Support for Hizbullah stronger than ever (Jacey Herman, Nov. 14, 2006, THE JERUSALEM POST)
“I love Hizbullah now more than ever,” smiles Mehdi, in what might at first seem a surprising response. “I really love them more. They gave us something we didn’t have. Forget the destruction, they gave us dignity. For fifty years the Arab world suffered defeat, defeat, defeat. This is the first time we are the victors.”
The 33-year-old supermarket owner lost his stall during the war. But he is impressed with Hizbullah for coming to assess the damage and paying him eleven thousand dollars to recover.
“It’s enough money and it makes me very happy. If Hizbullah asks me to go to the streets, of course I’ll go. If we have some demands and the government doesn’t give us what we need, like any country in the world where if you need something and you don’t have it, we will protest.”
It’s a sentiment echoed throughout the Hizbullah stronghold. Support for the organization is now stronger than it has ever been, making it by far the most significant political and military force in Lebanon.
Emboldened by this backing, Hizbullah is demanding at least one third of seats in the country’s cabinet and threatening to go to the streets if the demand is not met. An original deadline for Monday came and went without any disruption, but the rumor is that protests could erupt later in the week. […]
Hizbullah central council member Bilal Naim confirms the organization is following a four-phase plan of reconstruction. First, it helps people who lost their apartments to rent new houses. Every family who falls into this category is paid $10-12,000. Then, it finances the rebuilding of homes and the removal of rubbish from the streets. Lastly, it focuses on reconstruction.
“We have finished the first step and we are trying now to implement the plan for the reconstruction phase, especially in the south,” he says. “We want to work as a coordinator for the people. Every building has an elected representative who liaises between us and the people. We gave every family two choices – to rebuild themselves or to let us do it.”
Naim says that if the political impasse doesn’t give way soon, Hizbullah will move to the streets.
They’re still selling themselves short if they don’t demand either a nation of their own or proportional representation in the governance of Lebanon.