Lebanon's Clumsy Angry Sunni

One of lebanon’s largest sects is becoming its own worst enemy.


A protester burning tires in Verdun, Beirut. (Photo Credit Marwan Assaf for Annahar)

Lebanon’s Sunnis want you to know that they’re angry. Very angry. If a reporter approaches a tire burner today and asks him why he’s angry, she will probably hear these reasons:

  • Throughout Lebanon’s history, Lebanon’s popular Sunni leaders from Mufti Hassan Khaled to PM Rafik Hariri were harassed and assassinated because the Alawi regime in Syria feels threatened by powerful Sunnis and their potential effect on Syria’s own Sunnis
  • Recently, the most popular Lebanese Sunni leader was pushed out of power and out of the country by Syria’s allies. That happened because Hezbollah (the Shiaas) threatened to use their military advantage (the black shirts incident)
  • Lebanese security forces are quietly taking the side of the Syrian regime by arresting and killing Lebanese Sunnis who are supporting the Syrian revolution
  • The Sunnis are constantly been smeared as terrorists to justify the heavy handedness with which the government is dealing with them

You can dispute the accuracy of the points above, but there is no doubt in my mind that the angry Sunnis who are burning tires believe every single one of them. I also have no doubt that many of Lebanon’s “normal” Sunnis are sympathetic to their logic (but not to their extreme acts of protest)

A murder in Akkar, and its consequences.

The murder on Sunday of Shaikh Ahmad Abdul Wahid, an outspoken supporter of the Syrian revolution, at a Lebanese army checkpoint was a humiliation too far. It triggered the same pandemonium that took place when PM Saad Hariri was ejected from power: Wherever there are Sunnis in Lebanon, people took to the streets, burned tires, blocked roads and let everyone know that they’re pissed.

But their protests, even if cathartic, are creating three big headaches for their community:

  1. They are angering the rest of the Lebanese by inconveniencing them and reminding them of the war. Sunnis are coming across as irresponsible and dangerous.
  2. They are not achieving anything. Even if the point was to establish deterrence (to make others think twice before upsetting the Sunnis), it’s not working. It’s just a loud and costly tantrum.
  3. They are establishing a reputation that the Sunnis are an excitable bunch that can easily be provoked.

Wasted Energy

The angry Sunnis are playing right into the hands of those who want to create instability in the country to turn the attention away from Syria. Their anger is being wasted on pointless tantrums and they’re displaying an alarming lack of cool-headedness and long-term strategic planning. If they really care about their future as a sect (whether that is a worthwhile aspiration deserves a post of its own), they need to grow some skin, stop burning stuff and start thinking.

  • http://oussama-hayek.blogspot.com/ OH

    1. Andrew Sullivan should nominate you for his Yglesias award for criticising your own community;)

    2. The problem for the Sunnis is that they don’t have a leadership anymore. Mikati is too close to Syria. Hariri has not been around for a while. To assume leadership, you need to show your face to your constituency. I’m afraid that if Hariri does not return to Beirut, and also visit the North, IMMEDIATELY, the situation will get worse. The angry Sunnis cannot be reined-in from a distance.

  • Antidisestablishmentarianism

    Angry Sunnis of Lebanon: Take a chill pill

    • Passingby

      Angry sunnis are now pissed by condescending writers. Or maybe by another angry sunni.

  • Dania

    I totally agree with you Mustapha yes we’re angry(well I have been for ages starting from sunni support for the PLO up until the complete let-go of the leadership since 08)because right now everybody’s out to mop the floor with sunnis and I think its time they tell them enough is enough. Not talking abt taking up arms but at least showing stance. Its so ironic that the sunnis now are facing what the maronites were up against in the 70s by other lebs and regional powers.

    • Passingby

      They are very sectarian too, that’s why they attack the Mourabitoun

    • Houda

      The support for the PLO pretty much is the reason for the majority of Lebanon’s problems today. For those who make complaints against Hezballah, they would not exist if Israel had not invaded. Israel would not have invaded so easily with international support if the PLO were not supported by a certain Lebanese sect that had decided to give them south Lebanon as their fighting base, while the people of South Lebanon had no rights or say in the government. They received real representation in the government in 1990. And u want to victimize these people. U reap what u sow. Allah yir7am 2iyam Rafik Hariri. No one cared about Hezballah’s weapons when Hariri was alive. He defended them and looked out for them. And its because of this he was killed by the sell out Arabs.

