The Theatrics of a Sectarian Oligarchy

Picture of Mohamad el Amin mosque through broken glass by Nour Annan.

On the 6th of June 2020, the corrupt and criminal ruling class wrapped their sectarian claws around the bare bones of an angry and tired population. Engaging in a coordinated wave of psychological warfare, the oligarchy produced and directed a cliched re-enactment of the Lebanese Civil War in an attempt to terrorise the population back into numb submission. Starting with a protest poisoned by infilitarors, the ruling class and their partners, the media and state security complex, then unashamedly crammed a compilation of their greatest counter-revolutionary hits into a single day of unbridled terror.

After inserting dubious and inflammatory demands into the revolutionary discourse for June 6 and while supported by the ever so complicit media, who were seemingly intent on ryling up conflict, the oligarchy unleashed their first and most reliable card: a sectarian conflict rocking downtown Beirut. Right on queue, a large group of people aggressively descended from the Khandaq area in opposition to those demanding to disarm Hezbollah, a demand that was rejected by the majority of independent groups in the current context and seemed to be an attempt by so-called March 14 forces to co-opt the uprising. Although, the actions seemed to be so premeditated that the reasoning was more of an afterthought. Ultimately, through coordinated inflammation and the repeated trope of blasphemous offence, this time through a group of people insulting Aisha, the Khandaq attackers and the initial March 14 infiltrators would conduct a state approved rendition of  their usual poisonous sectarian theatre on the streets of Beirut. Familiar manipulative and draining scenes of manufactured civil strife returned to dominate mainstream and social media. As usual, the protest would then end in a wave of tear-gas filled confusion and state-sponsored terror. 

The ruling class then unleashed the second phase of their counter-revolutionary plan by putting on their finest civil war tribute shows in the historic sectarian battlegrounds of Ain el Remmene-Chiyah and Tariq El Jdide-Barbour. This flimsily justified deployment of sectarian toxicity was an attempt to take the streets hostage and reinforce the abusive culture of sectarian appeasement. By terrorising the population through the night with live fire, civil war reenactments, and panic-inducing videos and rumours, the ruling mafia seemingly achieved their goal of subduing popular opposition and moving the conversation back into the sectarian rhetoric they thrive in.

Not surprisingly, this was all followed by statements from all parties involved decrying sectarianism and urging peace, stability, and national unity. In a plainly visible ploy, the ruling class evoked nightmarish memories of their own past crimes in an attempt to squeeze out what little hope and ambition the population hung onto. While denouncing the evils of sectarianism and condemning violations of civil peace, the ruling class actually sought to dilute the national discourse away from popular demands and engrain an image of themselves as benevolent leaders saving the state yet again from total sectarian-fueled warfare. Of course, this warfare would be sponsored, directed, and carried out by these leaders themselves. While engaging in what can only be described as national-level blackmail, the ruling class find themselves in a scenario that could be compared to a heist gone wrong and, in an effort to save themselves and their accumulated riches, they’ve taken 6+ million hostage and rigged the entire state to blow up in case of their demise.

No matter how much they try to revive the artificial March 8 and 14 divide, the warlords that have turned themselves into statesmen and their various partners are all complicit if not direct architects of this system that has systematically worked to oppress the population and entrench divisions and inequalities. They are all one and the same and despite the constant theatrics and the rare real infighting, they are all beneficiaries of this regime and complicit in the counter-revolution being carried out against the population. Through their tactics of terror they seek to divide and keep the lower classes firmly numb under their oppressive sectarian thumbs and encourage the more privileged middle (if that still exists) and higher classes to take on their oligarchy-designed roles and immigrate in order to prop up the corrupt system with money transfers from abroad or to submit and join the system itself. They will not rest until they can eliminate popular dissent and all possibilities of popularly induced change.

While facing off against an internationally backed regressive regime of conmen and thugs may seem like a daunting task with bleak prospects, accepting narratives and capitulating into our pre-assigned roles should simply not be a consideration.  Descending back into outright sectarianism is a far fetched prospect only imposable through arms-backed oppression; the real danger comes from succumbing into the defeatist and hopeless attitudes the ruling class has envisioned for us. Although it may seem convenient, living as apolitical vessels coasting along in blissful ignorance until we find a way out of the country or into the system would be a betrayal foremost to ourselves, and utmost to those who are not afforded this privilege. We have nothing to justify or apologise for. We must instead show solidarity and ideologically organise with one another to attempt to play an active part in determining a future free of these artificially imposed divisions. It has been and will continue to be tough, draining, and sometimes even scary, but, in success or failure, there will always be satisfaction when one carves their own path and breaks the abusive molds designed to dehumanise and reduce them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *