The protesters know the security agencies are blatantly using them to do their dirty work. The leaders are attempting to contain public anger because they were not able to deal with the issue of Islamist detainees without trial.
They rely on the fact that people do not know how to besiege the house of a chief, a security official or a political leader, in protest.
The problem for the people of Tripoli and the North is not the manner in which General Security arrested Shadi Mawlawi, but the reason behind his arrest. It is not because of his uniqueness. Yesterday, security agencies spoke about his “confession” in response to accusations of “involvement in illegal activities in Lebanon and abroad.”
The problem is that the man’s family, his neighbors and people living in the city have the right to fear that he might remain in custody without trial for years on end, as is the case with many.
The popular base in the North, mobilized daily since March 14 reached power and up to the consequences of the Syrian crisis, does not know how to express its ideas and protestations except through days of rage and armed clashes.
The leadership, while condemning the manner in which Mawlawi was arrested, strongly feels that he is more powerful in the street. The faces of the city’s leaders conveyed their fear of being expelled by the angry gathering if they dared to actually ask their followers for anything less than they demand.
It is not important at this time to search for whoever is drawing the picture of Tripoli and the North. On the contrary, you only need to visit once to understand the hard truth. People living in those cities and villages do not enjoy their rights in Lebanon, save for their identification cards and passports, if they get the chance to run away to a different kind of death.
The even harder truth is that those who take turns in running public administration in the city borrow each other’s management techniques which are based on “handouts” and attracting the poor masses to one side or the other.
Even from afar, the picture is ugly. Those who interfere from outside the area believe that there is no other language to deal with its inhabitants. Some lowlifes even believe that only the Syrian administration was able to stop such disorder.
It is true that there is no place for reason in this infernal game. Those in a frenzy are visiting the North today looking to hunt in a fertile ground. Their agendas are linked to other things, which have nothing to do with people there.
It is also true that political interaction with the population of the area is more akin to touristic vacations by March 14 politicians who were forced to take off their neckties while visiting uncharted villages in Akkar and Bekaa.
But it is also true that the people there did not ask those leaders about the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars they received in their name.
Some of these damned leaders are playing the same game today. Stories from alleyways speak about the “theft of the revolution’s money.” Here, they mean that traders in money and blood are exploiting the search for support for members of the Syrian opposition, in order to steal the money without an excuse.
When reason is absent, partisanship takes hold and those wretched leaders become preoccupied with diverting the anger of the people of the area towards their neighbors, such as between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.
This will absolve the leaders – sitting in ivory towers a few blocks away from the line of fire – from being accountable for the real reasons behind the constant tensions.
The headlines will say that the people of the North are fighting each other to defend the Syrian people, but each has his own way and particular opinion. The headlines will also say that the people of the North are deprived because they are from a particular sect. But the leaders who are supposedly representing the sects today are satisfied with playing with emotions and making empty promises.
Didn’t the Saudi embassy in Lebanon once send an envoy who found that what was presented in reports about development programs implemented by the Future Movement and March 14 leaders in Tripoli and Akkar was merely an illusion? These projects never existed.
What about the actions of the state? Is there are hope for those in charge of its institutions? Instead of calling for an emergency meeting of the Higher Defense Council, the President of the Republic should have put up his tent outside the doors of the Roumieh prison.
He then should have summoned all the judges and ordered them to close the files currently being eaten by cockroaches on the shelves while rot chews at those incarcerated in the humiliating prison.
The government should have sent bulldozers to help build, instead of sending armed personnel carriers. It should have sent teachers and doctors to the neighborhoods instead of an army of spies. The rich should have embraced projects that feed people in a dignified manner, instead of escaping taxes on financial and real estate speculation…
Certainly, someone is preparing someone big in the North, linked to the situation in Syria. The escape of the state is an announcement telling us we should only expect death to come from the North.
Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar..
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.