Worried Lebanese

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Three impulsive reactions to arguments “supporting” civil marriage legislation in Lebanon

Posted by worriedlebanese on 02/02/2013

pepe2For the past two weeks a rather large group of activists has been trying to take advantage of the new battle within the sunni community for the religious and political leadership of the community. This community is undoubtedly the most affected of all Lebanese communities by the recent changes and dynamics in the region: War in Syria, Brotherhood gains in North Africa, Surge of salafism as a local political force and a cross-national military force… All this adds and complicates the national dynamics: between localists, patriotic and transnational views, and differing ideologies (traditionalist, conservative, radical islamic, secularist, and liberal). Without these elements in mind, one cannot really understand the statement made by Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, the Mufti of the Republic (interesting title, don’t you think?), against the civil marriage proposal. Neither can one situate Saad Hariri’s “electoral promise” to support a civil marriage legislation (not actually put in so many words).
Choosing to blissfully ignore these dynamics, and trying to use the present conflict to further their “anti-confessional” program, the one infused by our educational system and nurtured by the dominant political and academic discourse, a great number of active members of our civil society have been digging out all kinds of arguments to support their aims. Here are a couple of arguments that I’ve come across on Facebook, and my epidermic reaction to them.

The classical argument!
“From the cradle to the grave”, the Lebanese citizens are locked in their communities. Gaby Nasr reformulates this argument when he says “From his birth record to his death certificate”.
Reaction 1: A sentence that fits pre-revolutionary France where vital records (état civil) were managed by the catholic church… In Lebanon, vital records are managed by the Ministry of Interior, and except for the conversion procedure, the religious authorities have no say in what is written in them (even if these records contradict their laws).

The economical argument!
“Had they all married in Lebanon, how much money would they have saved? How much money the Lebanese treasury would’ve made?”
Reaction 2: We could also vote a law banning honeymoons abroad. This would also save newlyweds a lot of money and provide the Lebanese treasury with more funds.

The “liberal” argument!
“And for those who are against civil mariage, let them limit their choices to themselves and their families [and not impose them on others]. ومن كان ضد الزواج المدني، فليحصر خياره بنفسه وبعائلته
Reaction 3: This argument presupposes that a new civil marriage legislation would not affect Lebanese citizens who chose or choose another marriage legislation (be it religious or civil). And this argument in itself is grounded in the assumption that there is no lebanese legislation on civil marriage. But in fact we do have a civil marriage legislation, one that introduces the first (and actually only) opt out mechanism in our personal law regime.
– It recognises all civil marriages contracted abroad by all Lebanese nationals.
– It provides that foreign civil marriage legislation will be applied to these marriages provided that at least one of the spouses does not belong to a muslim community. This is not a discriminatory  provision but a kind of “protective clause” that was added in response to a vast political mobilisation within the muslim community against civil marriage. This provision/exclusion was NEVER challenged in parliament or even within civil society, not even by the “progressive” groups.
To cut a long story short, a new civil legislation will have two major affects on marriages between lebanese
1. Not only will it affect (on the medium or the long term) religious marriages (because it will be setting a standard against which a judge could eventually  “measure” religious marriages… this is a worldwide tendency  of which I know no exception).
2. But it will also modify the legal situation of Lebanese married under civil law abroad. The foreign civil marriage legislation will no longer be applicable in Lebanon, so all Lebanese married abroad will be subjected to the Lebanese legislation that will undoubtedly be more conservative than many foreign legislations. This is quite obvious from the past proposals, from the Lebanese parliament’s records on personal issues and even from the worldview of many of the the proponents of a new civil law legislation on marriage.
This new legislation will be annulling the only true “opt out” mechanism concerning religious law in our legal system (the one introduced by Ziyad Baroud allowing the removal of the communal affiliation from state registries actually only masquerades as one. It actually hands religious authorities a new “tutelage” mechanism and deprives the citizen of some rights that are provided by our system).
It will be substituting a liberal mechanism with a republican mechanism in a period where anti-liberals are flowering on the muslim political sphere and the christian religious sphere.

Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Discourse Analysis, Intercommunal affairs, Lebanon, Political behaviour, Reform, Secularism | 5 Comments »

Le “mariage civil”: un pari risqué et fortement idéologisé

Posted by worriedlebanese on 01/02/2013

a17bLes mujahidin du mariage civil au Liban s’enflamment sur cette question, réchauffent des arguments qui datent des années 1930 et la traitent en méprisant les enseignements d’expériences similaires conduites dans des pays qui nous ressemblent. Je pense à la Bosnie, à l’Égypte, à la Syrie et à l’Iraq. Pire, ils n’essayent même pas de profiter de nos propres expériences en la matière. Ils restent abstraits et nous balancent leur crédo. Sous l’étiquette “progressiste”, les partisans du “mariage civil au Liban” se rapprochent plutôt des détracteurs du “Mariage pour tous” en France surtout sur le plan de la méthode.
Je ne traiterai que brièvement deux des présupposés brandis par nos mujahidin.

#1. Le MARIAGE CIVIL est un pas vers la DÉCONFESSIONALISATION et la PAIX CIVILE.
– La Bosnie a expérimenté pendant un demi siècle avec un mariage civil exclusif… mais aussi avec l’économie d’État, le parti unique et plein de techniques de brassage et d’uniformisation musclés… Dans les années 1990, plus d’un tiers des bosniens était issu d’un mariage mixte. Est-ce que cela a empêché l’éclatement de la plus sanguinaire des guerres yougoslaves et l’exécution de stratégies de nettoyage ethnique?
– L’Égypte, la Syrie et l’Iraq ont dans les années 1960 et 1970 expérimenté chacune à sa manière avec la laïcisation… Suppression des tribunaux religieux ici, promulgation d’un code civil là… Sont-ils pour autant plus “libre” ou “déconfessionnalisé” que nous? Leur histoire récente tend à montrer le contraire.

