Friday, November 29, 2013

Fr Georges Massouh on Suicide Bombers and Lebanese Society

Arabic original here.

Suicide Bombers and the Lebanese Miracle

Some were surprised that Lebanese society could produce suicide bombers who go of their own will to their death, taking along with them their targets and innocent people trying to make a living for themselves and their families, and that the suicide bombers were not deterred by the fact that among their victims were members of their own sect. All they see is that they are passing immediately from this world to the promised paradise, where all their desires will be fulfilled.

However, those who observe Lebanon and the Lebanese with an objective eye will not be surprised that Lebanese society produces this criminal phenomenon. The suicide bomber bearing Lebanese nationality or who grew up in Lebanon was not raised and educated abroad and did not come from Mars. He is a child of his society and his environment in which he lived. He is a child of this society where most people regard sectarian affiliation to be above any other form of belonging, especially above belonging to the nation.

The Lebanese suicide bomber is a legitimate son of what is called "the Lebanese miracle", which is praised by poets, singers, theorists, politicians and clergy. The true miracle is that this sectarian order does not beget more suicide bombers who hasten their own death and that of others for the glory of their sect and in the interest of those holding power in the sect. A society immersed in sectarianism cannot shirk its responsibility for producing these suicide bombers.

For a century and a half or perhaps more, our country has lived off of mutual sectarian resentment, sectarian trafficking, and internal wars and conflicts. Instead of putting an end to the ailment at its root, the stirring of sectarian tension, you see us wallowing more and more in incitement and playing with religious feelings, exploiting them in the political arena.

How could a society like this one not produce suicide bombers when the spirit of malice and hatred towards the other spreads through the souls of its children? How can it not produce timebombs and landmines made of flesh and blood, when its children grow up on blind prejudice? How can it not produce suicide bombers when the Lebanese feed from birth on the milk of sectarian discrimination?

So it is natural, then, for suicide bombers to come out from out midst. They are genuine children of this society where instincts have taken the place of reason, sectarianism has taken the place of true religiousness, hatred and malice have taken the place of love and mercy, the god of passion has taken the throne of the One True God, religious prejudice has taken the place of human brotherhood, national belonging has been eliminated in the interest of narrow sectarian affiliation, and neighbors have been replaced with enemies.

The suicide bomber is also a victim of this society that tries to exculpate itself from its responsibility for this phenomenon. The suicide bomber is the victim of religious ignorance caused by some of those standing at the pulpits, the victim of the state that forgoes its responsibility for development and improving living conditions, the victim of politicians who use sectarian discourse to entrench their power and influence, the victim of factional media that works to provoke civil strife.

The suicide bomber does not produce himself. He is the product of society. All of society contributed to producing him and it cannot deny its paternity. Putting an end to this phenomenon cannot happen except by removing the vile sectarian cancer that holds all of the dismembered national body in its grip. The suicide bomber is our mirror. He is one of us.

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