Well, it isn’t actually a front. Not yet anyway, but it is beginging to feel like it….
Well, it happened. Just like i said it would. The big movement of the Hizbollah and other parties to topple the government started last Friday and is still ongoing. It included a big demonstration and then a big sit-in.
The security forces(which are under the command of the anti-Syrian camp) estimated the crowds to be a few hundred thousand. Just by looking at the crowds and by knowing the area where they were at, i would estimate it at over a million people. The current ruling anti-Syrian camp would of course never acknowledge that. Because if they did, one would be able to deduce that we have a huge rift in the country.
You see, Lebanon is made up of about 4 million people. There is no official census since the French were here and thus these numbers are just estimates. During the war, any attempt at doing a census, or even introducing computers to some of the governmental agencies that deal with people’s welfare such as the national social security agency , would be immediately stopped by the maronite president since it could show the true composition in Lebanon and would clearly reveal its demographics. And thus, with those demographics revealed, some people would start questioning the fairness of the Taif agreement that stopped the civil war by dividing the power among the warring parties and warlords. And so we got to have a maronite Chrisitan president, a Sunni Muslim prime minister, a Shia Muslim speaker of the house and a Druze chief of staff.
In the last 20 years, the demographics have changed. Now the Shia Muslims make up the biggest group in the country and the people within this group overwhelmingly support Hizbollah and Amal parties(Hizbollah being the larger, in fact the largest). So what do you get when Hizbollah and Amal call to a big civil movement to topple the current government? You get a coalition of anti-Syrian politicians that have the support of about 1.5 million people and are in control of the government, against a coalition of pro-Syrian politicians that have the support of 1.something million people. So what do you get when you get when you put 1.5 million people with another 1.something million people in a small pan and then pour some boiling water on top of them? Yup, that’s right. A big rift, a lot of boiled people, a politically-charged alphabet soup, and maybe even a civil war.
The problem? Well, the current ruling majority which controls the parliament and thus controls the government actually had an alliance with Hizbollah during the elections. And so wouldn’t have achieved the majority status if it weren’t for Hizbollah supporters voting for some of them. The current ruling majority knew that at the time(again because of the country’s demographics) and so promised Hizbollah to stick with them against all the upcoming international pressure to disarm. To those of you who are still reading and are just starting to smell a rat(in fact a stinkin’ rat), you are completely right.
So, mix all of the above with a lot of international pressure and promises and with several countries funneling money and weapons to the country and toss them all together with some vague conspiracy theories that are way too subjective for me to discuss. You get the state that we have reached. It is in fact starting to get a bit dangerous to go out at night.
Why? Well, it seems that some people just want to cause trouble. And so every night we hear about a group of guys going to another area(for example Shias going to Sunni areas or vice versa) and just causing trouble like breaking the windows of cars and throwing rocks at people(this mostly results in a few people injured and so far one dead). Most of these people are being pursued by the army which is spread out inside the city now with APCs around every corner. Mostly an all-out fighting has not erupted yet because the Hizbollah are immediately stopping such individuals and surrendering them to the army with the other side also doing the same.
So what we have now is the Hizbollah(Shia Muslim), Amal(Shia Muslim), General Aoun(Christian mixed) supporters along with a few other smaller parties facing the Future movement(Sunni Muslim), the Kataa’eb and Lebanese Forces(Chrsitian mixed) and the Progressive Socialist Party(Druze) along with a few other parties. Right now we are in the quarter finals, stay tuned for the elimination matches and the semi-final matches.
My take on all of this? Well, i don’t know yet. You see, i only tend to listen to the people who can make decisions. Which means Hassan Nasrallah for Hizbollah and Saad Hariri for Future movement(along with Samir Gaga for Lebanese Forces and Walid Jumblat for PSP). When these people talk, i listen. When they start swearing at each other, i start to worry. Meanwhile, the remaining people are just grunts for these so-called leaders. We see them every single hour on TV shouting and swearing and threatening. We also see a bunch of people sitting-in and demonstrating and also sometimes trying to do something crazy such as storming the prime-ministerial office. And just to keep up with the action, we have the Manar TV channel(Hizbollah funded) and the Future TV channel(Future movement funded) organizing smear campaigns and cussing matches at each other.
So what am i doing in the meantime? I am trying to wait it out and ride the wave just like all the other people who think that such things are stupid and that some people just don’t appreciate the consequences of their actions. When i start hearing bullets flying, i will either join the fight(i am druze after all) or flee. So in case you don’t hear from me, look me up on CNN or aljazeera(they have it in english now)… I would be the one telling stories from the front…
P.S. Keep those comments coming, i always feel encouraged to write when i see that some people are interested in reading about all of this.