#2. Le MARIAGE CIVIL est une OPTION LIBÉRALE qui assure les DROITS des CITOYENS.
– Qui d’entre vous a lu le projet de mariage civil d’Elias Hraoui? Savez-vous que ce projet extrêmement conservateur aurait compliqué la vie de ceux qui se sont mariés (ou se marieront) à l’étranger? J’appartiens à une famille où deux générations se sont mariées civilement. En cas de promulgation du mariage civil au Liban, un des mariages sera plus compliqué à défaire et l’autre sera dissous. Est-ce que ça augmente nos libertés ou est-ce que ça les réduit?
– En 1959, le Liban a expérimenté avec la première “laïcisation” en matière de statut personnel: celle du droit successoral. Face à la protestation des autorités religieuses et la pression de l’ordre des avocats (en ce temps majoritairement chrétien), la loi fut adoptée… mais réservée aux seuls “non-mahométans”. Depuis cette date, la législation catholique en matière successorale a évolué (ceci concerne 6 des 13 communautés soumises à la législation civile)… mais pas le droit civil libanais, rendant la législation catholique plus libérale que la législation laïque en matière de succession des enfants… plus libérale mais non valide au Liban… laïcisation du droit successoral oblige…

Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Civil Society, Intercommunal affairs, Lebanon, Secularism, Version Francophone | Leave a Comment »

Les effets de la transition syrienne: rébellion, réforme ou révolution?

Posted by worriedlebanese on 17/07/2011

Carte de la Contestation

Le niveau de la contestation politique en Syrie est tel que l’on peut indéniablement parler de rébellion. La grande question que tout le monde se pose est de savoir si cette rébellion va être écrasée ou si elle va réussir à renverser le régime en place. Il est indéniable que la Syrie s’est engagée dans une “transition” depuis plus de dix ans, suite au décède de Hafez al-Assad et à l’avènement de son fils, Bachar. Effectivement, on peut remarquer d’importants changements sur plusieurs plans: économique, politique, culturel et communautaire.

Une économie mixte ou à deux vitesses 
Depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir de Bashar Assad, l’économie syrienne s’est considérablement transformée. Elle est devenu en quelque sorte mixte : elle a conservé sa dimension socialiste et elle a intégré une dimension capitaliste. D’un côté, l’économie traditionnelle et “socialiste” s’est écroulée, et de l’autre de nouveaux secteurs se sont développés. Mais au lieu d’intégrer ces deux dimensions, elle les a complètement dissocié. Ceci a donné naissance à une économie à deux vitesses qui est en contradiction avec l’idéologie officielle et qui ne répond pas aux attentes de la majorité des Syriens. Le résultat est l’augmentation du chômage, la destruction ou l’appauvrissement de certains secteurs de l’économie (artisanat, agriculture traditionnelle), la production de nouvelles richesses et de nouvelles habitudes de consommation (nouveaux complexes industriels, expansion du secteur éducatif privé, intégration dans l’économie mondialisée avec entrée d’enseignes internationales…).

Une dissonance politique entre discours et pratique
Le régime tout en prônant l’ouverture s’est en fait considérablement refermé depuis son retrait du Liban. Une partie de la « vieille garde » a été écartée du pouvoir. Et plus de quarante ans de gestion politique informelle (qui ne respecte pas les institutions et les divisions fonctionnelles du pouvoir, mais qui fonctionne à travers de multiples réseaux transversaux) a évidemment vidé les institutions de toute substance et font apparaître ces institutions pour ce qu’elles sont, des coquilles vides, ou plutôt des cadres dépourvus de toute autonomie qui sont investis par des forces qui les traversent et qui les dépassent.
Tant que ce système satisfaisait la population sur le plan économique en assurant une répartition des richesses perçue comme équitable, les citoyens syriens étaient prêts à répéter le discours officiel et à y adhérer en dépit de son caractère formel (dogmatique et détaché de la réalité). Mais depuis que les différences de classe sont de plus en plus visibles, le discours économique sonne de plus en plus creux et la légitimité du régime se trouve ébranlée.
En fait, l’étendue de la gestion informelle par le régime est telle que l’on ne peut même plus le qualifier de « baasiste » puisqu’il a également vidé le parti baas de toute substance.  

L’accès à la production culturelle occidentale 
En dépit des bouleversements économiques des dernières années, la transition culturelle de la Syrie n’a pas encore atteint le même degré que l’Egypte et la Tunisie par exemple, en raison de l’isolement relatif de la Syrie sur ce plan et son entrée tardive dans le processus. Effectivement  les élites culturelles syriennes sont relativement peu mondialisées ou intégrées à des structures transnationales (à la différence de leur pendant Egyptien et Tunisien). Au niveau des classes moyennes, l’accès à la production culturelle occidentale (à travers l’internet et les satellites) progresse mais n’a pas encore atteint un degré suffisant pour influer sur la dynamique politique.
Toutefois, les mouvements de rue massifs et pacifiques de 2005 au Liban, et de 2011 en Egypte et en Tunisie ont certainement enrichi la culture politique syrienne en y intégrant une nouvelle forme de pratique politique.

La confessionalisation des discours
La Syrie n’a jamais expérimenté pleinement avec un système formel de répartition communautaire du pouvoir, à la différence du Liban. Je dis pleinement parce qu’en fait, on peut déceler en ces matières quelques expérimentations formelles et une pratique informelle.
Sur le plan formel, le régime syrien privilégie principalement les Arabes et quelque peu les Musulmans au sein de sa population puisqu’il se veut strictement Arabe et considère la Shari’a comme étant une source de la législation tout en réservant la présidence de la république à un musulman. La proclamation de l’arabité de la Syrie a effectivement eu des incidences pratiques sur les minorités : elle s’est accompagnée d’une politique d’arabisation à l’encontre de ses minorités non-arabes : kurdes, turques, arméniennes, assyriennes et gitanes. Et s’est mise en pratique à travers des instruments d’ingénieurie ethnique (« ethnic engineering ») à l’encontre de la communauté kurde : exclusion de la nationalité, négation de la langue et colonisation arabe dans ses régions.
Sur le plan informel, on trouve une pratique qui prend en compte des considérations communautaires. Ceci s’effectue à travers la constitution de relations de confiance à dominante confessionnelle qui manipulent des réseaux d’influences et d’intérêts. Il existe par ailleurs une autre pratique informelle de gestion du pluralisme communautaire. Celle si s’opère à travers la négociation et la manipulation des élites communautaires. Sur le plan religieux, le régime Syrien intervient dans la nomination de toutes les élites religieuses syriennes à un degré qui n’a pas de précédent dans l’histoire du pays. Et dans une société qui est fragmenté sur le plan confessionnel, le pouvoir intervient également dans les relations « intra-communautaires » pour s’assurer de la fidélité des élites communautaires.
Au niveau du discours et de la mobilisation, un changement important a eu lieu suite à la gestion par le régime de la révolte populaire. Les considérations confessionnelles étaient taboues en Syrie jusqu’à peu de mois. On ne parlait des enjeux confessionnels qu’en petit comité, de manière discrète. Depuis quelques années, les marqueurs identitaires ont commencé à devenir de plus en plus publique. Que ce soit le voile intégral (niqab) dans les quartiers sunnites ou les croix affichés par les chrétiens. Lors d’un voyage en Syrie après la guerre de juillet, j’avais même remarqué que les portraits de Hassan Nasrallah étaient devenus confessionnelles. Lorsqu’on les voyait affiché à côté de la photo du président Syrien, il y avait de forte chance que ce quartier soit Aléouite. Mais même à cette époque, la question confessionnelle restait religieuses, et les Syriens s’amusaient à se moquer du Liban et de son confesssionalisme. Aujourd’hui, le tabou est tombé, surtout après la violence extrême qui s’est déployée à Daraa. Les Syriens sont de plus en plus nombreux à parler de leur appartenance confessionnelle, et surtout à exprimer leur hostilité par rapport à un autre groupe. Et ceci est particulièrement vrai dans les milieux de l’opposition au régime.

Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Culture, Discourse, Economy, Reform, Secularism, Syria, Version Francophone | Leave a Comment »

Nadim Shehade’s interesting take on “Sectarianism”

Posted by worriedlebanese on 27/04/2011

Nadim Shehade, made an extremely interesting contribution last week to a discussion launched by Elias Muhanna on his blog Qifa Nabki. I was at first struck by the way he introduced the subject. It reminded me of the clumsy attempt I had made a couple of years back to respond to Nawaf Salam’s take on Lebanese sectarianism when I told him that it is of no surprise to “observe” sectarianism when one is looking through sectarian tainted glasses. By that I introduce my approach of distinguishing between different dynamics (regionalism, factionalism, ideology, economical interests, clientelism…), and not blurring the differences by putting them under the same heading.  
Please read carefully this text by the former director of Oxford’s Centre for Lebanese Studies and present researcher at Chatham House. He pinpoints all the methodological errors and assumptions most of us make when looking into countries with deep or significant communal divisions. 

Sectarianism, like beauty, is more often than not in the eye of the beholder. One can interpret a situation as ‘sectarian’ and there may be some elements in it that are related to tension between sects; but the underlying causes and drivers may be totally secular.

There are three ways of looking at it:

  1. As a perspective related to the observer who sees sectarianism everywhere.
  2. As a reality on the ground – where tensions are real and incidents have sectarian dimensions
  3. In relation to the political system and how it deals with divisions and whether it increases or decreases sectarian tensions.

There are so many myths that would fall just by distinguishing between these three points.

In Syria for example: Is the regime really Alawi? Is the system ‘secular’?
Similar questions for Lebanon and for Iraq.

Analysts on Iraq emphasised sectarian divisions, whereas intra-sectarian divisions were as important. In the end are these not legitimate political divisions in which sect plays a part?

In Lebanon, the system is ‘confessional’ or sectarian. But the reality on the ground is a division which is deeply political between two very legitimate world views which divide every ‘sect’, every community and even every family. It is the beholder who chooses to give it a label of sectarian, that March 8 are ‘Shiaa’ or Shiaa means Hizballah. The Christians are ‘divided’? who said they have to be united in the first place? because they are Christian they have to be united, so the sectarian glasses do not fit with reality and we conclude that they are divided.
When politicians play with the electoral law to gerrymander the result, is that sectarian?
Is power-sharing sectarian? maybe such a system has allowed for political divisions to become more significant.

Going back to Syria – There is a network that dominates which has an interest in perpetuating the system. It is too simple to say that this is a Alawite dominance, there is hegemony by a network of a family that happens to be Allawite and has coopted many people from all other sects – Sunnis, Christians, Ismailis, Druze, etc.. etc..

The tautology of the argument is the following: A society that is composed to many sects cannot have democracy because of the sectarian divisions – a ‘secular’dictatorship would put the lid on it. But the other side of that coin is that this same society would not contain all these sects in the fist place had they not been able to coexist all that time.

[In Turkey] The Turkish model of secularism is also that Attaturk, in order to have a secular and cohesive society, had to get rid of the Armenians, the Greeks, the Assyrians, the Arabs and the Kurds.

I want to suggest that the present ‘secular’ regime in Syria is likely to exacerbate sectarian tensions whereas a democratic power-sharing arrangement, similar to the ones in Lebanon and the one evolving in Iraq, would decrease such tensions.

Posted in Discourse, Discourse Analysis, Intercommunal affairs, Iraq, Lebanon, Pluralism, Political behaviour, Secularism, Semantics, Syria, Turkey | 2 Comments »

Credo in form of a decalogue (changes I believe in)

Posted by worriedlebanese on 15/07/2010

Some people have very rightly said that my approach to “Laïque Pride” (among other things) is too negative and that instead of simply criticising, I should be presenting some alternatives. So I took two hours to think about it and came up with this decalogue.
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1. I believe that we should pressure the parliament into establishing the “communauté de droit commun” that was recognised in the 1930s!!!! And allow it to have its own institutions and its own laws in matters of mariage and inheritance, and also its own courts. In other words Create a democratic and liberal “op out” mechanism to communal membership.

2. I personally think the Lebanese state should stop financing the muslim clergy and the muslim courts, because it is discriminatory towards non-muslims and it contradicts the principle of separation between religion and state. In other words Enforce the principle of  separation between State and Religion.

3. I also believe that the civil inheritance law that applies to Christians should be abolished because it is patriarchal and discriminatory. I believe Christians should be allowed to have their own inheritance laws (the catholic inheritance law for instance is more liberal than the secular Lebanese inheritance law), just like Muslims do… In other words: Enforce the principle of equality between communities.

4. I believe that the “clergy” has the right to express its political opinion, like all other citizens do. And that we have the right (and the duty) to criticize it when we don’t agree with it. However, the Muslim “clergy” BY LAW doesn’t have the right to express political views because it holds the status of “state agent”. If it wants to benefit from this right, it should set itself free from the state. In other words Enforce the principles of rule of law.

5. I also believe that people who belong to a community should pay a specific tax for this community (like in Germany) in order to to finance each community’s institutions (courts and non-clerical representative institutions) and give it the means to have a properly trained personnel (most importantly judges)! And where there are taxes, there’s accountability! In other words Guarantee a greater autonomy to communities.

