Like in North Korea, every little community in Lebanon has its own "Dear Leader" who is worshiped like a demi-god by his followers. Driving in the Bikfaya - Dahr El Sawan area the other day, you now see huge portraits of Sami Gemayel waving in a glorious posture, with slogans like "ايها القائد" (O Leader), or "العدرا تحميك" (May the Virgin protect you).
Sami Gemayel just "won" the presidency of the Kataeb Party, and I have "won" in quotation marks because he ran uncontested to the post, just as Bashar Assad or Hosni Mubarak or Qaddafi would do in fake elections, and also because he really inherited the post from his father who inherited it from his own father.... In other words, in typical political farm tradition in this country of mountain peasants, some urbanized, some educated, but all imbued with backward tribal and clannish ideas and customs.
The Gemayels are not the only ones. Oh no, by no means. The Jumblatts, the Frangiyehs, the Hariris, the Arslans, the Karamis.... There are very few Lebanese politicians that do not, one way or another, hail from - or create their own - political farm. The reason I use "farm" is because, like everything else in this country, politics here is a commercial enterprise. Its primary aim is to secure the financial well-being of its owners, and doing politics is like starting any other business, leveraging its finances, religious affiliations, tribal lordship over villages and towns in defined regions. The political farm construct is primarily based on genetic-blood kinship in the first place, but also occasionally extending to in-laws. The Aoun farm is an example of the latter where the godfather (Michel Aoun) bestows political power on other males around him who have married his daughters because he has so sons. This lateral extension of political power in the Aoun farm is actually quite interesting because it has three prominent male figures other than the alpha male: Alain Aoun (a nephew), Jebran Bassil (son-in-law) and Shamel Roukoz (another son-in-law who married an already married daughter of Michel Aoun after evicting a former son-in-law Sami Nader who had a fallout with the godfather). In other words, forced marriages and divorces are another way of acceding to the inner sanctum of the Mafia godfather.
So after "electing" Sheikh Sami Gemayel (note: The title "sheikh" was bestowed on the Gemayels by none other than the Ottoman Turkish rulers of Lebanon to those leaders of the Lebanese clans who served the Turkish occupation by exploiting their own people. Jumblatts are "bek", Karamis are "effendi", Gemayels are "sheikh", etc. If you've watched Braveheart, and learned how Scottish nobles earned their titles and lands by stabbing their own people in the back to curry favors with the English occupation, you'd see how this works.
Now that a third generation of Gemayels has earned the medieval allegiance of the Maronite mountain brutes around Bikfaya, with, of course, the protection of the Virgin Mary, the blessings of the Bronze Age Maronite church Patriarch, and all the saints it produced to the Vatican's exasperation, the Maronite community in the Metn District is assured divine protection and guidance for a few decades to come. When the next civil war comes around, and it is not too far off, Dear Leader Sami will lead his herd of Maronite cave-dwellers into killing as many Muslims as they can get their hands on, in a tit-for-tat sectarian bloodshed with the assorted Sunnis, Shiites, Druze, Greek Orthodox and other sects, all of whom share mutual historic hatred between one another in this den of sectarian Ta3ayosh (تعايش) or "tolerance".
Just as Kim Il-Sung begot Kim Jong-il who in turn begot Kim Jong-U, each occupying unchallenged and genetically heritable "Dear Leader" position in North Korea, so do the Gemayels in their own little turf around Bikfaya. The founder of the Kataeb Party is one Pierre Gemayel who was born in1905 in Bikfaya. His immediate father, Amine Bachir Gemayel, fled to Egypt in 1914 because he turned against the Ottoman Turkish occupiers after serving them for decades as top collaborator.
Nothing can be said about this genetic transmission of power. It is sad. It is bad. It is primitive. Only time will tell if Sheikh Sami is a good man or not, a good politician or not... He may be all these things. But how can a man in this day and age accept to inherit political power like this? Could he be asking himself questions like, "Do I really deserve this? What merit do I have for this? Do these people really think I can lead them? Where am I leading them to? Is it to ensure the same legacy for my own children? Perpetuating primitive traditions just to secure this empire? Do these people follow me blindly? They are mountain brutes, no doubt about it. But they are MY mountain brutes."