Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

The clumsiness of a hoisted flag

Posted by worriedlebanese on 17/06/2007

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Some newspapers reported yesterday that the Lebanese army hoisted a Lebanese flag over a building in Nahr el Bared camp. Even though I support the army in this battle (though I still hold it accountable for any violation of war obligations), I found the picture very shocking. I was wondering how the Palestinians of Lebanon are reacting to it. Hailing a flag is a sign of conquest. And the conquered land is no other than what these Palestinians perceive as “their” territory (a surrogate territory where roads and neighbourhoods are baptised by the name of the towns and villages the refugees left in 1948). Now even though the camps are Lebanese, they have been “settled” by Palestinians in 1948 and granted an extra-territorial status by the army and government in 1969. Even though this status was repealed in 1986, the extraterriotarility is still respected by the Lebanese government. Furthermore, in the Lebanese-Palestinian psyche, the camps hold the remains of Palestine. So by hoisting the Lebanese flag over the camp, the Lebanese soldiers are presenting themselves as conquerers, and this will be compared by the Palestinians to another conquest, that of 1948.
I think the Lebanese army and police should maitain order in the camps, as they should everywhere else in Lebanon, but this shouldn’t be done as an act of conquest but as the spreading of the rule of law.

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