Hezbollah & the meaning of resistance

EU adds Hezbollah’s military wing to terrorism list
Daily Star Lebanon,  July 22, 2013

President Michel Sleiman said Monday he hoped the European Union would reconsider its decision to list Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization for the sake of stability in Lebanon.

BRUSSELS: The European Union agreed on Monday to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist, a move driven by concerns over the Lebanese group’s roles in a bus bombing in Bulgaria and the Syrian war. Britain and the Netherlands have long pressed their EU peers to impose sanctions on the Muslim group, citing evidence it was behind an attack in the coastal Bulgarian city of Burgas a year ago, which killed five Israelis and their driver.
Until now, many EU governments had resisted lobbying from Washington and Israel to blacklist the group, warning such a move could fuel instability in Lebanon and add to tensions in the Middle East. Hezbollah functions both as a political party that is part of the Lebanese government and an armed resistance wing.

Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said the decision was “hasty” and could lead to further sanctions against the movement that would complicate Lebanese politics.
This will hinder Lebanese political life in the future, especially considering our sensitivities in Lebanon,” he told Reuters. “We need to tighten bonds among Lebanese parties, rather than create additional problems.”
Already on the EU blacklist are groups such as Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, and Turkey’s Kurdish militant group PKK.


Hezbollah denies any involvement
in last July’s attack in Bulgaria
Daily Star 23-7-2013

BEIRUT: Hezbollah said the European Union’s decision Monday to blacklist its so-called armed wing was “aggressive and unjust” and argued that it was “not based of any justifications or evidence.” 
In a statement issued by its media office, Hezbollah firmly rejected the decision and accused the EU of bowing to pressure from the United States and Israel: “It looks as if the decision was written by American hands and with Israeli ink,” said the Hezbollah statement. “The EU only had to add its signature in approval.”

Hezbollah has attracted concern in Europe and around the world in recent months for its role sending thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, an intervention that turned the tide of a more than 2-year-old civil war.
Before the EU meeting, the union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told Al-Arabiya TV that she presented the proposal to blacklist Hezbollah to the EU because of the party’s involvement in Syria.


The meaning of resistance
Hezbollah’s media strategies and the articulation of a people
by Walid El Houri, academia.edu 2012


ter verkrijging van de graad van doctor aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam
op gezag van de Rector Magnificus prof. dr. D.C. van den Boom

Hezbollah’s ideology, albeit universalist in essence, is rooted in a Lebanese nationalism and is not based on the categorical rejection of otherness.

Contrary to what is often said in literature that sees Hezbollah as a ‘terroristorganization’ or as equivalent to Al Qaida in its desire to destroy the “western way of life,” Hezbollah leaders often “express their admiration for certain aspects of Western culture, including US culture”.
The movement’s recurrent distinction between the people and the governments of countries such as the US and Israel (and the distinction that is often made between Jews and Zionists) reflects its efforts to present a discourse that can be accepted by much larger groups than its Shiite supporters and introduce its discourse into a global movement of dissent.

The development of Hezbollah’s political discourse is a consequence and a cause of its expanding military success and social influence.
The articulated identity – Shiite in essence but Lebanese, Arab and Muslim as well  –  combines, depending on the context, a negotiation of religious commitment to the Shiite faith with a Lebanese national identity as well as a pan-Arab and pan-Islamic dimension.

Resistance in Hezbollah’s discourse is not merely a military endeavor. Rather, following the speeches and sermons delivered by its General Secretary on various occasions and according to the party’s media and teachings, it is a complex balance of military, social,cultural, and political strategies that aim at building a “society of resistance.”

Perhaps what constitutes the essence of resistance in Hezbollah’s discourse is the notion of empowerment in both military and political terms.
In military terms, empowerment is the belief in, and demonstration of the power to defeat the superior military force of Israel. Since the1967 defeat, the belief in the invincibility of the Israeli army had been almost unshaken untilHezbollah demonstrated the opposite in 2000 and then in 2006. …
In political terms, empowerment refers to the empowerment of the dispossessed and marginalized groups in Lebanon and the Arab world. Hezbollah succeeded in providing a sense of political potential for its Shiite supporters in Lebanon to become active members in the Lebanese political life by giving them a voice and a powerful representative. The movement also promoted a notion of political empowerment in the rest of the Arab world…

In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s discourse of resistance hegemonized calls for the liberation of Lebanon from Israeli occupation, economic reform, communitarian conflict, anti-globalization and empowerment into one overarching demand that they would call the “resistance.”
By doing so they succeeded in attracting a wide range of  individuals from devout Shiites to Christian middle classes and leftists in addition to a pan-Arab audience who saw the discourse of resistance as one that pertains to their own struggles both internal (against their regimes) and external (concerning the Palestinian cause and the American influence in the region).

Resistance movements, whether in Egypt, Tunisia, or Lebanon, can be understood as liberation movements that are essentially and primarily anti-colonial.
Colonialism in these places did not end with the formal declarations of independence, in fact, the overthrown dictators or foreign occupation represent precisely the extension of the colonial influence at the expense of the local populations.

Resistance is the desire to acquire the ability to control the space from which to speak, a process by which a group acts in order to acquire the voice and language that allows for it to emerge as a political subject speaking for and to itself.


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