with all the excitement going on in the arab/muslim world, you may have missed in the news some clannish hostilities going on in the lebanon over the last few weeks. i present to you, the meqdad clan:
for some reason that i didn’t bother trying to figure out (prolly some argument going back to the days of fakhr-al-din ii), one of the meqdad clan was kidnapped by somebody (some clan, no doubt) in syria. in response, the meqdads of the lebanon have been kidnapping all sorts of syrians and turks in their country:
“The logic of the Lebanese Meqdad clan was simple: One of the group’s fellow clansmen had been captured in Syria, and they were going to kidnap as many people as it took to barter for his freedom.
“The detained clansman, Hassan Meqdad, was bloodied and bruised when he appeared in a video released by Syrian rebels on Aug. 13. Meqdad gunmen hit the streets two days later and grabbed at least 40 Syrian hostages, along with a Turkish businessman shortly after he landed at the Beirut airport….”
i don’t want to bore you with the details of whatever the h*ll is going on here. but some of the comments made by meqdad clansmen and other lebanese/arab individuals about the case are really enlightening. THEY all understand what’s going on here of course (clan/tribal warfare), so it’s nice to hear from these people “in the know” on how clannish societies work.
here are some of those telling comments:
- “According to Allaw, what needs to be understood is that the bond between clan members is very different from the sectarian bond found within certain political parties, ‘which is why there are different sects within the clans … When groups like Hezbollah and Amal tried to enter these areas in the 1980s with sectarian ideals, they were rejected.’” [al jazeera]
- “‘Clan solidarity is primordial,’ says the senior source, formerly in charge of security in the Baalbek region. ‘Regardless of disagreements the clan always comes first.’” [the daily star]
- “‘It’s just a rampant culture of impunity — the state seeing itself as one actor among many rather than the enforcer of laws,’ said Nadim Houry, the deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch.” [wsj]
- “Lebanon’s Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said in remarks published Wednesday that he refused to treat the Lebanese Moqdad clan ‘cruelly,’ due to its abduction operations in the country. During an interview with Al-Akhbar newspaper, Charbel voiced his hope that the relevant groups would ‘understand the [clan’s] situation, [because] if any of [our relatives were] kidnapped, we might have felt the same way [the Moqdads] did.‘” [now lebanon]
- “As-Safir journalist Saada Allaw – of the Allaw family – said the clans ‘don’t count their family members in the conventional way‘. ‘They say, for example, we are 15,000 rifles, which indicates how many people are willing and able to carry weapons.’” [al jazeera]
- “‘Why do my people have to carry weapons? [maher mokdad] asked. ‘We have no government. We live in the jungle, and we have to survive. If the government cared for me, then I wouldn’t have to protect myself.‘” [wsj]
- “In the Hezbollah-dominated Roueiss suburb, neighbors speak of the ‘courage and loyalty’ of the Meqdad clan. ‘If anyone is in need, they will help them and they are always present in difficult times or to pay condolences,’ says Abu Ahmad, the owner of a snack shop in the area.” [the daily star]
- “‘If there’s a happy ending for Hassan [Meqdad], there will be a happy ending for them,’ Mokdad said. ‘If there is a bad ending for Hassan, there will be a bad ending for them. All of them.’“ [wsj]
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