Arrogance vs Resentment : street politics in Beirut
Posted by worriedlebanese on 20/09/2008
The resentment in Beirut for Hezbollah and its allies’ takeover of Beirut in May 2008 is palpable. Hezbollah is seen as the main political foe. But people hold grudges against two other parties who they believe are the main perpetrators of the “invasion”: the Syrian Social National Party and Amal (even though they believe Hezbollah bares the political responsibility).
Many see the month of Ramadan as a truce. But the tension is still high, and the “authentic beirutis” do not hide their vindictiveness.
On the other side of the divide, Amal and the Syrian Social National Party behave as if they didn’t take part of the bloody fray. There seems to be a national and international consensus to restrict the responsibility on Hezbollah, and Hezbollah readily accepts it, and even boasts about it.
Interestingly enough, Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech last week which was received differently by the two sides. His allies found it conciliatory, while his foes saw it as arrogant. Actually, I believe it was actually a bit of both. The general tone was conciliatory, but his justification of the May “events” was felt by his foes as “blaming the victim”. One thing is for sure, Hezbollah and its leader have never been so arrogant. Even though this trait is shared by many politicians and parties in Lebanon, in this case, it comes from a party that knows it’s the strongest in the political arena and that’s what its arrogance is putting forward.