x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Hizbollah needs to make concessions for Lebanon’s stability

Abdullah Iskandar argues in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat that Hizbollah must try to ridge the divide between Sunnis and Shias in Lebanon to get the country out of the current impasse. Other Digest topics: Egyptian military, Abu DHabi Film Festival.

Hizbollah must take its own advice and make concessions for the stability of Lebanon

Speaking on Monday, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Iran-affiliated Lebanese movement Hizbollah and prominent Assad-regime ally, predicted that the partisan divisions in Lebanon between the predominantly Shiite March 8 and the predominantly Sunni March 14 powers will not change for a hundred years to come. He concluded that both sides are required to make sacrifices if they were to get the country out of the present impasse.

In comment, Abdullah Iskandar, the managing editor of the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat, wrote: “The division that Nasrallah alluded to is rooted in history. As long as it touches on sacred beliefs, it will remain unsolved for the next 100 years. The real solution for the crisis requires making real concessions by relinquishing the state’s rights that were forcibly hijacked at gunpoint.”

The founders of modern Lebanon have agreed that the state and its institutions would remain a common ground for all despite sectarian disparities. By maintaining an all-encompassing system of rule with strict observance of sectarian quotas within state institutions, they created the appropriate circumstances for peaceful coexistence and rotation of power. This, however, contributed to the precariousness of the structure for its stability depended directly on the continued agreement between all 17 sects. It’s no wonder that national peace collapsed every time one of the parties tried to breach the standing agreement over the system. “Today, Lebanese national peace is more jeopardised than any time before with Hizbollah, the representative of political Shia, possessing military, economic and political powers that dwarf all other sects,” Iskandar said.

Hizbollah has been using these powers to significantly diminish the participation of other components of the Lebanese social fabric in the common space that is the state.

If Mr Nasrallah was really keen to safeguard coexistence and bring about political stability in Lebanon, he must realise that concessions need to be made for the state and not among parties.

Concessions for the state mean a full return of its powers and prerogatives at all levels, including the decision to use weapons.

“This is a compromise that Hizbollah is required to make after it has usurped most of the state’s basic functions in its bid to control the Lebanese common space,” the writer added.

The Iran-backed party has compromised Lebanon’s shaky stability with its unilateral decision to take part in the Assad regime’s war against Syrian revolutionary powers. It seems confident that President Bashar Al Assad would prevail and is building future power-monopoly plans in Lebanon on such a prediction, which would only exacerbate the insurmountable conflict in the multi-sectarian country.

Action against Bassem will harm Egypt’s army

Filing a complaint against the Egyptian satirist Bassem Yousef over his Friday’s controversial show is the worst thing a military officer can do these days in Egypt, wrote Emad Eddine Hussein in the Cairo-based newspaper Al Shorouk.

In fact, even criticising Bassem over his satirical show is a bad idea, the writer said.

Some military leaders have reason to be upset about some of the comments made during the show. However, if they go so far as to file complaints in courts, the only logical conclusion people will arrive at is that the former president, Mohamed Morsi, was a staunch advocate of the freedom of expression. Mr Morsi did not take any action against Bassem, and eventually dropped the complaints his supporters filed against the satirist.

Honestly, Bassem has swamped the Muslim Brotherhood with criticism and satire ever since the programme started. And certainly they did not like him, his show and the media at large. If they could, they would have shut down all media outlets.

Yet what actually happened is that they did nothing against most media people, or against Bassem.

Any action, direct or through agents, from the military against Bassem will greatly harm it. Some pro-army people said the show crossed the line in terms of public decency. But those people did not protest when it was against the Brotherhood.

Who is the winner at Abu Dhabi Film Fest?

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival will today announce this year’s winners, as predictions of the Black Pearl winner fill the air, film critic Tarek El Shenawi wrote in the Cairo-based paper Al Tahrir.

“From my experience, selecting a winner from the films that deserve to win is a difficult task, and the movie that receives the Black Pearl, the top prize, is not necessarily the best,” he remarked.

The mood of the jury also plays a role, and the chemistry between its members can decide the orientation and therefore the winner.

Yet despite that, there is one movie that absolutely merits the award: An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker by Danis Tanovic, from Bosnia, the country that 25 years ago gave the world the exceptional filmmaker, Emir Kusturica, who has won the Cannes’ Palm d’Or twice.

Danis’ artistic style is different from that of Kusturica. The latter is honest and always creates magic with music, comedy and fantasia, and his characters have fixed characteristics. Danis’ movies, on the other hand, enjoy internal magic, the traits of which are drawn externally.

In his film, Danis adopts an offbeat style, using for instance repeated scenes and gives his characters freedom before the camera, creating a different cinema as people know it.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk