Power in the Middle East is seemingly being handed over to a new generation of dictators. A club made up of over-ambitious street sweepers, failed opthamologists and Islamists is taking shape—cutting across religious differences, and putting first domination and fighting the United States of America, ahead of any other goals.
Arguably, there is one person with enough insight and courage to comment on and lament the turn of events. As a newsmaker himself, he has seen how the old dictators club has given rise, wittingly or unwittingly, to a new class of power hungry and frustrated individuals lording over a mass of ignorant followers. It’s the same old story, to our history maker, and he feels himself being asked, yet again, to prostitute himself for their selfish cause, or risk meeting the fate of his father.
Time passes and sooner or later, some sons become their fathers, and in the Middle East, where ancient figures are closely emulated, and innovation is frowned upon, sons eventually follow in their fathers’ footsteps.
If that is the case, and Bashar wants to be Hafez, Ahmadinejad his illegitimate father Khomeini, and Islamists want to be like mythologized holy men from a redacted time and history, then our man, called Walid Jumblatt, sees one final solution: murder.
"We must not forget the security coup and the Syrian regime never had or never will have mercy on us," Jumblat complained.
He said the government of Prime Minister Fouad Saniora has succeeded in its steadfastness and world-wide support has "helped us confront the world of darkness, the Syrian-Iranian axis."
Jumblat on Monday called Syrian President Bashar Assad the "Damascus tyrant."
"We tell them that this boy (Assad), who is controlling people's necks in Damascus and killing free people in Lebanon, there will inevitably be a Nawwaf from Beirut, Dahiyeh, the Chouf or the Bekaa, he might also be from Damascus or Aleppo," he said during the funeral of Salman Siour, Jumblat's personal security officer.
He was referring to Nawwaf Ghazali, a Syrian Druze who assassinated ex-Syrian President Adib Shishakli in Brazil in 1964.
"If the tribunal is hindered, we will all be a Nawwaf," he said, in reference to the Special International Tribunal for Lebanon to try suspects in the murder of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes.
"No matter how long it takes, one of us will take revenge for the martyrs and the liberals, starting from (his slain father Kamal Jumblat to (Industry Minister) Pierre Gemayel," he added.
For Jumblatt to see violent actions against the Syrian regime as an option should everything else fail is perhaps a sign of frustration, and lack of faith in other methods, which have so far proven to be futile.
Perhaps it is a threat, but then, in this jungle that is our region, it sometimes appears that people’s only available currency is death.
Can the death of a dictator breathe hope into a populace addicted to misery and taught to obey the strong?
Can some guided artificial selection help lead us into a different fate? Can our evolution progress along happier, more prosperous lines?
Last Friday, some Iraqis decided Saddam’s time on earth had expired. On Sunday, Lebanon’s president declared Lebanon a Syrian-Iranian ideological colony-- an honorary member of the hodgepodge that is the new dictator’s club.
In 2007, Hizbullah continues to occupy the heart of Beirut with Iranian money and agenda.
It’s a messed up region, and Lebanon is no exception. This year, the new dictators club will try to spread their reign and leave their marks everywhere in the region and the world. In Lebanon, March 14 will find itself forced to fight the battle with weapons of comparable strength, or die. As Jumblatt probably knows, in the Middle East, taking away the soul takes away the freedom. And freedom is worth many souls, on both sides.