A Lebanese Abroad

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Paradigm Shift in the Opposition

After Aoun’s victory on Sunday, several newspaper headlines were getting it wrong in labeling the “opposition”:

  • ”Aoun success sets back main anti-Syrian opposition” (via AP)

  • “Switching General hurts Lebanon Opposition” (via AP)

  • “Lebanon Christians deal blow to anti-syrian coalition” (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • “Returning Lebanese General Stuns Anti-Syrian Alliance” (New York Times)

  • “The coming days look bleak for the opposition” ((The Daily Star)

  • Of course, these were all meant to highlight the defeat of the “former” anti-Syrian gang: the Kornet Chehwan gathering. But the reality is that the meaning of the word “opposition” is changing.

    Whereas the previous opposition was an opposition to Syria, the new opposition is an opposition to whoever is governing, in the classical sense. So, for now, Aoun appears to have become “the new opposition” to the status-quo, to corruption, to sectarian politics, etc., i.e. he is the real paradigm shift in Lebanon’s politics.

    Having a handful of previous Syrian cronies on his list doesn’t make him pro-Syrian. Aoun said last week: “I spent 15 years in exile, is it sensible that I strike a deal with a country that just left Lebanon and a regime that is falling apart. Does it make sense?” He astutely brought the last few remaining ex- pro-Syrian softies together so they don’t go stray and do more damage elsewhere; so he is controlling them now.

    It is also worthy to note that not all those that voted for Aoun and his list are FPM’ers; they were just patriotic and related to the man’s honesty and real patriotism. Let’s dispel this myth one more time: you don’t have to be a Free Patriotic Movement member to have voted for Aoun or to support him. This message also applies for the Northern voters.

    We owe Aoun a lot of respect because he is the only leader that was elected because of what he did and what he believes in, not because of who he is, where he came from or who his parents were.


    Blogger Charles Malik said...

    I agree. Anyone who claims the sectarian title for Aoun is mislead.
    I'm also glad that you point out the incredibly biased titles in the Western press. They all buy into Jumblatt's line.
    But, then again, it's hard not to. Even we Lebanese are having trouble figuring out what is what right now. What do the terms pro-Syrian and Opposition now mean?

    7:22 AM  
    Anonymous JoseyWales said...

    The stupid press will always give more credence to a non-christian (cuz he's "more" arab or exotic or other, I guess), especially if he is a socialist, yayy!!.

    It's the PC and cool thing to do, doncha know?

    9:12 AM  
    Blogger Raja said...


    Aoun's ideals are our ideals. The test for him is to politically "convert" the country to reflect the ideals he represents. Is what he is doing getting us closer to that reality? Or should he be using other political means? Is he going to continually position himself in situations where he's shooting on all sides?

    Whenever I criticize the man, it is over his politics - the politics he uses to (ultimately) get my ideals up to the Lebanese political podium. Ultimately, I wish both him and the Tayyar the best. However, if he continually stumbles I will continue to get frustrated because out of all the politicians in the country, he preaches to a choir that I belong to.

    10:18 AM  
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