Everyone knows Hezbollah’s stance against the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is responsible for trialling the suspects in the 2005 killing of the former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Hezbollah’s tone against STL has been gradually increasing for the past five years, reaching a climax around a year ago when they declared the STL to be an American and Israeli tool created to hunt down Hezbollah’s fighters. With that, they declared that they will treat all its supporters in the same way they treat any aggressor on the resistance.
This is pretty serious in Hezbollah’s rhetoric; this is equivalent to sentencing someone with death penalty (at least politically), which is sadly, against its fellow Lebanese citizen(s) at this occasion. But Hezbollah is usually careful in its language, especially when other religions are involved. In the past, Hezbollah understood well the social fabric in Lebanon, which by itself got them to be more moderate since the early 1990s, when they accepted the Lebanese quasi-federal political system (they participated in the 1992 parliamentary elections for the first time).
The ‘treason sentence’ issued by Hezbollah reminds me of the 1976 ‘isolation order’ taken by the Lebanese left movement ‘The National Movement’ against the Christian party and militia Al-Kataeb. In hindsight, I personally think this is the biggest mistake the Lebanese left has ever done in the civil war (1975 – 1990), because it meant that it was not about fighting for power anymore, but rather about elimination. When Hezbollah says you are an Israeli tool, then you are out of the game as far as they are concerned.
Going back to 2011 now, and to couple of days ago in specific, I heard Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Al-Moussawi criticising STL and its supporters, which is not new as I indicated before, but what was new to me was the Christian theologian terms he used. I must admit, I thought this should raise some eyebrows; He was echoing the ‘300 years position‘ of Secretary General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah from capturing the Hezbollah suspects (STL), so he said the following:
We will raise all named suspects by STL to the sainthood level, and they will be our [Christian] icons. We even call the STL to name more people so we can have more stars/saints…
I always considered MP Nawwaf Al-Moussawi to be one of the best ‘smooth talkers’ Hezbollah had. He started his public-facing career within Hezbollah in an ‘International Relations Officer’ post, which was very important as it was practically Hezbollah’s face to the media and external world. This is equivalent to a Foreign Minister in any state, and don’t underestimate the ‘state’ of Hezbollah.
Now you can say that this language shows how ‘open’ Hezbollah in using Christian terms and applying it to itself, but it can show how it allowed itself to penetrate to other communities religious/idealistic figures or taboos. Why did he choose to use these terms? Isn’t he adding pressure on his Christian ally General Michel Aoun from his Christian community (or not really, Hezbollah can do whatever it wishes to do and nobody gives a shit?)
On the subject of religious taboos, I remember the mini-‘revolt’ which took place in 2006 in response to the depiction of Sayyid Nasrallah in a satirical TV show on LBC.
Couldn’t MP Nawwaf Al-Moussawi say this: ‘We will raise all the named suspects by STL to the prophets level, and they will be our Imams…’, or this is not allowed?