Across the Bay

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Ajami on Hariri, Lebanon and Syria

Fouad Ajami has a nice piece in the WSJ, that serves as an eloquent historical review of Lebanon's tragic history with its neighbor. Ajami rightly places Hariri's assassination in that context, and the Syrian record of political assassination of defiant Lebanese figures (as did Ghassan Tueni and Michael Young).

Ajami articulated my own sentiments which I expressed in my comment on Michael's latest op-ed (see right below):

    Lebanon (my birthplace, I should add) may never have been as pretty as its tales. It may never have been the "Paris of the Mediterranean," and its modernism may have been skin-deep at times. But it was and remains a vibrant Arab country of open ways, a place for refugees and dissidents, a country where Arab modernity made a stand, and where Christians and Muslims built a culture of relative compromise.

    There is talk nowadays of spreading liberty to Arab lands, changing the ways of the Arabs, putting an end to regimes that harbor terror. The restoration of Lebanon's sovereignty ought to be one way for the Arabs to break with the culture of dictators and police states, and with the time of the car bombs.

Indeed, as Ajami noted, how fitting it would be "that the Syrian hegemony in Lebanon consolidated during the first war against Saddam Hussein would be undone in the course of this new campaign in Iraq."