Across the Bay

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Irresponsible Comment

Naseer Asaad's commentary on the meaning of the Christian vote for Aoun is disturbing. It's not just that he swallows Jumblat's dangerously incendiary remarks, it's also that al-Mustaqbal is Hariri's paper and has good circulation among Sunnis. I won't dwell on every point, and I'll be brief, as most of the comments are already known. But the feeling I got out of it was that no matter what the Christians do, they're always considered a fifth column, and that needs to stop immediately. It's a completely irrational accusation too, as evident by its inherent contradiction. Hizbullah (as well as Arabists and groupie Third-Worldist journalists) call them agents of Israel and the Western powers. Now, Asaad and Jumblat are calling them "a fortification for Syria." Well, pick one!

But what's really insulting to me, is that Naseer seems to think we're idiots. And it's doubly insulting coming from an independent Shi'a who tried to run against Hizbullah and was squashed because of the deal between Jumblat-Hariri and Berri-Nasrallah. So, the Christians are now protecting Syria, but the massive Hizbullah-Amal pro-Syrian demonstration and Nasrallah's mugshots with the murderer Rustum Ghazaleh (to whom he offered a gift in appreciation!) are ok?! Shame on you. Christians were the first to call for Syrian withdrawal, well before Hariri's murder. How dare you?

Naseer is upset that Aoun allied himself with Murr and Frangieh, but Jumblat's alliance with Berri and Nasrallah is ok?! Don't insult my intelligence. In fact, FPMers publicly denounced Aoun's alliance with Murr. Where were their counterparts in the Jumblat-Hariri camp?

Now Jumblat is calling the northerners to vote "against those who had a hand in Hariri's killing." Fine, we're all against those people. I just wish he had said something right after Nasrallah frenched Ghazaleh, the biggest suspect, at his house and gave him a farewell gift on top.

I know that election talk is always tense, but there has to be a little bit of responsible behavior on the part of the commentators, and also, a little bit of respect for the readers. If anything, Naseer's piece solidified the notion that Christians were to be marginalized in the deal with Berri-Nasrallah, if the sins of those two are so easily forgiven (even as Nasrallah threatens to kill anyone who dares remove their weapons), while the Christians are now stigmatized, and never seem to get it right, even as they were the main target of the Syrian mukhabarat all throughout the 90s. A little respect, if you don't mind, Naseer. And you, of all people, should know. This is why I and Michael Young have said that Jumblat is playing with fire. This kind of rhetoric is unacceptable.

The upside is that Saad's rhetoric has so far been the calmest, and he's the one that matters. I'm routing for Saad!