Lebanon and our super-hero leaders

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dyyyy

Well-Known Member
Yesterday's videos about people comparing PMA to jesus spread through all place.
Of course these are rare cases an they exist in all parties (and it's a cheap shot to use it against FPM)

More broadly we have a majority who treat their leaders as more or less as superheroes or "sacred" :
- We're offended if someone criticizes them
- We always give them undeniable trust
- We don't even think of holding them accountable of anything
- We gladly accept them as lifetime leaders (I can't imagine any party waiting for the party's elections)

As more evidence that this mentality is everywhere, even in the protests you can see people craving new leaders :
- People cheering for Chamel Roukoz as president
- People asking the Army to take control.

I don't know if this behavior exists everywhere, but why is it like this and how should we change it ?
 
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    HalaMadrid

    Active Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    I don't think this cult of personality disease is unique to Lebanon. Or even particularly pronounced there, stupidity this weekend notwithstanding.

    Ever come across a buzzfeed listicle about Justin Truedeau? It's only been cut down to size by recent blackface scandals and some silly garment choices on his part.

    How about the famous Obama and Trudeau bromance?

    I disabled facebook because if I had to see that Trump was sent from God one more time I would have to burn my eyes out of my head with a teeny tiny blow torch that would take an exceptionally long time to complete the job. (I'm not providing links to this because I'm not looking it up).

    Even those ostensibly less prone to cult of personality politics and more critical of them have created them around certain figures.

    The best way to deal with it is probably to consistently combat from within the parties themselves and to have internal accountability (party elections!). Personally, I see Bernie supporters doing it all the time. There's constant critique, particularly of his foreign policy, from the left. Supporters criticize magazines like Jacobin and put them through the ringer when they write blind propaganda about him. I don't know how to replicate this in Lebanon. There was a time when this space was a good place for that for FPM, where supporters (or maybe super super soft supporters) could have honest discussions about the problems with the party or with Aoun's choices. I think FPMers here (and in real life) feel like they constantly have to defend around disingenuous attacks (maaa2 maaa2 maaa2, sheep, blind followers, blah blah, etc) that there's no real room for those discussions and then people retreat back into the cult of personality cycle. (I have no analysis of other parties, I also think they are, with a few exceptions, not parties but patronage networks so the analysis is different, you can't attack the head of a patronage network with facts or critique).

    The work of independent media is also a check on this, but that doesn't really exist in Lebanon. It would be a lot easier for party members/leaders to accept outside critique if the source wasn't a political hack with an axe to grind or directly owned by a political rival. It's really easy to dismiss an investigative report into X's corruption from OTV or Murr TV, it's a lot harder to do so from credible investigative journalist Y, whose been doing this for years and whose outlet is not backed by a political rival and whose fact-checking is impeccable and whose exposés in the past have proven true. Is that going to reach to ardent cultists? No. Is it going to get a lot of normal supporters to ask some questions? Probably.

    (side note: this was fun to pull the links for - thanks :) )

    EDIT: Not including Putin memes was a huge oversight on my part: ‘I see no need to hide’: Putin on his shirtless pics that swept the Internet
     
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    Beth_Ansho

    New Member
    Yesterday's videos about people comparing PMA to jesus spread through all place.
    Of course these are rare cases an they exist in all parties (and it's a cheap shot to use it against FPM)
    I've wondered something similar. Do observers ever wonder why those people say such seemingly egregious statements rather than knee-jerk attacking them when they see or hear something disagreeable? Blaming the individuals is easy, understanding why requires us to remove ourselves from our post-sectarian delusion, where those ardent supporters are simply a digression from an objective political reality that exists only in our imagination and not in reality.

    Because power-sharing is diffuse and not entirely centralized, the Ta'if system makes it so that each sect feels it needs to protect itself and its share in this concocted consensual cavalcade. The leaders are a mere reflection of the system, Ta'if just created the conditions for each sect to go into survival mode. Hence, "za3imi ba3d allah" - if we don't collectively support him, the other sect will exploit us.

    One could argue that we see a multitude of transformational leaders in such a system, though we might disagree on which ones they might be. Even though he gained prominence pre-Ta'if Aoun is as transformational as they get, he attracts ire and support because he saw the situation as it was being born. He beat everyone else to the punch. Hariri Sr. and Nasrallah followed shortly thereafter.

    This wasn't necessarily the case prior to Ta'if. There was a central target that held most of the executive power, which allowed groups to organize around coherent goals. In the world of Ta'if, the goals can never be clear and the politics are muddled.

    More broadly we have a majority who treat their leaders as more or less as superheroes or "sacred" :
    - We're offended if someone criticizes them
    - We always give them undeniable trust
    - We don't even think of holding them accountable of anything
    - We gladly accept them as lifetime leaders (I can't imagine any party waiting for the party's elections)

    As more evidence that this mentality is everywhere, even in the protests you can see people craving new leaders :
    - People cheering for Chamel Roukoz as president
    - People asking the Army to take control.
    Military leaders are always going to gain popular favor because of exactly what I said before - we expect them to protect us.

    I don't know if this behavior exists everywhere, but why is it like this and how should we change it ?
    Before we ask how it should be changed, why do you think it's necessary to change?
     
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    dyyyy

    Well-Known Member
    I've wondered something similar. Do observers ever wonder why those people say such seemingly egregious statements rather than knee-jerk attacking them when they see or hear something disagreeable? Blaming the individuals is easy, understanding why requires us to remove ourselves from our post-sectarian delusion, where those ardent supporters are simply a digression from an objective political reality that exists only in our imagination and not in reality.

