2008-07-16

Hizbollah,terrorists?

I kept quiet for about two years, but a recent ban on the Hizbollah military arm by the UK government "forced" me to scribble a few words in this post.

As a young boy, my knowledge of Hizbollah was close to non existent. At the time, news reports in Tunisia were putting Hizbollah under a neutral light, so to me, it was just another Lebanese faction of the so many I could not distinguish.

I spent several years trying to educate myself about Hizbollah and I came to the conclusion that it's one of the best organised and disciplined groups I can think of. Most importantly, the popularity of Hizbollah leadership in the Arab and Muslim world is hard to describe in words. For instance, the average western reader would probably find it surprising that even Hayfa Wahbe is an admirer of Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah's Secretary General. Now, Hayfa Wahbe (هيفاء وهبي) is the female sex symbol of the Arab world, and on top of that, she's Christian. One would wonder, why such an entertainment figure would voice admiration in public to the head of a supposedly fundamentalist, violent Islamic organisation?

Another example is George Kurdahi (جورج قرداحي), a Lebanese Christian popular media figure (and a lot more respected than Hayfa in my opinion). Kurdahi has made very praising and supportive statement about Hizbollah.

Julia Butrous, yet another Christian Lebanese singer, has done even better: she released a song called Ahibba'i (أحبائي) which is a very elegant praise for Hizbollah, it calls the fighters "builders of civilisation", "a revival of values", "the glory of our nation" and "with you, we'll change the World and make fate hear our voice". To emphasis the irrelevance of Hizbollah's faith in the wider struggle with "Israel", Julia dressed in a black long dress, usually worn by Shiia women.

For the wider arab and muslim public, Nasrallah was a honest, brave, wise and most importantly, a religious figure who laughed and told jokes; Bin Laden was someone who did stand against the American domination, but his leadership and ideology was an embarrassement to the Islamic World. Hence, the emergence of Nasrallah was a God-send event which made millions of people proud, minus the embarrassement.

In the France 5 documentary referenced below, a very religious Christian lady finds that "[Hizbollah] are honest, very honest". Hassan Nasrallah's own son, Hedi Nasrallah, was a Hizbollah fighter himself and was killed in confrontations with "Israel" when it used to occupy Southern Lebanon.

Hizbollah signed a memorandum of understanding with the Courant Patriotique Libre (Al Tayyar Al Watani Al Hurr - التيار الوطني الحر) which represents the Christian majority in Lebanon. The Tayyar is headed by General Michel Aoun, a former head of the Lebanese Army. The question that would come into the mind of the average American reader is: Why would a supposedly fanatic, violent Islamic group take a group of "infidels" for partners? and, even more stunning, why are those Christians admiring the group so much?

When "Israel" was forced to retreat from Southern Lebanon, Hizbollah did not seek revenge from the South Lebanon Army who collaborated with the "Israelis" throughout the occupation of the South. This collaboration resulted in continuous imprisonment and torture of their peer Lebanese, so not seeking revenge was a significant self restraint. Not only that, but in the memorandum of understanding with the Tayyar, Hizbollah officially committed to allow the return and not to seek revenge from the South Lebanon Army members who had to seek refuge in "Israel" after the liberation of the South.

Nasrallah has gained even more respect in the region when he expressed admiration to the very "Israeli" administration he's fighting where it did deserve credit.

Despite all of the above praise, I was not surprised when I found out that the US administration reporters were calling Hizbollah a "terrorist organisation". Robert Fisk explained this quite simply:
"Once you put the Middle East through the filter of the very gutless and cowardly reporting of the [US] journalists, it filters out into what the White House wants or the Pentagon wants or the State Department wants or the Republican Party wants or whatever. I can open, as I did this morning, the New York Times here (..) and its coverage of the Middle East is absolutely, for me, incomprehensible. It's so frightened of telling the truth (..). When you have this diminution of the semantics of this great tragedy as you do in the American press where anyone who opposes the United States power or opposes Israel becomes a terrorist, you're no longer dealing in reality, you're dealing in a fantasy world".
No wonder that the US administration has classified Hizbollah as a "terrorist organisation". The UK administration tried, at least, to be a bit more realistic and explained the ban with Hizbollah's "support for terrorism in Iraq and Occupied Palestinian Territories" and limited it to the External Security wing while acknowledging the noble character of the social activities ran by the party. Obviously, what is regarded as "terrorism" by the UK government statement here is seen as brave resistance by the overwhelming majority of people in the region. The European Union seems to adopt an even wiser approach and, so far, decided not to put Hizbollah on a terrorist list.

