Communities fear their own expansion, each fear the survival of the “others;” although cooperation is today’s mass propaganda and the theoretical aim, it is avoidance and rejection of collaboration the practical action. Religion is the ultimate loyalty and identity of Lebanese and each sect claims its right over Lebanon. Hence, sectarian representation and one’s religious loyalty are the solemn tools for the expression of one’s political culture, economic interest and, unfortunately, life. Such is the Lebanon that people know, such is the Lebanon that should march forward and change. The system should change if Lebanon is to preserve its cultural heritage, sustain its communities, and build a country based on equal rights and laws, away from the chaotic and instinctive law of nature!
The media labels it as a “march against the system,” I believe that the people gathering in Beirut, would rather call it a march to live. The Lebanese system has been a handicap for cultural expansion, moral advancement, and ethical behavior. What might have seemed at times to be an equation for heritage, community representation and preservation is becoming today a crippling phenomena for a country constantly hanging on the verge of civil war. Not only is it the main factor for professional advancement and career development, it is the single and unique foundation for personal and marital status.
The world is advocating human rights, fighting for equality and aiming for cultural richness, and yet in Lebanon we still cannot accept, let alone tolerate, the idea that we are gathered under one country and that we are represented by one flag. We lack natural resources such as oil and gas, but our biggest wealth rests on the fact that we are a country built on differences; we can be a country accommodating and embracing those differences in order to strengthen our international front instead of using them for internal destruction and a one-sided community victory.
Sectarianism emanates and remains persistent through the needs of people to compensate their fear of survival as a sect and through their certainty that their rights can be preserved only by a person from the same sect. The current system asserts the latter beliefs and therefore results in an even deeper incision of sectarianism. When Lebanese people start realizing that the survival of one sect depends on the survival of the other and that any politician, from any sect, should seek such an equation, people will slowly lean towards right representations based on interests and not representation of rights based on sects!
The rising interest in a Lebanese civil society is not a westernizing effect that was parachuted by the media, it is a solution that will help preserve the different communities while granting them the possibility to live in harmony, most importantly under laws that will treat them equally. It is a two-way relationship between the people and the system; the people should want it and the system should guide it through to them. Asking for secularism is not denying one’s religious belonging; it is on the contrary living by them, by accepting, embracing, and tolerating others for who they are and where they come from. Any act against secularism by either politicians or clerics is a mere confirmation that a divided Lebanon, a crippled one, only enhances the various communities and their personal interests; away from a unified, strong, and standing Lebanon.
NO to civil war, NO to dispersed rights, NO to a divided Lebanon.
YES to secularism, YES to civil marriage, YES to a civil Lebanon. YES to Lebanon.