A Reply to Marwan Hamadeh: Publish Your Testimony

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He can no longer concentrate on the direct or indirect meaning of words, and does not think himself answerable for his own. (Photo: Marwan BouHaidar)

By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Published Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Editorial note: Following Monday’s op-ed by Al-Akhbar’s Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim al-Amin titled Al-Akhbar and the STL: We Will Not Be Silenced, MP Marwan Hamadeh phoned Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, MP Walid Jumblatt, Minister of Information Walid Daouk, and the head of the Press Syndicate Mohammad Baalbaki and expressed that he found in it what he considered to be “clear death threats.” Hamadeh claimed that this was done “because he talked about the issue of violating the secrecy of the investigation by the newspaper and its publishing of the names, pictures, addresses, and CVs of witnesses to the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in order to intimidate them.”

One wouldn’t envy the position MP Marwan Hamadeh is in. You can’t have an even conversation with him. His is a composite personality, made even more complex by the assassination attempt directed at him in 2004, which nearly took his life. He is convinced the would-be killers are still out to get him, and that he is constantly at risk of fresh assassination attempts.

His obsession with the idea makes him muddle things. He can no longer concentrate on the direct or indirect meaning of words, and does not think himself answerable for his own. Whenever anyone tries to debate or criticize him, they are in his eyes either accessories to murder or lacking human decency.

Hence the use of the bizarre term “living martyr” to describe him.

When it comes to Hamadeh, anyone who tries to criticize him for some policy, action, or statement is obliged to behave as though they are dealing with a “martyr,” albeit a “living” one. We have to treat him with caution, and need to “cut him some slack” as people say.

This applies to a whole host of politicians, journalists, and others who comment on his highly-charged words, peculiar assessments, and clairvoyant pretensions. They tend to react in one of two ways: gloating and saying that his plight is of his own doing; or sympathetic and urging indulgence, because not many people have experienced what he has.

Marwan Hamadeh, the veteran journalist, legislator and politician, interpreted a passage in my article yesterday as a threat against him. That’s okay, if it makes him feel good and brings him back into the limelight a little. He behaved as though he were longing for sympathy.

But if he deems a quote from the Prophet Mohammad’s granddaughter Zeinab addressing the tyrant Yazid to be a reference to himself, then that means he is the one practicing intimidation – against us, in order to silence us, over a scandal that goes by the name of an international tribunal.*

I doubt he’d want to be in that position. Nevertheless, the fuss he kicked up yesterday in response to what he viewed as a death threat was only fit for an episode of “Candid Camera,” ending either with a smile and a handshake, or a scowl and a slap. Either way, we find that we’re not facing a real enemy – whether in politics, journalism, or law – but an incomprehensible special case.

Marwan Hamadeh – as introduced to us by former US ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman in the US embassy cables published by WikiLeaks – has proven himself willing to play a variety of roles. He matched Walid Jumblatt in his twists and turns. But he outdid him in displaying hatred for the Resistance, going beyond conventional hostility. He even went so far, also according to his friend Jeff, as to describe himself as a whore in his quest for Western backing. He had earlier excelled at writing in praise of a diversity of leaders, parties, and ideas – including, of course, the Syrian Baath party and the leadership of the regime for whose downfall he now yearns.

But there’s another explanation for Hamadeh’s renewed concern for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and its prosecution witnesses. He excelled even more when he was interviewed by the International Investigation Commission. During Detlev Mehlis’ days, he volunteered to provide a list of “witnesses” he thought could be used to pin responsibility for the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri on Syria or Hezbollah.
We all recall the story of former minister Fares Boueiz, who declined to perform that “duty.”

Seeing as Marwan Hamadeh sees the STL’s work as the final recourse to achieving justice, will he accept an invitation from us to publish his testimony to the investigators of the STL and its predecessor the IIIC?

Or does he think that is a secret document, suppressed, and locked away in a black box beyond anyone's view or reach?

* The exact quote in the last line of the original Arabic article was paraphrased in the English translation posted on Monday. The actual quote by Zeinab bint Ali in Yazid’s court was: “Scheme all you want, and strive all you may...Your crowd is but a dispersion and Your days are but numbers.”

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


As Hamade well knows "F*ck you, die slow, motherf*cker/ My .44 make sure all your kids don't grow" are lyrics from the song "Hit 'em up" by Tupac Shakur. But if he deems a quote from the famed rapper addressing the tyrannical Bad Boy label a reference to himself, then that means he is the one practicing intimidation – against us, in order to silence us.

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