  • Azmi

    The problem is that those who are still in Lebanon are used to a limited way of reasoning; this problem has this list of solutions and so on. And those solutions become relative to the sect that is trying to use them.

    I don’t know if I am making much sense, but as an expat, I am sure you will understand.

  • http://lebmambojumbo.blogspot.com lebmambojumbo

    Mustafa, you are usually very accurate with your posts and i think the reasons you named are exactly what most Sunnis would say however why do you alienate the tyre burning “activity” as a Sunny only thing. I do recall black saturday when members of other religions and political parties burnt and destroyed public property because they did not get there way. How many time in the past years has the airport road been shut down because of a few.

    I agree with you that the Sunnis are playing right into the hands of those who wish to make them look like as a security threat. But nevertheless you should mention that the tyre burning beirut occupying was an activity started by other groups.

    Just saying…

  • Yazan

    You have dismissed so many facts:
    - Hariri and Mikati the most richest and corrupted leaders of the Sunnis.
    - The fact that people who acted like thugs are from Tripoli only, suggests that the educational institutions of Hariri and Mikati supports highly sunnis in Beirut and Said, alas!
    - I don’t know why you have forgotten about Rashid Karami, is he not Sunni, weren’t he a leader?!

    And let me suggest, if you have succeeded to write these points, then you think exactly like them!

    What kind of leader who tweets nothing but hi ho?!
    What kind of leader who is too afraid to come back to his country? Knowing all the world’s intelligence are supporting him, against the Syrian ones. Unless he don’t trust them!

    • Michele

      “What kind of leader who is too afraid to come back to his country? Knowing all the world’s intelligence are supporting him, against the Syrian ones. Unless he don’t trust them!”

      yes, and the late Rafic Harriri had the girls’ scout handling his protection and security (sigh)

  • http://www.hanyrizk.com Hany

    Thank you for saying it as it is. If only they wake up and realize that their reactions are dragging Lebanon exactly along the lines of the plot that’s being cooked for it.

  • Houda

    Stop making excuses for people that are causing instability. Your highly biased and a promoter of secretarinism as u seem to have no problem throwing blame and pointing fingers at the “black shirts” (the Shias). Ur argument lost all credibility. The last time I checked supporters of Hezballah were not all Shia. And there are members within the organization itself that are not Shia. AND the last time they burned tires people were not blaming anyone else for their behavior. U people had no problem pointing ur fingers and did not give any sympathy or make any excuses for the reasons the Shia were burning tires yet u make excuses and show sympathy for the Sunnis. Lol ur hypocritical double standards are very clear. Fact is u people only think about urselves all of u. If u showed empathy for ur fellow Lebanese maybe they would feel empathy for u. But it seems that instead of getting ur fellow Lebanese on board to understand ur anger u would rather point fingers and blame others for ur anger. News flash: Anger is an emotion which can be controlled with practice of self control. You can do this by using ur brain. To the person who wrote this article, I recommend you to try using ur brain sometime :D

    • bach

      Houda, What a load of bull. Noone other then Shias support Hezballah and that is a fact. And before you pull the fig leaf argument of the FPM, let me remind you that it is a political alliance between a demented old fool and a smart manipulative Nasrallah. Ask the base, the real base, and they feel very uneasy about this MOU crap.

      There are hezballah members that are non Shias ? Yeah, they’re called “Non Shias de service”, to give the appearance that it is an open organisation. But the only ones who buy that load of c, are brainwashed Orange drinking Der el Salib patients, and … you.

    • nada

      Houda, are you stupid or what? you do not deserve a response. You are as stupid as your logic. hizballah is the cause of all troubles and we are going down hill because of it.. so shut it!

  • Houda

    One more thing, for years Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries have been supporting and funding the Sulifis in the North. For years Egypt and Jordan have been training and arming these men. When Rafik Hariri was killed who was the loser in this?? Syria had the most to lose. They had to withdraw from Lebanon. NOW this anti Syria Sheikh dude was killed. Who withdrew from that area?? The Lebanese army had to withdraw. Now ask urself who would want the army to withdraw?? Let’s say the army is more sympathetic towards March 8 as u all commonly say. Who benefits from the army withdraw of that Northern area of Lebanon which is conveniently on the Syrian border?? LOL use ur brains.. Common sense.

