Contrary to what Hizbullah would like you to believe, the Shia community in Lebanon is not ready for another "divine" war. Nasrallah's "open war" declaration prompted many Shias to say khalas, that's enough!
Now Lebanon's Hanin Ghaddar interviewed many Shias who showed no enthusiasm whatsoever towards the open war declaration. While this is no scientific poll, it does show that many Lebanese Shias no longer think that the "dignity" promised by Hizbullah can put food on their tables or secure a decent future for their children.
For many Shia, another declaration of war is an inescapable fate, albeit a distressing one. Sawsan, a school teacher from Nabatiyeh, was not surprised when she heard Nasrallah’s speech. “They have always been a confrontational party, and his tone doesn’t mean that they want another war,” she said.
“Of course we [the Shia] know that we cannot eliminate Israel from existence and that, to score a victory, we will have to lose a lot. But we cannot expect a softer tone from Hezbollah after they lose such a significant leader like Mugniyah,” she added. “We are always paying the price for their political agendas. Khalas! That’s enough.”
While most Shia derive a sincere sense of pride from Hezbollah’s resistance, and especially the “divine victory” of July 2006; the memory of that war is still painful.
Walid, a Shia from Dahiyeh, told NOW Lebanon, “Nasrallah is my hero, and I believe he has given us [the Shia] pride; however, when he talked about an open war in his last speech, it didn’t make sense.” Walid said that despite the “divine victory” brought by Hezbollah, he believes that most Shia would prefer not to go through it again. “We are still suffering from the consequences of [the July War] and believe me, no one would want to relive that bitter experience,” he said.
Samir, a Shia from Tyre, said, “I feel we have just won a war against Israel, and we don’t need to go through another one to assert our strength. It’s a dangerous game, and Hezbollah might not win the next one and that would lead to its downfall.”
Samir, who said he has been displaced many times, explained that although he prefers to live with “dignity,” he also knows that dignity doesn’t put food on the table. “It is my responsibility as a father to provide a secure and decent future for my children in a more or less stable environment.”
One hopes that this attitude infects all Lebanese Shias, many of whom found themselves isolated from the rest of the country because of Hizbullah's obstructionist policies.
This is a common dilemma for the Lebanese Shia. The Shia community in Lebanon has long felt treated as second-class citizens, and the resistance is seen by many as something that has brought them a unique degree of pride and dignity. Moreover, many have been told by their religious and political leaders that they need to support the leadership of the Islamic resistance in order to avoid humiliation.
However, Mohammad Ali Moukalled, a professor of political science at the Lebanese University, argued that the militant stance of Hezbollah and its political practice have only put the Shia back in isolation.
Mona Fayad, a professor of sociology at the Lebanese University who is also Shia, told NOW Lebanon that Lebanon is the only Arab country where Shia are considered a main component within the society and enjoy the same rights as other Lebanese. “Hezbollah is harming the Shia community by leading it toward more isolation, adding to the hostility toward them,” she said.
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