Most Western media try to cast Hizbollah under a very negative light, but it's quite difficult to do so without recourse to lies and fabrications at times. Therefore, most outlets keep envelopping it with a cloud of mystery. That's probably why a France 5 documentaty was suitably named: Le mystere Hizbollah, for "The Hizbollah mystery".

Let's review together what happened in the 2006 war between Hizbollah and "Israel" to figure out why they could possibly be branded "terrorists".

Somehow, I find it a bit strange that when a "terrorist organisation" goes to war with a regional super power, the war ends with 1200 Lebanese deaths mostly civilian and 160 "Israeli" deaths mostly combatants. Terrorists are usually the ones who go after the soft targets and try to kill civilians.

I find it a bit strange that a regular army fires millions of cluster bombs, most of it in the last 72 hours of the war, and refuse to provide maps of their locations to the United Nations. The estimated 100,000 unexploded bombs have already killed around 80 Lebanese civilians. Usually, a terrorist organisation would have recourse to explosive devices in order to cause indiscriminate death among civilians.

About 24 hours after the cease fire was signed by both parties, the "Israeli" military sent a commando into Lebanon in the hopes of capturing Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah's Secretary General. Hizbollah maintained its committment to a cease fire and did not retaliate. Usually, a terrorist organisation has no respect and does not abide by the agreements it signs, if it does sign anything that is.

When a terrorist organisation takes prisoners, it usually tortures them and, in this case, sodomise them too. A civilised group would show respect for the unarmed captured combatants.

From what the two conflicting parties have done so far, there is clearly a lot of terrorism here, but it was not perpetrated by Hizbollah. By the way, I used the term "terrorist" so many times already, and I'm not sure it means the same thing to everybody, but this is a bigger topic that we shall discuss in another post.

What I would suggest to those branding Hizbollah as terrorist is simply to seek all points of view before casting a judgement. A first step would be to listen to what Hizbollah is saying and learn about their ideology from them themselves rather than from so called "Israeli" terrorism experts. This interview of Nasrallah by Edward Peck would be a good start for instance.

هناك تعليقان (2):

Joe يقول...

Salam,
Je trouve ton article très intéressant cher ami et je ne peux qu'approuver ce que tu viens de citer.
En fait, ce ne sont pas des points de vues mais, et c'est ce qui est troublant pour quelques uns, ce sont des faits et ça par contre personne ne peut les nier.
J'ajoute à ce que tu viens de dire que pendant cette fameuse guerre entre Hizbollah et Israel, il y a eu recours à un cesser le feu pendant deux jours et c'était sur la demande des israéliens, si ma mémoire est bonne. Alors pendant cette période, Hizbollah a respecté cet accord pendant ques les prétendants à la paix continuaient de lancer leurs missiles sur les territoires libanais en tuant des civils.
De plus, en suivant de près ce qui se passe sur la scène politique libanaise depuis la fin de la guerre de 2006 et jusqu'à ce jour, on ne peut qu'admirer cette organisation "Hizbollah" et surtout à travers le personnage de son sécrétaire général Monsieur Hassan Nasroullah. On peut remarquer facilement que le but de ce parti est de résoudre les problèmes de son pays et de hausser le niveau de vie pour ses compatriotes et non pas le pouvoir en lui même (ils ont renoncer au nombre de places qu'il devaient avoir dans le gouvernement et ce pour assurer que toutes les parties soient représentées afin que ce soit un gouvernement de la totalité et non pas de la majorité).

lebanese يقول...

Actually, both George Kurdahi and Julia Boutros are Palestinians (I dont know if Julia is half lebanese, but her mother is Palestinian though.) In general, christian Palestinians and Syrians share the same political views as Muslims unlike Maronites which most lebanese christians are.