hezbolá, resistencia y solidaridad

julio 22, 2006

En la repentina frenesí de entender la situación libanesa – la organización hezbolá en concreto y el momento geopolítico en general – me veo una y otra vez en conversaciones muy frustrantes y muy dificiles. Hay tanto por explicar… yo tampoco tengo nada claro, y en tiempos de guerra hay poco espacio para la inciertedumbre…pero en esto hay algo tan importante sobre las nociones de resistencia, el terrible juego de las dos bandas…

Aquí pego un fragmento de un relato de Rasha Salti, que escribió unas crónicas tremendamente astutas en los primeros días del asedio. Me parece muy útil para empezar a abordar el tema. La crónica entera está aquí.


These “siege notes” have been receiving a number of reponses from Israelis. I have to say that most are of the annoying sort. First, they always begin by noting that I am intelligent and I get commended for my intelligence like Colin Powell gets commended for his English language speaking skills and you wonder what those making these observations expect from you and the world in the first place. Second, they systematically mistake expression of dissent and critique with Arab regimes and official discourse as some sort of a favorable disposition towards Israel. In other words, there is, falsely, a tautology between regarding Israel as an enemy country and endorsing radical ideologies of Islamic fundamentalism or rabid nationalism. As if being a democrat, an egalitarian and a feminist implied that one could not have even more profound grounds for being critical of Israel and regarding that country as an enemy country that has sponsored and produced nothing but war, violence, wretchedness, misery, banditry and usurpation. And so heartened by my ambivalence towards this war they recommend that more conversations should take place between Israelis and myself. Of course, most propose that I make the effort to seek those Israeli interlocutors out. This extreme form of Habermas-mania, that assumes that deep conflicts can be “talked through” is the sumum of hubris. The experience of the peace process is telling: it is clear that Israelis cannot, cannot, cannot accept Palestinians as human beings whose humanity is of equal value as their own. This is the bottom line. And until that bottom line is changed, there is nothing that a member of a society that builds walls around itself to shut itself off from the world and shut the world from itself can tell me. Punto final.

One of my impromptu (Israeli) commentators warned of my candor, despaired at my position vis-a-vis Israel, and took generously time and space to explain to me that Hezbollah must be crushed because if they were to win, they would destroy Israel and me, because of my values and lifestyle. This view, along with other views salient in western media (particularly American) of Hezbollah betrays ignorance. It is fatal ignorance. The most gross miscalculation Israeli strategists are making is based on the assumption that Hezbollah is a) not a legitimate political entity in this country, b) its base is made up of extremists and c) its “elimination” would leave the Lebanese construct unscathed. In point of fact, pushing the Lebanese population to “rise up” against Hezbollah, or the scenario of a Lebanese implosion is the worst case scenario for all regional “parties”, because the country would then become the jungle of violence and killing that Iraq is today. Because I am a staunch secular democrat, I have never endorsed Hezbollah, but I do not question their legitimacy as a political actor on the Lebanese scene – I believe they are just as much a product of Lebanon’s contemporary history, its war and postwar, as are all other parties. If one were to evaluate the situation in vulgar sectarian terms, when it comes to representing the interests of their constituency, they certainly do a better job than all the political representatives presently and in the past. It would be utter folly (in fact it would be murderous folly) to regard Hezbollah as another radical Islamist terrorist organization, at least in the ideological and idiomatic vein of the American intelligentsia and punditry.

There is something about a stubborness to misunderstand that betrays an intent to see a crisis linger or even escalate in the US. If Americans feel better being misguided idiots, Israelis should know better. If the Israeli intelligentsia wants to play deaf like Americans, the only outcome will be an Iraq scenario, although I reiterate that Lebanon is not Iraq and the Lebanese will not be manipulated into barbaric sectarian horror. We’ve tried that before and it does not work, and we are tired of fighting each other.

Hezbollah is a mature political organization (that has matured organically within the evolution of Lebanese politics) with an Islamist ideology that has learned (very quickly) to co-exist with other political agents in this country, as well as other sects. If Lebanese politics was a representation of short-sighted, petty sectarian calculations, the lived social experience of postwar Lebanon was different. Sectarian segregation was extremely difficult to implement in the conduct of everyday social transactions, in the conduct of business, employment and all other avenues of commonplace life. And that is a capital we all carry within ourselves. There were exceptional moments when the country came together willingly and spontaneously (as with the Israeli attacks in 1993 and 1996). But there are other smaller, less spectacular moments that punctuate the lived experience of the postwar that every single Lebanese can recall when sectarian prejudice was utterly meaningless, experienced as meaningless. When former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated, the country seemed divided into two camps; the consensus was overwhelming, however, that we would not revert to fighting one another, to eliminating one another.

If Israel plans to annihilate Hezbollah, it will annihilate Lebanon. Hezbollah and its constituency are not only Lebanese in the perception of all, they are also a key, essential element of contemporary Lebanon. Moreover, the specifics of UN Resolution 1559 may have regional implications, but at heart and in essence they can only be resolved within the Lebanese consensus. Israel /cannot/ take it upon itself to implement that UN resolution. There is, of course, sinister folly that Israel should implement any UN resolution, considering its stellar record of snarling, snickering and shrugging at every single UN resolution that did not suit its sensibilities. Hezbollah are not al-Qaeda, though Israeli and US propaganda will portray them as much. And that is the downfall of public opinion, the tragedy at the root of the consensus that agrees to watching Lebanon burn. In more ways than can be counted, they are different political ideologies, groups and movements. First, they are not suicidal. Second, they are not anti-historical. Third, they are a full-fledged political agent at the center of a dynamic polity. Their ideology is not an ideology of doom; they represent as much petty interests of their constituency as they are imbricated in the fabric of regional politics.



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