Hidden away in his heavily guarded ivory tower, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah claims to be a man of the people.
When revolution erupted in Tunisia, Nasrallah hailed the Arab street; when Egyptians shouted “the people demand the overthrow of the regime,” Nasrallah echoed their cause; when the Libyan opposition was rushing to fight Gaddafi, Nasrallah was the first to fund it; when the blood of Bahrainis flowed through Pearl Square, Nasrallah demanded justice.
But when the Lion of Damascus – Bashar al-Assad – hunted thousands of his people in Daraa, Douma, Baniyas, Homs, Latakia, Tartus, Idlib, Harasta, and the largely Kurdish northeastern city of Qamishli, Nasrallah’s outrage fell silent amidst the slaughter.
His silence was short lived.
In his two most recent speeches, Nasrallah turned against the street he once so vocally supported. He praised the “wisdom” of his friend al-Assad, telling the Syrian people they must put their faith and freedom in the hands of their tyrannical leader. He also praised the Iranian regime, calling it “the most open society,” in spite of the regime’s recent decision to create its own Internet and thereby impose additional censorship on the Iranian people.
Where was Nasrallah’s outrage when Syrian security forces brutally tortured, killed, and mutilated 13-year-old Hamza Ali Al-Khatib? Where was Nasrallah’s outrage when the infamous Basij gunned down Neda Agha-Sultan in 2009? Why is it that Nasrallah is so quick to praise the martyrs of resistance in southern Lebanon, yet cowardly avoids acknowledging the martyrs of peaceful resistance in Syria and Iran?
This is because Nasrallah does not care about the people of Syria and Iran. His alliance is with their authoritative leaders, so the fate of the people is of little concern to him. This should not come as a surprise, because the truth is that Nasrallah does not even care about the people of Lebanon, his own brothers and sisters. Otherwise he would not have ordered Hezbollah to illegally take over Beirut in 2008, he would not continue to stall the formation of a Lebanese cabinet at the expense of political stability, and he would not perpetuate the threat of war with Israel, as it continues to paralyze Lebanon’s economy.
There are ways Nasrallah and Hezbollah can demonstrate their alliance with the Lebanese: If they truly care about the country’s prosperity and security, they will forfeit their weapons in favor of a unified, well-equipped Lebanese Armed Forces. They will help dictate Lebanon’s future as politicians and policymakers, not as assassins and hostage-takers. However, their insistence to remain a militia functioning outside of the law puts them at odds with Lebanon’s long-term interests, and highlights their lack of concern for its people’s wellbeing.
How long will it take the Shia community, and the Lebanese as a whole, to realize the threat posed by the militia so many vehemently protect? It is understandable why past support for Hezbollah has been so firm. Hezbollah, with Nasrallah at its helm, brought liberation to the south in 2000, and it repelled Israeli advances in 2006; however, it has since metastasized into Lebanon’s cancer rather than its cure. Nasrallah and Hezbollah continue to pursue their own self-interests at the expense of the Lebanese people. The time has come for the Lebanese Shias, Sunnis, and Christians alike to stand together with one unified message: The people demand the overthrow of Nasrallah’s regime.
Photo Credit: The Rambling Catfish