RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE VS. CIVIL PEACE

KETERMAYA: TWO CRIMES AND MORE

READING THE (LEBANESE) BOOK OF BANAL HORROR

A Review by Hassan Abbas

© UMAM D&R, 2011

BANAL HORROR BUILT ON THE GREAT UNKNOWN

The fact that most Lebanese have been trying desperately to forget about the sordid “Ketermaya affair” should come as no shock to anyone. Moreover, our decision to focus exclusively on Ketermaya—nothing more, nothing less—helps us avoid assigning a number to the litany of crimes addressed in this report. Still, the title alone evokes a feeling of victimization: “Ketermaya: more than two crimes.” Of course, it was not difficult to tally the number of people killed in each of Ketermaya’s crimes: four in the first and one in the second. The victims of that first crime included grandparents Abou Merhi and their granddaughters, while the victim in the second was suspected of having committed the first crime. Simple math to be sure, yet it is impossible to quantify the horror these crimes created in terms of what they manifested, what they highlighted and what they spread throughout the country. First, the horror manifested itself by revealing some of the dysfunctional aspects of a rural village, the majority of which had been cloaked effectively by what seemed like unanimity. Second, the crimes highlighted the poor management of this “individual incident,” the responsibility for which lies somewhere between the security forces assigned to investigate the first crime and their judicial reference. Third, the horror spread like a virus throughout the country, particularly after the Lebanese media began to cite “ethical and professional” references.

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