    • bach

      Wow, I hadn’t read this post, before commenting on the other. Now that I have, I regret answering you, because I’ve just realised that you actually think your reasoning is smart and logical.

      “Who benefits from the army withdraw of that Northern area of Lebanon which is conveniently on the Syrian border??”

      –> hahaha, I’m printing this screen and framing this conclusion for history LOL

  • Dania

    Yazan and Houda one orangy and one hizzi… enough said!

  • Michele

    Houda houda houda, u need to calm down and answer if possible please my few questions below:

    1) al Manar is part of Hezballah’s organization right? So tell me how many shia’a do we have working there? And how many female presenter; non-shia’a of course?

    2) So u believe that the Syrian regime had the most to lose at the Harriri’s Murder as they had to withdraw for the lebanese territory? So in other words, u do confirm that Syria, the regime that ur party supports, was an invader, right?

    3) Last but not least, I never saw the Sunni organizing any mass rally to say “Shukran, gulf countries, Jordan, Egypt, etc”. But ur pacifist “Organization” held a rally called “Shukran Souriya’ which is now known for March 8.
    BTW what was the rally held for, on March 14th 2005?

  • Antidisestablishmentarianism

    Michele , Bach, do you guys not feel scared by the Islamists? You hate the Syrian regime, but the opposition in SYria is singing “El 3alawiyeh 3al tabout wel masi7iyeh 3al tabout”

    I am really scared by these people, and by Hezbollah as well, but the Christian leaders should not be scared to say the truth because they are anti-Syrian or with Hariri. THey need to say that the alternative in Syria could be worse for christians, they need to say that extremist sunnis in lebanon are scary just as much as hezbollah is, even if this is inconvenient.

    • bach

      I am very much afraid of what is happening in Syria. But either way Lebanese Christians (and maybe Oriental Christians in general) are witnessing their probable disappearance.

      Under Hafez and Bashar, the Lebanese Christians have suffered greatly, with the highest emigration since the famines. The Lebanese Sunnis however, gained much from this situation, until the assassination of Hariri.

      The Syrian Christians on the other hand were very much protected by the Hafez and Bashar, and the Sunnis were kept at bay.

      Keep the Syrian regime in place, and Lebanese Christians are doomed. Let the bearded lunatics take power in Syria, and the Syrian Christians are doomed.

      In my opinion, there is a generalized plan to rid the region of its Christians one way or the other. I remember exchanging with an American diplomat concerning the fate of Christians in the Middle East. His answer ? “It’s a non issue”, meaning it doesn’t even factor in”.

      Look at our situation in Lebanon, one Orange drinking NapoleAoun allies with his Shias arch allies (as per his own speeches prior to his return in Lebanon), and the other ex-trigger happy Bcheranne allies with the Sunni people who put him in jail in the first place. We are the weakest link, and why ? First of all, because we have been infighting for decades, and second of all because the Sunni and Shias moderates keep silent about our fate. I don’t know if it’s intentional or they just don’t care.

      • Michele

        Well said Bach!

      • Conspiracy lover

        “In my opinion, there is a generalized plan to rid the region of its …”

        Yes, exactly… a “generalized plan”, executed by “generals”. What the f*ck are you talking about? You really think there are some people who sit in some control room and “plan” and decide who stays and goes from Lebanon? Or do you just like to repeat bullshit conspiracy theories because you can’t be arsed to make your own opinion? Maybe the Americans are behind it all… and they in turn are controlled by the Israelis, who hate the Christians (remember, they killed Jesus after all!)

      • bach

        Conspiracy lover,

        Can you pass me whatever you’re smoking please ?

  • Antidisestablishmentarianism

    *. sorry el masi7iyeh 3a beirut

    i like the position of amine gemayel

    • Michele

      Antidisestablishmentarianism, of course I’m scared of the islamists and from all the extremists.

      But we need to put things into perspective.
      The topic has turned into Sunni/Shia’a in Lebanon.
      We have two major representations of these 2 sects:
      Futur movement for the sunnis, a moderate party with many non-sunni members and Hezbollah for the Shiites with only shiite members. please name one non-shiite MP for the HA.
      One of them is armed and creating their own rules and laws.

      Don’t u think I’m upset and disgusted from those persons up in the noth? Absolutely nut I understand their frustration and anger.

