Thursday, April 12, 2007

"We are all Hezbollah"

It’s amazing to see how the mighty have fallen. Like the US have squandered all support and sympathy they got right after 9/11, Hezbollah is now despised by most people. Remember the opening title of Le Monde the next day: “We are all Americans”? Lebanon’s newspapers could have written “We are all Hezbollah” many times after acts of heroism of the Resistance. But something went awfully wrong in Hezbollah’s PR campaign.

It’s not uncommon to learn from your adversaries and to improve upon them. Hezbollah’s occupation of downtown, e.g., is far more effective than Israel’s occupation of the Chebaa farms. Similarly, USA’s failure to read the situation in the Middle East correctly, is strikingly identical to Hezbollah’s repeated demonstrations of missing the point in Lebanon. Didn’t Hezbollah announce previously that if America would go to Lebanon, it would find another Vietnam? It looks like they don’t the yanks anymore to turn Lebanon into another quagmire.

The downfall of Hezbollah became eminent during one of Marcel Ghanem’s talk shows during the war (July 26, 2007, see here for English version or here for original Dutch article). Once the Pandora box of Hezbollah’s critics was opened, it could no longer be contained. From that moment on, people felt free to speak out against Hezbollah in the most open way possible.

The most recent reactions against Nasrallah’s speech show that Hezbollah has lost all credibility in the eyes of the pro-government politicians. Somehow, Hezbollah seems to have lost their ability to connect to the people they claim to defend. And that’s just tough: you want to help people, but people don’t want your assistance any longer.

It’s the same kind of frustration you can witness at employees of western help organizations who come to help the poor people in some forsaken part of the world. How big their surprise if they are not welcomed as heroes, and in fact the locals want them to just leave.

I’ve seen once an interview with a Dutch man who returned from some African country and even a few months later he was still fuming with anger and outspoken racism: "how dare those blacks refuse my help!". Quite shocking to see what is revealed when the layer of altruism is peeled off.

Is the same happening to Hezbollah? If so, it must be tough for its members. Imagine you are a proud fighter for the Resistance and you are willing to give your life for your ideals: never doubt the dedication of the Hezbollah soldiers. What would you do if those who you are willing to become a martyr for suddenly turn against you and ask you to stop?

Exactly, no wonder Hezbollah's dedication to keep on doing what they can do best: play soldier and damn the consequences.