6. I also believe that pressure should be made on state courts to reinterpret Law 534 of our criminal law that doesn’t mention homosexuality but speaks of sexual relations that are “contradicting the laws of nature”… I believe this sentence’s interpretation should be restricted to bestiality… and not include adultery, homosexuality and what have you: In other words “upgrade” Personal Freedom to international standards.

7. I also believe that there should be NO censorship. And that the censorship board should be replaced by a rating board (like in the US). I believe freedom of opinion and information should be guaranteed. For this we need a new legislation and excerpt  a lot of pressure on our political class (that controls the media and restricts the creation of new media). In other words “upgrade” Freedom of Expression to international standards.

8. I believe that military courts should not be allowed to try civilians. And that even soliders should be given the right to oppose a military court’s ruling by bringing the case to a higher civil court (Constitutional court, Court of cassation, Council of State or preferably a common supreme court that replaces them). In other words Extend the principle of Due Process.

9. I believe that the history of communities should be taught in schools because people are extremely ignorant about these things and they replace their lack of knowledge with prejudice. Our students should learn about communal persecutions, conversions, liberal and conservative religious movements… They should learn about the dhimmi laws, and that they were not always applied. They should learn about religious extremism (how Syriac and Protestant converts were persecuted by the Maronite church, how Chrisitans, and non orthodox Muslims were persecuted by the Mamlouk, how the Eastern Catholic churches were latinised by Rome and missionaries, how the Oriental Orthodox clergy were discriminated against by the Greeks (and how the Arab speaking orthodox clergy revolted in the 19th century, how the Iranian clergy and schools changed the Lebanese Shiites religious practice, what sunni religious reformers proposed in the 19th century… In other words, Replace prejudice and ignorance with knowledge.

10. I believe that the confessional system can be reformed… But this reform should keep in mind the basic principles on which this system is based: inclusiveness and diversity. That’s why all recognised communities should have a representative in Parliament! Today, the rule applies only to 11 communities out of the 17 established communities (the “communauté de droit commun” just like the Ismaeli community is recognised but not established, once it is established it will become the 18th community). Moreover, we should have a law that sets a procedure for the recognition of other religious communities (the Czech law is quite a good one). I also believe that there are competent people in all communities and that “confessionalism” shouldn’t be an excuse to choose the most corrupt or the least competent of them, or an excuse to strengthen the power of patrons over people who belong to their community (within the state and outside it). In other words, Enforce the principles of Inclusiveness and Diversity inherent in Confessionalism.

When are we going to start doing something about these issues instead of parroting an almost centennial discourse that is produced and manipulated by politicians and that leads to nowhere?

Posted in Diversity, History, Intercommunal affairs, Islam, Judaism, Levantine Christians, Memory, Patronage Networks, Personal, Prejudice, Reform, Religion, Secularism, Values | 6 Comments »

The secular march… what next?

Posted by worriedlebanese on 14/07/2010

What is future of the Lebanese Laïque Pride? Salman al-Andari offers us an informed glimpse at what lies ahead for this dynamic group of Lebanese in an article published by the  Nahar al-Shabab: “The secular march… what next?“. He asks three people involved in this march what future steps should be undertaken to achieve their goal. A quick look at their answers shows that they are facing huge problems that were perceptible from the onset: There’s a whole lot of ideology (and ideological confusions), the goal is general and vague, and the action plan unfocused.

Instead of analysing their arguments, I believe it would be more interesting to try to suggests some concrete and profitable future steps. But I honestly can’t do it because the goal is too vague and the ideological matter too thick. This is not really the “Laïque Pride” groups fault. The issue they are tackling, secularisation/secularism/laïcité, is an extremely ideological one. This is particularly true in Lebanon (with our consociative system and its anti-confessionalist rhetoric and program) and France (with its particular blend of republicanism and its religious history and anti-religious rhetoric). So basically, here are the problems they are facing:

– “Laïque pride” is running under a highly ideological banner, that of Laïcité. This word is extremely tricky because its definition speaks of absolutes while its history is that of compromises. Moreover, laïcité presents itself as an abstract and universal principle, while it is grounded in a very particular history (that of France) and owes a lot to it.

– “Laïque pride” embraces a very common reading of Lebanese politics that is extremely ideological and misleading: it adopts the constitutional program for the abolition of confessionalism, it confuses State-Religion relations with Society-Religion relations, it opposes communalism and secularism… Its Arabic name is even more emblematic, “the seculars’ march towards citizenship”, which fits perfectly with other slogans used by the political class such as “abolishing confessionalism to give birth to the nation” (what I call national negationism, a virulent type of national self-loathing), or “building the state” (delusion at its best, we’ve got a huge and expensive state). Is there a more effective way to disfranchise citizens than by refusing to acknowledge the rights that they already have?

Is there a way out of this? Obviously, but it won’t be simple. There’s a whole lot of intellectual work that should be done. And this type of work takes time and needs a lot of ressources. And like all intellectual activities, its only reward is intellectual. I’m not sure that Laïque Pride is really interested in “intellectual rewards”. They want change and they want it now. And this attitude is the reason for their success. Anti-confessionalists in Lebanon are comfortable in their certitudes and they are frustrated by what they perceive is a lack of change on this issue (this perception is erroneous… the Lebanese political system is all but static, and it has been undergoing constant changes since the 1920s… all of them allegedly reinforcing the so-called “confessionalism”, but actually diverting it and changing its meaning).

What are the risks of avoiding this “intellectual work” and remaining in these murky ideological waters? I believe this would condemn the goal to remain general and vague, and the action plan to remain unfocused. How much would this hinder “Laïque Pride”… I’m not so sure. The group didn’t propose any new content, what it did is offer a new packaging and a new methodology. It repackaged the dominant anti-confessional rhetoric, put it under a new label “laïque pride” (likely to attract a westernised middle class crowd), functioned as a network and used Facebook as a mobilising tool. The group proved that it was rather good in what it did. To sum things up, there’s a conventional side to “Laïque Pride” (its substance) and an innovative side to it (its form). It’s not clear how long the innovative dimension will remain. When asked about the future step “Laïque Pride” should undertake, the three activists interviewed by Salman al-Andari gave extremely conventional answers. They proposed what other organisations have been doing for years.

So at the end of the day, Laïque Pride can be summed up as a particular moment in “anti-confessional” activism in which a new generation takes possession of a heritage and gives it a facelift. Its success and its failing will be those of the “anti-confessionnal” movement, that has always been politically hijacked by communal leaders and patrons (Kamal Joumblatt yesterday, Nabih Berri today), and its only horizon seems to be the civil marriage proposition which will condemn all Lebanese who seek to avoid religious law to a conservative, patriarchal and bigoted alternative (check out the Hraoui proposition if you’re not convinced) deemed good because “secular”, instead of allowing them to choose more liberal laws abroad.

Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Blogosphere, Civil Society, Culture, Discourse, Idiosyncrasy 961, Lebanon, Secularism | Leave a Comment »

Amalgames: variations sur le discours anti-confessionnel

Posted by worriedlebanese on 12/02/2010

Voici quelques arguments que j’ai exposé sur un autre blog: chroniques Beyrouthines qui traitait de la question de la Laïcité au Liban:

Premier commentaire: un appel pour plus de nuance!

Comment voir clair dans un débat d’idée lorsqu’on met sous un simple mot (laïcité) une bonne dizaine de questions: la représentation des communautés, la pluralité du statut personnel, la séparation entre l’Etat et les institutions religieuses, la neutralité religieuse de l’espace public, la sécularisation de la culture, l’égalité devant la loi, les libertés religieuses et la liberté de conscience, le traitement égal des institutions religieuses…

Que des Libanais ne connaissent pas très bien l’histoire de France ou les paradoxes de la laïcité française, passe encore, mais un petit effort du côté français tout de même.

En France l’écrasante majorité des fêtes officielles sont religieuses (catholique évidemment), le jour de repos officiel correspond au jour de repos catholique, le ministre de l’intérieur est également ministre des cultes (et approuve la nomination des évêques… catholiques). Toutes ces belles cathédrales sont propriété de l’Etat, leur restauration et leur maintient sont donc financés par le budget public… et pourtant elles sont affectées pour l’écrasante majorité au culte catholique! La France a une longe tradition de soutien de missionnaires à l’étranger… soutien qui perdure: Regardez du côté de l’ambassade de france, et vous verrez un soutien de la mission laïque… mais aussi du collège protestant, de l’Université Saint Joseph (et jusqu’à sa fermeture de l’Ecole de l’Alliance Universelle Israélite)… Et ceci est également vrai pour la France d’Outre mer et une partie de la France métropolitaine. La France laïque subventionne des facultés de théologie!!!
Et qui est en France le premiere bénéficiaire en matière éducative de subventions publiques: les écoles catholiques…
Faut-il aussi rappeler que la France connaissait sur son territoire national jusqu’à l’indépendance algérienne et le pluralisme personnel et le système de représentation communautaire…

Du côté libanais, nous avons une stricte séparation sur le plan éducatif. L’Etat est le premier éducateur (au niveau scolaire et universitaire) et ne subventionne aucune institution éducative religieuse (sauf si elle est gratuite… et dans ce cas il le fait au même titre que pour les écoles gratuites non religieuses). L’Etat libanais n’intervient pas dans l’éducation religieuse. La tentative de Rafic Hariri de le faire à jusqu’ici échoué (alors qu’en Syrie, par exemple, l’Etat subventionne les facultés de droit religieux… et le droit islamique et une des sources de la législation…).
Le Liban est le seul Etat au Proche-Orient (hormis la Turquie, mais la laïcité de cette dernière n’exclut pas la reconnaissance de l’Islam sunnite comme religion nationale) dont le droit ne se réfère à aucune tradition religieuse (même Israël s’y réfère).
Au Liban, la question de la foi est indépendante de la question de l’appartenance communautaire (elles font l’objet de deux articles distincts de la constitution, n’en déplaise à Ziyad Baroud). Aucune autorité n’a le droit d’examiner la foi d’un citoyen libanais, c’est pour cela qu’une autorité religieuse ne peut radier l’appartenance communautaire de ses ouailles mécréantes (alors que ceci est possible en Egypte), et que les tribunaux étatiques peuvent examiner toute fraude à la loi excepté la fraude à la loi religieuse puisque ceci reviendrait à examiner la foi du citoyen (donc bonjour la fraude… le citoyen n’est pas prisonnier de la loi religieuse mais peut la manipuler à volonté…). Et enfin, le pon pon: l’Etat Libanais reconnaît depuis les années 1930 l’existence d’une communauté de droit commun que les autorités française ont rapidement vidée de sa substance et qui attend toujours d’être organisée. Il suffit qu’une simple loi soit votée… à l’instar de ce qui a été fait durant les années 1990s avec les Aléouites (et les Coptes)… pas très dur la procédure… mais bon, il faut quand même que quelqu’un réclame son établissement.

Deuxième commentaire: Aller au-delà des slogans et des amalgames

L’Etat libanais existe bien, il est même énorme! c’est le premier employeur, le premier banquier (le système bancaire privé a été intégré au public à travers le système de la dette), le premier éducateur (premier réseau d’écoles, plus grande université…), le régulateur de toutes les activités économiques rentables. Donc oublions les slogans de nos politiciens. L’Etat libanais existe, et n’a pas besoin d’être bâti, en fait, il aurait besoin d’un peu de dégraissage… Notre problème n’est pas dans son existence mais dans son fonctionnement et les problèmes de fonctionnement ne sont pas dus aux déficiences de la loi mais à sa violation continue (par ces même politiciens qui clament haut et fort qu’il n’y a pas d’Etat).

– Les quotas communautaires n’expliquent pas l’incompétence des fonctionnaires et politiques
La question de la compétence et d’appartenance communautaire ne sont plus contradictoires. Je suis sûr qu’on peut trouver des gens compétents pour toutes les fonctions de l’Etat dans toutes les communautés. En revanche, il y a un souvent un conflit entre la compétence et la fidélité à un politicien… Du temps de l’occupation syrienne, Berri, Joumblatt et Hariri choisissaient aussi des ministres chrétiens… ces ministres n’étaient pas toujours très compétents… D’ailleurs Hariri continue à le faire, mais bon.

– La majorité des partis ont une base ethno-communautaire est un fait vérifiable. Mais ce n’est pas en soi un problème. C’est à la rigueur leur problème et dénote d’un certain souci au sein de la société auquel if faudrait peut-être écouter et répondre au lieu de condamner. Personnellement, je m’en fous s’il y a un parti des blondes, un parti des femmes, un parti des mecs qui souffrent d’une calvitie ou de problèmes érectiles… Le fait que ces partis libanais aient une base clientéliste est le véritable problème.