  • Osama

    Salam Mustapha,

    It seems to me you were trying to make sense of whats going on, without actually going into any depth on the root causes – without having to blame any of your countrymen in the process (with the exception of the politician who survive only by perpetuating the almost feudal structures).

    Lebanon is what it is, and it’s problems primarily lay within the leaders of its communities. Each one trying to appease his foreign benefactors at the expense of the other communities, even though I am sure they view themselves as saviors of their respective communities.

    The “Sunni’s” of Lebanon need to decide if they are Lebanese or part of a greater “Sunni” sectarian war against all other sects – once they decide that is who they are, they can tell everybody else and the killing of each other can commence with vigor. As long as each communities leaders feel the need to enlist their community into some greater struggle that is outside of Lebanon (and its interests)- such expressions of rage will continue.

    Lebanese should accept and cherish who they are and focus on internal issues which can never be solved with violence (defense of Lebanon being the exception). Sunni’s should tell the GCC that we don’t want your money for Hariri and Co, but if you must have a purely sectarian policy, please invest in our area’s and recruit from our community (exclusively if necessary) – at least if the investors/employers make money from working with this community, the Lebanese “Sunnis” won’t feel the need to re-pay them by killing each other.

    Why are people stupid enough to be manipulated into getting into a fight they have no interest in and will never benefit from? that’s rhetorical by the way :)

  • Bronxman

    I’d like to throw in a speculative comment. Will Hezbullah now be called in to “restore order”? And Syria would surely be happy about that. Creating disorder in order to gain from the disorder is not an unknown tactic in the neighborhood.

  • Ayman

    With this post, Mustapha has opened pandora’s box. expect many more arguments on this topic here…

  • romeo

    This is what happens when *everyone* feels like a minority. Feeling like a minority breeds fear. Fear brings over-reaction.

    What can we do for everyone *not* to feel like a minority?

    I don’t have an answer to the above. As a Lebanese, this is *rare*, right? ;-)

    Maybe we can take advantage of blogs by open-minded Lebanese to start thinking about the answers.

    If we don’t do it, who else will do?

    Lebanese Canadian (missing Lebanon)

  • Charles

    Mustapha, you’re blaming the victim here. Anger in the streets is what groups use to manifest that the situation has devolved into something entirely unacceptable. This tactic is used in many countries. Just because Hezbollah and its allies used the tactic to spark a minor civil war, overthrow a government, and bring foreign powers in to resolve the conflict does not mean that this is what the Sunni protestors are doing.

    The sad thing is, you know that. You know that this incident will not start a war. You know the government won’t do anything. You know that no foreign power is going to step in a save the Sunni community in Lebanon. You accept Hezbollah and Syrian dominance over the Lebanese scene and now mentally justify their hegemony instead of standing with a community that has been entirely disenfranchised.

    The Sunni protestors aren’t leading the country to civil war. They are manifesting their deep anger and they want to see a reconciliatory gesture from elsewhere. If that gesture doesn’t come, that will lead to civil war. The disenfranchisement of an entire community can lead to civil war. It can also lead to the election of clown leaders who do little to support their communities in any way other than maintaining their “dignity” (i.e., Michel Aoun), but that means that the community has already given up.

    The Lebanese Sunni community believes fully in the idea of Lebanon, the idea of Lebanon’s peaceful participation in the greater Arab and international communities, and in the vision of Lebanon put forward by Rafiq al Hariri. These dreams are shattered time and again by those who have failed to see the myriad compromises the Sunni community has made between 1920 and now.

    This time things have gone too far. Unfortunately, the only person who could claim the title of leader of the Sunni community has been effectively banished from the country by those interested in assassinating him physically and in reputation. The situation can’t be easily resolved.

    Hopefully, the Iranians will take notice before it is too late and force the hands of their Syrian and Hezbollah allies in Lebanon. But why should Sunnis look for good will from a country that has never taken their interests in Lebanon into account before?

