Loving Lebanon?

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The Kataeb party has been draping the highways in preparation for their annual event. The canvas reads: “Love Lebanon? Don’t Love Any Other”
But if the Kataeb loves Lebanon so much, why have they covered the essential highway exit signs? Is promoting the party more important than public safety?
Covering highway signs should be illegal, so what type of signal is the Kateab sending its supporters/foes? This is our highway and we can do whatever we want with it? Or the public’s right to driving safely and finding directions comes a distant second to self-promotion and propaganda?
Then there is the message. “Don’t Love Any Other”
What type of medieval rhetoric is that? Why would we not want to love others? This sounds like a very xenophobic discourse as pointed out by my friend Farah. Is the subtext hate Syria and the Syrians, hate Palestine and the Palestinians, she asks. 
Like many Lebanese parties the Kataeb was inspired by rightist/fascist/ultra-nationalist parties of Spain and Italy so Farah’s questions are not without merit. Like Many Lebanese movements, the Kateab was a militia during the civil war, accused of mass atrocities. Yet thanks to the post war amnesty law, the Kataeb and its rivals now function as legitimate political parties.   

The banners have been strung up over many overpasses along the coastal highway. This one says: “77 years in the service of Lebanon…”

And here it is again, just a few hundred meters up the road:

The Kateab is not alone. Virtually every party (former militia) in Lebanon is involved in laying siege to public space, including its rivals the FPM, The Lebanese Forces, The Future Movement, Amal, Hezbollah and the SSNP.   

It would be interesting to know what type of “service” these parties have provided to Lebanon. Any tally should include the number of rounds of savage shelling launched at towns and villages during the civil war, innocents killed or paralyzed and property destroyed as a result of their shelling as well as the appropriation of public space, public institutions and other financial sectors in the post war period. 
Judging by the way they treat highways, it may come as no surprise that most Lebanese political parties do not hold democratic elections and there’s close to zero transparency in their public proceedings.  
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7 comments
  1. This is in reference to Lebanese Sunnis and Shia fighting for Syria, Palestine, Kazakhistan, Somalia and sometimes Honolulu in the Pacific, but never have they fought for nor believed in Lebanon.

  2. Because the Kateab party leadership have never gone abroad to Washington or Doha and never love the “support” and “advice” they receive from those governments.

  3. Great point Habib, but I think it would have been better to see you approach in a national kind of sense. In the shouf and Aley areas you see the political of hezb el kawmi, erslan, and p.s.p. supporters. On the way to jnoub you see the hezbollah flags, in khaldeh we have Haraket Amal flags littering the highway…Point is, its everywhere we go. As a Lebanese national it’s weird because I don’t feel safe in any territory where the threat of a political parties past, and approach could land me in trouble because of where I come from. It’s as if our manners and education have nothing to do with who we are, just our sect. Lebanon should be the first country to abolish political propaganda, and even eliminate political parties themselves as they are the epicenter of all our problems. Lebanon is a one of a kind place with almost 18 different religious sects if I’m not mistaken. This definitely calls for a different type of government. With the current model we’re working with, it’s as if were basic mathematics to solve complex equations.

  4. I agree and sympathize. The only way to change things is to stop accepting, even if it means in conversations with friends or posting pictures on Facebook or simply not voting for these persons. As to your point on being inclusive in my criticism, you will notice in the third to last paragraph I have linked to a blog post I have written about almost every other party you speak of.

  5. Nowayyy!!!! Why do I always get stuck in traffic when I use those roads?? C’mon look at these pictures, you can actually see the asphalt!

  6. Yeah sure I am like that. But my issue is not that, it’s all the people who sit and tell you ‘Yes! Your right we are all equal’ then next day you see them at the voting booth. People need to realize that it’s no longer cool to vote but cool to hold a strong opinion that brings us all together instead of apart. And just like that someone might read this and agree then immediately go back to prejudices afterwards. It seems kind of hopeless..wtf r we supposed to do for this country

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