Posted by: r.m. | February 3, 2011

Egypt and Lebanon

For the past week, there have been regular protests in front of the Egyptian embassy in Beirut. Today, there were confrontations with the riot police.

But that’s not the story.

The story is in the analysis. One commentator said, ‘yes, the people are emotional because of the crimes committed against the pro-freedom protesters in Egypt.’ Okay. But then he continued: ‘these people are likely from “March 8”. “March 14” supporters are supportive of Mubarak.’

There are layers upon layers of problem in that analysis.

First: The assumption that there are only two camps in Lebanon: 8 and  14. There are others. There are those that are not affiliated with any of the political parties (if we may call them that) in either of the two camps because they are affiliated with political parties that are not in either of the two camps. (Yes, there are parties outside of those two choices.) There are those  not affiliated with any political party and not aligned to either of the two camps. Yes, we exist.

Second: The assumption that March 14 supporters are supportive of Mubarak. Perhaps some of them are, perhaps some of them aren’t. However, the predominant idea amongst March 14 is that of “Lebanon 1st” – and of “Lebanon only” — thus translating into “Lebanon wo bas wel ba’ee khas.” In other words, an isolationist philosophy.  So it is not that March 14 supporters may be supportive of Mubarak or not supportive of Mubarak as much as they are indifferent to the world outside of Lebanon.

Then again, that philosophy may also apply to many in March 8. And to many outside both of those camps.



  1. Couldn’t agree more with the above analysis.

    The March 8 v/s March 14 bickering has turned into a meta-narrative enveloping pretty much all political developments that happen across the globe. According to this narrative, ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ ought to be domesticated a bit like how a house-pet or wild stallion is.

    Needless to say, it merely adds fuel to the fire and subverts efforts towards building a true nation, and a citizenship that transcends the narrow confines of sect and local leader.

    If there was one thing the Lebanese could actually take from the scenes in Tahrir and across Egypt, it is the overpowering display of unity of purpose and common will regardless of faith and sectarian background.

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