Patriarchal system and individual freedoms, By Bahjat Rizk.

Patriarchal system and individual freedoms

Recent topics daily and recurring society in Lebanon and all over the planet, widely discussed, encourage us to confront the patriarchal collective and individual democratic model, especially with globalization and the development of means of communication that have made a real revolution and upset the world order, both on the economic, political and cultural level. The equation now, more than ever, is established between these two essential dimensions of the human being. The purpose of this brief article highlighting the problem, does not purport to solve subjective and permanently.

The patriarchal system has long served for centuries to structure society, particularly in rural areas where the agrarian economy imposed a direct relationship to the land and centralization of power. It is estimated that the Neolithic revolution (which reached its peak in 3000 BC Sumerian cities, so the transition from prehistory to history) and the Industrial Revolution (mid-eighteenth century in France and in Britain), human society constants observed in the means of production and the process of structuring. Power is embodied in the father’s authority in its multiple functions as religious, military and political leader. It was based on a vertical and a hierarchy that could result in personal excesses abusive and archaic, but also ensured a certain transcendence and exceeding the individual in involvement in community service, where the archetypes of heroes, saints and the elect by divine right. The company could be structured around a material and spiritual referent designated or proclaimed, which was in charge of maintaining order and ensure safety. All empire builders and founders (fathers) nations have taken advantage of this higher law on whose behalf they exercise their priesthood or their mandate, sometimes at the cost of uncontrolled excesses, cruel and reprehensible.

 With the industrial revolution and the development of means of communication from the early eighteenth century, we are witnessing a revolt of the people and the emergence of the individual and universal face to the community dimension, which are embodied in the founding declaration the French Revolution and Human Rights of 1789, a document repository structure (with the UN Declaration of 1948) most modern democratic societies today.

 The first statement is obtained and survives in France at the cost of the beheading of the king and the Church and the brutal dismantling and then progressive patriarchal structure, community and family, which passes through the Restoration, both empires, five Republicans models, two world wars, wars of decolonization and the moral revolution of 1968 with the premature and hasty departure in 1969 of General de Gaulle. It is the individual who is definitively placed in the center of the community, and patriarchal power is increasingly eroded by individual freedoms.

 Globalization today has transformed the global economy in a global services economy. The new revolution of communication (Internet, Google, satellite, mobile …) allows individuals to connect directly, through technical means, with the world without having to state or institutional intermediaries. Globalized society is transnational, horizontal, connected and interactive. Individuals, ideas, information and images circulating wave velocity and social networks in a real and immediate time. Following this logic, the revolutions in the Arab world were expected after the collapse of communist totalitarian empires, Soviet and Chinese, the past century. However, we are seeing at the same time a loss of reference it seems difficult to compensate. The weakening of the patriarchal power could cause a reaction, a return to safer and structuring archaic situations, military or monarchical or authoritarian religious fundamentalists, which again reduce individual freedoms. The inverse equation is still there, between patriarchal power and individual liberties. Both are legitimate in some measure, to ensure the proper functioning of a society where the individual has a margin of freedom in the context of social cohesion.

 The debate in Lebanon still confronts the authoritarian patriarchal model liberal democratic model. While they are in essence two irreconcilable styles, Lebanon tries to reconcile them. Rather than country-message Lebanon is the country of the double message. Even if it survives only through compromise, this structural constraint forces to survive the interim, through a form of double membership, that of healthy ambivalence can quickly turn into questionable schizophrenia, sign at the same time prophetic brilliance and pathetic degeneration. Phoenix without purpose is an absurdity endless. Systematic compromise locks and freezes in the impossibility of establishing a choice and thus evolve. By trying to reconcile opposing logic, Lebanon no longer exists in half-truths (or against truths).

 Lebanon wanted to save patriarchal structures (family and community) and grafted on a democratic system (civil society and civil liberties). All social issues today fall under this ambiguity, as issues of manners (domestic violence, civil marriage in haste abroad, inhumane treatment of domestic workers, unworthy tests shame for homosexual) that public policy issues (arbitrary cuts and opportunistic water and electricity cuts roads signs of so-called support for the army, cuts roads for armed kidnapping and tribal and community-against abductions, discounts ashamed of rebels, repeated attempts conspiracies perpetrated by corrupt politicians and careerists, recruited by the intelligence services of all kinds). And, of course, the country which wants the country dialogue among cultures is the country of the dialogue of the deaf, where the word dialogue is an empty word and where leaders listen to talk when they do not plan the physical liquidation of their opponents or, at best, their next election victory, according to laws tailored. Unfortunately it is a whole system that is set up and where the dysfunction is the norm. As if to save face at all costs, even diverting reality.

 Lebanon will have one day, alas, choose between the dismantling of the patriarchal system through its community and family structures, with the emergence of a true political civil society, and the renunciation of individual liberties through the introduction of even transient an authoritarian, military and religious preference.

Bahjat Rizk

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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