...Writers or Missionaries?
Mughniyeh was, for Hezbollah, a heroic figure in what they call “the resistance.” No word is more sacred for Hezbollah, which has sought to portray itself as a “national resistance” rather than another sectarian militia. When I started out in journalism, I was more willing to use this word without quotation marks; it seemed preferable, after all, to the alternative, “terrorism.” Today, I am more skeptical of terms like “resistance,” “armed struggle” and “solidarity.” When I read these words, I want to ask: What do they actually mean, and what do they conceal? What do the people who use these words actually do? What does the word “resistance” mean if it can describe a Sunni-based insurgency against Bashar al-Assad and the Shiite-based insurgency in Lebanon that is fighting to crush that uprising? What ambitions, what goals, lie behind floating signifiers like “resistance”? What do those who hold up its banner hope to achieve? Mouloud Feraoun, an Algerian novelist who kept an extraordinary diary of the Algerian war before he was murdered by the OAS in 1962, put it well when he stated: “Sometimes you start asking yourself about the value of words, words that no longer make any sense. What is liberty, or dignity, or independence? Where is the truth, where is the lie, where is the solution?”