It was not long time ago when I declared the death of the political peaceful argument of March 14. Now, I can ‘safely’ declare the near-completion of their combating formations. All what you need to do to know this, is to watch the festival that took place yesterday by the Lebanese Forces in commemoration of the 30th anniversary election of Bashir Gemayel as a President.
I was gobsmacked to watch a ‘Lebanese Resistance Anthems Concert’ (on MTV) glorifying the military past of the Lebanese Forces and Bashir Gemayel – after all their current talk about the peaceful resistance and building the state. Although it didn’t look very odd with the current chaotic mood and high sectarian tensions in the country. It did actually blend well in that scene…
The festival featured old videos for Bashir relaying his ideology including ‘defending Christians with what it takes’. These shows are not new, but this theme was so intensively repetitive yesterday that it seemed the whole purpose was to mobilise the audience on site and on TV. Distribution some AK47s and M16s at the end was only missing from this festive event.
The played songs repeatedly glorified ‘victory’, ‘fighters’ and ‘battle field’. Victory on who? Which fighters? And what battle field? The whole thing felt so much like 1982.
March 14 Sunni figures like Nouhad Al-Machnouk and Tammam Salam looked in dismay when the whole audience went on their feet to cheer for a song of ‘the glory of the machine gun’. They were not enthusiastically clapping like the rest of the front row and the whole place. Many MTV staff were also spotted in the back rows joining the cheering crowd. Faris and his brother Adel Karam, Walid Abboud and Denise Rahmeh Fakhri were there and probably lost their voice.
War anthems for Ashrafiyeh and Zahleh had their presence also! It was a bit strange from a old/new party who was supposed to be addressing the wider Christian or Lebanese audience.
Flags of commandos and combating divisions of old Lebanese Forces militia were placed on stage while some others being present among the crowd. Lots of old photos of the fighting militias were portrayed, again with no obvious reason than to remind us of the militia history of Bashir Gemayal rather than him as a man of a state, or the supposed peaceful message of March 14. Some photos were probably taken from his battles with the state Lebanese Army and other Christian Factions, and not during any resistance work.
The whole event seemed a big detachment of the Lebanese Forces from the March 14, and a return to their military history, their comfort zone. There was a clear message of sectarian mobilisation to get ready to a new phase of Lebanon’s future, a new war.
The event looked very similar to the Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah who is continuously criticised by March 14 for his totalitarian attitude to preaching violence. March 14 has been telling us for the past seven years badna n3eech (we want to live), but that was not the message yesterday.
The Lebanese Forces propaganda was in full swing yesterday declaring the Maronites are ready for the fight, after the Sunni and Shia did so when they flexed their actual fighting muscles in Tripoli – now – and in Beirut – in 2008 – respectively. Who’s next, the Druze? And when is the next fighting round? It does not look to be far away.
I am not talking here about the history of the war itself, but on how some are now helping to revive it. At these time, don’t we want to tone down these events? All events. Where are you Darwin? We are always negating you. We don’t seem to be evolving.
NB: All below photos are screenshots from MTV show except the first one, which was tweeted by LeNajib (criticising it). Obviously, some people within Kataeb and their part of Lebanon are publicly advocating the formation of a Christian militia. They really miss their past.