3

Comments

Facebook

Twitter

Google

send


Hazem Saghiyeh

Another apartheid wall

Labor Minister Boutros Harb’s proposal has stirred up a storm whose thunder has been limited only by the larger storm related to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s indictment, the Syrian-Saudi initiative, and the expectation of this initiative’s results.

There is no way to beautify Harb’s proposal. For those who desire national unity, it divides the nation. For those who believe that the law is a universal concept that transcends sects, religions and communities, it contributes to the destruction of the law. For those who believe in a free market and economy, it undermines this freedom.

In a word, this is a bad proposal haunted by the anxiety of apartheid.

However, let us note also, without giving any justification to Boutros Harb’s proposal, that what he is proposing has already been implemented by others. Walid Jumblatt has done it for the “protection” of Druze properties and areas from “Shia expansion.” Michel Aoun and Hassan Nasrallah have also applied it: the latter has agreed to curb “Shia expansion” toward Christian properties in regions that support the former.  

Let us also note that Boutros Harb’s proposal comes in a climate of increasing Christian sectarianism inaugurated by Michel Aoun, who is a master at inciting, intimidating and fomenting impulses.

These clarifications lead us to say that all those mentioned above – and they are true representatives of wide groups of Lebanese – are currently swaying between sectarianism and racism. All Lebanese thus stand accused of refusing to live together. Every side, headed by its symbols and its politicians, expresses this fact in its own way, even though all of them unite in affirming the “desire for coexistence”!

Here there is no harm in two observations, made in passing but still of basic importance, regarding the Shia and the Christians - two observations which the members of these two sects would do well to consider carefully and contemplate their long-term consequences.

For the Shia sect, it is worrying that stopping “Shia expansion” is turning into a collective concern among the non-Shia, including Hezbollah’s political allies. For the Christian sect, it is worrying that a tendency is growing among them to react to sectarian fear with racial profiling.

What increases the worry for both of these sects’ members, and for the Lebanese in general – and for Lebanon itself – is the wide regional climate of banishing the other and forsaking tolerance. This is what we see not only in the crimes committed against Christians in Iraq and Egypt, but also in the growth of the Sunni-Shia struggle across the Islamic world, in the tumultuous conditions in Iraq, in the division of Sudan, and in the potential collapse of Yemen’s unity.

In other words, we are living in a region in which the infamous wall that Ariel Sharon built is only one of many. We should therefore expect such acts and statements from Jumblatt, Aoun, Nasrallah and Harb, and perhaps also from other politicians and leaders of public opinion who may gravitate toward this tendency.

This article is a translation of the original, which was posted on the NOW Arabic site on January 11.



  • previous student

    The propsed law is simply UNCONSTITUITIONAL

    January 22, 2011

  • Kheldar

    A very subjective article. For the Christian community of which I'm proud to be a part of, I find this proposal in my best interest. The Muslim communities are buying Christian land; the situation isn't acceptable. The Christian community has a choice: it's either the 'apartheid wall', or our near-extinction in the years to come. I choose the wall. We are under siege from Hezballah's expansion and Sunni radicalism. It is time for Christians to unite and implement measures which are in our interest.

    January 12, 2011

  • roalnd sarkis

    YES THERE IS A BIG PROBLEM IN LEBANON: CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS CAN NO MORE LIVE TOGETHER ! THE WAR SINCE 1975 HAS IMPLEMENTED THE DIVISION ALREADY PRESENT IN THE PEOPLE'S HEAD. SO LET'S DIVIDE THIS COUNTRY AND EVERYBODY WILL LIVE PEACEFULLY. THERE WES AND WILL NEVER BE A UNITED LEBANON. THE TERM UNITY IS A VEIL (AN ISLAMIC ONE).

    January 12, 2011