La lutte contre les préjugés, rien avoir avec la laïcité
L’exemple du couple mixte (qui a du mal à se faire accepter) et de la fille pas-si-bien-élevée (qui n’aime pas trop les gens d’une autre confession) n’ont rien avoir avec la laïcité. C’est un problème de préjugés, et ni les institutions étatiques ni le système scolaire publics sont responsables de ce préjugé. Au contraire, les deux luttes activement contre ces préjugés. Crois-moi, on trouve autant de préjugés sur certaines religions dans les pays laïques (comme la France ou la Turquie) qu’au Liban. Et ces préjugés sont très importants au Liban et il faudrait lutter contre. Et les plus graves aujourd’hui sont entre Chiites et Sunnites. C’est vraiment effrayant. Et ce n’est pas en prônant la laïcité qu’on le fera. Ces deux questions sont étrangères l’une à l’autre.

– Distinction ne signifie pas discrimination
Quant au fait de distinguer entre les différents groupes de la société, personnellement, je n’y vois pas de problème tant que l’appartenance au groupe est volontaire (c’est pour ça que je milite pour la reconnaissance de la communauté de droit commun qui existe dans les textes depuis 1930!!!!) et tant qu’il n’y a pas de discrimination… et le tout en luttant activement contre les préjugés. Mais je n’ai pas non plus de problème (de principe) pour abolir les quotas… mais à condition qu’ils résolvent des problèmes au lieu qu’il n’en créent. Sans quotas, la municipalité de Beyrouth serait aujourd’hui exclusivement sunnite et d’obédience haririenne. c’est pour cela qu’il y a des quotas informels (sans base juridique) pour Beyrouth. Encore une fois, je n’aurai pas de problème avec cela, mais cela aura des conséquences désastreuses sur le plan social et politique. Les non-sunnites se sentiront exclus, il aura des discriminations entre quartiers (ce qui existe déjà au demeurant)… et ce sont surtout les quartiers chiites et arméniens qui en souffriront… la ville sera complètement détachée de sa pluralité et de plus de la moitié de ses habitants… Est-ce que c’est cela qu’on veut? Personnellement, je suis pour la réintroduction d’un siège reservé aux étrangers et à la parité homme-femme au sein du conseil municipal… donc à plus de quotas.

Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Civil Society, Culture, Discourse, Lebanon, Prejudice, Religion, Secularism, Version Francophone | 3 Comments »

Civil mariage… a Lebanese discussion

Posted by worriedlebanese on 16/12/2009

Does that include same sex mariages? multiple spouse mariages? what about inheritance law? Have you read the proposition you are defending and that makes reference to God?!

The Unesco club of Saint Joseph University organised this year a discussion on Civil mariage, inviting two clergymen (a sunni and a catholic), two laymen (a judge and an actor) and two laywomen. Yes, it was quite a large pannel that included a great deal of different perspectives. But unfortunately, the discussion wasn’t very interesting. The speakers were quite interesting and made their best to infuse as many ideas in the debate as possible. But the problem isn’t there, it is in the issue of civil mariage is debated in Lebanon. So one can hardly blame them for confusing political, legal, administrative and normative arguments.

As I sat listening to Yorgo Shalhoub, I caught myself humming Moonage Daydream with its lyrics running through my mind: “don’t fake it baby… lay the real thing on me… the church of man, love… is such a holy place to be…”. But I kept listening to this relatively young Lebanese actor make the worst defense possible for the introduction of civil mariage in our legislation; he based his argument on an odd mix of 19th century positivism and new age spirituality. He spoke of man’s liberation, of religious freedoms, shared with us his spiritual coming of age story, and threw himself in a lengthy presentation of how he perceives the relationship between God, “church” and man to be. His intervention was closer to a sermon than the one that preceded him (and believe me, it was hard to outbid the preachy carmelite father who held up the Bible three or four times during his sermon speech).

With “progressives” like these, who needs “conservatives”?! What exactly is their battle?

Deja vu... all over again

  • Provide the Lebanese with a liberal legislation on mariage that guarantees identical rights to men and women, and a possibility to dissolve their union whenever either of them chooses?
  • Provide the legal framework that would allow or encourage interfaith mariage and bring about the physical fusion of all the Lebanese into one national community?
  • Provide a legal framework that allows people to opt out of a religiously determined identity?
  • Provide a legal framework that allows people to opt out of a religious determined legislation?
  • Change the relationship between individuals and clerics?
  • Provide a space for atheists, agnostics and new agers?

These are very different battles. And the proposed civil mariage law hardly meets any of these aims. What I find pitiful is the fact that no one has ever discussed the problems that such a civil mariage legislation could bring about in our particular system (multiple religious legislations and neutrality of the state with regards to religion) and try to see how they could be prevented or solved!

Posted in Civil Society, Culture, Discourse, Diversity, Intercommunal affairs, Lebanon, Secularism, Values | Leave a Comment »

Confused, Dazzling and Misleading: anti-confessionalism advertised

Posted by worriedlebanese on 08/12/2009

I stumbled on this advert yesterday while checking out what was new on Laïque Pride, and I think a short comment on it would sums up my position on this issue perfectly. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it. And you’ve probably heard me on this topic too. Two years ago, I reacted quite violently to a campaign by Amam05. A couple of months ago, I discussed the paradoxes of anti-confessionalism, its ambiguities, the consensus and state support it enjoys as an ideology and its side effects. So I’m sorry to repeat myself. But I think it will enable me to sum up my rants and clarify the point I’m trying to make.

The ad you’ve just watched is clearly intended to shame the Lebanese for identifying with a specific community. Everyone in this clip identifies himself/herself according to his/her nationality, except for the Lebanese, who bow their heads in shame after declining their communal identity (with firearms shots to add to the dramatic effect).

This scenario is quite unlikely. When asked about their identity, most Lebanese refuse to tell you what community they belong to. This is a taboo subject, and in all statistics, it’s the most troublesome data to collect. So why shame people for something that is taboo?!

The underlying idea is that our political system because of its recognition of communities, quota system and multiple personal laws, prevents people from identifying as Lebanese. If this is the case, the choice of countries in the sample we just saw is mind-boggling.

