Monday, February 27, 2006

Dialogue or Cockfight?

How can Lebanese secterian leaders with egos of gamecocks meet and start a national dialogue this week? They have always been better at cockfighting than at peacemaking.

Anyway, the following is my definition of a Lebanese cockfight as compared to Wikipedia’s definition:

A Lebanese cockfight is a contest held in a ring called a cockpit, (in this case Lebanon), between warlords. Warlords are not your average Hassan, George, Omar or Marwan. They are specially bred and trained for increased stamina and strength. Morality and feelings are cut off of a young sectarian leader. If left intact, it would be a disadvantage during a strife.

Hassan, Michel, Walid and Samir all possess an inherent aggression toward one another and towards all males of the same party.
Cockfighting is considered a traditional sporting event by some in Lebanon, and an example of human cruelty by others.

Usually Syrian, Iranian, US and French wagers are made on the outcome of the match, with the surviving or last-bird-standing being declared the winner, but that never happens in Lebanon where everyone loses.

In some regional variations, the leading cocks are equipped with secret services tied directly to them. The secret service or Mukhabarat is a group that uses curved, sharp and cruel ways to subdue the opposition.

In many parts of the world cockfighting is illegal.

Regional and international proponents of Lebanese cockfighting believe in breeding, arming and financing warlords to fight their fights.

Not everyone feels this way, however. Those against cockfighting in Lebanon maintain that it is a perversion of the natural behaviour exhibited by politicians in civilized countries.

Most politicians in the world will naturally fight over government contracts, influence, ministerial or governmental appointments, parliamentary seats, territory or mates. But the fight is done through ballot boxes and does not stress the public and ruin the economy.

Lebanese politicians are trained to view their opponents as potentially deadly predators, and they react as such when placed in a fighting arena, where they are usually forced to fight until they can do so no more.

For a long time, it was believed that our fighting leaders could not be retrained to live peacefully. When they saw other leaders, they panicked and attacked.
15 years ago, though, in a small sanctuary in Taef, the world community tried to rehabilitate them.

That operation, however, necessitated important dosages of international pressure, cash and most importantly a Syrian gamekeeper.

Now our local cocks are facing one another again around a table without the cruel gamekeeper or the rich cash feeder. And the 4-million- Lebanese-question is: are they truly rehabilitated?


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