  • Mustapha

    I do not agree with the owner of the blog (this is not the same Mustapha). The Sunnis of Lebanon are part of the wider Sunni community of the Middle East which is the predominant community in the region. They would be wasting their time and energy trying to build a Lebanese state like what Hariri foolishly and naively tried to accomplish.
    The Lebanese State must be abolished and the Sunnis of Lebanon must join their co-religionists in the neighboring states and create an identity based on their common beliefs. There is no such thing as Lebanese nation or identity. The real identity is the Sunni identity. That is your nation if you are a Sunni.
    You can only pretend for a while that you have common identities with communities that are in reality in complete opposition to each other. The Sunnis of Lebanon have nothing in common with the Christians (who at one point believed they are French and are now debating a new connection which certainly will have nothing in common with any other community) nor with the Shia (who also happen to believe they are more Iranians than Lebanese) or with the Druze who became prostitutes upon discovering before anyone else that there is no such thing as a Lebanese identity, hence becoming prostitutes in their case was the most logical choice considering their meagre resources.
    The last straw which broke the camel’s back was the latest incident of the so-called Lebanese army killing in cold blood two prominent Sunnis. In reality the back was already broken since 2008 but pretense went on in another foolish attempt of self-delusion that a Lebanese State can in fact become reality.
    Sunnis of Lebanon wake up. Your destiny is with your brethren.

    • Observer

      Mustapha,

      You are right.

      The “State of Lebanon” was established by the Maronite Christians and should be returned to them.

      You can move across the border to Sunnistan and live by whatever laws you wish.

      I would estimate about 1-2 million Christian Lebanese expats returning to the “Lebanese state” within 3 years of your moving out and it prospering to a developed nation.

      How about that?!

  • Mustapha

    Observer,

    Sorry to disappoint you.

    Beirut, Sidon, Tripoli, the North, Most of northern, western and central Bekaa (Zahle region) are part of this State you call ‘Sunnistan’.

    The Maronites can go back to the mountains if they wish to forsake the comfort of the US, Aussie, Canada and the other parts of their diaspora which I doubt anyone will do.

    The trend is obvious. Your Maronites are on their way out and are not coming back. Once you leave you’re gone, there’s no going back

    So get out of your pretenses, Maronites have nothing to go back to.

    • Bach

      Unfortunately, history is not your strong point. I’m not sure how you define the “Sunnistan” area, but a wild guest would be that you define it as all the area that fell to the Arab “conquest”. But it all depends on how far back you go.

      In any case, there is a country called Lebanon, In more or less its current shape it goes back to the Bible, so well before the Arab conquest, or Islam for that matter. It was first settled by Arab Christians, coming from the Arabic peninsula, among others.

      When the country took its independence, it was recognized as such by all communities, including the Sunni community.

      In conclusion, you don’t represent the Sunni opinion, you only represent yourself, and a few bearded lunatics. If you feel so out of place in Lebanon, then by all means, I would be happy to pay for a one way ticket to any shithole you pick. You would do us all a favor, including fellow Sunnis.

      • Mustapha

        Bach,

        Neither is history your strong point, notwithstanding the fact you did not show any credentials in your last piece.

        I do not need a pass from you or anyone else to maintain my presence in whatever part of Lebanon (or Sunnistan if you prefer) that I happen to live in. I may even have more roots in it than yourself.

        In either case, the Muslims who conquered this land are here to stay and forever. I will not offer you a ticket. You can buy your own and leave whenever you wish if you haven’t already.

      • Bach

        The Muslims are welcome to stay of course, just like the Christians, as it is their country. It’s just dimwits like you who will probably be much happier in Saudi Arabia, or in some jail, that you can call your own little Caliphate of it helps you sleep at night.

  • Observer

    Mustapha,

    I am not Maronite.

    The state of Lebanon was established by a then Maronite majority in Lebanon, unless I am mistaken.

    That has changed because Sunnis and Shias were told that it was ok to have 12 children. God would provide for them.

    Alas, only war now seems to.

  • Mustapha

    Observer,

    OK,
    So, I mistook you for a Maronite because of the content of your previous comment.

    Unless you are in a state of dissimulation, you need to brush up on your historical facts, because your premises are based entirely on lack thereof.

    None of your premises are based on true facts.

  • Mustapha

    It annoys me that I share the same name with someone with such an outdated mindset.

    The truth is, I don’t want to live in a country that is all made of Muslims. I don’t want some stupid sheikh who never went to school telling my wife what to wear or forcing me to pray or preventing me from drinking alcohol or going to parties. I thank God everyday that I share my country with christians because living in Saudi Arabia or Iran is my idea of a nightmare.

    And guess what? I’m not alone. Last time I checked the majority of Sunnis voted for a block that up to now goes by the name “Lebanon First”. The biggest breakthrough of March 14 2005 was that the Sunnis once and for all accepted the finality of Lebanon as a country.

