Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is nothing sacred anymore!?

When I was a student, I was one of those people who were heavily involved in surveys. One time, I found myself in a home which had one of those display cabinets where precious objects were put, it was in the Bequa's valley. Among the objects was a dirty glass. I kept looking at it every time I had the chance, so much that the lady of the house paid attention and she was the one who said: "You want to see the glass cup?"... And then in the same breath she explained the history of it: "We had a funeral at home, and the MP of the region came to offer his condolences and asked for a glass of water. We kept the glass and have never washed it since!" The above example is a perfect of how sacred and mundane get intermingled in Lebanese society, specifically when it comes to politics. Recently, the issue came back to light when the website of the Lebanese Forces displayed a supposed bracelet which is on fashion these days that contain photos of saints, and argued that Hizhullah deliberately inserted the photo of its leader Hassan Nasrallah alongside Christian saints, specifically those dear to its target audience (i.e. Maronites - a specific branch of Catholicism). But the incident was also correlated in my mind to the photos of Lebanese Forces head of executive committe Samir Geagea as he was portrayed alongside the same saint on a giant poster in Chevrolet roundabout and engraved on a cedar memorabilia with "in earth as it is in heaven" with a posture of him hands joined and praying. Two of these images were sent to me by email with an underlying quote from Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir (Head of the Maronite Church and patriarch of Antioch and the rest of the orient) who emphasized the distinction between politics and religion.... However, the patriarch is affectionately called "Abou Samir" (Meaning "father of Samir") due to his strong personal sympathy for Geagea and his antagonism with the latter's archrival General Michel Aoun which brought the Patriarch several times to the line of fire due to his outspoken politcal positions which are fragmenting the Maronites. As I go back to what the Patriarch said, I can only quote Matt 23:1-5 "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do."
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