Hezbollah members launched yet another social media campaign against a public figure, their latest target being MP Osama Saad, whose Popular Nasserist Organization had issued a statement condemning the assassination of the anti-Hezbollah intellectual activist Lokman Slim.
The Sidon-based Nasserist party had expressed its rejection of the political assassination of Slim on Friday evening, as well as “terrorism, threats, and accusations of treason, and defying repression, domination, and exclusion tactics.”
That’s all it took for Hezbollah members to accuse the MP of high treason, even calling for his murder, considering him a spy for Israel for condemning Slim’s assassination, although he reportedly didn’t mention Hezbollah in the statement.
What makes this situation even more bizarre is the fact that Hezbollah itself and its ally the Free Patriotic Movement had also issued a similar statement denouncing the murder of political activist Lokman Slim.
MP Saad was also a longtime supporter of Hezbollah. That started to change ever since the onset of the Lebanese revolution, with Saad distancing himself from the Iran-backed militant group.
MP Saad isn’t the only victim of Hezbollah‘s online threats and slanders as several journalists have been targets of similar attacks and intimidation and even vilification.
Lokman Slim, a publisher and intellectual of high caliber, was constantly under similar attacks up until his assassination.
And it doesn’t end with the living. Right after Slim was found murdered, the hashtag #No_Regret was repeatedly used by members of Hezbollah commenting on the assassination on Twitter.
The hashtag was reportedly initiated by Jawad Nasrallah, the son of Hezbollah‘s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who tweeted, “the loss of some is, in reality, an unexpected gain and kindness for others.”
At the public reaction of outrage, Jawad Nasrallah eventually deleted the tweet, claiming that it was meant for something personal and unrelated to the assassination, and accusing those who “misinterpreted” it as haters and superficial.
Only a couple of days ago, the brother of one of the Beirut blast victims shared during a televised interview that he has been the target of multiple threats by Hezbollah members seeking to intimidate him into silence.
In another public instance, a Hezbollah representative openly and fervently threatened a political analyst during a televised debate on the Al-Arabiya channel, after the latter criticized Hassan Nasrallah.
The Hezbollah representative lost it and went fretting, yelling at the analyst, “You will find yourself killed for these words! Are you listening?!”
The TV host intervened to point out that this is a recorded death threat, to which the representative was heard yelling, “Yes!”
Back in December, a Lebanese journalist and her family were also threatened publicly: “You and all your siblings will be dead if you step outside your house,” she was told.
Members of the Iran-backed group have been acting as if their dreadful death threats are not crimes under the law since no authority is pursuing them for these criminal behaviors that are oppressing those who don’t agree with them.
Interestingly enough, journalists and media outlets get often sued for reporting things that displease officials in their sensitivity, but those who are harassing them and others with death threats or vilifications are left to carry on without consequences.
Freedom of opinion in Lebanon has become merely an abstract idea as many continue to fear for their lives when they decide to voice out their opinions.