On Resilience and Perpetual Violence

It is difficult to stay away from writing and lamenting about bombs, death and destruction for too long when in Lebanon. And it’s all too easy to write and lament about the same old things when this happens: on how we’ve had enough of this perpetual vicious cycle of violence and how our politicians are an indestructible curse; on how sectarianism is tearing us apart and the fact that we always pay the price for the wars and conflicts of others, but that our historical resilience will quickly make us rise again from it all.

In the aftermath of yesterday’s sinister attack against the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, if only for bringing the specter of suicide bombers back to Lebanon, most of the same sentiments were expressed, the usual empty promises of us moving on as a nation as we always have, and meaningless hopes that we shall stand united in the face of such evil.

In regards to the first empty promises, fellow blogger Gino Raidy put it best in his latest piece on the attack:

There was a time where I felt that was something positive, which allowed the Lebanese people to continue and persevere despite all the daily horrors they face. Today though, I’m not so sure about that anymore. I don’t think it’s healthy for a society to remain so un-phased in the face of such horror…

Indeed, so long as we remain “resilient” by forgetting about yesterday and never looking back on the root causes of our troubles, “resilient” by pretending nothing is wrong with the immediate world around us, we are preparing the ground for the next tragedy waiting to happen. The proof is in our history.

Meanwhile, the hopes that we shall stand united will remain as I think they will, meaningless. It is because we are so divided that so much evil comes in the midst of us to begin with. Whether it is our homegrown historical animosities, mainly sectarian-based, or what is easily imported, that is, what we allow others to import into our midst, based on religious, sectarian and political considerations. Yesterday, there was the sectarian and political angle, given the Iranian target seemingly perpetrated by an affiliate of Al Qaeda, with the respective Shia vs. Sunni divide and political divide vis-a-vis each party’s position in Syria. Before yesterday, it was a similar dynamic in Tripoli, Lebanon, a senseless conflict between neighbors in Jabal Muhsen and Bab al Tabaneh defined by respective stances towards the conflict in Syria. Tomorrow, it will be something else, possibly related to Iranian-US rapprochement and those trying to sabotage it, or whatever the “cause du jour” happens to be. We shall not stand united in the face of all these struggles, but be one in sharing the suffering it brings to us all, because we willingly allow our country and our people to play a role in these struggles or at least continue to support those who do.

The violence will hence continue, with its ups and downs, so brace yourself for more…

4 Replies to “On Resilience and Perpetual Violence”

  1. Thank you for such an honest post. I agree with you when you write, ‘It is because we are so divided that so much evil comes in the midst of us to begin with.’ This is true of so many societies, not only Lebanon of course. Such divisions are readily exploited by those who profit so much from the suffering and death of others. And in the face of their evil, we take sides and our humanity withers. The philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote that violence can change the world, but the most likely outcome is a more violent world. When will we learn?

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