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It’s About Time

A message about putting collective interest above factional interest in Lebanon, that holds true, I think, for the entire Arab world.

A brief primer to 30 years of turmoil. “They started with a cause, but they ended who knows where?” “We are all guilty, and we all lost.”

A message of hope for the future. The younger generation is learning to look history in the face and draw the hard lessons. “Rebel against greed within you.” “Start an internal revolution.” “Are we mature enough to govern our country?”

Thank you to Sham in Ashrafieh for posting this on her blog.


Comment from Sham in Ashrafieh
Time: February 16, 2007, 22:51

hey nice to see you liked the video..
i’d add another question to your list: “do we believe that we can rule, instead of our leaders?”

i think the Lebanese and Arabs do not really believe in that..
that explains their constant blame on the Arab leaders which becoming a pattern of an Arab mentality..

but i think that while the rest of the Arab world are skeptical of their leaders, Lebanese aren’t as they are THE major factor of internal Lebanese politics through the demonstrations and strikes.

not to forget that the Lebanese can SAY what they want, do what they and choose their political candidate, which it is not the case for the rest of the Arabs.

So the movie is really telling the Lebanese what the rest of the Arab people already know “do not believe your leaders!!”

Comment from hum
Time: February 17, 2007, 11:03

interessant film

@Sham in Ashrafieh
je suis marocain, et je crois que s’il y a un peuple qui aime le plus les peuples du liban la palestine et la syrie et la jordanie egalement sont bien les peuples du maghreb. On sait pas pourquoi on vous aime mais on vous aime :) peut etre parce qu’on est loin. Sutout je pense que vous avez tant donné d’intellectuels d’artistes (les vrais pas les retouchées au silicon ;) ) …etc

mais ce n’est vraiment pas aux libanais de donner des lecons, surtout en politique aux reste ds arabes (surtout pas >>> ceux du maghreb qui il est vrai ne sont pas vraiment des arabes mais plutot des amazigh arabisés ou pas)

j’ai toujours pensé que le problème du liban vient de sa Constitution. elle etait censée faire l’équilibre entre les differentes fractions, mais le problème c’est que ca accentue les clivages. Si vraiment on peut vivre ensemble et sans problèmes, on n’a pas besoins de quotas : ta fraction aura la présidence, la tienne aura la primature…etc etc
dans un monde sans problème, quelque soit la confession de celui qu’on elit pour servir son pays devrait meme pas compter.

tu disais : The younger generation is learning to look history in the face and draw the hard lessons

je ne suis pas aussi optimiste que toi ! la nouvelle generation (je parle des “arabes” dans l’ensemble) a surtout le cerveau corrompu par de l’art commercial de bas etage et les neuronnes deréglées par la mondialisation qui porfite aux pays forts

Comment from Sham in Ashrafieh
Time: February 17, 2007, 13:52

@ hum , je ne parle francais!!

i hope you write in English or in Arabic:)

Comment from eatbees
Time: February 17, 2007, 14:18

Sham, I will translate for you.

“@Sham in Ashrafieh — I’m Moroccan, and I believe that if there was ever a people who most love the people of Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Jordan equally, it is surely the people of the Maghreb. We don’t know why we love you, but we love you—perhaps because we are far away. Above all, I think that you have given us so many intellectuals and artists (real ones, not silicone-retouched ones).

“But it really isn’t for the Lebanese to give lessons, especially in politics, to the rest of the Arabs (especially not those of the Maghreb who, it’s true, aren’t really Arabs but rather Amazigh, Arabized or not).

“I’ve always thought that the problem of Lebanon comes from its Constitution. It is supposed to strike a balance among the different factions, but the problem is that it accentuates the divisions. If we are really able to live together without problems, we don’t need quotas: your faction will have the presidency, yours will be prime minister, and so on… in a world without problems, the religion of the people we elect to serve us won’t even matter.

“@eatbees — I’m not as optimistic as you! The new generation (I’m speaking of “Arabs” in general) have their brains corrupted by low-level commercial art, and their neurons fried by globalization, which profits the most powerful nations.”

Comment from eatbees
Time: February 17, 2007, 14:45

@Sham in Ashrafieh — You have an interesting point about Arabs not believing the people can rule. I tried to raise this issue in an earlier post, Democracy and Its Obstacles, where I contrasted the views of different bloggers who were all asking, in different ways, why the citizens aren’t more involved in politics in Morocco. There is definitely the view among some Moroccans that the people aren’t ready to make a “responsible” choice…other Moroccans have stopped caring because they see that no matter which leader they vote for, things go on as before.

It’s also interesting that you say that precisely because the Lebanese have greater freedom to express themselves politically, and more of a real impact on government, they don’t know what the rest of the Arab world does know—don’t trust your leaders!

I want to add, as an American with the painful and embarassing experience of living through six years of George W. Bush, that even in the most “mature” democracies it is necessary to relearn the lesson “don’t trust your leaders” over and over again. But this mustn’t take us down the road of not caring about politics, because if the optimists and idealists stop participating in politics, it leaves the road open for the cynics and profiteers! We must never forget that WE ARE the government and if it doesn’t represent us, it is our responsibility to change that.

