Elijah J. Magnier
Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah enjoys unparalleled support among Shia in Lebanon and more broadly among the “Axis of the Resistance” he is leading. He is the most famous leader in Lebanon and is highly respected and heeded by both followers and enemies, particularly Israel. However, since the financial situation in Lebanon has sharply deteriorated, he is no longer in an enviable position and will need exceptional skills to keep Lebanon united at a time when his supposed political allies are exhibiting unfriendly behaviour. Hezbollah’s followers and Hezbollah’s political allies are no longer in harmony. Tensions are now reaching unprecedented levels, not only in social media, but also with regard to political choices. The reasons are many.
Sayyid Nasrallah has uncontested influence over his supporters to the extent that most of them echo the word of “Sayyid”- as he is called by his followers who also use the acronym “Samahto”, the Arabic terms meaning his eminence, a religious title. His speeches become a roadmap to followers, analysts, journalists and politicians, and details of his political views and ideas are repeated on most media platforms.
But this does not prevent members of the society that bred Hezbollah – of which Hezbollah is an integral part – from disagreeing with the Sayyid’s statements with regard to his political bond to his allies, in particular the largest Christian party “Tayyar al Watani al-Hurr”, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). In fact, Hezbollah’s supporters have decided to bypass Sayyid’s recommendations and “ride the night as riding a camel” (an expression used by Imam Hussein Bin Ali to his followers the day before the last battle of Karbala, when he invited his followers to leave at nightfall to avoid been seen by the enemy and escape death the next day). On social media, another war is taking place where Hezbollah’s followers harshly vent their frustrations, impinging on Hezbollah’s comfort zone and challenging its political preferences.
In one of his latest speeches, Sayyid emphasized the importance of moderating social media platform exchanges among allies on all sides, affirming that the bond with his allies is robust and in good condition. Sayyid Nasrallah wanted to deflate the current level of tensions resulting from a series of events that have taken place in Lebanon. No doubt, Hezbollah’s leader hoped to tackle the real problem between allies from a different angle, away from public platforms.