Sunday, November 12, 2006

Honour and its acolytes

A fascinating exchange between Michael Totten and a "member or supporter of Hezbollah who calls himself Al Ghaliboon".

A couple of points from a very long exchange. Al Ghaliboon first talking about why they fight Israel.

It is not so much about pride as it is about sovereignty, freedom, and honour - in my opinion honour and vain pride are two different things. When America was hit by terrorist attacks, did it fold its arms and wait for them to hit again?
Notice the 'honour' - this and 'respect' run through the discussion. [Please see my posts on Traditional vs Modern societies and on the interviews with imprisoned French Jidhadists.] As some of the commenters say, it is useless making diplomatic concessions to placate wounded Honour - they are seen only as a sign of weakness and rather than pacify, lead to more violence. For Honour to be satisfied, the other side must be humiliated, if not destroyed. We find this difficult to comprehend because for our type of society to work, Honour and the group identities and loyalties it appeals to must be broken down, have their teeth pulled. This has not happened in Arab societies.

The US is therefore respected because it hit back after 9/11 just as its failure to hit back after previous attacks was taken as encouragement to continue attacking.

Further down, Michael Totten lets go with a warning that only 2 days later seems eerily prescient.
Anyway, the Israelis and the Americans are not who you need to worry about. If you keep dragging your country into destructive wars against the will of the majority, you may find yourself lynched in the streets. I try not to predict Middle Eastern politics and events, but I have met quite a number of Lebanese Christians and Druze who would love to strip you of your shirt and strap electrified jumper cables to your chest before dragging you through the streets by your nose. And this was before you blew up the country again. One of the reasons I opposed Israel’s invasion of Lebanon is because I knew it would make this horror show all the more likely to play itself out.

I don't think you have any idea just how nasty the animosity toward you is in your country. If you think we Americans are giving you a hard time on this blog, try pretending you're a Maronite who hates "dirty Shia" and hanging out in Jounieh and Achrafieh. I'll tell you what you can expect. One Lebanese guy I know (he reads this blog and he might even show up to say hi) told me he thought the American invasion of Iraq was stupid as hell but is glad it happened anyway. The reason he's glad? Because Zarqawi (he said this last year) is now free to run around Baghdad and massacre Shia. It can get that bad in Lebanon. It was that bad in Lebanon when I was two-thirds finished at my university. I'm only 36 years old. It is not ancient history.

If Geagea and Jumblatt give the orders to fight, you’re really screwed. All of Lebanon will be screwed. They, personally, have given orders to fight before. And their orders were carried out. If I were you, I would quit while I was “ahead” and not mess with them anymore.

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