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. Someone I could be proud of, despite not agreeing with everything he did and stood for. But our heroes in the Arab world never last. Nasrallah is no exception.
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.”
The Memory Tree honors victims of the terrible famine that wiped out a third of the country's population a century ago. That same fickle, self-serving politics by Lebanon’s rulers has now plunged the country into a spiraling socioeconomic crisis, which is pushing people into hunger once again.
The Lebanese had managed to destroy their country in 1975 without Syrian help. Still, the Syrian occupation in Lebanon, a prolonged obscenity in itself, helped to thoroughly corrupt Lebanon’s institutions, public life, public servants, and ultimately all Lebanese, even as it shaped the fate of the country’s politics and factions.
Finding freedom, Maronites promptly feuded with each other — victims of neither empire nor Islam, but of themselves. For centuries, chieftains fought chieftains and factions fought factions.
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?