This entry is a response to a comment posted by shlemazl on my weird entry a few weeks ago.
First of all, I would like to clear that I don’t usually talk like this about Bashir Gemayel, because it might make me seem as if I hate Bashir, which isn’t true. I profoundly admire this man. He was intelligent and was fully aware of it. He managed to pump in the Christians a hope and a feeling of power. He also dared to say what the Christians craved to hear but none dared to utter. I will never forget his famous quote:
We [the Christians] are the Angels of this Orient and its Devils
Or when he dared to defy the whole world including the Vatican (there fore daring to defy the Christian authorities in Lebanon). He preached an independent Lebanon that be annexed to no one.
I would never allow myself to attack this man and to deny his achievements. But then again, history is the judge of all achievements. Let’s be reasonable and recalculate what has this man actually achieved, on the long term.
First of all, Bashir gained a lot of popularity among people but made so many enemies also, to the point where he failed to preserve neither his daughter’s nor his own life. I don’t say that as a way to make fun of him or anything, I just think he should have known better.
On the other hand Bashir was a radical Christian and never cared to hide it. When he became a president he said that from now on he will work for the best of everybody (Muslims and Christians) but his history wasn’t so promising and he never really left his Christian corner. Doesn’t that remind you of Hezbollah’s attitude? And again, I don’t say this as an attack, but there are historical facts that can’t be neglected and we need to be objective if we want to avoid mistakes.
In addition, Bashir was a warlord, and as far as I am concerned warlords are always bad news. Warlords excel in wars and enjoy it (whether they know it or not). Countries on the other hand, need politicians, real ones at least. Some warlords turn out to be good politicians also, but that usually results from a complete make over that few succeed in. Take Michel Aoun for example, his total failure as a president and his 15 years exile in France didn’t help him become anything close to a politician and he is still a warlord. Now many might argue that Bashir would have been an excellent politician IF he weren’t killed. Personally I doubt it, think of Bashir’s ways, his tactics often included eliminating all competitors. Eventually, when he died there were no one left to take his place except for his brother (I don’t see how did that serve the Christian or the Lebanese people).
Bashir broke the Christian front that he claimed to defend and he did so in ways that time will probably never heal. What does history remember him for? The Tony Franjiyeh murder? His failed attempt to absorb the Marada brigade (Franjiyeh family’s militia)? His successful attempt to absorb Noumour L-Ahrar (another small Christian militia)? I am fully aware of the need to unite the Christian front that was behind these moves, but can you really call killing all opponents as a unification process? Bashir never gave a reasonable choice for others; he only gave them one option to unite under his leadership or die. That’s dictatorship! Michel Aoun did the same a few years later and no one calls him a hero. Why do we justify for Bashir what we blame Aoun for? Maybe because he was more charismatic, or maybe because he died, but nothing should make us forget our aims and targets and distort our rational view, we might sympathise with a martyr but we don’t forget all his mistakes.
Now let’s talk about the more specific and personal details. Has anyone noticed the stunning resemblance between Kennedy and Gemayel? Now, of course they were both killed shortly after their election, but that’s not the resemblance I am talking about, I want to talk about the character resemblance.
First of all, they were both brave… Or maybe irrational daredevils. Take Bashir’s personal security for example. The guy that everyone wanted his neck, his little daughter (back then she was his only child) had already been killed… But he didn’t use any real security measures to protect his life. Apparently he relied on secrecy and apparently that was not enough. In fact many people admired him for having so little protection, they say that this meant he was closer to his people and all… But let’s face facts, when you have a dream and you believe that only you can achieve it, to the point where you would kill all others that claim they can achieve it… Wouldn’t you try to at least protect yourself? I believe he trusted that secrecy was enough, which shows an excessive and irrational self-confidence.
Many have talked about Kennedy’s Psychological problems and addictions. Such research will never take place in Lebanon. I am personally convinced that Bashir’s outgoing personality was not perfectly normal, but I could never judge about that.
Now Shlemazl, in your comment you said that Bashir was a patriotic man. Even though I do believe the honesty of his intentions, I would like to mention that almost all warlords were in theory patriotic. All Lebanese factions participated in the Civil War to defend Lebanon. Patriotism in politics is a very plastic and artificial thing, there are just too many Lebanons and so little in common between them. I would be extra careful while talking about patriotism and especially while talking about people such as Bashir.
Finally, I would like to repeat myself; I do respect and admire Bashir, but to portray him as the lost hope of Christians and their beloved grail, the solution to problems, the key to dignity and human rights… Well that’s an exaggeration; he was a charismatic and smart person.