The Dream is Alive
By: Elias Bejjani

September 12/2004

September 14, 1982, on the day we celebrate the rising of the Holy Cross, Bashir the hero passed away into the hands of the Almighty after carrying the cross of Lebanon. He was not even 34 years old, but what he achieved for the freedom and dignity of Lebanon places him among the great men who left a stamp of glory on the history of Lebanon.

Bashir dreamt of a sovereign, free and independent Lebanon, and his dream became the objective of all the free-minded Lebanese men and women. And even as the hands of evil and hatred took him away, his dream lives on in the fiber of our people and their conscience for as long as the Cedars of Lebanon tower over the country from their peaks.

Today we remember Bashir in our prayers. We remember his fallen comrades who gave so much for their country, and we learn from their sacrifice many a lesson. With this twenty second remembrance, our hopes are renewed, our determination is re-energized, and our commitment to the cause is re-confirmed.

Bashir’s bright star was high in the skies of Lebanon and with it the hopes of the Lebanese people. But our joy was killed and our hopes dashed when his star fell from the skies, a martyr to his noble ambitions aiming at building a strong Lebanon, confirmed in its sovereignty and independence.

Bashir believed that "the one Lebanon is the Lebanon of the 10,452 Km2 that we must win back completely so that it belongs to its sons and daughters in all their communities, creeds, and beliefs". But even as he departed, what he believed in remains in the hearts and minds of all the Lebanese.

Bashir was raised on the cross of Lebanon on the day we remember the Cross. He was killed in a political act at the intersection of the interests of nations, individuals, and groups that feared for their own egotistical interests should a unified, free and sovereign Lebanon rise from its ashes. Bashir imagined the outlines and left us.

Those same groups and factions remain today in power and hold the Lebanese people hostage to their greed. They are a leadership that has mastered the art of subservience and bowing at the doorstep of the forces of occupation. They are shepherds of doom who have reneged on every pledge they made and abandoned their flock.

They are factions whose job is to drive wedges between the free people of the Land of the Cedars, assassinating their aspirations and hopes in deed, thought, decision and execution. They assassinate Lebanon every morning and every hour of their waking day, killing its sovereignty, its free decision-making, its democracy and culture.

This is an assassination that lingers to our day in all its ugliness, its corruption and its neglect. Displacement and emigration, dhimmitude, apostasy, and the economic, social, financial, political, security, and patriotic decline. The rule of personal interests over the national interest. The dismemberment of the political parties. The politicization of the judiciary. The truncation of sovereignty with the imposition of foreign rule. And the abandonment of human, religious and ethical values.

Bashir’s dream is here to stay and won’t disappear, because it is the dream of a people who want a dignified life, a dream that calls upon unity, sovereignty and peace. We are today together to remember the martyrdom of Bashir and the twenty-two comrades, lifting our eyes and hearts in the midst of danger and trouble to the redeemer of suffering humanity, Jesus-Christ, who said "And if I were to rise above the earth, I shall take with me everyone". We ask Him for light, faith, strength, and hope to continue our march forward and lift ourselves, our homeland, and our people to victory, to peace, to righteousness, to freedom and to all that is good in this world. For Bashir is alive in our beings and in our minds.

Elias Bejjani
*Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
*Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)
*Media Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)