A Lebanese Abroad

Opinions from an opinionated Lebanese abroad about Lebanon's politics, business and the future of a United Lebanon.

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Sunday, July 31, 2005

South Lebanon vs. South Africa

In regards to the Lebanese SLA members still in exile in Israel, it’s interesting to note that when the Apartheid ended in South Africa, they set-up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a court-like process which basically decided whether to grant amnesty to those that committed crimes and tortures during that period on condition that they tell the whole truth, i.e. by fully disclosing what they knew and what they did in front of witnesses and families of the victims. Some were granted amnesty and some were not.

So, in defense of the ex-SLA members and in the spirit of complete and full reconciliation, I don’t see why Lebanon wouldn’t be able to adopt a conciliatory process to repatriate these Lebanese people to their homeland.

During the war, each group was acting according to their best convictions, namely that what they fought and believed in was the right thing. So, any and all groups are as guilty or innocent as the other, as long as the same rules apply to all.

Hezbullah’s arguments against the ex-SLA members do not hold water. These arguments may have some credence only under the assumption that peace with Israel will never be realized (something that Hezbullah would dearly like us all to believe).

But the reality is that peace will have to be negotiated and signed with Israel, sooner, as opposed to later. Therefore, why not apply the amnesty now, without prejudice?

Hezbullah wants their cake and they want to eat it too. They want Lebanon to be in a permanent state of war, therefore in a permanent state of risk, and hence be a less desirable place to attract foreign investment which is necessary for the economic prosperity of the country.

If there is any group that is currently holding Lebanon from real progress, it’s Hezbollah, their arms, their policy and their blackmailing the system. They are holding the (weak) Lebanese government hostage and playing Syria’s card which is- no peace with Israel til infinity. Syria’s recent statement about reviving the Beirut Saudi plan for peace is a pretty uninspiring starting point. Even the Saudis didn’t follow-up on it. It's a typical Syrian way of throwing mediocre arguments just to see if they'll stick.

16 Comments:

Blogger moka said...

We really need to get together as Lebanese and define what is Israel relative to Lebanon and what is our role as a nation in the region.

Are we still leading the Arab-Israel conflict trough HA? But what Arab-Israeli conflict? Morocco, Egypt, Jordan have signed peace treaties, Saudi (and soon Iraq) would do anything the US tells them to, Qatar has opened economic relations with Tel Aviv, the UAE have welcomed Israeli Ministers during the last IMF conference in Dubai...

So is it worth it to go against international resolutions and keep the resistence alive just to serve the Syria/Libya/Iran axis?

I'm not saying we should have a peace treaty with Israel, i'm just saying that HA must stop fighting a war that has no longer any meaning.

12:51 AM  
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Exactly. They are "fighting" an imaginary war, just to keep the spirit of the "resistance" going so they can keep controlling their masses.
Why not have a peace with Israel? What other choice do we have? Why should we let UAE continue to surpass us again economically?

3:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tottaly agree..... and the funny thing is that Aoun is the only one in Lebanon who is having the balls to speak about Hizbullah's disarmanent publicly. I can't help it but I am seeing my self inching closer to this guys policies and credibilty.


Sincerely,
Walid

11:36 AM  
Anonymous mic said...

Interesting how Hezbollah has become the devil. All our other politicians are anges struggling to improve Lebanon's reality, and are just held back by the satan known as HA. Such meaningless accusations show an understanding less than mediocre of the realities of lebanese and interregional politics. Your post started out being very interesting concerning a possible "theraputic" approach to the SLA ... but irrational attacks (that seemingly exonerate everyone else) against HA took away from the force. We seem to all be focusing on the SLA, when there are som many other pertinent issues assaulting Lebanon. If we bring the SLA back, will lebanon really improve? If we make peace with Israel, will Lebanon improve in ways that can't be sought in other methods. Peace with Israel will eventually be made, as all peace is, but it doesn't have to be know. There is to much hostility towards them from certain segments of the lebanese public (and not just HA) to make this necessary NOW. Let's focus on more important issues... once security, economic comfort, "happiness" of the people (to a certain extent) is achieved, we can then tackle the much more sensitive issues. Keep you eye on the goal.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Not only are they fighting an imaginary war with real consequences, but in addition, they are complaining about the lower economic status of the Shia community (understandable) while following policies that harm economy.


I want to add that you idea of a reconciliation tribunal is excellent.

10:50 PM  
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11:42 PM  
Blogger moka said...

Mic, you say:
"Let's focus on more important issues... once security, economic comfort, "happiness" of the people (to a certain extent) is achieved, we can then tackle the much more sensitive issues"

Now economic comfort (thus happiness) comes with local and foreign investments. Do u really think that the rich business man sitting in his penthouse in London/Manhattan watching the south on CNN or SkyNews getting fired up by HA's milicia or by Israel's army because some goat accidentally crossed the border, is going to add Lebanon as an investment option? Do you really think the local rich business will risk putting a large amount in his money, for him to be blackmailed by politicians wanting a part of the cake in the sake of the Arab/Israeli conflict?
Do you think the government is going to risk investing large amounts of money to build power plants, hospitals and schools in the south when they can be bombed any time by Israel because HA pissed them off?
We can't focus on those things first, because those things comes with stability. And when a single group decides on Lebanon's stability according to its moods, it's not a healthy sign.

Oh, and about security, how can Lebanon be secure with a fully organised milicia and fully loaded refugee camps not under the control of the government?

Don't escape the subject. HA must be disarmed. Look at the side-effects of HA's weapons: everyone is scared to talk about them, because logically, you cannot have a decent dialogue with someone who has a tank ready to point at you behid his shoulder. Aoun had the courage to talk about it, because he has lived far worse situations (in the days Syria attacked Baabda). Weapons no longer scare him. And we should thank him for bringing up the whole part on Lebanon's role in the Arab/Israel conflict.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous mic said...

Moka, I fail to see where I said HA should not be disarmed. And just so you know, a few years back, Lebanon was more tempting to investors than it is now, to economic temptations isn't as dependent on HA disarming as you make it out to seem. With a fair (relatively fair) and independent judicial system, with a effective and efficient government, the economy can be boosted.

And just one thing about Aoun: He has lived far worse times? What about the thousands of people that were killed because of his stubbornness in standing up to the syrians in a war that was known by all to be pointless. Let's not get started on Aoun and his courage...This post (and comments) were on HA.

The main point is that, if HA is fighting an imaginary war, there is a certain percentage (and this isn't an ignorable one) of the Lebanese people who support HA, even if it isn't direct support for their resistance. HA has created countless social ventures in the south, something that very few other political parties had done, and at a time when the government had almost completely ignored the south. You want to disarm HA? Don't attack them with vindictive and half backed cliches. Show the people of the south that the government is worth the trust.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous kadmous said...

Excellent assessment of the situation, and a fair and objective response to the SLA quagmire.

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