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Lebanon: Political Leaders Terrified by the Gallows Resort to Emergency Law

Diana Moukalled
Lebanese Writer and Journalist
August 15, 2020
The symbolic gallows and the calls for accountability for those at the top of the authority pyramid in Lebanon, not those at the bottom, was the problem that angered Lebanon's leaders and perhaps made them really fear for their lives.

How did Lebanon’s leaders feel when they saw their pictures hanging on the symbolic gallows set by angry demonstrators two days after the crime of the port explosion?

How did they feel as they heard cries of pain, anger, and curses pouring on them all through TV screens, in protest plazas, and through social media?

The answer by the Hezbollah General Secretary, Hassan Nasrallah, was clear… Most of the angry protesters and demonstrators are traitors, driven by embassies, plots, and the media to topple the regime, by this of course, he means his regime and his era.

The impact of the symbolic gallows seems to have been heavy on him.

Almost ten days after the most horrendous crime Lebanon ever witnessed, the pillars of power, and Hezbollah topping the list, are still acting and talking as if what happened was an “accident” of little consequence that could be handled with the same tools and the same rhetoric they used before August 4.

Those tyrants did not realize the gravity of what happened. They did not feel the bombardment that blew up the walls of the houses of thousands of Lebanese and killed their loved ones, and their houses were not hit by glass shrapnel and stone debris.

They did not feel that the lives of thousands of Lebanese were shaken by a hidden crime that had been prepared for years. It never occurred to the Lebanese people’s minds that the port massacre had been brewing while they were living, walking, sleeping, and walking nearby.

Lebanon’s tyrants did not care about hundreds of casualties or thousands of injured, as for them they are just numbers that will be surpassed by their corruption and their sectarianism.

They knew that there were huge amounts of ammonium nitrate in the heart of the capital, which security officials acknowledged, and even the President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, personally admitted that they knew about it, but they did not lift a finger, as if storing a massive death shipment at the harbor in the center of the capital and among civilians was a normal affair that could be resolved by routine correspondence, as President Aoun justified.

A state of emergency will grant the military courts, known to be under the control of “Hezbollah” and the Aounian stream, will be given greater authority to suppress freedoms, restrict journalists’ work, and prosecute civilians.

Not a single official or leader in Lebanon could rise to the occasion and deal with it directly.

Aoun and his team considered that the crime was an opportunity to end the international blockade on his reign.

“Hezbollah” saw the rage that followed it against its state and its weapons, and its Secretary-General was not able to show even a small amount of sensitivity to the pain, as he did when his friend and guide Qassem Sulaimani was killed, for example.

“Future Movement” resorted to the mausoleum of its founder, unable to grasp what happened…

Lebanese forces spoke of the “Ashrafiya” casualty rather than Lebanon, and the socialists tried to play the role of an opponent rather than a permanent partner in the state of spoils.

All of the above is supposed to be handled quietly by the Lebanese, politely and with tolerance, but the symbolic gallows and the calls for accountability for those at the top of the authority pyramid in Lebanon, not those at the bottom, angered Lebanon’s leaders and perhaps made them really fear for their lives. It is no surprise that intruders infiltrated, at dawn the day of the gallows demonstrations, to burn pictures and symbolic hanging ropes, especially those that carried the pictures of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, as the most prominent leader who was charged with responsibility for the crime.

Why Emergency?

The disaster is that the government that resigned less than a week after the massacre moved in directions that do not match the crime’s scale, and do not suggest that anyone knew what happened. The enormous chaos in relief operations, the slow lifting of rubble, the inadequate search for missing people, and the tracing of the victims seemed an inevitable result of a government that is unable to react to a crime of this magnitude, especially when it bears its direct responsibility.

The solution, from the authority’s point of view, was a declaration of a state of emergency, which seemed to be in defense of the “Quotas” political leaders, rather than in defense of the Lebanese.

This decision, i.e. declaration of a state of emergency, in practice, means the transfer of power to the army, which will bring about the direct control of the military over freedoms of assembly and demonstration, as well as arbitrary decisions.

This regime, Hezbollah and the Aounian current, knows that ignoring the port massacre and getting over it, as happened with many previous crimes, will not happen.

This regime, Hezbollah and the Aounian current, knows that ignoring the port massacre and getting over it, as happened with many previous crimes, will not happen. Obviously, the reliance of these two poles on the street for support would not work.The first step is to put the army in the forefront and make it prevail.

Obviously, the reliance of these two poles on the street for support would not work. The first step is to put the army in the forefront and make it prevail. The party’s Secretary-General said that he asked his audience to control their anger, not to quench it, waiting to use it at a later stage. This can be interpreted as a direct threat that may be equivalent to using the army in the next critical stage.

The state of emergency in Lebanon opens the door for a new confrontation between the political system and the uprising, a step through which the regime seeks to gain a regular military force to strike down the movement and demands of accountability and justice as a result of the crime.

A state of emergency will grant the military courts, known to be under the control of “Hezbollah” and the Aounian stream, will be given greater authority to suppress freedoms, restrict journalists’ work, and prosecute civilians. The army’s command and security services are not independent of the ruling political system and are unable to run the emergency period objectively, but, on the contrary, it facilitates the army’s use as a strike against the opposition.

This means that there is a looming disaster for Lebanon if we consider the possibility of cloning the Syrian, Egyptian, Tunisian or Iraqi scene. The revolution in Syria started against a political regime, but quickly turned into a confrontation between the people and the army as the protector of power, who strikes with its prison warden and torturer tools.

Can the Lebanese army be considered very distinct from the Syrian army, especially after the repeated incidents of prisoners dying in custody and in terms of the presence of military commanders directly loyal to President Aoun or Hizbullah?”

It is clear that today, through a state of emergency, there is an attempt to force the army into the political arena in the service of the existing regime, which is now known to be rejected regionally and internationally, and no longer has any cards to continue with, except to hide behind the military.

Indeed, indicators of the role the army is meant to play in controlling media performance or in following up on volunteering and relief efforts are emerging.

Since the massacre at Beirut Port, the Lebanese have found that they are once again facing a massive crime without having immune judicial and security institutions capable of investigating them and of setting responsibilities impartially, independently, and transparently.

The referral of the crime to the Judicial Council constitutes a new recourse to a court where the trial is conducted on an exceptional basis and does not take into account the conditions of a fair trial. This is exactly what has increased demands for international courts.

The days following the port massacre revealed the enormity of the crimes against the Lebanese people and the degree of insensitivity toward their fate and refusal to take responsibility for them. The emergency decision is difficult to understand but it leaves the door wide open to risky gamble that could have been averted.

الأكثر قراءة

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