Dynasty – Jumblatt style
Posted by worriedlebanese on 17/03/2010
One of the least commented announcements in Walid Jumblatt’s lengthy interview on Al-Jazira is that he would not visit his father’s tomb on the day commemorating his father assassination, but that his son, Taymour, would do it instead.
Now this information is in itself quite trivial, but if one follows the whole interview one would realise that it is probably the most significant part of it. Why? Because it reflects the way politicians portray politics, the way they represent it and represent themselves as political actors.
Let’s put this simple announcement in context. Five years ago, Walid Jumblatt accused openly the Syrian regime of being behind the assassination in 1977 of his father, Kamal Jumblatt (conservative and traditionalist politician, warlord, businessman, founder of the dynasty and of the Progressive Socialist Party). In 2005, Walid Jumblatt held the Assad family responsible for this death at a time when the Lebanese political class was feeling extremely vulnerable and emotions were running high. In 2009, emotions are not as strong, the Lebanese political class is feeling less vulnerable and it has been pressured into a reconciliatory attitude. And so instead of the “Forgive but don’t Forget” that Walid Jumblatt claimed was his motto from 1977 to 2005, the Druze Za’im announced that his new motto would be “Forgive and Forget”. And to show his compliance to his new approach, he refrained from visiting his father’s tomb. However, by sending his son to represent him, he is signalling some ambiguous message to his audience (communal and Syrian): a willingness to reform (forgiving and forgetting) or to abdicate in favor of his son (who forgives without forgetting).