Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.

Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Gebran Bassil Out: Kanaan as FPM President

The dirty secret of the Free Patriotic Movement (founded by Michel Aoun and currently headed by his son-in-law Gebran Bassil) is all out. Now that Aoun has "arrived" to the Baabda presidential palace, the infighting within the FPM is coming out to the fore in as much dirty laundry as you want.

First, you have those who hated Aoun for shoving the incompetent Bassil everywhere he could. From Minister of Power to Foreign Affairs, then to President of the party itself, all in flagrant violation of all the principles of democracy that the FPM has claimed as foundational principles of the party. Never mind the change from the old claim of secularism and broad universal human rights platform, to the regression into a barbaric and narrow Christian party defending minority rights. Never mind the change from "Assad Syria as a dictatorship" to the "Assad Syria savior from Daesh"....All water under the bridge. All of this pales, however, when Bassil, who lost in successive parliamentary election after another, was constantly elevated to Minister and to FPM president, in an insult to the other senior FPM cadres who served Aoun and the Cause for decades more than Bassil ever did.

Right now, the feeding frenzy of the FPM hounds - beginning with the family of President Aoun - is such an embarrassment. Aoun's three daughters, each one of them wants ministerial portfolios for themselves and/or for their husbands, Aoun's son-in-laws (Bassil, Roukoz, Hashem). Infighting within the royal family as it were also includes Nadia, Aoun's wife. Then there are all the nephews and other more or less distant relatives (Alain Aoun, Selim Aoun, Mario Aoun, etc...).

It is a sad spectacle that the so-called champion of "change and reform" has become yet another political family farm whose job is to promote and breed future generations of Aouns. They just need an Ottoman title (Afandi, Bek, Sheikh, etc.) to become one of the established political farms in Lebanon for generations to come.

I urge the enlightened cadres of the FPM  to really prove to all those who supported Aoun for decades, in the belief that he will be an agent of change in this moribund Lemon Republic, that the FPM will, in fact and in deed, promote merit and not blood and genetics as its primary criterion  for leadership within the party and the country.

One good start would be to dump Gebran Bassil, the opportunistic leech that no one really likes, specifically because he has been forced on everyone else simply by his being Aoun's son-in-law. The real powerhouse in the FPM is not Bassil; it is Ibrahim Kanaan who engineered the rapprochement and alliance with the Lebanese Forces, and its subsequent disentanglement of the presidential election stalemate. The strength of Mr. Kanaan, a capable and well-spoken attorney, rests in his understated dignified leadership, unlike the braggart streety Bassil, and that is what the Lebanese people want. Someone who has merit and credentials, and not blood or genetic kinship to the Dear Leader (as one sees in places like North Korea), who has proven himself in elections and in diplomatic maneuvering, and who can restructure the FPM and salvage it away from the downward trend in which Bassil has sent it. But Kanaan too must not accept forever his second status membership in the FPM hierarchy while he does all the leg work, unless he savors being the "Servant of the Two Noble Sanctuaries" (خادم الحرمين الشرفين، أي عون وباسيل).

Even if Michel Aoun's family members are all geniuses and super-capable people, it should be the deliberate policy of the party - any political party for that matter - to keep them out of party hierarchy first, and then out of government as well. To respond to charges of nepotism and cronyism by saying that the relatives and friends of the President are capable people is simply unacceptable. It is precisely because someone is related to the Dear Leader that they should be excluded from visible leadership positions, even if they have all the merit in the world. They can still contribute with advice, counsel, promotion, and many other ways of supporting the party or the President, but they should not be shoved down the throats of equally, if not more, deserving and meritorious individuals, for the simple reason that they are "trusted family members".  If Michel Aoun cannot trust his party members and cadres as he does family members, then what is the point of even having a party. Nepotism and cronyism send the message to everyone else that they are inferior, untrustworthy, incapable people. This is the same disgusting spectacle one sees in the Kataeb (Gemayel), the (fake) Progressive (actually feudal) Socialists (Jumblatt), the Marada (Frangiyeh), the Salams, the Hariris, and all the other tribal political families of this tormented country. By what measure of modern democracy should the FPM follow in their track and become a primitive political family farm?

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