Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese journalist Ziyad Noujeim, which aired on OTV on October 14, 2010.
Ziyad Noujeim: Many people employ autosuggestion and refuse to acknowledge the reality of life, because our Eastern, Arab, Lebanese culture – call it what you will – is based on denial. For example, we refuse to say "Israel," saying instead "occupied Palestine. See how smart we are – if we say "occupied Palestine," Palestine will be restored to the Palestinians, and no refugees will be settled in Lebanon.
We refuse to admit that there is a problem between Christianity and Islam, are we say: "They live in brotherhood," but every ten years, they fight one another, leaving behind 25,000 casualties, in addition to those who are buried in mass graves, and nobody knows who buried them and where.
We refuse to admit that there is a problem between men and women. We say that everything is fine with the Lebanese family, but not a single man is with his own wife. You cannot tell which man is married to which woman.
Our entire Eastern Lebanese culture is based on two things and two alone – on lies and deception and on denial. We deny the fact that we are not equal. The problem always lies with Israel. We Arabs are not sectarian. We are liberals. We believe in peacefully passing over the reins of power.
Interviewer: We place the responsibility on others.
Ziyad Noujeim: We blame everything on Israel. If one day, Iran, the US, Lebanon, Hizbullah, or I don't know who, eliminates Israel, what would we do? Who would we curse?