Power-sharing arrangements have attempted to bridge the divisions in the two societies. The Good Friday Agreement and the Lebanese Constitution both aim to provide a form of democracy that protects the minority community from the majority — or, in the case of Lebanon, any of the 18 religious groups from each other.
The work of Khamissy, Hadla, and others fills a huge gap and is crucial for any form of genuine reconciliation and sustainable state-building in Lebanon, a fragmented country constantly on the brink. However, the country’s ruling class — its warlords and businessmen-turned-politicians and their cronies — aren’t too pleased.
Hezbollah’s leader is a master of ceremonies and narrative. The head of arguably the world’s most powerful nonstate militant group is blessed with an auteur’s sense of theatrics and spectacle. He exemplified the tenaciousness of the Lebanese and their exceptionalism, capable of achieving what the world bet they could not.
The hours felt endless. Hours “where you wonder why they took your documents, kept your mobile phone, and then you realize, only a few weeks later, that it is their way of controlling you. They got you, they can blackmail you, you are their merchandise.”
With Lebanon’s political class promising that untold riches were right around the corner, Hezbollah, apparently, did not wish to be the proverbial skunk at the garden party.
Chehab’s central idea – replace the missing sultanate with a modern nation-state and a government guided by the consent of the governed – remained fixed in the minds of his most fervent supporters. Yet even they found themselves either exiled or politically marginalized within Lebanon.
Many people were baffled when President Michel Aoun recently said at a press conference that Lebanon could be on its way to hell. I, too, was baffled. How can we be on our way to hell if we had already arrived months ago?