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Sunday, May 08, 2005 

Napolaoun returns

Lebanese General*/Prime Minister*/President* (*depending on his mood) Michael Aoun has returned to Beirut. I've come to save you, it's ok now - let's continue where we left off 15 years ago: "Today is a day for joy, a day for jubilation. I'm back."

Now, where exactly did we leave off 15 years ago. Ah yes, he extended the Civil War by a year, prolonging the suffering of Lebanon. Aoun was installed as interim Prime Minister in 1988 to help work towards elections. But as a supporter of democracy, he ignored the elections, insisted that he should stay on as PM and exploited his position to help his military campaign. And this is the man who might run for office this month.

Even after a new PM was elected, he still didn't accept that he should step down, so he set up the the 'alternative Presidential Palace' - Lebanon had two Presidents. Some say the Civil War would have ended a year earlier if he had not persisted - his extra year of war was the bloodiest since the war began in 1975.

A year before he fled the country in his pyjamas, the rest of Lebanon had said enough - they agreed to stop fighting, and all elements of Lebanese society eventually signed up to the Taef Peace Accords - except, that is, our friend Michel Aoun.

Some of his biggest enemies are in the Christian community. They believe he sacrificed them for his personal ambition, and left them divided and in a weaker political position coming out of the war.

When he arrived back in Lebanon yesterday he was driven to Martyrs' Square to speak to a packed audience. Except that nearly all of the protesters took their camps down a week ago. Only Aoun's FPM party was left standing.

He has promised to fight corruption (oh, there's that word fight again) even though he was convicted of embezzling state funds.

"I am the grandfather, the father and the son of the opposition" he proclaimed. That's interesting. I'd say the grandfathers of the opposition are the hundred and fifty thousand people who died at the hands of warlords like him, the millions who've painstakingly rebuilt Lebanese society, the people of the camps and slums and prisons who fought an Israeli occupation, and Syrian military presence. Was Aoun, with his baguettes and his panoramic apartment overlooking the Sienne really the inspiration for Lebanon's opposition?

Aoun with his civil war mentality, who hasn't witnessed Lebanon's revitilisation, reconcilliation and rebirth, will do whatever it takes to finally make something of himself. Even if that means trampling over the bones of the man who rebuilt Lebanon: Rafiq Al-Hariri. Aoun really is the anti-Hariri.

Robert Fisk: "Life in [Aoun's "liberated"] East Beirut was becoming more like life in Baghdad than a 'free' Lebanon."

I really like uyour blog..good post!

Hi please check this and smile!!!!

shut the f*ck up, syrian trash. you think you know what shame is (because of sucking Lebanon's blood all these years), well that was nothing compared to the shame bashar has from leaving with his tail between his legs, and the generals and lahoud who are following.

and remove "Lebanon" from the tagline of your front page, it's either Syria, which means trash, or not.

Georges Chahine

Didn't you know? Lebanese are the most civilized people and you can see it clearly :)


It's people like you that make the world a shitty place to live in.

It's people who lack understanding, respect for others, and appreciation of different opinions and cultures that cause hatred, violence, and war.

You are no better than all the snakes of the world.

Sasa, Your blog is great! Don't listen to this ignorant fool.

I am not sure if you are Syrian or you lived enough in Syria to be brainwashed with ideas like this. Before you even criticize Genral Aoun, please start by Syria. Syria is in big trouble: socially, economically and politically. Just Leave the Lebanese deal with their problems, and focus on Syria. Personaly, I like the Syrian people, many of them are my friends. I know the stereotype in Lebanon is that the Syrians are oly the workers, but I know that the Syrians are civilized people and most of them are educated. I am only saying that to make the poitn that they too need to start the democratization process of their country. If you have nay doubt that the Assad family has put Syria 100 years behind, please don't continue reading my comments. But if you belive in this, you can start with your fellow Syrians to change Syria. Why am I saying this? A prosperous and democratic Syria is vital for the survival of a democratic Lebanon. Churchil once said: "Democracy might not be the best political system, but it is the best one available". We, in the Arab world, are so behind. We need to start building our nations as soon as possible, time is not on our side, so just leave Lebanon alone, participate in building a democratic Syria.

Everyone in there world has the right to express there thoughts on both Lebanon and Syria. If you don't like it, don't read it!

Good job nisrin.Lebanese they will never see truth.
They blaim others instead of bliming their stupid leaders.
Money money money ou bass

Are Lebabese Arabs or something else!

You're just as bad as the other guy.

You are basically saying all Lebanese are like him/her.

You are 100% right about the fact that everyone has the right to express his/her opinion. But not everybody needs to agree with you. That is the main reason for the comments part of the Blog. And Sasa put it on his Blog that he welcomes any comments. I am also sure that he won't close his Blog because somebody didn't agree with him.
Now for the Syrians who can't understand the hatered that the Lebanese have against the Syrian government (definitely not the Syrian people), they should have lived in Lebanon during the Syrian occupation. They can still now visit Anjar, Beau Rivage and other places that the Syrian secret sevice used to occupy.
As for the "anonymous" asking if the Lebanese are Arabs? of course they are. Not only they are Arabs, they are the leaders in the Arab "renaissance". All you have to do is to read some of the Lebanese authors like Gibran, Mikhael Nheimeh, Amin el rihani, Fouad el Boustani, etc. You can read also for political writers as Kamal El Hajj. Unfortunately because of the war, that we blame ourselves for doing it, the renaissance has stopped. Now that we are starting our democratic journey, hope it will start again. You can also tell that we have more than 15 arabic newspaper, opposition and pro-government. A healthy sign of recovery. Hopefully, MTV (a station shut down because of its Anti-syrian occupation policy)will start broadcast again. This is democracy, everybody can express their opinion "peacefully". And I wish the Syrian people the best and hope one day they will get rid of the dictatorship and start building a democratic prosperous country.

