Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"We're squeezed between Karbala and Masada."

Walid Jumblatt, one of the leaders of Lebanon's Cedar Revolution, is fearful for his country's future and for the prospects of its nascent democracy.
"The fanatics have won the day," he said gloomily, as we drank sangria in a vaulted stone room lined with Oriental pillows. "The Israelis are arrogant and won't admit they've lost, but they have. Hezbollah can afford this tactic of burnt earth." "We're squeezed," he concluded, "between Karbala and Masada." Jumblatt allowed himself a slight smile for coining the expression and then sighed heavily. By invoking Karbala, the Iraqi city where the Shiite saint Hussein and his followers were massacred, Jumblatt was referring to the Shiite glorification of martyrdom. Masada, the hilltop fortress where ancient Israelites committed mass suicide rather than surrender to the Romans, symbolizes the Israeli penchant for viewing every fight as a fight to the death.
Whatever one feels about Jumblatt's assessment or of the current conflict in Lebanon in general, one sees that it's riven with pain at every turn.

[Thanks to Ruminating Pilgrim for leading me to this piece.]

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