(Bejjani:) Bruce Balfour, hi, how are you?
First of all, let me commend you for your courage and for your vociferousness and most of
all for your love for Lebanon. It's great that you are out now and that you are a
free man again. Would you tell our listeners and our viewers what it is you are feeling
now that you are out of that miserable, horrible jail?
(Balfour:) Well, I can't tell you how precious my freedom is to me. My freedom has always been precious to me but there are so many people who have not been free for many, many years. But when you experience what I just went through our freedom becomes very, very dear. I tell the people, "Cherish your freedom and fight for other people's freedom. This is mandatory so I am very relieved but I am just worn out. I feel great, though.
(Bejjani:) What is it that you have love about Lebanon and its cedars since 1982? What is it between you and Lebanon, really, and its holy cedars? In fact, you helped our Lebanese people when they were under seige in 1982 according to reports from your sister and your friends.
(Balfour:) That's because our Creator, Jesus the Messiah, created this
world and chose a land that He said would be there forever. He said that land would stretch from the Euphrates River in the north, to the river of Egypt in the South, to the Mediterranean in the west and the desert in the east.
He said He would return to that land.
In Ezekial 28 is where the Bible says God planted the garden of Eden, and God said that there in Eden He planted the cedar of Lebanon, the most beautiful tree that He ever created and all the other trees were jealous of it (that comes from Ezekial 31).
The Bible speaks of Lebanon hundreds of times. So the love for Lebanon is colossal. Yeshua himself had a huge love for it and ministered there many times in Tyre, Sidon and other places, preaching and teaching many times.
When I first went into Lebanon it was in 1981 when the PLO were still there. ... That was what planted a seed for Lebanon in my heart to go back and help the people after I'd returned to Canada.
(Bejjani:) What was your experience in Roumieh jail...what is your message to the whole world about the corrupt, judicial regime in Lebanon? The free world should know exactly what happened to you because it is also happening to thousands of Lebanese in Lebanon's jails every day.
(Balfour:) This regime has no justice in it whatsoever. They wanted to get me out of Lebanon to settle things politically but I have to say the Lebanese government has no justice and has no face to save even though they tried to make a face-saving move in my case. The officials in the government regime are total blackness. They care nothing about the Lebanese people. I met many, many hundreds (in Roumieh prison) and they have asked me to be their voice. They are all crying out for justice. They have asked me to speak for them. These prisoners' situations are atrocious. They cannot touch their wives or children but must scream at them through wire mesh screens.
(Bejjani:) Bruce, you were arrested on the 10th of July, and in fact, you were kidnapped at the airport and nobody knew about your arrest? What happened during that eleven days? Were you tortured physically or psychologically, etc., etc.?
(Balfour:) Psychological torture happens non-stop. They did a couple of nasty things to me. The first day I was in the immigration prison near the Museum and got some rough treatment.
Then they turned me over to the military prison for 3-1/2 days which was pure hell; unbelievable heat and humidity, no flowing air, just lying on the cement floor, gasping and lying on the floor, sweating rivers. I wouldn't eat the garbage they gave us for food; you can't imagine it.
Finally they transferred me from there to Roumieh prison where you become suspicous of everything and everybody as they are trying every method they can use to be able to get you to say something they can use against you. Some remarkable things happened there that I will have to talk about with you another time.
(Bejjani:) What is your answer to the spying charges against you that they were broadcasting all over the world?
(Balfour:) The joke is--and we proved it in court so they had to drop the charges--that they convicted Grant Livingstone and me on April 2nd in absentia and again they "re-convicted" us on July 15th in the military court in absentia when I was only 100 feet away in the military prison!
After spending most of my time in court answering questions on the Bible (which the Judge certainly needed to hear) I was finally charged at the end of the situation on Monday night with Article 317 which is a very broad-sweeping charge that I was disturbing the life of the people in Lebanon because I was teaching the Bible. They had to drop all the other charges against me that began with collaborating with the enemy and was upscaled to spying for the enemy, and finally dropped. I was convicted to serve prison time for one year that was reduced to time served because of my sincere Biblical belief.
(Bejjani:) How does this traumatic experience reflect on your mission? Are you going to be the voice of those you met in those jails?
(Balfour:) I'll be as strong a voice as our Creator allows. I met so many who want me to be their voice and I cannot let them down.
(Bejjani:) On behalf of the Lebanese people who share with the whole free world its values for human rights we thank you very much and we will be showing our gratitude to you in person as soon as you are finished with your commitments in the United States and return to Canada.
(Balfour:) Okay, many blessings. I am looking forward to meeting you people (who are fighting for human rights in Canada).
(Bejjani:) Okay, Bruce.