    To those reading what Mustapha is saying and cringing, rest assured that he does not in any way represent the opinion of the average Lebanese Sunni.

    • http://www.poshlemon.blogspot.com Posh

      Mustapha,

      Bravo. I agree with you.

      Besides, I understand that the Sunnis feel deeply angered and affected, but do they have to take it to the streets like that? (and hey, this comment of mine applies to all the other groups).

      I also wanted to add that in Lebanon, burning tires is not exclusive to only one group. *Everybody* loves to burn a tire or two ;-)

  • Shiwa7ad

    I disagree with Mustapha here. One can’t say that “Sunnis” are burning tires. The total number of tire burners is probably in the hundreds, at most a few thousands. As far as I know, Lebanese Sunnis haven’t decided to burn tires through a national referendum, just as the Lebanese Shias have not chosen by vote to initiate the May 7 events.

    It is not surprising that in the current situation, various unruly (and perhaps criminal) elements make use of the opportunity to cause trouble, whether Sunni or not. The real cause of the trouble is the fact that the Army doesn’t intervene, under the pretext that the unrest has a sectarian character. May 7, no intervention, Bourj Abi Haidar, no intervention, and yesterday, no intervention. Militiamen fighting with RPG’s in the heart of the capital should be a sufficient reason for Army intervention, in any situation. Yes, I am aware that the Army couldn’t have intervened yesterday without appearing anti-Sunni, but this was due to its acceptance of the so called “security by consensus” approach with Hezbollah, where the Hezb militiamen can come with jeeps without number plates to the airport, people can be abducted, (Joseph Sader), where criminals are sometimes so sure of impunity that they will steal a car and arrange an appointment with the owner to “sell” it back to him.

    Now, all that doesn’t justify tire burning, but “Sunni anger” shouldn’t be considered as the cause of the trouble. The true reason is the collapse of security, due to a policy of avoiding conflict with armed militias at any cost. Now the cost of the “middle ground” policy has become obvious. At one point, he succeeded in appearing a “maestro” by paying the dues of Lebanon to the tribunal without causing government collapse, but now the limitations of his smart political maneuvering have become obvious. When you come to power in the same way as Mikati, you should expect that there will be a steep price to pay ultimately.

  • Doha Farhat

    I think everyone can elaborate the same points of why Druze, Shia, or Christians are fed up of the system! Not only Sunnis but unfortunately their leaders’ discourses are full of Sectarianism: Kabbara, Khaled el Daher, and not to forget Hariri himself!

    I urge you then to go back to May 7 2008 and apologize for Hezbollah’s actions in Beirut!

  • Mustapha

    Mustapha the blog owner,

    What do you mean that you are annoyed you share a name with someone?

    Are you claiming ownership of the name?

    If you don’t like sharing it then change your name, because I intend to keep mine.

    How stupid of you!!!

    In fact, it annoys me if someone uses my name and who does not hesitate to label a whole community as ‘clumsy’.

    YOU ARE CLUMSY.

    In fact, how do you claim to be a Sunni? Or even speak the mind of other Sunnis?

    Speak of yourself if you don’t mind.

  • Observer

    The question we should be asking ourselves …

    What turns an obviously well educated Lebanese bred citizen (unless he is not?) into the religious notions and future he has about our country.

  • http://lebaneseexpatriate.wordpress.com lebaneseexpatriate

    I thought I would read more constructive comments on a blog such as Mustapaha’s blog, for all I knew this blog does attract objective educated political activists who really have a better vision of Lebanon and how to transfer it to a secualr democracy, but what I have read ( and I encourage you to scroll through the comments and read yourselves) is really discouraging.

    What differentiates all of the commentators from the people on the streets? The way I see it, the bloggers and commentators here are more privileged to understand that burning tires will not solve anything but they do fall for the trap of destructive criticism and back-and-forth commentation.

    Stop trying to prove each other right and wrong.

    Stop legitimizing or rejecting the destructive actions that the angry sectarian and underprivileged masses fall into. They are all worng regardless of the religion or leader. Be it Sunni. Shia, Druze, Christian, M14, M8, FPM, LF… whatever…..

    what makes your commentary wars and accusations better than those on the streets. you guys have internet, laptops, blogs and good sense of foreign language while those on the streets have access to tires, masks, lighters and gasoline.