@Hum — I would say that I’m an optimist because I have no other choice. Perhaps by insisting on the optimistic view (that young people will show us the way) we help to create the conditions for this optimism to become real! Because what we expect of the future helps to create that future in thousands of small ways, I would rather look to a better future than a worse one :)

Having said that, I agree totally that globalization is a problem, and I believe that the only solution is global social justice and global democracy—a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” as Abraham Lincoln said, only on a global scale. Only global democracy can balance the power of global corporations and the global war machine. We are at a point in history where this is critical to the survival of the human race, so I hope can all learn from each others’ democratic experiments and support them wherever we find them.

Comment from hum
Time: February 17, 2007, 14:49

thanks eatbees for the translation
my english is still bad :(

Comment from hum
Time: February 17, 2007, 14:51

je parlais de la traduction de mon poste
je peux lire l’anglais

je repondrai plus tard s’il y a à répondre. c’est samedi soir je sors ;)

Comment from Sham in Ashrafieh
Time: February 18, 2007, 08:49

@ Hum, thank you for your kind words. I think the reason “we” in Greater Syria have intellectuals is because we are selfish in focusing on ourselves not joining you or letting you join us!! I do blame Arab regimes for widening the gap between an East and a Western Arab World.

As for the Arabized Amazigh, to be honest, my Arabism is not DNA, I might be Turkish, Kurdish or Armenian!! But I choose to be an Arab, for Arabism to me, as Marxism, a defying tool against Imperialism. So Arabism thus if treated as an ideology it shakes off Fascism.

I agree with totally that one of the major problems in Lebanon is its constitution as it enhances a sectarian mentality among the Lebanese people. But also, I think the problem with Lebanon, and here I think Eastbees has pointed out to it, is its chaotic democracy!!

I have never seen a country that media IS politics in it, rather than people or representative institutions! Lebanese leaders use their channels to urge people to follow each party -not a sect- interests. And the Lebanese people mostly are both the puppeteers and the controllers. If there were no demonstrations, there is simply no 14th. March nor March!!

It is really complicated in the Arab World, but this video sums it all.
Finally, I can only invite you to visit “us” here in Syria, or in Lebanon, we can share a mutual feeling:)

Comment from Sham in Ashrafieh
Time: February 18, 2007, 08:57

@ Eatbees, you are totally right! We ARE the government, furthermore, we ARE the nation, we must be active, we must take sides even though we might end up taking a side if a lesser than two evils!!
While I take the side of Hezbolla against global Imperialism against the Arab World, I disagree with Hezbolla’s understanding of building a nation; I cannot tolerate not attending a cinema or a theatre or even a concert!! Which is the reason that I am POLITICALLY with Hezbolla not ideologically.

I’ve skimmed the linked post to democracy, it’s interesting, I’ll look through it in few days, I have paper to submit tomorrow:)

Have a nice day, thought provoking blog indeed!

Comment from Massir
Time: February 18, 2007, 17:04

Excellent ce film!!!

Comment from Kenza
Time: February 19, 2007, 15:04

Je vais écrire en français (désolée)

C’est vraiment un des meilleurs film sur la situation en terre arabe que j’ai vus et avec lequel je partage beaucoup d’idées.

la première chose qui m’a interpelé ce sont des idées que l’on ne dit pas beaucoup chez nous: non au leadership, non à la glorification de nos leaders passé, non à l’arabisme et son instrumentalisation et non à la surexploitation de la cause palistininienne.

J’ai lus cette citation quelque part et j’y crois fermement: Il n’y a pas plus dangereux qu’une idée quand on n’a qu’une idée.
La quête et l’adulation d’un leader que l’on retrouve dans le monde arabe représente pour moi cette citation. Les arabes adulent les leaders charismatiques, les beaux discours les grisent à un degré incoryable et quand il n’ont pas de leader charismatique ils sont comme perdus et en cherchent désépérement un.

Eatbees tu demande pourquoi les gens au Maroc ou ailleur ne croient pas en leur politiciens, ma réponse : parce que ces politiciens manquent de charisme, si aujourd’hui on leur apporte un leader charismatique qui sache leur parler, les charmer et bien ils vont rentrer dans le jeux.

les arabes ne comprennent pas encore (comme on le dit si bien dans le film) qu’un homme politique doit être leur employé, que c’est eux les patrons et non le contraire. Les arabes se prennent par les sentiments plus que par leurs raisons, ils se prennent par les belles paroles plus que par les bonnes paroles.

Je peux sembler être dure dans mon jugement mais je pense n’exagéréer qu’à peine. Regarder un peu l’instrumentalisation du sentiment panarabique, ou encore l’utilisation de la cause palestinienne comme à toute les sauces pour faire bouger la rue arabe…

Moi je dit que nous sommes prêts pour la démocratie, mais que cela s’apprend, je dit non au leader charismatique et oui au hommes politiques qui peuvent travailler et rendre des comptes devant leur employeurs: le peuple…

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