Yesterday, the secretary general of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah appeared on screen and spoke during the ceremony of the day of the martyr. The speech completely avoided the supporters of the popular protests since when he did so in the past two speeches, it backfired. He had enraged the protestors and increased tensions towards him from the streets, widening the distance between himself and the protestors. This is because he attempted to absorb the protestors anger towards their issues and direct it towards his own, which are American meddling conspiracies. This appeared to the protestors as belittling their demands for political change and the rescue of Lebanese institutions from their corruption.
Nasrallah found his speech and language unpalatable by the protestors. This is a group that took to the streets in order to rebel against the authorities and blind loyalties. A group that thinks critically and argues; they have no idols or leaders with full impunity when it comes to public affairs.
Nasrallah’s political character relies greatly on its symbolism and the holiness that comes with it. For that reason, he is unable to address protestors without having his persona suffer. He is not accustomed to addressing an intelligent, rebellious audience; such an audience exposes discourse thoroughly entrenched in the concept of obedience, loyalty and sanctification.
Nasrallah proved in his speech today, that he is unable to address the protestors; for he only dictates and commands while his audience raise fists in affirmation and fall into applause.
He preferred to return to his original audience, who are the in the same box that allows him to display his charisma. He understood that there are some of his supporters who are non-partisan and living in a state of uncertainty pertaining to the position of Hezbollah from the fight against corruption and whether they are truly against it. Nasrallah addressed his faithful supporters as well those who had these doubts. He proceeded to exonerate himself and Hezbollah from all the vices of the country and its government. He did that while providing no tangible suggestion on how to escape the looming disasters, and no clear description of what form of government can even achieve that.
What Nasrallah’s audience received from the address was that the US is solely responsible, and that China holds the keys to salvation.
Of course, Nasrallah’s speech was intended to provide his supporters with some help in responding to criticisms popularized by the protests, which Hezbollah implicitly hold contempt for politically and through the media. They steer their supporters clear of it in order to avoid them getting involved in practices of questioning and accountability.
Nasrallah does not want to pander to the protests, nor even address them. He wants them gone, so he ignores them. To him, the revolution does not exist.