Mohammad Makhlouf has reached a level of influence that no other official had reached in the era of Hafez al-Assad, because he could communicate with Hafez at any time and on any occasion. He also used to bribe state officials with exorbitant gifts.
In the aftermath of a freak event or a natural disaster, it is normal for guilt, pain and fear to be a part of the equation for those who witnessed it, but the absence of reliable formal state institutions to provide urgent support adds to the pile a giant burden on the backs of the youth in the city. The supportive void is so large, in the midst of an also gigantic Pandora’s box of ailments in the country, that the need for their informal manpower becomes incredibly urgent.
You, Mr. Macron, came to tell us that we were the ones who had elected Hezbollah, and so we will have to live with its weapons! You yourself however, do not practice what you preach. All of Europe has classified Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization, and yet we live under the rule of the party’s military wing. Why should you be entitled to what we are not entitled to? How can the elections, held under the supervision of this military faction, be fair?
I’ve almost made peace with the idea that everyone I know is going to die soon, I started to calculate: would I rather die with my parents in Syria? Or would I rather die with my partner and friends here? What if my parents die? Would I rather be there or hear about it from here?
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.