Monday, May 14, 2007

O Journalist Where Art Thou?

The last few days have been quite comical: to hear Hezbollah MPs complain that the illegal government is not doing enough with respect to repairing war damage and compensating individuals. You’d think they want the government to stop working altogether! Ah well, money makes the world go round.

With Hezbollah increasing pressure on the government with respect to the compensation of the victims of the July War, you wonder why no one is asking why Hezbollah is not doing much in this respect, too.

Remember their early promise to fully compensate all victims and to rebuild Lebanon? And remember their representatives distributing US dollars they had received from Iran, oh irony!

How come not one journalist is following up on this? Why doesn’t no one go to the South and see what has happened to the Hezbollah promises that all victims will be repaid, whatever religion? There are persistent rumors that mostly the Shiites have benefited, at least those who are loyal to Hezbollah. If you happen to be pro Amal or, even worse, a Christian, then forget about getting any Iranian dollars.

It’s strange to see the lackluster interest of journalists in this topic. What would be easier than to go the destroyed villages and ask around how much money people actually have received and how much of the destroyed schools, water, electricity and roads have been repaired? Granted, the Daily Star has a weekly article about the transparency and accountability in Lebanon which also focused on the repairs after the war, but all in all, the topic has been largely ignored.

On a related note, it would be a good opportunity for Michel Aoun to gain back some of his Christian support if he would lobby for Hezbollah money to be disbursed to the Christian victims in the South and the ones whose houses were damaged during the attacks on the four bridges north of Beirut. But no, he kept silent on this. Now, he’s arguing that certain Shiite villages in the Bekaa and in the South are not getting enough government support. Well, this is not really going to warm the hearts of his Christian supporters who are still spending much time in the divine traffic jams to pass the destroyed bridges.

To be fair: the government has also made many promises regarding repairing the war damage and compensating individuals and businesses. Both sides made promises and it seems both sides are not really keeping all of them. Yet, if you listen to the Opposition’s indignation, you’d think this must be the first Lebanese promise ever that was not kept!

2 comments:

Gerard said...

The non news part of this story is that making promises is a more developed art in Lebanon than to keep them. Regarding this a journalist could be right to stay quiet on the story of promised compensation. Though, for the victims and for the world abroad he or she should write in the biggest capitals.

M Bashir said...

it would be a good opportunity for Michel Aoun to gain back some of his Christian support if he would lobby for Hezbollah money to be disbursed to the Christian victims in the South
this actually took place in the form of Aoun's people helping out with the rebuilding in Christian villages using Hezbollah's money (popular belief) just after the war stopped.

As for Hezbollah rebuilding private demolished homes (not public infrastructures), well they actually started in Beirut's suburbs and other places in Lebanon. The official setting of the corner stone and declaration of the project, called Wa3ad (promise), to be held on the 25th of May while commemoratin 'Liberation day' [Israel's official withdrawal back in 2000].