This essay examines the cultural politics of the Lebanese Independence Uprising of spring 2005. I argue that representations produced during the uprising reveal a rhetoric of resistance to the kind of military coercion and legitimating discourses that mark contemporary history, not just in the Arab world. Using concepts drawn from Jacques Rancière's work on discursive regimes, I show how the graffiti, chants, popular songs, video clips, signs, banners and dramatizations produced during the uprising wrench everyday discourses into an effective rhetoric of national resistance. The elegiac transformation of intimidation into ethical and national consciousness provides a spiritual node around which a renewed sense of national identity can accrete. To cast into relief this claim, the essay also analyzes the dominant cultural rhetorics of the Syrian regime and Lebanese Hezbollah (Party of God), arguing that their characteristic authoritarian and “pious modern” discursive regimes can offer nothing more vital, unifying, and therefore potentially stable than the uprising's “postmodern humanism.”

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