Not everyone is amused, it seems

Hassan at the Lebanese Bloggers Forum had this to say:

“Yet another play on the I Love Life Campaign is the I Heart Capitalism Campaign.
Not very funny for those who did not think that one aspect of the Cedar Revolution was a ‘Gucci Revolution’, or maybe just not very funny. Worth a look anyway”.

Well. That would be the whole point now, wouldn’t it?

There was a ‘Gucci Revolution’ aspect to the whole Cedar shebang, but I think it’s an oversimplification to claim that March 14ers are all middle to upper class and the opposition are all working class. To reduce these complex popular movements into a class issue obscures the ways in which class and sectarianism interact in Lebanon. Let’s not forget that the so-called cedar revolution had a large Sunni base, and that not all Sunnis are middle class (Akkar, anyone?), and the Lebanese Forces aren’t exactly Gucci people. Let’s also not forget that the opposition includes Aounists, a large number of which are of the Chrisitian middle class. The whole problem is that sectarianism makes class identification and class struggle impossible.

The “I Love Life” campaign is racist in that it implicitly claims that March 14 are “civilized” and adhere to a “culture of life” (I can still see the blood dripping from Ja’Ja’ and Jumblatt’s fangs – civilized my ass) in contradisctinction to the shi’a rabble, who apparently love death and have even created a whole culture of it. So.. good Arab, bad Arab, just like the Americans taught us. It serves the interest of the elite only by exacerbating sectarian tensions in the basest of ways and by indulging in the myth that “living” means being able to buy crap in downtown Beirut. How reminicent of post-9/11 America, when following the attacks on the two towers George Bush urged a terror-stricken but docile populace to prove their patriotism by going shopping. Because if they don’t, the terrorists will have won.

Advertisements

8 Responses to “Not everyone is amused, it seems”

  1. EDB Says:

    Wawaweewa!

    You guys really hit the nail on the head (is that a German or English phrase? It looks weird in writing…) The opposition’s co-opting of the “I love life” theme, albeit “in colour” just goes to show that they are simply asking to be part of the status quo. How sad. They are going to try Bashir Gemayel’s assassins, I hear. The “culture of life” rears its head again…

    I [heart] the I [heart] capitalism campaign.

  2. Charles Malik Says:

    I didn’t see the point of the “I (Heart) Life” campaign, and I don’t see the point of the reaction.

    In fact, “I (Heart) Capitalism” is falling into the trap laid for him by saying the “Life” campaign is “racist.” Where’s the racial aspect? Where’s the sectarian aspect?

    “I (Heart) Life” is obviously anti-Hezbollah, but not necessarily anti-Shia. “I (Heart) Capitalism” is a useful rebranding, given that it better represents what the “Life” campaign is arguing on behalf of, but it then insinuates that the opposition does not like capitalism, which isn’t true either.

  3. fraise Says:

    Charles,

    In no way do we intend to imply that the opposition is anti-capitalist. Previous posts make this clear.

    The sectarian aspect we think is fairly obvious. This is Lebanon, after all, and there is often conflation between political parties and confessional groups. The racist jokes that came out during the war were mostly about the shia, not just Hizbullah per se. The “culture of death” accusation (from whence the “culture of life” was born) is a multi-faceted one that includes gems such as Ja’Ja’s supremely idiotic statement that the Shia are “obsessed with Israel” and with martyrdom as well as references to presumed Shia obsession with death as manifested in the ritual of Ashura.
    Anti-Shia predjudice has risen to an unprecendented degree, and a lot of it has to do with class tension.

    It’s too easy to say that this is about Hizbullah and does not contain any sectarian element. That statement would only hold if you buy into the lie that both sides are trying to peddle: that the current crisis, for the first time in Lebanese history, has transcended sect and is purely a political phenomenon.

  4. Tamara Says:

    I think people are reading into this ‘I love life’ campaign too deeply. Yes the ruling party are rightist but that doesn’t mean that their campaign promotes consumerism. When they urge people to overlook the protests and go about their daily lives as they normally would, their not saying ‘forget about the demonstrations… spend a night at the pheonicia, buy a house in saifi village, invest in Solidere, shop at aiishti!’ Ya3ni at the end of the day, who are they targetting.. Saudis? what they’re saying is that this should be a country where we can go to work, go to school and every once a while take the family out for a nice dinner. This whole notion of “I love life” being consumer centered is deluded.
    Yes, the ruling party are corrupt elitists but take a closer look at the opposition. The opposition- a congregation of parties brought together only by “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” philosophy. Has Sleiman Frangieh not stolen from the public? What about Michel el Murr who used to take roman mosaic from the archeological excavations of downtown beirut to decorate his home? Are these the ‘colors’ of the ‘Karameh’ of the opposition?
    As for the idea that “I love life” somehow implies that the Shia love DEATH, here’s my two cents. Obviously, this is an anti-Hezbollah campaign and as we all know the vast majority of Hezbollah’s supporters are Shia. This is an attack not on a group of people but on an ideology. And it attacks this ideology because Hezbollah has for the past 6 months shown that it does not particularly care for stability.
    Exhibit A: unprovoked attacks on a monstrous Israeli army. given that Gaza simultaneously was being bombed to oblivion for the kidnapping of not TWO but one single israeli soldier, the dismal aftermath was fairly predictable.
    Exhibit B: The protests and riots that have been taking place in downtown beirut. Has the March 14th coalition suddenly become pro-American? Why after America so blatantly funded the cedar revolution did hezbollah agree form electoral alliances with the Future Movement, facilitating their rise to power? And Why oh why did Hezbollah join this oh so horrid pro-western government in the first place? So they changed their minds right? then fine, that’s alright, you can decide to form an opposition coalition… every functioning stable country has an opposition coalition. But do opposition coalitions in functioning stable countries take to the streets, close them down, bully (to say the least) people into joining their strike to an effort to overthrow the government? no, they don’t.. do you know what they do? they wait for the next god damn elections.

    What I’m trying to say is this, by overanalyzing this message and formulating these interpretations about antisectarianism and what not you are only deepening the divide in this community. Its a simple message, and it only means that the silent majority want to be able to go to work without interruption, earn a living and not have to worry about whether or not they can break bread with their families at the end of the day.

  5. Antibush Says:

    Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? What is he doing to us, and what is he doing to the world?
    Are we safer today than we were before?
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

  6. serega Says:

    pos yourgirls

  7. julia Says:

    http://www.meat.org

  8. Ferinannnd Says:

    Зер гуд ставлю 5 балов.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: