The amount of love I now have for Chi.N.N's creative producer, Salam Zaatari, is profound. I’d definitely marry the guy if he’s available [wink, wink].
The Monday, June 24 episode of Chi.N.N was an epic success. Living for 26 years in this country and being an avid viewer of Lebanese television, I have never seen a report so blunt, genuine and objective. Truly, the entire 32 minutes of the video is worth watching.
It begins with a statement from Al-Jadeed TV: “This episode does not reflect the station’s opinion. This episode is a gift to the new generation.” Zaatari then goes on to narrate the modern history of the country: how sects began to take control, how the state became weaker and weaker, and how during the Civil War each sect worked on building its own autonomous "state."
He then acknowledges the fact that every sect greedily began to go after its own share of the system: “every guerilla fighter in the Amal party became a policeman and every guerilla fighter with the Progressive Socialist Party became a high-state employee in the government or on Al-Jadeed TV."
The episode then continues with its analysis on how Lebanon is not a country of heroes. Every leader is merely a hero for one section of the Lebanese population. “We’ve been raised on the heroic images of a Japanese Grendizer, an American Superman, a Spanish Zoro and a Farsi Sindibad," Zaatari says.
Free media doesn't exist in this country, he adds. Not one channel is spared from subjective news based on some political agenda, "even Al-Jadeed TV." (But respect to them, for airing this episode regardless.)
"OTV, for example keeps portraying Christians as the disadvantaged sect” while “Future TV news... can be summarized in one word: Hezbollah.”
Chi.N.N’s host then concludes that the Civil War is certainly coming back. The heroes, he believes, are those men from the Lebanese Armed Forces who died during the Saida clashes on Sunday and Monday. Zaatari still has hope for the future generation, with the civil movement that started with its protest on the parliament extension a week ago, but he concludes with “Now I know why the prophet Mohammed cried and said, 'I’m crying for my nation.'”
And ever the pessimist, Zaatari's final words to the audience are morose: “It doesn't matter what type of Lebanese you are because Lebanon is over.”
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