Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah’s charisma and widespread popular support have been a source of mystery and consternation for Israel and the West, whose officials and pundits often attribute his far-reaching influence to his oratory skills or his ability to deliver on his promises. While both qualities are integral to his—and by extension Hizbullah’s— popularity, the moral authority that he wields has as much, if not more, to do with the fact that he is not merely a religious or political leader, but the prototypical counter-hegemonic “organic intellectual” that Gramsci called for in his writings; a non-traditional intellectual and thinker who arises from the people and reflects the aspirations and needs of the people. Nasrallah’s relationship with the people is a dialectic one—he both guides them and is guided by them. What makes Nasrallah’s words so powerful is that he does not bring consciousness “from without” nor does he indoctrinate a politically passive people with the resistance culture, but he harnesses the people’s pre-existing sense of justice and channels it into action, effectively synthesizing theory with praxis. As a critical pedagogue, he raises the people’s level of critical awareness, enabling them to recognize injustice and to discern the most strategic means of confronting it.
Nasrallah represents not merely a new discourse or political line, or even a new political culture or identity, which pre-existed his advent to power as Hizbullah’s Secretary-General, but a new rationality with its own alternative understanding of reality, its own discourse and epistemology— hence my blog’s URL, “resistance-episteme”. And it is this Moqawama rationality that enables those who have it to intuitively KNOW where to stand on given political positions like Syria, and to KNOW, as opposed to merely believe, that Israel is doomed to collapse.
When we call Nasrallah our leader we do not mean it in the narrow sense of a following, but in the sense of an oppressed people who chose from among their ranks the person who best personifies their sacrifices; who best articulates their passions; who best communicates their position to the outside world; and who best guides them because his deep connection with the people has granted him the unique ability to be guided back by them. And that is why we call him the Leader of the Resistance.