    Lebanon’s only way out of this is when the privileged put a pen and a computer in the hands of the underprivileged and take away their tires and gasoline…..

    While they burn tires, your burn words and the cedar tree suffocates from both of your toxic fumes……

    • ali

      Unfortunately someone posted the blog link on Syrian Comment. Those users seem to have infiltrated beirutspring and have brought their gripes over here. Similar, I guess, to what is going on in Syria and Lebanon.

  • Shiwa7ad

    By the way, there has been reports in some news agencies that the death toll of the unrest in Tarik Jdideh is two persons killed.
    However I haven’t seen anywhere the name of the two victims.
    Does anyone have a reliable confirmation of the death toll ?

  • Antidisestablishmentarianism

    But the Lebanon First bloc includes in its ranks people like Khaled Dhaher…who is obviously not a Lebanon Firster. The FM can be blamed a little for this because of its involvement in Syria, when neutrality with regard to both Syria and Israel is the only logical policy for Lebanon. So we now have this: Hezbollah kicking the hornet’s nest in Israel for political gains and inviting destruction on Lebanon, and FM kicking the hornet;s nest in Syria and inviting this shit.

    As for Mustafa 2: What you say will never happen, even if the majority of Sunnis feel that way, and they don’t. Major powers and regional powers have an interest in fragmenting our region forever, and that is the goal. they would never want to see a big entity of a single identity emerge, as even the ones that exist today are going to be divided (Syria would probably crumble like Iraq and Lebanon). So this Sunnistan of yours will probably not be very attractive except to abu sha7ata like you…so enjoy it

  • Dania

    To the Mustapha from the stone age: am not sure yr really who u say u are but regardless, keep yr retarded opinions to yrself as u dont speak in our name. Its this lack of tolerence and civility that keeps things as messed up as they are now.

  • Anonymous

    More than ever at this exact moment, I wonder why anyone with a closed mind does not come with a closed mouth as well.

  • Rouba

    I am utterly horrified by this sectarian discourse. I refuse to be labelled as sunni and know many lebanese who belong to a central Lebanese identity. I am a lebanese and only lebanese and have so much in common with other moderate lebanese. I have nothing in common with anyone radical whatever their religious belonging.
    What worries me in tripoli and Akkar is a deep belief that it’s the other’s fault. It’s about time we stop being victims and start taking responsibility of mobilizing our communities towards our wellbeing. Somehow the moderates are getting diluted in this sea of extremes…

  • http://stateofmind13.com Elie

    The level of discourse in the comments is eye opening. I never thought my presence in Lebanon would be offensive to some. Ah well.

    Regarding the post, I fully agree. But I think the sheikh’s death and Mawlawi’s arrest were tipping points for the Sunni community in Lebanon. I have to ask though: what if the sheikh hadn’t been sunni and Mawlawi had belonged to another political party, where would we be now?

  • expat

    Dear all,
    I do believe that a post’s value comes from the debate it generates in it’s attached comments. Which is the case in the current post.

    Allow me to think out loud for a moment, before concluding.

    Doesn’t anyone find it weird that one feels totally aggressed by literally any event that takes place in the country? and that literally any single sentence that gets thrown by the political elite gets interpreted in 2 totally opposite manners?

    One would call this politics, the art of manipulating immature minds, or weaknesses; But why is it that every time an event happens people interpret it religiously? Where does religion fit in all this? and what could be feeding this cleavage in our society?

    I’m taking this to the highest possible macro level so bear with my reasoning a little bit.

    A country, by definition, is a mass of people having a major thing in common, with some room for divergence around non-fundamental things. Democracies all over the world have understood this and tried for the last decades to promote events, activities that would tamper down any cleavage. Take for instance the massive investments a country makes in promoting sports. Whenever the national team is playing outside the country, it’s the entire country who masses behind it’s team and you get some nice feeling of belonging to something of having a common project. Other events are research, whenever a break-through is made, it’s mainly attributed to the nationality of the inventor.

    In lebanon, i do have the impression that when someone gets outside the country, he acts, feels & belongs to the country to an impressive extent. However, whenever he/she goes back to the country, a strange feeling of attraction binds him within a rusty mentality of isolation, lies & manipulation. We lebanese expatriates call it the ‘overdose’, the main reason we can’t bear staying there more than a few weeks before packing back to our life ‘elsewhere’.

