Saturday, March 7, 2009

What are the talking points of the tayyar (LFPM)?

Traditionally, the Lebanese joined political parties by heritage, the choice was dictated by their community. Then came along the Lebanese free patriotic movement (LFPM), known also as tayyar (which means movement in Arabic). It was formed by people who lived through events that made the choice clear: national sentiment vs. sectarianism. This idea spread intensely through word of mouth, while this movement was underground, from 1990 to 2005. Now it's an official political party, joined by people who have learned about it through one-on-one, word of mouth campaigning. The tayyar (LFPM) website of the tayyar reflects an assumption that by the time you visit their site you already have an understanding of what they stand for. This must be why the principles of the tayyar are implicit, or at least it seems that way to Lebanese abroad who are not exposed to the daily Lebanese political dialogue in the media. The problem is that if the principles of the tayyar are not explicit, in a short document online, the tayyar website is less accessible to those who have never been immersed in the daily Lebanese dialogue.

If we forgo half of our night's sleep, those of us living abroad can chat with Lebanese compatriotes every day to stay afresh on the principles of each political party's principles. This however makes me think of the rule to become a Lobster fisherman in Maine: you have to spent 1 year at the docks helping out the fisherman before they allow you to have your own license and fishing boat. This dedication is commendable, and so is the bond it creates between teammates, but this being 2009, it's just not practical. The reasonable alternative is to make the tayyar principles explicit, like for example this list of talking points posted by campaigners against the National Animal Identification System, You can be a stranger to that other cause, and still take less than 5 minutes to learn about it, and decide to support it or not. At the tayyar elections page:, you need to already know the basics to understand and pass a judgment on the electoral program of this political party (also not readily accessible on the page).

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