Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Lebanese Student Speaks Out

**A Pedestrian Infidel exclusive **

As you may or may not know I am a regular chatter in Jewish chat rooms. In there, I am meeting friend and foe. The man who wrote the article below is a young friend of mine, and someone I met in one of those rooms. I hope you enjoy his interesting ideas as much as I do. The following is a question-and-answer paper written recently in the aftermath of the conflict in south Lebanon. The questions (in italics) have been posed by an American professor of international relations who is working in the US. The interviewee is my friend, an anti-Hezbollah Lebanese Druze, who is a student at a leading university in Beirut.

American Professor: What is your take on why the Palestinians won't behave? I would think that since Israel gave them Gaza back, they would hope to also get the West Bank. But their elected government, led by Hamas, is still so filled with hatred towards Israel. I'm surprised that they can't look at countries who have made peace with Israel as examples of security and prosperity.

Lebanese Student: Well there are two parties in the Palestinian community as you know. The militant religious radicals who believe that Israel has no right to exist and they wish to kick all the Israelis out of Israel and announce a Palestinian state in place of Israel. (They) benefit each time from war and what they call Intifadas (or uprisings) by getting more support from their people. This usually happens when the other party, the government, begins to have problems with the negotiations with Israel, and the Palestinian government doesn’t want to create a civil war. So it looks the other way at what the militants are doing and helps the militants sometimes too.

So you can say there’s a consensus between both the militants and the government that, when the negotiations are going well with Israel the militants wont attack Israel and when the negotiations go bad the government uses the militants to score more points with Israel during the next negotiation. Sometimes it’s a struggle behinds the scenes between both parties to gain power over each other and gain popularity in the Palestinian audience and this is done by taking a strong firm position with Israel either during peace talks or militarily.

Okay, I think (the above) paragraph provides an answer to your question on why Palestinians won't behave, and I believe this multi dimensional struggle among themselves and with Israel will continue until a final peace agreement is reached. Regarding Hamas, I’m sure you're aware that it is a radical Islamic Sunni (not Shiite like Hezbollah) whose goal is to destroy Israel and it doesn’t acknowledge the existence of Israel. That’s their goal and they don’t believe in compromise with Israel. That’s why they don’t look at other Arab countries that (have) made peace with Israel.

From Hamas’ point of view, the issue of honor, national pride which is fueled by their religious ideology, which they see as an obligation, is much more important to them than any personal security or prosperity. It is even more important than their lives and their children’s lives. Thus you will see that they will make (use) of their children soldiers to continue the battle for their cause, which is sad and which will lead to the endless circle of violence and death.

American Professor: Has there been any backlash from the people of Lebanon against Hezbollah or do the majority of people still blame Israel?

Lebanese Student: We in Lebanon, unlike any other Arab country, are a democracy. There have been a lot of disagreements with Hezbollah, and the vast majority of people--at least the majority of the Christians, the Sunni Muslims, and the Druze (which I am)—do not agree with Hezbollah.

I would like to include some relevant personal experiences I have had with people on the street. I have spoken with two doctors, one who is Christian and another who is Sunni. On two different separate occasions both of them have talked to me about their disagreement with what Hezbollah did, and of the existence of two different cultures in Lebanon. One seeks wants destruction, martyrdom, war, escalation, national pride and destruction of Israel, and another which yearns for peace, prosperity, security, and life. Even some of the Shiites have taken strong stands against what Hezbollah did against Israel, but we in Lebanon do not want a civil war. We have experienced that from 1975 till 1991 and nobody here wants to go through that again.

Many here have noticed here that Hezbollah has grown weak since the most recent fighting stopped. Weapons smuggling to Hezbollah has decreased radically and promised financial aid from Iran (needed to compensate the many in south Lebanon who lost homes or property) has not been forthcoming to Lebanon. This is because the borders are being watched more closely now by the Lebanese army and the UNIFIL troops as well. Every person who wishes to travel to Lebanon has to go through Amman (in Jordan) and there the people are being searched (Hezbollah complained against the searches in Amman last night on the news). In addition to this, the money cannot be wired (to Hezbollah) since it would have to go through New York before it gets here, and it will be stopped if Washington suspects it’s for Hezbollah.

So, I predict that without weapons and without financial support Hezbollah won’t be half as influential as it is now, and people from inside the Shiite community will begin to protest against Hezbollah for not compensating for what they lost. The argument in Lebanon against Hezbollah is, if Hezbollah knew Israel was mounting an attack against Lebanon, then why give it (Israel) a reason to (continue attacking)? Thus the Lebanese blame Hezbollah for bringing the fox and placing it in a chicken barn and then complaining about the fox eating the chicken.

American Professor: You mentioned that a civil war may be a possibility in Lebanon. Do you see any signs or are people generally getting along?

Lebanese Student: People are trying to get along, but I will quote an owner of a jewelry store here in Beirut, while he described how his business came to a complete stop for a month and how after that the business was running really slow. He described his feelings whenever a woman with a black veil (Shiite woman) entered the store. He said, I try to be nice to everyone, I really do, but it’s really hard to do so after what they’ve done to this country.


Jordan said...

A very interesting perspective, thank you.

Bigdawgtoo said...

Hi: I am the "professor" from the "interview". Actually this is a series of ongoing conversations that I have had with this young man. I do teach International Relations but it is at a labratory high school attached to the university. I have no bias against any parties. My interest is strictly open conversation amongst all parties so I can better undersatnd the situation and bring that information to my students. I welocome the opportunity to do that. JK

European Kafir said...

I don`t think that we implied any opinion of yours, you don`t have to worry there... do you?
The young man is a chat-friend of mine and all we did, was posting an insider-view of the situation in Middle-East.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear more ....I also chat in Jewish chat rooms but lately get more from blogging. I will be watching for further conversations. As an Israeli I feel badly for the labanese people and hate seeing them used as pawns.