeding with activism and from further enhancing their knowledge on Marxism, or they become Stalinists from the perspective of “No Party But the People’s Party”. Moreover, the LCP itself has a huge history of heroism in resisting the Israelis, and along with the OCW, they played a role in building the Resistance Front and expelling the Israelis from West Beirut in 1982. All of those tributes are “humped” by the reactionaries. Today, we see in a disgusting manner the Democratic Leftists marketing Samir Qassir in events to recruit to their own and justify their alliance and allegiance to Samir Jaajaa and Saad Harriri. This leads to the following logic: No Space For the Comrades to be Active and Enhance Themselves.

Another problem we notice in the LCP and its antithesis DLM is the fact they sell out on their beliefs while gambling on such heroics, achievements, and myths. That is the problem, the LCP is almost regarded as an extension for Hezbollah, despite the fact Hezbollah disregards the LCP in elections. The LCP keeps promoting the resistance ideology and live on past glories, and that is the problem with the LCP. They do have nice programs for the reform of the public Lebanese University, but that is it. Their lack of ideology does not permit them to enhance their members’ capabilities, and worse, it destroys it. The same is true with the tiny miniature faction, the Democratic Left Movement. The DLM started as an alternative to all reactionary leftist movement that would create a space for the comrades and would accept any of the left-wing schools (Anarchists – Communists – Social Democrats – Green – Feminists – (strangely Stalinists) – Socialists – others. Elias Attallah and his rival, the opportunist Ziad Majed, took hegemony over the movement (which had 5000 registered members till it shrank down to 600), and promised their opposition, during the build-up, with juicy titles without the intention of doing any changes. After the assassination of Samir Qassir, their logic is: “The Only Way to be a Leftist is to Be 14th of March”, and the sad problem is they really self-glorify themselves in that perspective. In any case, the DLM will crumble down once the 14th of March triads (Jaajaa – Junblatt – Harriri) would toss Elias Attallah out of their candidates list to the Parliament.

End of Part I