Lebanese elections starts
Today Lebanon gets ready to start the first free elections in more then 15 years of Syrian occupation, and the situation provides me a with strange amaglam of emotions: Intrigue, happiness and dissapointment. The Happiness comes from seeing an actual arab country holding actual free democratic elections without them having to be occupied by foreign troops or having those in power use their powers to intimidate voters and forge the elections. It amazes me that this would happen in a country that was war-torn with secterian violence and was regularly drawn into confrontations with Israel because Syria-using Hezballah- used its land to attack it, and thus ended up always getting Beirut bombed. But the Lebanese managed to overcome all that, kick the syrians out through peacefull demonstrations and now they are getting their own free elections. So, Yay for them. The Dissapointment comes from the reality of the elections itself, and how there isn't any real campaigning going on. Alliances are formed and reformed in the backrooms in order to share the power equally, which is leading to many seats being won automatically by candidates because there is no one opposing them in their districts. The Harriri/Jumbalatt alliance is a perfect example of that: 9 out of 19 seats in Beirut have already been won by them and the elections hasn't even begun. This sort of thing must seem almost anticlimatic after the sense of bold changes that've been sweeping the country ever since Rafiq Al-Harriri got assassinated on Valentine's Day. I guess, in my opinion, an election is as good as the people running in it and the passion they incite. Take the last US election for example of a heated election: You had Bush faithfulls on one hand, and you had the Any-body But Bush crowd on the other. Kerry didn't even count, nobody really was excited about him, cause it was really all about Bush Love and Hate. And you really had no idea who would end up winning till that fatefull last day. That was an election. Which brings me to the Intrigue part: this will actually happen in this election, but not until June 12, and it will be a showdown between Harriri's Future Movement Alliance Christian member Qornet Shehwan and the Free Patriotic Movement leader General Michel Aoun, who returned to Lebanon from a 15 year Syrian imposed exile earlier this month and is running independent of the opposition coalitions, despite their calls for him to join them, because of his own lust for power, and belief that the Christians are being given a raw deal in this election. This is gonna be heavy and tough to call, because among the christian youth Aoun is popular as a figure, but his actions and rhetoric has driven away many would-be supporters and the appeal of the Harriri's alliance is also undeniable and transcends secterian lines since it includes christians, muslims (both sunnis and shia) and Druze. So it's too close to call at the moment and that makes it exciting, because if Aoun wins, the lebanese political scene will be very lively and interesting. You almost do want him to win in order for the two sides to keep each other in check, you know? Ehh, well, we will see. Until that day, i would like to send a congratulations to every lebanese person i know and any lebanese person who reads this blog: You guys did it and you inspire us all, so thank you for providing us with hope that we- arabs- are capable of doing this on our own. GO LEBANON!