It’s True... There’s No Going Back
By: Ibrahim al-Amin
Published Monday, October 22, 2012
Tomorrow is another day. It has to be. The logic of life dictates that. The victims and the bereaved want it to be another day, as do Wissam al-Hassan’s murderers. Former premier Fouad Siniora also made clear in his speech that tomorrow is another day. The unpublicized reactions of his political opponents, too, indicate that we are most definitely facing another day.
As things are being said candidly, the incident should be approached with equal candor.
Yes, Wissam al-Hassan was an officer in the Internal Security Forces, who did many things to serve his country’s citizens, and succeeded in building an agency that can be of much benefit to the Lebanese if they manage to preserve and develop it properly.
But Wissam al-Hassan was also a politician enlisted in a political project that goes beyond Lebanon’s borders. He was at the heart of a mechanism of action related to the conflict in, and the global conflict over, the region. He was a member of an intelligence and political team that is waging a violent battle against the regime in Syria, and against that regime’s allies – in Syria itself and in Lebanon, Iraq and the Gulf, extending to Iran and Russia.
It is stupid, indeed immoral, to portray the assassination of Wissam al-Hassan as a political/security operation aimed at serving local purposes. And as justice is based on laws, evidence, verdicts and prosecutions, it’s no good riling against the perpetrator now. Until a judicial body that is not controlled by the US passes judgement, all such talk qualifies as merely part of the domestic political game.
The March 14 camp’s problem is that it does not want to face hard facts. The coalition’s more stupid and self-serving members are in a hurry to pocket gains in the form of government offices, ignoring the fact that this cannot happen without a regional deal. As if they don’t know that Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government would never have been formed if the US hadn’t agreed to it, and that Mikati himself would not have accepted the job without expressed support from Western and non-objection from Arab parties. Today, even if on a personal level he is prepared to resign, he will not take such a step unless he is notified by those same Western and Arab parties that they have decided he should go. This has not happened to date.
In the condition we’re in today, March 14 should stop bluffing its supporters. The demand for the government to be brought down is not new. It was not prompted by the bombing. It has been this camp’s demand, and the objective it has been working toward, from the day Saad al-Hariri was ousted from office.
Perhaps these people would benefit from being told to their faces: it is shameful of you to repay Wissam al-Hassan’s favor by reverting to your old ways. But their behavior demonstrates only one thing: an all-round deficiency of sense, thought, planning and imagination, and a lack of comprehension and implementation. Unfortunately, the only thing the March 14 whiz-kids could think of was to call for the execution of Najib Mikati in Riad al-Solh Square. Did these juveniles stop to think what if Mikati had been in the Serail, the protestors had been able to storm and torch it, and people had been killed? Were they planning for Mikati to be physically killed? At least that’s what we heard in their rantings from the podiums.
The March 14 camp should rethink all their policies and see things for what they are. They should give people a break from their third-rate generation of spokesmen, such as those who try to imitate Samir Kassir and Gebran Tueni and keep spewing repugnant and tedious statements that convey nothing but hatred. They should review their calculations, and find the courage to reappraise what they have been doing for the past seven years. They would find that they are marching down the wrong road, one which leads only to a precipice.
Failing that, it might help to alert them that the silence of the other side’s supporters is merely an expression of reverence for the sanctity of death. It is not due to desertion, nor to fear of the “sharpened crosses” or the foul-mouthed racists of both sexes. The March 14 camp – both its traditional leaders and the spokesmen who promote a culture of eradication and exclusion – need to know that the country has changed, the region has changed, and people have changed.
Do these people really know what tomorrow is another day means; that another day is very different to the final day; and that changes in posture or behavior cannot change facts? Is it not the March 14 camp which reminds us every day that the clock cannot be turned back? So why does it now want to take us back in time seven years, marked by folly, fickleness and attempted empowerment through foreign intervention as happened in June 2006?
None of this shouting will do any good. The hard fact is that Wissam al-Hassan fell in an ongoing battle of which he was part. That is a harsh truth, but a firm one. Everyone who knew him or worked with him or near him knew he was in danger, and that he was aware of what he was doing and used to defend his choices. He knew his life could come to an end at any moment. Those who want to continue his journey can do so in the manner they want, but without making the rest of the Lebanese pay the price for mistaken choices.
Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.