Protesters in Lebanon have a simple message for Britain and the US: you cannot expect Arab democracies to operate on western terms.
A Comment By Salam Al-Mahadin
"Let's assume for the sake of the argument that half the population of Britain took to the streets, slept out in the cold, raised the national flag and flew banners demanding the resignation of Tony Blair. Would the western world flock to London to offer him support? Would the US, Israel and half the enlightened democracies denounce the crowds as ignorant mobs easily swayed by agitating demagogues? Would he and his government legitimate their rule on the basis of foreign support? Would Blair declare to the world at large that the support of his own people was secondary to the support of international allies?
Let's assume for the sake of another argument that Tony Blair came into office following elections in which he swept more than three quarters of votes in the biggest electoral turnout in the history of the UK. Would the European Union, the US and Israel rave and rant before sulking in a corner and declaring that they didn't really like Tony Blair's politics and had therefore decided to starve the British people for making such an unsavoury choice?
Do these two scenarios seem surreal?
They didn't seem so surreal when they were applied to both Lebanon and the West Bank. And I am willing to bet my lunch money for a whole year that should an independent international committee be formed to gauge the degree of support for both the Hamas government and the opposition movements in Lebanon, they would reveal that both the Lebanese and Palestinian nations were in favour of those whom the west considers "personas non grata"."