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Monday, March 07, 2005


which crowd would YOU rather hang out with?

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, March 07, 2005 permalink View blog reactions



a fun question, but with some serious implications. Read on..

There certainly seems to be an emphasis on cute Lebanese women flashing (victory signs) for freedom - and scary freak Lebanese men cutting themselves with knies for Assad, in the photo coverage. While it makes for fun eye-candy, I wonder if there's also some editorial bias in the way these photos are chosen. Still, if this is media bias, I'd prefer it be pro-liberty than pro-tyranny; however, selective visual imagery is as dangerous as selective free speech - when has censorship, allegedly in the cause of liberty, ever been anything other than propaganda to disguise its antithesis?

The issue of Lebanon is of course immeasurably more complex than the triumphalists would have you believe - which is a roundabout way of saying that the events in Lebanon are of course not subject to bias from just the media, but also from those who perceive it as in their self-interest to ascribe all credit (as opposed to some, my view) to the visionary leadership of George W Bush.

Here's a brief hint of that complexity, as explained by the erudite and principled conservative von in a comment left in response to a typically triumphalist post at RedState:

I've written about this elsewhere, but don't let yourself get ahead of the events. The protesters have, thus far, been primarily Druze, Christian, and Sunni. The Shia (including Hezbollah) have stayed home. The Shia, however, are the largest single religious community in Lebanon, and have had understandable grievances under the government established by the Taif accords. Those grievances were partially remedied via Taif's grant to Syria of the right to occupy parts of Lebanon.
Roughly, Taif gave half the parliament to Christians and half to Muslims. The Muslim share was then broken down into Sunni, Shia and (I believe) Druze portions. (I can't recall if the Druze were dealt with separately or not.) The Christian share was also broken down into Maronite, Greek Orothodox, Catholic, Armenian, etc. factions. The bottom line is that the Shia were/are severely underrepresented in the parliament; they nonethless accepted the accord because of the guarantee of a Hizbollah/Syrian presence.

If Syria is forced to withdraw, other guarantees will need to be made to the Shia. If Hizbollah is confronted militarily, we could very well have another civil war on our hands.

There's a much more detailed three-part (one, two, three) (thus far) series on Lebanese politics by Jonathan Edelstein, which gives even more background on the complexity of the political situation.

Yes, change is afoot. But ill-advised stereotyping and triumphalism coudl easily be a setback to true progress.

That said, this is indeed a wonderful view:

... and not just for the Lebanese babes. But hopes for liberty have been dashed before upon the rocks of Great Power self-interest. It would be unwise in the extreme to let these images paint the wrong picture of where to proceed. And blind repudiation of Hizbollah's role is just one of many ways in which the consequences could undermine the very emotion seen above.


It could be bias. It could be that it's so much easier to find Lebanese hotties on the opposition side than the pro-Syrian side, given the sizes of the respective assemblies. I wouldn't underestimate the power of good-looking women in opposition rallies. The same phenomenon occurred to some extent in the Vietnam era.


Cuteness doesn't count here... Unless you folks begin to understand where others come from and what are their feelings and needs, you're doomed to repeat your mistakes.


Cuteness always counts!
Read Survival of the Prettiest. And beauty is both a weapon and a shield. ;)


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.