From Beirut to Toronto
By: Nabil Dalle
On November 22, 2001, Lebanon's students awoke to a feeling they have not had since the end of the war (war of others
against the Lebanese people) in 1990. On that day, they felt that something has been missing. Accordingly they decided to take action. They took a stand. Students from various universities joined forces with numerous patriotic political parties; deciding to protest on the Independence Day, they attached black ribbons to the Lebanese flag. They wanted the whole world to recognize what the black ribbons symbolize: the absence of independence, sovereignty and freedom in occupied Lebanon. 

They were the same students that had endured physical assaults by the regime's security forces and intelligence agents a few months ago in front of the Justice Palace. These students have been harassed, detained, persecuted, terrorized and humiliated since the Syrian occupier's new military regime was installed in Lebanon. But they have stood courageously against all odds. Despite Mr. Lahoud's venomous wishes, Lebanon's patriotic students manifested their anger with a civilized sit-in and protest. On that day they decried injustice; expressing the feelings and grievances harbored in the heart of every true Lebanese. They showed the Baabda - Damascus regime that the Lebanese people worship freedom and will defend it under all conditions, despite the consequence. They shouted loudly that they had a legitimate right to express their hopes and ambitions freely without restriction.

The Baabda-Damascus regime is inflicting an anti-Lebanese political doctrine that can only be stopped by a determined and freethinking people. A great Lebanese writer, Gibran Khalil Gibran said, "They may chain my hands and shackle my feet, they may even throw me in a dark prison, but they shall not enslave my thinking because it is free."
On November 22/2001 Gibran's same words of wisdom and courage rang in Lebanon's students ears while they loudly decried their loss of independence: independence that was confiscated.

However the same doctrine that the Baabda - Damascus regime is spreading in Lebanon has unfortunately reached the
Diaspora. This same doctrine was inflicted on the Lebanese community in Canada. The Baabda-Damascus regime that installed puppets like Pakradouni and Malek to infiltrate Lebanon's sovereign parties has appointed clergymen in the Diaspora to carry the same assignment into our churches.

In Toronto - Canada  the Lebanese community has been for the last year enduring a great deal of purposeful harm through some of  its clergymen. The damages inflicted on numerous community members are largely irreversible and extremely devastating on all levels, religious as well as patriotic. To list a few of these atrocities:
Nourishing divisions among the community members,
Breaking Sheik Bachir's picture and not offering a mass in his memory,
Trespassing 10 parishioners from the church, some of them were from those who established the church,
Calling the police to the church several times for no reason,
Accusing the Lebanese sovereign parties of terrorism,
Defaming the reputation of the Lebanese community through the CBC station,
Practicing discrimination against many parishioners,
Preaching anti-Lebanese concepts,
Not recognizing Lebanon's martyrs,
Cooperating with groups working against Lebanon's identity and history,
Advocating for the Baabda-Damascus regime policies,
Spreading hatred,
Forcing a dictatorship style in managing the Church affairs.

It is true that a priest could have a cross around his neck, wear a black priesthood robe and even preach about love. But sadly, events have proved that some priests are unable to fulfill the mission with which they are entrusted. These priests can take their socialist doctrines and go back to where they came from because we are like the students that demonstrated on November 22. 2001. We too adore freedom and worship democracy. We believe in the same patriotic ideologies that our heroic students advocated. We strongly believe in the 10452 km2 that Sheik Bachir Gemayel died for.

It is going to take more than a man with a cross around his neck to brainwash us with his fallacious visions and unfair policies. We call upon all Church members in Diaspora to: Join the patriotic opposition in their civilized, peaceful efforts to uncover any priest that does not believe in a sovereign, free and independent Lebanon or work against the distinguishable Lebanese identity.

There is no neutrality in such matters. All of our Diaspora communities must take a stand.
Lead, follow or get out of the way.
Life is a stand.

Those who take no stands abandon their basic human rights; allowing evil to prevail in this world. If the students in Lebanon could embrace the courage to defend their freedom in an occupied country such as Lebanon, despite risk of harassment, injury, or detainment what is our excuse? We in the Diaspora who live in democratic liberal societies such as Canada should do as much and more. We would like to remind anyone tempted not to join our patriotic and peaceful fight of a saying by Dante: "the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral conflict" .
Whether you like it or not, we in Toronto are in a moral conflict.
We need everyone. Right here. Right now.

Long live free Lebanon.