I never said anyone had to agree with me. I'm just saying people can state their opinions without having to use words like, "syrian trash."

I only left Lebanon 4 years ago. I am an AUB graduate and my Dean was Syrian. So please give me break here. By the way when did you leave Syria? because I have a Syrian friend here and he shares with me the ideas I am telling you about. He aslo left Syria 4 years ago. Of course he is troubled with the Anti-Syrian feeling but he understands why. How long did you live in Syria. I don't want to be indiscrete but are you related to the Assad's regime? and with all honesty do you think Syria is on the right track?

You are 100% right. the word "trash" is unapropriate. Not to defend him ot her, but maybe he/she was forcely invited to one of the old "Moukhabarat" places. But still it is unapropriate.

Hey calm down Syrians and Lebanese are neighbors they speek same language and they have same culture.
Take it as Humor....
Bloging is an open window cool ya 2awlad!
After posting have next to you a coa cola 4 bad coments.:)

Dear Mr Chahine
As a European navigating through blogs I would like to point something! Please go through leb blogs and fight and blaim your own leaders. You are more educated than Syrians you have more money than Syrians and you have much more generals. Now you have to make elections and Real Elections.
Your turn to show the world that you have Democtracy and No Religiocracy !
Sory Nisrin.and Thank you .
Very nice blog!

Thanks to everyone who has commented. To everyone who has said I need to be critical of Syria, you should read some more of my posts, I think the Syrian government is in desperate need of change. And yes, we have a lot to learn from Lebanon. I love Lebanon, its prosperity and its people. What an incredible nation it is to have rebuilt itself from nothing.

My criticism is of Aoun, not of the Lebanese opposition. Nothing would make me more happy than to see the resignation of Emile Lahoud.

But to truly deal with the legacy of the war, Lebanon has to acknowledge the blood on the hands of men like Aoun. Aoun does not represent the opposition, he represents himself. How arrogant of him to walk back in to Beirut after the Lebanese finished their fight with each other, with Israel and with Syria and then to hail himself as the grandfather of the opposition.

Lebanon and Syria are the cultural giants of the Arab world. We, in Syria, need economic regeneration, and Lebanon is a great model to have. But just like Lebanese who say you aren't Lebanese don't talk about our country - I say to you, don't tell us we need regime change, or we need to be more like your political system. We have a young modernising, passionate leader, and in time we will scrape out the dead wood who've been hanging around since the 1960s. There are already pressures for change at the low levels of the Ba'ath Party, and that wont stop.

But there's also a lot that's great. We have religious and social freedom, the cost of living is a lot less than Lebanon, and most of all we've had peace longer than any other Arab nation, and that's something we're going to jealously guard. And that's why people like Aoun are an anacronism to me.

i'm posting from my mobile phone, so bear with my unsophisticated sentences.

I've been to Syria, Damascus once and the cab driver advised me to take my hand off from behind my fiancee's shoulder (because they're watching, he said), so there goes your "social freedom".

never going back obviously, and would never have in the first place if a stamp on my passport was mandatory (don't want other nations to know i've been there, i still need to travel).

now, the reasons for my hostility:

- aoun's motive in 1989 was to wipe out the Syrians. so your opinion, with all due respect, will not matter much to this Lebanese. he's back with the same motive, but don't worry, if he really was capable of it, your young passionate leader would have crashed his plane, burried it, and then some, long ago.

- reason number 2: anyone giving opinions about Lebanon, with a picture of bashar on his wall, should talk about assassination and oppression, economical and political abuse, and only after that will we hear what he comes up with, with all his three brain cells.

- you're lucky that your desert has nothing interesting for the greedy western world, otherwise you'd be serving that world long ago because you gave enough reasons for them to iron it out, more so than the others. but unfortunately Syria makes Iraq and Iran look like wonderworlds.

- finally, I cannot ask you to be non-patriotic and not to love your country. but you're very unlucky and blindfolded. Syria's survival depends on sucking Lebanon's blood, and your kind leader is bombing his way back. the future will tell whether your leader is dumb (by letting Lebanon slip away, thus forcing him to face his own nation's problems, unemployment and others, for the first time in his life, or it's all part of a scheme where they will be back more strongly, and less visibly. they knew the world was going to react when they blew our ex-PM on February 14.

- so Syria has the internet? no spying and beating up?

I'm off for the night.

Georges Chahine

Yes Georges, Syria has the internet! And yes Georges, I do have three brain cells - it's not just Lebanese who have more, believe it or not, we are the same race. One thing you'll have to learn is that love for your country does not mean hatred for everyone else.

If you had read my posts, you would have read my criticisms of Syria, just as you request. I am against all "assasination, opression, economic and political abuse" and that is why I am against Aoun. If you know anything about Lebanese history and deny that he profitted from murder then you are as bad as the opressors.

Sasa, thank you for a great post and a great blog.

To everybody who does not agree with what Sasa says, you can voice your disagreement but don't use the stupid logic of "if you are Syrian, talk about what's going on in Syria first". Lebanese politics have direct effects on Syria, and when you criticize Lebanese politicians, it does not mean that you love their Syrian counterparts!

The Syrian government made a lot of horrible things in Lebanon and in Syria itself. I do hope that reform in Syria will not bring us politicians with blood on their hands, will not make us chose our leaders from a bunch of warmongers and militia leaders, who were involved in sectarian massacres, killings and assassinations!

Mr. Chahine, be reminded that your grandparents belonged to this "desert" when there was no Lebanon on the map.

3ashat Souria wa 3asha Lubnan.


why do you lie

i know how do you think and thats an't you


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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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