    In lebanon, every single activity that gathers people together was shut down because of stupid arguments. Football is not promoted anymore due to clashes during matches. Teams in lebanon are based on religon, supporters follow their religion’s teams. Jobs are tailored upon religions, schools are split into religions, and TV stations are split into religions.

    Here comes the best part. most, really MOST lebanese people are not that religious for real. They’re just prisoners of the established society they grew up in and from which it’s really – really- extremely difficult to get out from. The only times they feel free is when they leave the country.

    Religion generally speaking was long seen as a perfect tool to feed in any argument you want to an average politically unaware person. It does so because it speaks straight through one’s heart & not to one’s mind.

    My personal though regarding this article. I’m tagged as a sunni person on my official papers. When i read the article above, it did tickle something as it was talking straight to my heart. Generally speaking, all the commenters where solidly defending their point of view, accusing the others of ‘I don’t believe it, can’t you see you’re wrong?’.

    Here are my suggestions for those who care about it and regardless of this article:

    - Move the political battles to a constructive field. Keep it confessional if you want, but move it to things like innovation & teaching & development. This could hint out some sort of federalism, but the hell why not!
    - It might be too late, but basically we shouldn’t wait for syria’s fall to act on it. We should have a society model for syria to follow, not the opposite.
    - Start the move towards making our government a strong one. We’re a touristic country with more than 3 million expatriates willing to pay more than 3000 $ on every visit. The hell, move the VAT to the highest possible rate of 23%. Who cares. Every penny that should be paid in lebanon should give quarter a penny to the government. That’s our petrolium. I’m not saying ‘qu’ils mangent des brioches’, salaries should be increased by 23% all over the country of course.
    - Nationalise all ‘local’ TV stations under the umbrella of Télé Liban. Make sure the historic presenter of Future TV reads out texts written by Al-manar or MTV or LBC or NTV or NBN & mix up all this in all possible ways. Don’t make it possible for any citizen to differentiate whom a TV info was made by.
    - Re-ignite national sports on all levels & make sure our teams do participate in all possible competitions & make sure we can start winning prices soon.
    - Force private schools of minimum level of mixity either by forcing some professor rounding between schools all the time.
    - Instaure an 18th religion in the country, called ‘nothing’ and allow people to freely switch to it (huge task)
    - our political system is currently based on the french fourth republic, which was a huge mess. Move to the third republic & make sure the president is elected by a large board of citizens. Include expatriates in the votes as they might be your way out of this mess.

    That’s it. Vive la ‘république’ or ‘ce qui reste de la république’, like they say.

    • romeo

      this is romeo again…

      I like @expat ‘s idea of:

      ” Instaure an 18th religion in the country, called ‘nothing’ and allow people to freely switch to it (huge task) ”

      I like it because:

      1) Confession: I personally don’t give a rat’s a** about religion. Instead, I believe that every human is special, regardless of his/her religion.

      2) It does not get rid immediately of all religion-related institutions, laws, arrangements, etc. It is more of a gradual approach to introducing the Lebanese to a new way of thinking and “accepting the other”.

      What got my attention though in @expat ‘s post is the end note: “(huge task)”

      Why is it a huge task to make such a *small step* in this new direction?

      Is it people’s religious beliefs? Or something else? What makes a normally fearless Lebanese (we survived the war afterall) suddenly become afraid of the non-religious?

      I am open to any suggestions, clarifications, explanations etc. Please do not try to convince me to “return to God” though…that’s why I left Lebanon in the first place ;-)

  • expat

    For those who were in lebanon near 1997. Rafic Hariri Did try back then to pass a ‘décret’ which tries to somehow create this extra religion & promote civil marriage & all that. It’s a formality and a political decision. Back then, Chamsiddine, Kabbeni, & SFeir went against him and literally demolished him. Bypassing these institutions with such a decision is a huge task unfortunately. The third republic should be designed in a way that passing such a beneficial law could be done by bypassing those institutions. Referendums in these cases are used in other countries. Again, in the third republic, me as an expatriate will have the same rights as anyone living in lebanon. Hopefully, the demagogy of the clerics & the political leaders will be tampered.

    The french are already thinking of the 6th republic (participative democracy, like in switzerland, very referendum driven). For lebanon, the Troika self-blocked Taef second republic is way out-dated and not adapted for our current country.