In Lebanon, sectarianism has a law

Hazem al-Amin
Hazem al-Amin
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More than half of the Lebanese deputies transferred an electoral draft law stipulating that Lebanese citizens vote for candidates of their own sect to the parliament’s general commission. Only Lebanese Jews were exempted as they were granted the right to vote for a candidate of any sect.

Hezbollah, the Amal Movement, the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb Party and the Aouni movement supported this draft law. The Future Movement and the Progressive Socialist Party, headed by Walid Jumblatt, objected to it.

My aim of repeating what happened last week is not to remind you or introduce my topic. The aim is to get our minds used to these facts because particularly even during the pinnacle of our civil wars, we did not dare reveal our concealed sectarian ambitions. We now must reveal our sentiments without tergiversation. Our sectarian maliciousness now has a law, or a draft law. If we had hidden something in our hearts, then here we are today completely free. We are like how we were born and our children will be like us. Shiites forever, Sunnis forever and Orthodox until Byzantium. It is quite a favor our little MPs did for us.

Lebanese citizens must not vote for he who has a different doctrine, not a sect, but a doctrine! This expression has a different echo since when we used to criticize ourselves before, saying: “the Lebanese are sectarian” or the “sectarian parties.” A sect here carries more meaning than doctrine. When we say the Muslim sects, we mean the Sunnis and the Shiites and we may add the Druze to them. When we say the Christian denomination, we mean the Maronites, Roman Catholics, Protestants and other Christian minorities. Today, it is all about the sects. I am the Shiite, son of a Shiite, a voter of the Shiite. Here I am with my entire sectarianism. No one can insult the purity of my identity or aspire to come close to me to request more than an accurately drawn smile on my green face.

It is not important to say that this racist draft law was a result of bargains so the parties supporting it win a few seats at parliament because they suffer from a sense of loss as a result of the Syrian regime falling apart. What is important is that we are no longer far from adopting the “Orthodox Gathering proposal” in Lebanon. More than 70 of the deputies we voted for pushed this draft law to parliament.

It is true that they also lie about their sectarianism. (Hassan Nasrallah said he preferred another law. Samir Geagea and Amin Gemayel were compelled to support it.) But they are sectarian too, and they hate us. These little sectarians whom we are the victims of their huge sectarianism hate us. They hate us so much they decided that we are forbidden to elect anyone other than them considering that those who are different from them will not run for elections under this law.

These filthy politicians who are not ashamed of their narrow sectarian faces and who approved this draft law said the Lebanese people want this law. They, despite the extent of their filthiness, are right in what they say. Our leaders captured a filthy moment concealing our eyes and sent it off to parliament to mark it as an eternal truth. You are Maronite forever, Maroun. And you, you Shiite standing by the seashore of Tyre, this petroleum coming from behind the Israeli frigate is yours and yours alone. As for you Sunni, you have the entire nation.

Don’t fear for us. It is just a maneuver. Speaker Nabih Berri will get a “rabbit” out of his pocket and everyone will accept it. This is what one of the MPs who voted in support of the “Orthodox proposal” literally said. What happened is thus a rehearsal for another law. But this rehearsal’s “electrified” charge did its job in placing us in the spirit of this law. Truth is the Christians today want this law while the Sunnis don’t (of course for sectarian reasons.) The Shiites are opportunity hunters and they are not interested in performing a task other than the one they were assigned for. In the shadow of this rehearsal, this is situation of the Lebanese people.

Our situation was not as such before the Orthodox proposal despite what they say. We were sectarian. But we were enlisted in junction contexts where some are sectarian and some are Lebanese. In addition, when we, the sectarian people, fell in love of a woman or a man from a different sect, we sought to find a settlement between our love and our old feeling of the heaviness of our identity. But today, after this rehearsal, this struggle has no horizon anymore. We conducted the necessary practice for the fixed to win over the unforeseen and for the old to win over the new. Besides, there are many beautiful women in our sect. We can choose more beautiful women than those from another sect. Isn’t it so General of change and reform and Sayyed of the Resistance and the Shiite sect?

The Jews in Lebanon were punished as they were allowed to vote to whoever they want. It is the “Lebanese non-Semitism” aiming to terminate what is left of this sect in Lebanon. My grandma used to tell me: “general injustice is general justice.” Therefore, the Lebanese Jews are not included in the justice of the Orthodox law. This is an aspect to use in challenging the law since the Lebanese constitution guarantees equality for citizens before the law. Since we consider that this law treated us fairly be preventing people from a different sect to participate in voting with us for our deputies, then a single Jewish person can present a request to constitutionally challenge this law and he will win at the Constitutional Court because the law did not treat him equally with people from different sects.

The power of the Orthodox law lies in the support of the Resistance power – which few days ago began its war in the Syrian area of Qusayr. The few Lebanese Jews will not dare challenge the Resistance’s law. So, what dictated the parliamentary majority to propose this law is linked to the essence of struggle with Israel. It is linked to what is being formed in the shadow of the tottering of the resistant regime in Syria.

Strugglers, head towards further entrenchment. It is okay to borrow masks again as they are no more than a rehearsal in which we pre-empt the possibility of a defeat heading towards us from beyond borders.

This article was first published in al-Hayat on Feb. 24, 2013.

Hazem al-Amin is a Lebanese writer and journalist at al-Hayat. He was a field reporter for the newspaper, and covered wars in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza. He specialized in reporting on Islamists in Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, Kurdistan and Pakistan, and on Muslim affairs in Europe. He has been described by regional media outlets as one of Lebanon’s most intelligent observers of Arab and Lebanese politics.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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