  • Oman: Not only the State is clearly divided according to religious lines (Ibadi, Sunni, Shiite), but islam is the official religion and the law is based on the Coran.
  • Serbia: The Serbian identity revolves around Christian Orthodoxy, just as the Croatian identity revolves around Catholicism (withstanding the extensive secularisation of both societies). Moreover, the country had recognises a special status to two ethnic minorities: Albanians (who are now independent) and Hungarians.
  • South Africa: The country still maintains quota systems (in the private sector!!!) and considers itself as a rainbow country, respecting people’s choice to identify as Afrikaans, Zulu, Indians (etc) and seeing no contradiction with being South African.
  • Palestine: Interestingly enough, Palestine isn’t a sate yet, but it shares two elements with us. It has a quota system for christians and also multiple legislations in matters of personal status, and religious tribunals.
  • India: Now this country is probably the most diverse country in the world. And believe it or not, they have a system of personal laws quite similar to our own. An Indian would identify herself as Indian to a foreigner. But in India she is likely to put forward her communal or state identity (Punjabi, Bengali, Kashmiri, Tamul, Sikh, Hindu…). What language is this Indian going to use to identify herself to start with? This in itself is the marker of a distinct identity. The only way out is to use English, and not Hindu (which by the way is the sister language of Urdu, the original difference is purely religious).
  • America: It is quite common for Americans to refer to themselves as African-American, Jewish-American, Italian-American, Cuban-American, Scandinavian-American… Few people find a problem with that. Just pick any American TV serie and see how the characters in it identify themselves or are portrayed.

Lebanon isn’t as “unique” as we would like to admit. We have multiple identities, and the State recognises this diversity. This isn’t very rare around the world, and certainly not in the sample chosen in this advert! Some of us are attached to their communal identity while others are not… This trait is equally shared by many societies. So to make its point clear, this ad not only misrepresents the social reality in Lebanon, but social reality in other countries as well. So how do you explain all the praise it received?

Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Blogosphere, Civil Society, Culture, Discourse, Diversity, Identity, Idiosyncrasy 961, Pluralism, Prejudice, Religion, Secularism | 2 Comments »

Laïque pride… can this civil initiative be saved?

Posted by worriedlebanese on 07/12/2009

In an earlier post, I alluded to this new civil initiative that made quite a buzz on the Lebanese blogosphere a couple of weeks ago. And the general excitement surrounding it doesn’t seem to be abating. You can find “Laïque Pride” on facebook, twitter, over-blog.

The version you see here was rewritten on December 9th. I found the original draft too aggressive and pontifical and couldn’t leave it that way (If you’re feeling masochistic enough or miss your preacher, you can check it out in the comment section).

Anyway, let’s get back to our business. What seems to be a growing number of Lebanese citizens are getting ready to hit the streets on April 25th 2010. They intend to march for the establishment of a secular state in Lebanon. That’s pretty nice, but there’s something that doesn’t seem too right with this initiative.

The whole approach is very dogmatic. What do they mean by secularism? How can they translate that in practical terms. A quick look at their declaration of intent shows that several of their demands already  exist and others are so extremely abstract that one wonders if they are little more than abstract principles or ideological slogans.

To paraphrase Elvis, I’d say a little bit less ideology, a little more pragmatism please. Forget about the anti-confessionalist rhetoric that we’ve been brought up with and look at the dynamics of our political and legal system. If you want change, target specific goals! It’s only by pinpointing specific problems in our system that we can solve them, putting ideology on the shelf and tackling one issue at a time (or at least separately). Each target needs a different strategy. Let’s be realistic! With such a declaration, what could the outcome of the march possibly be? collective unwinding and a public release of pressure… is it worth working for months and mobilising so many for a simple فشت خلق ?

Here are a couple of targets that I would work on:

  • Fight State censorship. Why not rally for the abolishment of the censorship committee within the Interior Ministry? Why not replace it by a rating system like in the US? Sure Tareq Mitri mentioned this once or twice (when he was minister of culture), and Ziad Baroud did too… But is that enough? Come on! Wouldn’t it be more profitable to march for the abolishment of this censorship committee (in which the religious establishment participates without any habilitation to do so). Shouldn’t we be telling our politicians that we refuse any kind of “tutelage”. Couldn’t we actually contravene systematically to this law? Obviously we can. But people seem to lack the courage to do so. It’s much more comfortable to uphold abstract ideals than actually fight for specific rights.
  • Respond to the religious establishment’s interference in public affairs and criticize politicians who seek backing from the religious establishment. Why not meet with politicians and clergymen to discuss these issues. Why not protest when their behaviour shocks you? Why didn’t anyone do anything when the Prime Minister asked the Maronite Patriarche to nominate candidates to the Lebanese presidency? Why doesn’t anyone remind the State authorities (Baroud, Hariri and Najjar) that Sunni and Shiite preachers are not allowed by law to give a political opinion when they preach because they are civil servants…
  • March to pressure the State into adopting a legislation for the Secular community (Communauté de droit commun). People tend to forget that the very law that recognised the different communities also recognised the existence of a secular community (communauté de droit commun). The legal provision already exists. This community is already recognised! All that is needed is to establish its legislation (and why not, its institutions, if you want it to be independent from the conservative thugs that are in parliament)! So why not pressure the government and the parliament to finally enact the laws that were promised over 70 years ago?!

Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Blogosphere, Civil Society, Communication, Democracy, Discourse, Diversity, Idiosyncrasy 961, Lebanon, Reform, Religion, Secularism | 12 Comments »

Anti-confessionalism’s side effects

Posted by worriedlebanese on 06/08/2009

listen_without_prejudiceIndoctrination: As we have seen, Anticonfessionalism is a State defused ideology. Not only is it a defining element of our constitution and our institutions, but it’s the most prominent feature of our political discourse. Even those who want to maintain the political system as it is are either uncomfortable with it or are embarrassed to defend it publicly.
All public discussions are dominated by negative views of confessionalism. These views have been diffused through the media for over half a century. They have found their way in history books and civic education books.
The consequence is obvious: an overwhelming majority of Lebanese holds negative views on confessionalism and consider it incompatible with all values they consider positive (the latter values are not necessarily shared). As we will see, these views are not based on facts, on demonstrations, but on a global prejudgment. A critical approach is surely warranted when it involves an analysis of merits and faults. But  it ceases to be interesting when it’s a simple expression of adverse or disapproving comments and judgments. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Civil Society, Culture, Discourse, Diversity, History, Identity, Idiosyncrasy 961, Intercommunal affairs, Journalism, Lebanon, Pluralism, Prejudice, Religion, Secularism, Values | 13 Comments »

Violence spills over: Shooting at Tel Aviv gay center

Posted by worriedlebanese on 04/08/2009

Candles in memory of dead spell out "love"

Candles in memory of dead spell out "love"

How fast is Israel heading for trouble? How much can one extrapolate from one crime news heading, a simple human interest story? Could it be an indicator or is it just an isolated case?

