Giving Lebanon a Chance
General Michel Aoun, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement which took 75 percent of the Christian vote in the last elections, met with the leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nassrallah, in the Mar Mkhayel (St. Michael) Church in Chiyah.
At first I thought that the meeting was absurd, but after the press conference it became clear to me that this act has not only eased sectarian tensions but has also paved the way for a real dialogue between the Lebanese.
This morning while in Achrafieh most Christians I met held the whole Sunni community responsible for what happened yesterday. I heard comments like "we cannot live with them" and "the best thing is to immigrate to Canada".
A lot of people blamed the government for not breaking the riot by force of arms without thinking of the consequences. If any of the rioters had died, the gates of hell would have opened.
This, however, does not mean that the government is blameless. Indeed much better preventive measures should have been taken that would have limited the demonstration to law abiding citizens.
The Minister of the Interior resigned and the government vowed to compensate all local businesses and private citizens that were affected but that is not enough for Aoun.
However, the meeting this evening between the Sayyed and the General is truly historic and has resurected in me hope for an independent, free, liberal and strong Lebanon.
May God protect those two leaders (from car bombs) -because they truly behaved like ones today- and the paper that was agreed upon between the two sides which tackles important subjects like the weapons of the resistance, the right of Lebanese immigrants to vote, the way to deal with the Lebanese collaborators that have escaped to Israel after the liberation of the South, corruption and the relation with Syria in a very serious and systematic way.
A plan for a new Lebanon has been written between two major representatives of the Lebanese people. Maybe Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblat and Samir Geagea will be intelligent enough and free enough to grab the opportunity and build upon it.
Let us give Lebanon a chance.