The picture above depicts what happened when Assad I appeased Bush I during Iraq I. Syrian soldiers dancing over what was later (last year) discovered to be a mass grave of Lebanese soldiers in Yarze.
This scene would've been reproduced in March 2005 in Martyrs' Square had Assad II done what Bush II wanted him to do in his Iraq II Project for spreading
freedom, democracy, moderation, subserviency in the Middle East.
Fortunately for us, Assad II's defiance was in the Lebanese people's advantage as we got rid of, to some extent, brotherly bullying. Of course nothing is for free. The price we had to pay was a period of instability that is far from over.
Back to October 13th, 1990, I lived in Chtaura in the Bekaa which isn't exactly the commercial air traffic capital in the world. The only air traffic I witnessed growing up was that of Israeli fighter jets taking care of building code violations in the area by leveling buildings on their occupants. The morning of that day was exceptional as the fighter jets in the air were different. They sounded as if they had a broken exhaust pipe and they were coming from the East. Minutes later they returned and the battle was over. Syria was awarded a full control lease of Lebanon as a return favor for their full support of Iraq I, a lease deal that was up for renewal in 2005.
On a positive note, the events of that day meant I could now go ski in Faraya and watch Theatre du 10 Heurs at Portemilio Kaslik, two things high on my priorities' list as a young teenager. I wonder how much would my Pierre Chamassian autograph fetch on Ebay.
This weekend the Aounists commemorate that day, a day the whole world abandoned them as they stood all alone facing the Syrian occupation. Of course, you wouldn't get that impression if you see Al Mustaqbal's main headline today, but again they have an insatiable orange fetish.
In this occasion, I want to give some due credit to the Aounists. They have proven over the years to be the most "Lebanese" major political party in Lebanon. In a country where most major players draw strength from external sources to enhance their local presence (some have actually openly and shamelessly called themselves "tools"), the Aounists have patiently and painfully built a solid movement on the strength of a Lebanese base. While I don't support Aoun for president (though he will be), the example the Free Patriotic Movement has set can be a model for other "Lebanese" parties to follow. If the orange crew could overcome the hardships of the past 16 years to stand today as one of the Top 3 political parties in the country, then there is hope for some party with a better vision for Lebanon to follow the same path and succeed without embassy shortcuts or seesawing principles.
Now who's got the energy and commitment to go for it?
*Photo Source: Al Akhbar