Open Letter from Lebanese-Canadian Organizations to USA Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Eliot Engel
February 3, 2005
Dear Ms. Ros-Lehtinen and Mr. Engel,
As Canadians of Lebanese descent, many of whom have come to Canada over the past decades fleeing persecution and denial of freedoms under the Syrian occupation of our homeland Lebanon, we applaud your continued efforts to end that occupation and liberate Lebanon from its present status as the last "captive nation" on earth.
As we read your most recent resolution (January 26, 2005) that you submitted to the US House of Representatives, we are truly appreciative of your knowledge and appreciation of the minutest details that have made the Syrian occupation over the years so pervasive, harmful and truly insidious in that it went unnoticed - even praised by some ignorant quarters - for so long.
On behalf of millions of Lebanese here in Canada and elsewhere in the world, we wish to express to you our support and gratitude for all those efforts you have made from the early drafts to the final successful version of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, which in turn became the stepping stone for the international community to pass UN resolution 1559. Indeed, the unanimity and unity of the US with the European position on Lebanon is a testament to the justice of the Lebanese cause, for not even Iraq managed to garner such unity in the international community.
Most importantly, we commend your language in the most
recent resolution on the following issues:
1-The release of the innocent Lebanese detainees held by Syria in its jails in Syria and in occupied Lebanon. Those are the countless victims that have generally been left behind as prospects for a free Lebanon increase.
2-Your call for the UN to classify Lebanon as a "captive nation".
3-Freezing the US assets of Lebanese collaborators with the Syrian occupation.
4-Supporting independent human rights and pro-democracy advocates in Lebanon.
5-Use the Middle East Partnership Initiative to support individuals, organizations, and entities that support Lebanese sovereignty and promote democracy in Lebanon.
The ties of Lebanon with the West are centuries old. The Lebanese heritage of being at the forefront of change in the Middle East - primarily by bridging and integrating Eastern and Western values - must be promoted and the efforts of the Lebanese to remain pioneers of positive change in an otherwise troubled Middle East should be shouldered.
We would like you to know that your efforts at leading the US Congress towards those objectives are keenly watched and will never be forgotten by the Lebanese community in Canada, as we are sure, by the Lebanese-American community.