One thing is certain, Israeli editorialists and politicians are not taking it so lightly (c.f. Yediot Ahronot article). For them, it’s not just about Nir Katz (24) and Liz Trubeshi (17) who were killed on saturday. It’s about a shooting attack on a gay and lesbian youth center in Tel Aviv. It’s about a hate crime. It’s about an automatic weapon (such as an M-16 rifle) that was used by an Israeli to kill other Israelis because of differences in lifestyle and values.

It’s about a bubble exploding, but unlike Eytan Fox’s הבועה, the needle that burst it is not directly tied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… but might very well be indirectly link to it. For how long can Israeli society nurture  its militaristic culture and breed distrust between some of its sectors, before that starts spreading?

Judging from the reaction of editorialists and politicians, the fear is there, but also the discomfort. How should this attack be called? A terror attack? Can it be called a terror attack although its perpetrator seems to be jewish? This is the kind of hesitation one sees in interviews and opinion papers. It’s not a simple case of semantics, its about classification, operating a distinction between “jewish violence and “palestinian violence”: when violence is so instrumental in separating and defining two groups, what happens when it erupts within one of the groups? what does it say about the opposition between the two groups…

Posted in Conspiracy, Culture, Identity, Israel, Palestinians, Prejudice, Religion, Secularism, Security, Semantics, Values, Violence | Leave a Comment »

The Paradoxes of AntiConfessionalism (an introduction)

Posted by worriedlebanese on 02/08/2009

anti-confessionalismAntiConfessionalism! The word seems easy to grasp. The prefix and suffix speak for themselves. Intuitively, one could assume that anticonfessionalism is antonymous & opposed to a specific system, principle, ideology: confessionalism. Up to now things might seem pretty clear. But when you look a bit closer, you discover something completely different. It’s actually quite hard to oppose anti-confessionalism to confessionalism. It’s like opposing black and white. Sure it’s a common assumption that black is the opposite of white, but it doesn’t tell you much about one or the other, and so the opposition turns out to be meaningless.

I have already dealt with the issue of anticonfessionalism two years ago (albeit hysterically) through a “hate mail” sent to Amam05 posted here. The arguments haven’t changed, but maybe I should restate them more serenely.

We might have many bad intellectual habits in Lebanon, but anti-confessionalism is unmistakably the worst. If you’re looking for insight, learning, critical engagement… keep away from anti-confessional literature. On the other hand, if you’re looking for repetitive prose, dogmatism, distilled ideology, decontextualised constructions, baseless assumptions, groundless accusations… Then you should definitely check out the many books, articles and declarations written on confessionalism.

At first, I thought it would be possible to discuss this issue in one post, but judging from the reactions I’m getting, I think it better to discuss one paradox at a time.


Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Civil Society, Culture, Democracy, Discourse, Diversity, Education, Identity, Idiosyncrasy 961, Lebanon, Pluralism, Politics, Religion, Secularism, Speculation, Values | 11 Comments »

Can the FPM regain its electorate?

Posted by worriedlebanese on 24/07/2009

Emergency ExitThree extremely vigorous debates over the interpretation of the outcome of the parliamentary elections began before the final results were even published. Two of them involved the FPM: how much of its electorate did it actually loose, and why it lost it. We have discussed these issues in a preceding post. We will ask ourself today how likely it is for the FPM to regain its electorate.

He who represented 70% of Christians

Since 2005, General Michel Aoun boasted that he represented 70% of Christians. This slogan meant two things: that he was the undisputed Za’im of the Christian communities, and that the other Christian blocs, parties and MPs owed their seats to Muslim votes. This wasn’t very far from the truth, but did it serve the FPM? Not really. Even though his bloc scored as well as those of Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt, Nabih Berri & Hassan Nasrallah, Michel Aoun was denied the same recognition and an equivalent share. His position improved when two pillars of the Quadripartite oligarchy recognised him as the christian Za’im. But it wasn’t enough to make him an equal partner of the Big Four, and his share in power (and ressources) remained significantly smaller than the others (and some would argue  smaller than the oligarchy’s other Christian junior partners). The results of the 2009 elections will likely have no effect on Aoun’s & the FPM’s share of power. Their significant electoral downsizing will probably be of no consequence.

The FPM’s score in 2005 was both monumental and unexpected. The party was just emerging from years of persecution, its leader had just returned from exile, it had little media backing, didn’t provide social services or distribute state ressources… And withstanding all this, it benefited from a massive score that established it as Lebanon’s largest (and dominant) Christian party, one ready to enter into Lebanon’s communal politics withstanding its long-established anti-communal stand. As it entered Parliament, the FPM embodied a principle that it had long fought, that of communalism. The votes it had received were overwhelmingly Christian and the bloc it formed was a Christian one (except for one MP). These characteristics were confirmed in 2009. During these past elections, the FPM had to build on 2005’s protest vote, experience an electoral cross-communal alliance and survive an electoral Bulldozer.

From protest vote to accountability? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anticonfessionalism, Civil Society, Communication, Democracy, Discourse, Intercommunal affairs, Lebanon, Levantine Christians, Pluralism, Political behaviour, Politics, Reform, Secularism, Values | 3 Comments »

De l’islamophobie ordinaire*

Posted by worriedlebanese on 18/07/2009

*Réaction à l’article d’opinion d’Ivan Rioufol “Voila comment s’installe la barbarie ordinaire…”, paru dans le Figaro du vendredi 17 juillet.

Ivan RioufolVous avez remarqué les points de suspension qui terminent le titre de l’article, ou plutôt le laisse ouvert pour indiquer que beaucoup de choses restent à dire. En fait, il aurait été plus juste de le ponctuer avec un deux-points car cet editorial est un véritable réquisitoire où l’auteur exprime méthodiquement tout son dégout sur les Musulmans, un dégout ordinaire puisqu’il est partagé par beaucoup et peut passer inaperçu: une virulente islamophobie de salon dirons nous en détournant l’une de ses expressions. Pour bien saisir les idées fondamentales autour desquels l’article s’articule, il est conseillé de se poser ces trois questions suivantes en le lisant:

  • De quel danger s’agit-il?
  • Quels en sont les symptômes?
  • Qui en est responsable?

Pour mes commentaires, lisez la suite: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Antisemitism, Blogosphere, Civil Society, Discourse, Diversity, Identity, Intercommunal affairs, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Palestinians, Pluralism, Prejudice, Religion, Secularism, Semantics, Version Francophone | 5 Comments »