Friday, July 13, 2007


Almost a decade ago I attended the projection in Beirut of a film by the tragically deceased Lebanese Film-maker Maroun Baghdadi. The short Documentary titled ‘The Most Beautiful of Mothers ‘(Ajmal el Oummahat) was dedicated to the mothers of those fighting Israel in South Lebanon in the late 1970s. At the time the resistance was not Islamic. In fact it was Unislamic: at least if we judge it by how Islamists define themselves these days. It was nonetheless an ideological resistance and behind the official discourse over the sanctity of the land the fighters of various leftist organisations featured in the film dreamt of the socialist paradise on earth not too dissimilar to the one promised to Hezbollah fighters in the afterlife.

That resistance was defeated, not by the Israeli invasion, but by a shift in the global balance of power and a change in regional interests. On its remains was born the 'Faithful Resistance' soon to become formally recognised as the Party of God. The choice of denomination is not merely to ascertain its own identity but also its difference from its unfaithful predecessor. In this new context your religious belonging and your social attitude became as important as your position on the Israeli entity.

Today we are asked by Hezbollah’s allies under the cover of a ‘constructive alliance’ to dismiss this essential aspect of their ideology which does not accept diversity and does not tolerate dissent from a strict specific interpretation of Islam. Their reliance on another regional power game makes one wonders why other Muslims and non-Muslims with different views on life, death and the human condition should expect them to triumph where others, who where no less patriotic and no less dedicated, failed.


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