Through the looking glass (and what Michel Hayek found there)

Many things will determine the events in Lebanon this year but for many Lebanese, only one thing counts: the predictions of Michel Hayek, Lebanon's own Nostradamus.
By Staff
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BEIRUT, Jan. 2, 2008 (MENASSAT.COM) – When other people around the world are still busy wishing each other all the best for the new year, many Lebanese are glued to their TV screens to find out the good and the bad that will happen to them in the next twelve months.

Their source is Michel Hayek, Lebanon's own 'Nostradamus', whose predictions are taken so seriously that he has been interrogated several times by the country's intelligence services.

Those among the faithful who adhere to the Lebanese Forces have much to fear this year, for Hayek predicted that the Lebanese Forces as well as its leader, Samir Gaegae, will be targeted in 2008.

Hayek also warned of "negative intentions" against Lebanese Forces MP Antoine Zahra and former MP Faris Soeid, and of "vicious operations" against FPM leader Michel Aoun and a number of his aides.

Shaker Al-Absi, the leader of Fatah al-Islam, who was presumed dead for a while, will reappear.

Security threats and assassination will go on, depsite a break in the investigation.

But the news wasn't all bad.

There will not be a civil war in 2008; only minor clashes here and there.

According to the psychic, Lebanon will have a new president in 2008, although "a spell" will continue to haunt the Baabda palace." The next eighteen months will also see a prosperous banking system, new investments and the building of dams and tourist projects along the Lebanese coast. (The latter suggesting not so much clairvoyance as good contacts with some of the ministries.)

Hayek's visions would be laughed off as hocus-pocus if they weren't taken so seriously by so many.

Last year, his predictions caused outright panic at the Justice ministry after Hayek predicted that two events would rock the central court-house, one of them aiming to eliminate one of its eminent personalities.

In the event, nothing happened at the central court-house but believers will point out that this was only thanks to the special security precautions that were taken as a result of Hayek's predictions.

Of course, some of Hayek's predictions are self-fulfilling.

In October, Hayek had already predicted that the elections of a new president would lead to a real estate boom in Lebanon with housing prices doubling as a result.

Believe it or not, this is exactly what happened, not because his predictions came true but because the Lebanese is gullible to the extent of ridicule sometimes.

Executive magazine, in its December issue, reported that real estate prices in Lebanon had indeed doubled as a result of so many people believing in Hayek's predictions.

"It's completely ridiculous and against all forecasts of a difficult political situation," Executive quoted Patrick Geammal, Chairman and Managing of Ascot, a real estate company, as saying. "No one wants to sell at normal rates, everyone has now doubled their price. If before the price of land was $2,000, they now want $4,000, but if you are willing to pay $4,000, they want $8,000."

Hayek is not an astrological scientist, like Maguy Farah or her friends “the plastics”. He is even more important that the “cup reader” who sells dreams the neighbor wants to believe.

He is more dangerous that any spy or agent, and that in the opinion of the Lebanese (and non-Lebanese) Intelligence, which summoned him many times.

The catastrophe is that these disasters come true sometimes – as disasters do –, and that the eminent as well as the most gullible citizen, the politician as well as the peasant, are actually setting their future agendas based on these predictions.

For when Hayek says the name of the target, the Lebanese forget that death is death even if the victim is aware of it, and they feel optimism in having advance knowledge of the tragedy.

So when Hayek smiles on tv (after having been paid huge amounts of money), Lebanon smiles.

Suddenly pine trees flourish and women hold candles for the dead from Geagea's family.

However, the bigger disaster might be the Lebanese media and the importance they give to a phenomenon like Michel Hayek without even a hint of scepticism, or the suggestion that it is the people who control the fate of Lebanon, and not Michel Hajek's djinn.