Tag Archives: Lebanese politicians fight

The Impossibility of Pride.

Sometimes it’s tough to figure out how you’re supposed to feel about being Lebanese. I got called unpatriotic for not getting behind the Vote for Jeita campaign. Apparently, I had to blindly support something purely on the basis that it was something everyone in the country agreed on. Presumably we can all also all agree that kittens are cute, so let’s go ahead and put one on the flag. It’s not like we have many Cedar trees left anyway.

My main problem with the Jeita campaign was the, now well-documented, fact that it reeked of con-artistry. It felt like a scam from the very beginning. But then we Lebanese are suckers for a good scam. We get scammed about a dozen times a day, and we grumble in silence to ourselves.

Earlier, I was pounced on by a bunch of friends because I had no desire to go watch Where Do We Go Now?, Nadine Labaki’s latest cinematic offering. It was my patriotic duty to watch it apparently. Well, I don’t know how you decide on your cinema schedule, but patriotism doesn’t have much to do with it. I saw the trailer, it bored me half to death, so I decided not to watch it. The same happened to a lot of Americans with Transformers 3, but they weren’t ostracized or placed on the town square for all to see.

I have an Almodovar DVD box-set I’ve never touched. Does that mean I dislike him? Does it mean I hate Spain? No. No, it doesn’t. It just means I’m lacking culturally because I haven’t had the curiosity to delve into them yet, and I should be less trigger happy when I shop on Amazon.

That doesn’t mean I’m not proud of the fact she’s getting a ton of international recognition, and winning awards, quite the contrary. I just chose not to watch it. I probably will someday, and from what I gather, I’ll like bits and pieces of it. But the vitriol to which you’re subjected for not toeing the party line, is quite shocking. The level of discourse in general is reaching worrying levels of incivility. In a way I avoided watching it because I was concerned I wouldn’t like it, and that would put me on the defensive when discussing it.

We’ve slipped into a worrying pattern in Lebanon, where intelligent conversation is frowned upon. We’ve turned into a nation of Dubya Bushes, where every conversation has to reach the inexorable conclusion that “you’re either with us, or you’re against us.” Any form of independent thought is prescribed outright. You cannot claim to be non-political. You cannot argue with something patriotic. Basically, you are faced with the impossibility of rational thought…

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