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Sunday, February 20, 2005 

Calm Down

Since the murder of Rafiq al-Hariri, the anti-Syrian movement in Lebanon has started to straddle the traditional secular divisions. Its uniting the un-unitable.

We've seen the Hariri family joining forces with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, and Maronite groups. The church bells tolled as Hariri's funeral procession moved towards the Mosque where he was to be buried.



But its also uniting the Lebanese in support of the unprecidented stability they've enjoyed over the last 15 years.

Nabih Berri, speaker of the Parliament and the most prominent Shia politician has called for an "open and unconditional national dialogue" based on Taif.

Taif was the agreement which ended the devistating Civil War by bringing together all elements of Lebanese society.

And its important that those words came from the mouth of Nabih Berri, because the Shia represent the biggest chunk of Lebanon's population.

He's agreed to meet opposition leaders on Monday to discuss their demands. In another good sign, the government's agreed to co-operate with a UN investigation into Hariri's death. They'd previously rejected opposition calls for an international probe.

But the calls for peace and unity come from across traditional religious divides.

In his Sunday Sermon, the Christian Patriarch, Mar Nasrallah Sfir, says that the anti-Syria rhetoric shouldn't be taken too far. It's good if it provokes debate. But not if it allows personal agendas to shine.

As Shia group Hizbollah aptly said - "God forbid, if the roof collapses, it collapses on all of us" (Hassan Nasrallah).

Thanks for this great blog. Thanks for publishing the news and analysis from the ordinary Arab perspective.

Keep up the good work

Thanks for your kind words. I'm just trying to sum up Syria to people who don't understand. There's been a lot of politics lately, obviously, but I'll bring in all types of news. Let me know what you want. And who are you?!

Got your link from the damascene blog...

This what I wrote on some Iraqi website, where some people vying for syrian blood.

"It really does not matter who killed Alhariri, at the end of the day the Syrians will be blamed for it, even if they had Ghandi like figure ruling them, and they are a democratic utopia everyone strives for… The Lebanese have institutional hate/racism towards Syrians, not just against the system of government, but against ordinary people as well. This goes back to the fact that at the creation of Lebanon, Syrian territories were annexed by the French and given to Lebanon to make it more of a viable state, and that was done against the will of the people living in those territories, who wanted to stay with Syria. For the Lebanese elite to keep their new acquired land, they had to go on a hate Syria campaign, to change the attitudes of the people who have recently joined them. Having said that, it does not mean Syria is innocent; they have their own faults, which made the hate/racism even worse, but the Lebanese are no angels as well.
Lebanon as a country had problems always, whether Syria was involved or not. They were on the brink of civil war at least once before 1975. The system they have now is inherently flawed, and every few years there is some kind of political crisis, resulting in private militias getting wheeled out and the power of the state getting usurped in the process.
Syria should pack and leave now, disassociating itself from Lebanon in one clean sweep. I’m sure the Lebanese will find a way to butcher themselves later on."

On syrian conscript soldier serving in lebanon...yiswa kul libnan.

Do I understand it right that you are a Syrian soldier serving in Lebanon?

I don't think its fair to call all Lebanese inherently racist. Maybe you, as a soldier in Lebanon, are the one who unfortunately feels the brunt of their current anger.

The Lebanese are an incredible and resiliant people. I feel their pain, and how they are being manipulated.

Lebanon is made up of minorities - thats quite unique in the world. Even the biggest group (the Shia) are only about 40%. That means there's a lot of potential for conflict. But the Taif agreement, even though its not perfect, does a great job in giving everyone a share in their country.

After all - that's what they were fighting for wasn't it?

Its true the Lebanese have been in some kind of civil war since the French created their country! But the peace they've enjoyed for the last fifteen years will last for many years to come.

Too many Lebanese have suffered at the hands of violence, and I don't think anyone - the elites or the ordinary people - will go back to that for a generation.

No I'm Iraqi living in the UK.

One other thing...they might be resilient... but it does not stop them from being rasict towards Syrians.. It is quite unfortunate, but i have seen it first hand. It was not justified, unwarrented, and uncalled for.

Regards

marhaba sasa,

I posted earlier anonymounly. I'm from Damascus but living/studying abroad.

Thanks again for your blog. Everything you have written is excellent. I was looking for websites/blogs that give me a chance to see what is going on Damascus and Syrian society, a window on my homeland, something like an online "maraya" (you know that tv show by Yasser AlAzmeh).

your webblog and the Damascene blog are just great.

I can't thank you enough ;-)

You can have a look at my website:
www.geocities.com/safahat_chamiyeh

Thank you Amr. I'm glad if the blog helps you in any way. It made me really happy that you value it, and I hope you'll keep reading, and commenting! Where are you studying?

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  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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