Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Hezbollah back at the border, FPM soon on the airwaves

Posted by worriedlebanese on 07/02/2007

Some readers have told me that my comments are a bit too biased and that I’m conspicuously and systematically siding with the opposition on all issues… Well, I never pretented to be a neutral observer of Lebanese politics and I have been opposed to Siniora’s government since its establishement. And being somewhat of a liberal, I think that the government is to be considered to be politically responsible and not the opposition. The opposition is legally accountable for it acts, but not politically. That explains why I am more critical about the government than I am about the opposition. But I think it’s time to express a couple of criticism towards the opposition. I will center here on two issues, that of Hezbollah’s provocation in the South and that of the future launching of OTV.

Hezbollah flags at the border

A group of Hezbollah militants patroled the Lebanese border yesterday with their flags and installed posters of their dead combatants (“martyrs”) for Israelis living in the border villages to see.

This act in itself is not surprising in Lebanon. Almost all Lebanese political parties mark “their” territory with their posters, flags and images of their “martyrs”. When you drive around in Beirut these days you can guess the communal demographics of a neighbourhood by the flags and posters you see in it. This of course is illegal, but the government has done nothing about it up to now. When this phonomena reappeared in 2005, most of the posters belonged to a party presented in government: Future Movement, PSP, Amal, Hezbollah, Kataeb, Lebanese Forces. Some parties in the opposition (parliamentary and extra-parliamentary) had also tried to mark their territory, sometimes failing miserably because their posters were destroyed. This happened to the FPM who had his posters destroyed after the death of Pierre Gemayel. The party flags and Aoun’s posters were everywhere in Ashrafieh. On almost every lightpost on the main roads, at all the major crossings and intersections… Clashes occured when FPM militants tried to restore these posters and flags. This gave way to an agreement between the Lebanese Forces and the FPM to remove all flags and party signs from Beirut, a decision that still is somewhat respected by their militants.

So it’s through talks between two political parties that the marking of territories ceased in the Christian neighbourhood of Beirut, but everywhere else, the posters and hoardings kept on increasing in number and sizes (and that was while Hezbollah and Amal were part of the government).

As for what Hezbollah did in Southern Lebanon yesterday, it is quite similar to what they did in the Southern suburbs of Beirut, only this time it is to mark their territory with a foreigh country, Israel, and that’s where their behaviour is condemnable.

OTVThe Free Patriotic movement decided last year to open its own media outlet, a television channel called OTV (for Orange TV), its objectives are stated on its web site http://www.otvinvest.com/.

This again is no exceptional behaviour in Lebanon: Future movement, Amal, Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces have their own TV channels. But the novelty here is that it’s the first channel to open since the enactment of the media law. The govenment has recognised it and it is to be launched in a month time.

One of the reasons the FPM is launching Otv comes from the fact that most of the Media either ignores the FPM or attacks it systematically. This is true for the TVs and the Press. But is this good enough a reason to found yet another partisan media?

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