    Because power-sharing is diffuse and not entirely centralized, the Ta'if system makes it so that each sect feels it needs to protect itself and its share in this concocted consensual cavalcade. The leaders are a mere reflection of the system, Ta'if just created the conditions for each sect to go into survival mode. Hence, "za3imi ba3d allah" - if we don't collectively support him, the other sect will exploit us.

    One could argue that we see a multitude of transformational leaders in such a system, though we might disagree on which ones they might be. Even though he gained prominence pre-Ta'if Aoun is as transformational as they get, he attracts ire and support because he saw the situation as it was being born. He beat everyone else to the punch. Hariri Sr. and Nasrallah followed shortly thereafter.

    This wasn't necessarily the case prior to Ta'if. There was a central target that held most of the executive power, which allowed groups to organize around coherent goals. In the world of Ta'if, the goals can never be clear and the politics are muddled.



    Military leaders are always going to gain popular favor because of exactly what I said before - we expect them to protect us.
    👍👍This makes sense.

    Before we ask how it should be changed, why do you think it's necessary to change?
    I think it is necessary, simply so that these leaders have an incentive to do the right thing, if what he gains from a fraud is more than what he looses, he will always go to fraud.

    Because power-sharing is diffuse and not entirely centralized, the Ta'if system makes it so that each sect feels it needs to protect itself and its share in this concocted consensual cavalcade. The leaders are a mere reflection of the system, Ta'if just created the conditions for each sect to go into survival mode. Hence, "za3imi ba3d allah" - if we don't collectively support him, the other sect will exploit us.
    So you think a system not based on Taef, will make things better or on the contrary people will be more afraid for their sects and it becomes more acute ?
     
    Omeros

    Omeros

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    Yesterday's videos about people comparing PMA to jesus spread through all place.
    Of course these are rare cases an they exist in all parties (and it's a cheap shot to use it against FPM)

    More broadly we have a majority who treat their leaders as more or less as superheroes or "sacred" :
    - We're offended if someone criticizes them
    - We always give them undeniable trust
    - We don't even think of holding them accountable of anything
    - We gladly accept them as lifetime leaders (I can't imagine any party waiting for the party's elections)

    As more evidence that this mentality is everywhere, even in the protests you can see people craving new leaders :
    - People cheering for Chamel Roukoz as president
    - People asking the Army to take control.

    I don't know if this behavior exists everywhere, but why is it like this and how should we change it ?
    عم بكتب الموضوع
    بس قبل ما خلصو : بتعتقد قلو علاقة بالتأليه والا ديمقراطية الاحزاب ؟
     
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    dyyyy

    Well-Known Member
    عم بكتب الموضوع
    بس قبل ما خلصو : بتعتقد قلو علاقة بالتأليه والا ديمقراطية الاحزاب ؟
    b7iss inno la2eno fi te2lih ma bikouno ll a7zeb dimocratiye. b7iss ll 3alam ahyanla t2emin bi 7ada w trayyi7 bela 3ala inno tidtar hyeh tkassir rassa bi kil chaghle
     
    Omeros

    Omeros

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    b7iss inno la2eno fi te2lih ma bikouno ll a7zeb dimocratiye. b7iss ll 3alam ahyanla t2emin bi 7ada w trayyi7 bela 3ala inno tidtar hyeh tkassir rassa bi kil chaghle
    bet7es hek ? i think menl te2lih they formed the party (all parties)
     
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    Beth_Ansho

    New Member
    I think it is necessary, simply so that these leaders have an incentive to do the right thing, if what he gains from a fraud is more than what he looses, he will always go to fraud.
    What incentive? Elections can create monsters even if they don't exhibit such behaviors prior to being elected. George W. Bush's administration swore to the American people that it wouldn't engage in nation building if elected. Nation building basically became the theme of its foreign policy, engaging in two disastrous wars.

    While I agree with you in some respect, accountability to constituents isn’t enough to make them do the right thing. You need an accountability mechanism in spite of sectarianism, not removed from it. He'll be less likely to commit fraud if he's pressured institutionally and through meaningful opposition than if he steals a little bit but also paves a road.

    The Maronite should be able to hold the Durzi accountable and vice versa regardless of the political consequences of "awakening the anger of the street". (Side note: Ideally accountability should also happen in the courts, which is why the calls for a judiciary independent of the political system are right though a bit misguided.)

    If you do want to change it, you need to imbue in people the values, behaviors, and practices that see the right things in the places that we think are wrong ("hey, Bustani actually did a good job in her ministry", as a simple example), which is still far fetched.

    Most don't do this, and the ones who at least rhetorically want to do this can't affect change in the current system. Holding the Bible and the Qur'an together in chic protest clothing won't get us any closer to change.

    So you think a system not based on Taef, will make things better or on the contrary people will be more afraid for their sects and it becomes more acute ?
    Under the current conditions, sectarian fear will be as much or more acute in another system as long as two conditions exist: 1) Mafias can steal without inter-sect accountability, and 2) People favor and value their sect over all other considerations (I sincerely believe we've not gotten past this yet and it's not only the fault of the system). It just so happens that Ta'if has allowed the sects to be valued over everything else, which is evident in elections and in both the function and structure of the council of ministers. I think the Bustani example, combined with certain elements of the uprising, adequately manifest the ability to create breakthroughs. So, there's a bit of hope.

    Also, Ta'if supposedly makes parliament responsible for holding the executive branch accountable. How is that supposed to be possible when we're being ruled by consensus and there's no meaningful opposition, and if there is an opposition, it creates a sectarian imbalance that paralyzes the country entirely, like we're currently seeing? The Ta'if system is a disaster on paper.

    I think a system that allows for a more decisive executive (doesn't have to be the president) and not a bullshit consensual system, which is counterproductive and democratizes fault and blame, will make things better. Sectarianism is always going to be a factor, even if positions weren't allocated by sect.
     
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