For Lebanon thou art, and unto Lebanon shalt thou return
“And call ye on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God” (1 Kings, Chapter 18, Verse 24)
The meaning of ‘Hezbollah’ in Arabic is “God’s party” (‘party’ as in ‘political party’). The meaning of Nasrallah’s name in Arabic is no less than “God’s victory”. ‘Allah’, so it seems, plays a major role in the recent conflict on Israel’s north border, between the State of Israel and the Lebanese-Iranian terrorist party that resides in several bunkers in the south of Lebanon.
Using an idiom set by Israeli Channel Two’s Amnon Abramovitch, we have a Muslim-Haredi politician in the land of cedars, recruiting his ‘Allah’ for fighting the Zionist heretics. The Lebanese politician, who sells arrogant preaching with pathos as tactics for raising reliability among certain people, doesn’t have exclusivity on the arrogant preaching tactics, nor on recruiting this ‘Allah’ for his private goals. He was preceded with both things by many other “good” people, some from the same era and region, such as Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden, as well as many other mythological figures of the region.
There’s not much difference between the ancient world, where when two nations that fought each other brought their own gods into the battle, and the modern world, where when two nations that fight each other bring God into the campaign. For that matter, it would be interesting to compare the many speeches made by Saddam Hussein and George Bush (Sr.) in the beginning of 2003. If the Christian God is the same entity as the Islamic one, he must be suffering from a split personality.
In practice, almost every politician given a microphone in front of him performs this sin of cheap godly demagogy. One should hear the speeches in almost any modern parliament (including the Israeli ‘Knesset’) in order to realize how God is recruited, often with great purpose, many times unintentionally, for the benefit of the speaker.
‘God’, ‘Allah’, ‘Elohim’, and ‘El’ penetrated not only the names of strict believers, but also our day-to-day language and purely secular names. Starting with “Thank God” and ending with names like Eliyahu, Elhanan, Emanuel, Michael and their many linguistic sibs. A similar thing happened to God’s remote relative ‘Jehova’, ‘Yehova’, ‘Yahweh’ and ‘Yah’ with names such as Ovadia, Yehonathan, Yehoram, Hallelujah, John, Judy and many others.
‘El’, as we know, was the top god of the ancient Canaanite-Phoenician pantheon, also revealed in the excavations of Ugarit from the 14th century BC. We don’t know for certain how did these ancient Lebanese inherited El’s name, and from which even more ancient civilizations, if any. We do know how its name later evolved into ancient Israel’s ‘Elohim’, and ‘Allah’ of the Muslim world. How ironic it is that “El’s party” and the terrorist preacher named “El’s victory” appeared nowadays in Middle East history in the same geographical region where their name had originally showed up, to the best of our knowledge.
“El’s victory” and the victorious ‘El’
Recruiting “force majeure” for the benefit of man is a result of our characteristics, and a natural thing to do under many circumstances and difficulties. When we endure great suffer, we tend to call every god upon which we were brought up, even upon its name alone. We may do so silently in our heart, or we may do so explicitly and loudly. There’s nothing wrong with that, and nothing to criticize. This is how we are built.
The much-needed (and often absent) criticism is about the cold manipulative and well-planned usage of these “super forces” to justify horrible acts on behalf of the user/recruiter. Sometimes meant for the ears of the audience, and many other times as self-justifications for the preacher himself. ‘Allah’ in this sense has turned into just another weapon in the arsenal of war politics. And those who use various weapons should not wonder when these weapons lose their high position together with the results of using them.