Staff Editorial: Recent killings in Lebanon reflect common thread of region
The recent violence and killings in Lebanon seem unfortunately familiar after decades of infighting. Six people were killed Sunday when Lebanese security forces broke up a protest, Reuters reported. Not militants, not politicians – the six dead were civilians merely protesting over the power cuts in their Beirut neighborhood.
Lebanon, a country filled with beautiful landscape and history, is also a country rife with war. The history of Lebanon has always been a history of war between one class and another, one sect and another. It’s always the other; if the blame is not put on the Palestinians, then it is put on the Syrians – never the Lebanese. Whether it was the protracted civil war that began in 1975 and lasted for more than 15 years between Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Druzes and secularists, or the more recent civil conflicts in 2007 (the siege of Nahr al-Bared refugee camp), the people of Lebanon were never united and they will never be united.
It’s not just civil conflicts, though. Lebanon has an eerie history of politicians being assassinated. Just two weeks ago the vehicle of a U.S. diplomat was targeted, but instead three Lebanese civilians were killed. And though this attack did not go as planned, many, unfortunately, have. Just in the past three years, six prominently known politicians were assassinated. Even those who investigate the assassinations or attempted assassinations fall victim to Lebanon’s bloody conflict. So is it fair to say that the people of Lebanon have become jaded? Think of the generation that has to grow in this society exacerbated by dirty politics mixed with intervention and warfare.
Now compare it to the generation growing up in Iraq. It’s not easy trying to make sense of two wars, sanctions, exile and a loss of a country. So do we label all of this as inorganic or try to make sense of it? And, if by making sense it means becoming a cynic or pessimist to cope with the reality of the continuously combative nature of countries such as Lebanon and Iraq, then it should not be surprising to hear people say that at least the problem was solved for those six rioters who died Sunday and that death becomes better than life for these non-people.
Lebanon’s incessant fighting will seemingly and unfortunately continue as long as the political disparity exists within its stratified population.
And Iraq? Well, Iraqis really don’t have the authority to stop sanctions and warfare. But our president does.