In mourning George Hawi, there is a special taste of bitterness. The crime gave rise to an absurdity and futility that sprung from many different sources. Parliament has changed and now has a new majority, the international investigating committee is active in Beirut, and countries of the world have been lodging condemnations. But this did not deter the killers from assassinating the former Secretary-General of the Lebanese Communist Party. As if the barbarous killing had the power to accuse its victims; and as if politics, both domestic and foreign, was unable to prevent what all forms of public opinion were unanimous in condemning.
The absurdity and futility are reinforced by a pettiness that politicians of all stripes have failed to stop from exhibiting, as the political discourse of defamation and accusing people of treason slips to the level of what East Germany experienced after the files on the Stasi and its collaborators were opened. The big sects in this small country are agitated and acting triumphantly, or at least seeking triumph.
The bitterness stems from what we see in the mourning of George Hawi, especially during the sad celebrations by Communists and leftists of different types, as if they were performing a modest ceremony around the sacrificial victim. This type of event makes the bitterness of the communists quite special, coming against a backdrop of mourning for the Soviet Union. They were the early champions of enlightenment based on nationalism that transcended the sects and their pettiness; one of their greatest leaders has been killed amid a poisonous atmosphere of sectarianism.
For the communist who practices self-criticism, which has taken place repeatedly in leftist literature, the sadness and bitterness is doubly great. Among all of the groups that took part in the Two Years’ War (1975-1976) and the wars that followed, leading to the victory of an “Arab Lebanon,” only the LCP was “rewarded” by being isolated by their allies of yesterday. Why were the communists, by force, murder and liquidation, prevented from participating in the resistance that they launched and carried out with enthusiasm, before discovering that it was a bridge for sectarian elements to cross with the required regional support? How could innocence be so innocent? Didn’t those who were engaged in analyzing events realize that Lebanon had its roles to play more so than any other country? This is no exaggeration – it remained without an embassy to organize relations with its biggest neighbor, and it alone continued the path of resistance that the world deemed unnecessary. Why wasn’t a single communist killed in the long battle the communists waged against Lebanon’s “financial tyranny”? When the Arab liberation movement achieved its first victory in 1958, why was LCP leader Farajallah Helou murdered with acid the following year? When an unprecedented struggle broke out against American imperialism, why were LCP members Hussein Mroueh, Hassan Hamdan, Khalil Naous, Suheil Tawila and Ahmad al-Mir and others liquidated? When the bullets hit the chests of the communists, why were they accompanied by words that resembled their own? Why did they die whenever it appeared to them that they were winning? As the ground appears to receive the body of this great man, one remembers the basic concepts that others have wanted to bury ever since 1968. One of these basic concepts is that there is no left without a sovereign nation that creates its own policies, based on national interests. The same goes for the right, as proven by the great crime that felled Rafik Hariri. It goes without saying that there is no socialism, and no capitalism, without politics, which is the opposite of violence, whether practiced by “progressives” or “reactionaries.”
The tragedy often appears in the disparity in speed between the killing of people and the resistance that is exhibited by language and ideas. In his final years, George Hawi strove to understand this disparity by making language and ideas resemble the reality, so that people would not be killed. Isn’t that enough of a crime to require the murder of George Hawi?
Marx Mroueh Mahdi
The Anis Makdisi Program in Literature, the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy,
the Mahdi Amel Cultural Center, and the Red Oak Club (The Mahdi Amel Series)
have the pleasure to invite you to a three-day conference under the title
"What does it mean to be a Marxist here and now?"
Assassinat d'un Gramesci arabe
Sabine Sidawi Hamdan
Hassan Hamdan / Mehdi Amel