Monday, September 24, 2018
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Division or Unity

In the past NALA has addressed the issue of the dual nature of Lebanon, cultural diversity, its relation to the present situation and Taif's effects on this cultural mix. 

We did so based on the belief that if we are to build a pluralistic state that incorporates all facets of Lebanese heritage, we must be clear as to the nature of our descendency. We also believe that equity must be perceived as such by all concerned to truly be equitable. If one group perceives itself denied, it does not help to defend the acts that lead to such perception. Nor will it help to deny that groups legitimate identity to avoid blame. 

If we are to unite, we must face the hard task of addressing our differences and work to overcome them. We must be clear as to what it is we are uniting. If we are to build a common future, we must ask the hard question. What is our future? And, on what will it be based? 

Ignoring our differences does not eliminate them. Ignoring the existence of the others in our midst will not facilitate our coexistence with them. Ignorance will only worsen the tenuous situation and further the distrust that has divided us.  

Some would argue that addressing those issues is divisive. We beg to differ. The acts themselves are divisive. And the perception of denial and dejection is divisive. The longer it remains unaddressed the wider the divide grows. If the twenty years of war taught us anything, it taught us that ignorance is the most fertile ground for growing the seeds of division. Addressing those issues to find a solution and a way out of our present condition is not divisive. In fact it is the only way out. 

However, we must address these issues together. If we remain silent about the acts of radicals, our silence will be construed as acceptance. As such, we will solidify the fears of those who perceive themselves wronged. This would widen the divide and lead us further down the  road of fragmentation. 

The real issue is not whether differences exist, or whether problems exist that divide our people. The real issue is whether we as Lebanese have the courage to face these problems, address our differences and chart a future that would accommodate all in an equitable and just society. 

Those who do not have this courage, are better off abandoning their slogans of unity. For, those who refuse to acknowledge the legitimate identity, aspirations and concerns of others are not seeking coexistence and unity. What those are seeking is dominance and subjugation. 

We in NALA are principally opposed to such a solution. We solidly believe in the rights of all people to their own identity and their right to be accepted and respected as such. We also believe that the majority of the Lebanese people from all religious and ethnic backgrounds will welcome the long awaited equitable society that would recognize the place of all cultural descendencies in Lebanon and respect their role in its future. 

For long we have heard the slogans of unity. Unfortunately, they have always been uttered unilaterally by one group or another, based on that groups perception of what the others should be. None, however, has had the courage to define such a unity or to hold open, frank and constructive discussions on the subject. Thus, systematically feeding on public fears and concerns and widening the divide. 

Again we state that we address this issue to find a solution. As any other problem, this one requires a clear definition before an adequate and lasting solution can be found. 

Anything short of a thorough analysis of the situation and a comprehensive solution that addresses the concerns and aspirations of all communities is pointless. A partial and superficial solution would prolong the existing divisions and continue to aggravate the situation leading us further apart. 

NALA remains committed to the principle of open discussions among Lebanese regarding a permanent solution for their problem, provided they are based on the premise of pluralism, equity and justice for all, and are conducted with respect and acceptance to all communities. 

Without a clear vision of our destination, based on a definite knowledge of our origins, we will never reach it.

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