Sectarianism does not appeal to new generation of Lebanese

This new Lebanese generation refuses to get involved in a useless debate about who is responsible for leading the country to the brink financial collapse.
Tuesday 12/11/2019
Protesters listen to a speech outside of Electricity of Lebanon headquarters during ongoing anti-government protests in Beirut, Lebanon November 11. (Reuters)
Protesters listen to a speech outside of Electricity of Lebanon headquarters during ongoing anti-government protests in Beirut, Lebanon November 11. (Reuters)

The new thing in Lebanon is this young generation that is turning its back to continuing the existing regime, a regime that modified the terms of the Taif Agreement, diluted its content and applied it in the Syrian fashion first and then in the Iranian manner.

This regime proved to be unsustainable and unviable after it became obvious that it had no solutions to any of the country’s problems, being simply the extension of the militia-based regime of the civil war.

This new Lebanese generation refuses to get involved in a useless debate about who is responsible for leading the country to the brink financial collapse. Nevertheless, this generation can be regarded as a symbol of steadfastness in the face of everything the country has suffered since the signing of the ill-fated Cairo Agreement in 1969 and the ensuing tragedies, up to the horrendous current situation, when Hezbollah gets to decide whom the country’s new Christian president should be.

That same party also gets to impose an electoral law that would ensure that there wouldn’t be a possibility for forming a government with a homogenous task force and that would know what is going on in the world and how to protect Lebanon from US sanctions against Iran and its proxies.

It looks like this generation is more interested in solutions to the immediate problems in Lebanon, from eliminating unemployment to providing water and electricity, removing waste and dealing with corruption at all levels and a host of related issues.

This generation is seeking solutions through a simple natural approach: a neutral government focused on Lebanese concerns. It must be a government that is not dedicated to liberating nor is it concerned with restoring so-called Christians’ rights.”

It must be a government that rejects alliances that combine doing business with the issue of Jerusalem and investing in “resistance” and “rejection” slogans on the one hand and trafficking with the rights of Christians on the other, noting in passing that one cannot really blame the traffickers as much as the large number of Christians who believe they have rights that have been stolen from them.

Those rights, however, do not exist except in the sick minds of those who do not want to admit that those who drove large numbers of Christians to leave Lebanon in 1989 and 1990 were those who fabricated the so-called wars of “abolition” and “liberation,” which, in reality, were wars against Muslims and then against other Christians.

The young generation that embarked on a real revolution rejects the current political class. We don’t know what the outcome of this revolution will be but we know that it is real and that the Lebanese youth are saying “No” to sectarianism, factions and minority alliances and “Yes” there is a link between all Lebanese.

We know also this revolution can be temporarily suppressed but there is no way to stop it in the long run. The depth of this revolution is reflected in the slogans brandished by those who took to the streets. They were slogans that left all politicians on the sideline at a time when traditional leaders, from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah to Lebanese President Michel Aoun to numerous others, including most Sunni leaders, were living with the notion that nothing had changed in Lebanon.

However, a lot has changed in Lebanon. The Shia youth are no longer concerned with the “resistance” while their parents are tired of chanting empty slogans that mask their submission to Hezbollah and its will.

This was evident two months ago when Hezbollah announced it would strike inside Israel in retaliation for an Israeli raid on its elements in Syria. The response of people in southern Lebanon was to move to safer areas. Nobody wanted to “resist” and endure what they had experienced in the past. Those people remember the 2006 summer war and the scourge it brought to Lebanon, the Lebanese and the people of the southern Lebanon in particular.

The Lebanese youth surprised everyone despite efforts to cover up what is happening in southern Lebanon and of oppressing those who dared denounce corruption and name the “ghosts” who made it their profession to loot the state’s resources by all means possible.

Something new is gestating in the womb of the Lebanese youth revolution. What is lacking is not enthusiasm as much as the political project developed starting with a new government. This government must prove there are people in Lebanon who are truly qualified to regain the rights of the Lebanese citizens that have been hijacked by Iranian and Syrian calculations, by manoeuvring with Hezbollah and its weapons to reach the presidency and by playing on the rights of Christians.

Much will depend on the paradigm shift that will be achieved in the event of a new, inclusive government, one based on qualifications rather than loyalties. There is no shortage of qualified and successful people in Lebanon but, unfortunately, the country chose the worst type of ministers to run it at one of the most delicate stages in its modern history.

The time has come for the revolution to reach new heights and take realistic steps to leave the past decade and its ridiculous disasters behind. That was the time when the entire government would get bogged down in a dispute over a ministerial statement that would “displease” Hezbollah. The latter had become expert at pushing its “the people, the army and resistance” agenda so that it could keep its illegal weapons, which are merely the replacement of Palestinian weapons.

There are also challenges facing the Lebanese revolution and those who took to the streets demanding their most basic rights. The first is to identify realistic steps that are irreversible. The key here is a new government headed by someone who can deal with Arab and international powers that can affect Lebanon’s economy and prevent its collapse. There is a need for powers that can help Lebanon avoid falling victim to the US sanctions against Iran and Hezbollah.

Getting rid of the slogans of “liberating Jerusalem” and a joke called “the Christians’ rights” and replacing them with the rights of all Lebanese is a big step forward. The inevitable next step must involve the formation of a reasonably acceptable and homogeneous government in which there is no room for Lebanese Foreign Minister and President of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil and people like him.

Lebanon has entered a new phase, especially since it became clear there is no return to the recent past that forced the formation of a government such as the one that had resigned. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was aware of that and that a profound change had begun.

If this does not happen now, it will take place later stage. All those notions that have been considered Lebanese constants, including belonging to a community rather than belonging to Lebanon, are a thing of the past. So, we wonder if we will witness the birth of a new Lebanon or see its death at the hands of that shameful alliance between the “resistance” traffickers and “the Christian’s rights” traffickers.