Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Talking to @Bee or: I drink my water out of a Hezbollah coffee mug

My latest blog post has had mixed reactions. Some thought the story on the relationship of me not having electricity in Lebanon and the Iranians being under pressure from the US to surrender their nuclear program was a great read. Others contacted me, saying that my description of the political situation in Lebanon was "too Western", in the same style as Western journalists write about the Middle East. One particular discussion I had was with, well, let's call her @Bee, since she is very busy on Twitter, like a bee.

@Bee got back to me with the following comments: 

So Hezbollah is to blame for all the shit that's happening in Lebanon, ha?I disagree with a lot of what you wrote in that post...
" the so called March 14 block, is under influence and pressure from the Western international community " I mean come on!
The US and Israel is not exactly a "Western international community"

to which I ressorted to Twitlonger to give @Bee (or myself?) the honour of a extensive reply: 

@Bee hey - thanks for reading and commenting my blog post - you're tough on your writers - LOL
1) the goal of my post was to show how big politics affects the average person, in Lebanon more so than in Europe where I usually live. I have maybe missed or achieved this goal, depending on the reader.
2) I don't blame Hezbollah for everything that goes wrong in Lebanon. I admire their resilience, their force vis à vis Israel. But I also think that they have problems to make the transition from resistance movement to political party, like many other groups of this kind in the world. On the other hand, the Israeli aggression is still there, so the transition cannot take place immediately. Of course the Israeli play with this fact, and they keep the pressure up to keep Lebanon in internal "shake up". Their tactic (also regarding Palestine): Prevailing under chaos. 
3) "Western international community" was maybe not the best description I ever made. What I meant to say is that US, France, EU in general, want the STL to go ahead almost at any cost (for Lebanon) and Hariri / March 14 have a hard time to balance this pressure and the needs to keep the Lebanese boat as steady as possbile. Of course the US and Israel try to take advantage of the STL to further their political agenda in Lebanon (as do the Saudis and Syria). Coming from Israel I can understand it (they don't know any better), but coming from US / EU I have a hard time to understand it. Their disregard of the Lebanese internal situation makes them a tool (again) of Israeli interests.
4) Basically I believe (you might disagree) that Israel didn't kill Hariri (although they didn't mind his being killed, since this was adding fuel to the internal Lebanese fire), that there was a Syrian hand in it and that we will never know the full truth.
5) and I further believe that in order to have progress in Middle East all concerned / influential parties must be at the table, including Hamas and Hezbollah. I will never understand why the US is not pursuing this approach with more strength (since it is "negotiation course lesson no 1", everything else is bound to fail before it starts. [well of course I do understand - blinded by the overwhelming love of Israel]).
6) another basic belief of mine: Israel's time is slowly up - the 2006 war was the turning point. 
7) oops, this was maybe a bit too long - hope you are doing fine in Beedonia - see you.

I was happy to learn that @Bee had actually read my reply, since she came back the following day with comments on my comments:

i agree with most of what you said. I too believe that Hezbollah sucks in leb politics; my only support is for resistance
To me, to have any sort of progress in the ME is by destroying Israel; i dont believe in negotiations
i dont see why you differentiate between Israel and the US/EU

Hezbollah shop: selling coffee mugs

I like this kind of discussions, so again I hit Twitlonger and went into the "1, 2, 3 - mode":

@Bee hey thanks for your reply; there is common ground in sight - LOL (sorry my reader if I "LOL" too much).
1) Why do I differentiate between Israel and US/EU? Because they have different approaches towards Lebanon. The US/EU approach is by diplomacy, if this is today's polictically correct name for excercising pressure, while Israel's approach is by military and intelligence (and diplomacy by having it outsourced to the US State Department...). Very clearly both approaches have a common goal: to create a stable security environment for Israel, everything else has second priority.
2) of course if you destroy Israel, there is no more need for negotiations, but picking up the pieces that are left will be a tough job. The existence of Israel is a undeniable fact, there is no way around that, they're not going away. You won't change in a week what you couldn't change in 60 years. So the idea is to live with it and settle for the best available solution. Unfortunately for their neighbours, Israel doesn't recognize at all that its presence constitues a problem in the Middle Eastern house. Their stance is: the entire region could go up in flames, if only their project survives. A concept that is too damned biblical.
3) What worries me most in Middle East is that every actor needs the near-war situation to justify its existence and its politics. Hezbollah needs the Israeli threat to resist to it, to be a resistance movement. That threat goes away, they don't know what to do. Israel needs its neighbours to be hostile, so they can concentrate an military and security policy. The neighbours offering and making peace means Israel has to turn to internal politics where they have a big bunch of unanswered and unsolved questions, with a civil war luring behind every synagogue. Mubarak in Egypt needs the situation and the Islamists to sell his never ending emergency rule in Washington, Assad in Damascus rows in the same boat. Hamas in Gaza is not even happy when an aid convoy breaks the siege of Gaza. And Fatah? Well, the enjoy the benefits of "corruption by occupation" and hope it will never end. There is a big system of warlords ruling over the Middle East, a devilish circle of war and half peaces that sustains the current regimes and averts all attempts of change. 
4) Kind of funny but it's already the second time that I had to clarify my position vis à vis Hezbollah. The first time was a few months ago when I got hit on Twitter for deploring that being called a traitor and agent of Israel when you defend (at least the idea of) the Hariri tribunal was not right. As a reaction, I then posted "Untouchable! Criticism and Resistance in Times of Social Media" on my blog.
5) Why funny? Because in my office I drink my water out of a (yellow-green coloured, what else?) Hezbollah coffee mug! Shouldn't that be proof enough for my unwavering loyality to their cause? Or is it just me playing the rebel in MY secure environment?
6) sorry for being a bit long again

@Bee was not impressed, or was she? Anyway, her answer struck me as being stoic:

I couldn't help thinking while i read what you wrote: who is this guy/gal?

Me: @Bee Well, you got me thinking here myself! 

Was I teaching too much? Didn't I preach enough? I might never know, but it's not for me to judge, it's for Bee and the readers to decide. Until judgement day, let's distract ourselves with some James Blood Ulmer: Jazz is the Teacher Funk is the Preacher. This could help!