Since the murder of Rafiq al-Hariri, the anti-Syrian movement in Lebanon has started to straddle the traditional secular divisions. Its uniting the un-unitable.
We’ve seen the Hariri family joining forces with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, and Maronite groups. The church bells tolled as Hariri’s funeral procession moved towards the Mosque where he was to be buried.
But its also uniting the Lebanese in support of the unprecidented stability they’ve enjoyed over the last 15 years.
Nabih Berri, speaker of the Parliament and the most prominent Shia politician has called for an “open and unconditional national dialogue” based on Taif.
Taif was the agreement which ended the devistating Civil War by bringing together all elements of Lebanese society.
And its important that those words came from the mouth of Nabih Berri, because the Shia represent the biggest chunk of Lebanon’s population.
He’s agreed to meet opposition leaders on Monday to discuss their demands. In another good sign, the government’s agreed to co-operate with a UN investigation into Hariri’s death. They’d previously rejected opposition calls for an international probe.
But the calls for peace and unity come from across traditional religious divides.
In his Sunday Sermon, the Christian Patriarch, Mar Nasrallah Sfir, says that the anti-Syria rhetoric shouldn’t be taken too far. It’s good if it provokes debate. But not if it allows personal agendas to shine.
As Shia group Hizbollah aptly said – “God forbid, if the roof collapses, it collapses on all of us” (Hassan Nasrallah).