Press Release from eight Canadian - Lebanese NGOs
Beirut's Ambassador to Canada has transcended his post boundaries
Ottawa 16/8/03

Once again, Mr. Raymond Baaklini, Beirut's ambassador to Canada has exceeded the boundaries of his jurisdiction as a foreign envoy. In attacking the Lebanese Canadian NGOs &  the Lebanese Canadian community members who do not share his stance on the status quo imposed by the Syrian Baathist regime on Lebanon, the ambassador has in fact dishonored conventional standards of diplomacy and the respect for the hosting country and its freedom values. He did not only infringe on the rights of the Lebanese Canadian community who oppose the Syrian occupation of their homeland,  but also stated boldly that his embassy is investigating the internal Canadian matter of accepting immigrants from South Lebanese Army members, and uttered highly inappropriate, unacceptable and biased comments on Mr. Bruce Balfour's case, the Canadian Citizen arrested arbitrarily in occupied Lebanon since 10/7/03.

It would have been more helpful if Mr. Baaklini had limited his comments to the needs of the Lebanese community in Canada, something that falls under the responsibility of his post as an ambassador. Issues related to the majority of the Lebanese Canadian community members are outside the boundaries of his responsibilities. Most Lebanese Canadians were forced to leave Lebanon because of persecution, human rights atrocities,  poverty and terror inflicted on them by the Syrian-appointed Lebanese puppet regime whom His Excellency is endeavoring with no shame to defend. The insult in Mr. Baaklini's controversial statements is his allegation that the victim, namely the Canadian Lebanese community, supports its own butcher, the regime in Beirut.

We believe that Mr. Baaklini's questionable mission in Canada ought to be understood under three specific headings that are no more a secret:

1- An ongoing advocacy to spread sectarianism among our peaceful community in Canada in a bid to divide it along religious lines. He has been addressing and labeling the community as made up of several communities, Christian, Muslim etc. while adopting an extremely belligerent and hostile attitude towards those community members and groups struggling peacefully to help their people in Lebanon reclaim their country's confiscated independence, sovereignty and free decision-making process.

Mr. Baaklini has been using publicly unacceptable, divisive and provocative terms like, "Christian Militias in Canada", "Christian Lebanese Canadian Society", "Christian Canadian Lebanese Community" etc.  He is apparently trying to mask the the Stalinist Syrian occupation under the fake cover of religious and sectarian problems.

It seems that Mr. Baaklini's memory needs some refreshing so he can recall that the majority of the Lebanese patriotic politicians, journalists, clergymen and officials who were either assassinated, jailed or persecuted by the Syrian Baathist regime in Lebanon, were Muslims and not Christians, Like Mufti Hassan Khalid, Salim Al Louzi, Riad Taha, Mustafa Geha, Dr. Waael Khair,  Dr. Mohammed Mughraby, Kamal Junblat, and many, many others. These courageous Lebanese opposed the Syrian hegemony on their country.

2- Portraying the Lebanese Canadian NGOs and community members who oppose the Syrian occupation of their homeland Lebanon as only Christians, traitors, Israeli agents, financed by the Zionists and serving Israeli interests.

3- Creating a psychological climate of intimidation and terror among the Lebanese Canadian community. The same inhumane, Stalinist environment of fear and terror inflicted by the Baathist Syrian regime and its Lebanese puppet government on the  people of occupied Lebanon. He is openly stating that the Lebanese embassy in Ottawa is watching and investigating acts by the Canadian Lebanese community members and organizations. In his last two interviews that were published in Montreal on 29/7/03 and 6/8/03,  Mr. Baaklini was very clear in his hostile comments that were characterized by threats, accusations, arrogance, lack of tolerance and most importantly an apparent lack of coping with the Canadian life style of freedom, tolerance, democracy and respect for laws and regulations. Mr. Baaklini's bizarre comments are not acceptable, not accurate, and can not be tolerated any more. In fact numerous NGOs and community members are seriously considering suing him and the Lebanese government for defamation and uttering threatening remarks among many other violations of Canadian law he has lately committed.

We, the undersigned, actually feel sorry for this diplomat, because every time he utters a comment to the media, he spontaneously gets himself in trouble and triggers a enormous avalanche of condemnations. One wonders what kind of diplomatic background this ambassador has and indeed questions his coping capabilities, because it is crystal clear that he does not learn from his mistakes, or more likely refuses to do so.

We, the below listed NGOs, on behalf of all the peace-loving Lebanese Canadians who share with us our noble strive for freedom, a solid belief in democracy, the championship of human rights covenants, and tolerance, assure Mr. Baaklini that his empty threats, accusations and atrocities will not affect our solid faith in Lebanon's cause of liberation, nor will he derail our peaceful and civilized efforts aiming to support our oppressed people in occupied Lebanon.

We are very proud to be Canadians of Lebanese descent. This pride shows in all our peaceful activities, both for Canada and Lebanon. We strongly believe that Mr. Baaklini should be sent back home with one way ticket. And quickly.

The NGOs
Canadians For Lebanon 10452 km2/ Yehya Mahmoud
Canadian Lebanese Social Network (CLSN))/ George Chammoun
Lebanese Information Centre (LIC)/ William Azzi
Council Of The Lebanese Canadian Organizations (COLCO)/ Robert Hanna
Canadian Lebanese Cultural Club (CLCC)/ Maroun Aoun
World Lebanese Organization (WLO)/ Charbel Barakat
Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)/ Edmond El Chidiac
Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council (LCCC)/ Elias Bejjani

N.B: For any further information please call Mr. Elias Bejjani
Phone (905) 276 7535 Fax (905) 272 9389 E.Mail
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