An Interview with Minister and Brigadier
Mr. Issam Abu Jamra:

Conducted by Elias Bejjani
Media chairman for the Canadian Coordinating Council of the Lebanese organizations
on 3/1/1999

Introduction: Mr. Abu Jamra was a Minister in General Aoun’s government between 1988-1989. He is currently living in exile in France since 1990. He wrote an article on the 22/12/1998 under the title "why the humiliation and waste of time" in which he was honest and portrayed the truth of the newly appointed Lahoud regime. The Lebanese government decided to sue him for libel. The following is an interview with him focusing on this matter.

Question number one: What is your reaction to the legal step taken by the Lebanese government last week to sue you for libel, because in their eyes you have committed slander and humiliated the Presidency Status?
Answer by Mr. Abu Jamra: I will ask again the same question I asked in my article, who humiliated the presidency? Is it those officials and leaders who made it void of its jurisdictions in accordance to the Taef Accord, or people like myself who refuse to recognize the shameful accord?

Who Humiliated the Presidency
Is it the one who appointed the president and then called on the MP’s to amend the constitution and confirm the appointment through a Tailored election process in accordance to orders from the occupier?

Is it is the one who called on the president to sit on the negotiation table and participate in the Israeli-Arabic peace talks? Or the one who wants him to be marginalised and hide under the table?

Who Humiliated the Presidency?
Is it the Prime Minister (Mr. Salim Hoss) who resigned and left the president alone without a government for six month when the country was in turmoil? Or it is the official who calls for the withdrawal of foreign troops and for the president to take full control of all Lebanon’s territories through the Lebanese armed forces?

Who humiliated the Presidency?
Is it the one who sold Lebanon for a status and a post? Or it is the one who sacrificed posts, status, money and preferred exile with persecution in a bid to solidify national legitimacy and foster sovereignty?

His Excellency, General Emile Lahoud is content in what he said in his pledge speech in regards to enforcing law on burglars and fighting corruption and favoritism. We have not heard him uttering any tangible hints indicating his intention to change the previous political pattern, especially the basic principles that every Lebanese yarn to in occupied Lebanon and Diaspora. Mr. Lahoud did not show yet any effort to reclaim some of the Presidency jurisdictions, to call for the withdrawal of foreign troop, or achieve auto-security.

After the 1958 crisis, the glory of late President General Fouad Chehab was portrayed in his meeting with Egypt’s president Jamal Abdel Nasser in a tent erected on the Lebanese-Syrian borders. In the same token General Emile Boustani was doomed with the Grotal Scandal after he betrayed Lebanon and gave South Lebanon to the Palestinians in a bid to reach the presidency. Wise man can learn a great deal from such experience, are our official in a mood to learn?

Question number two: How you explain the apparent contradiction in the practice of the newly Lebanese appointed regime? On one side General Lahoud vows not to sue any journalist or citizen for expressing his/her opinion and to protect freedom, and on the other side sue you for an article that portrays truth and identifies the current status of the regime?
Mr. Abu Jamra’s Answer: My article apparently took them by surprise. It unveiled what they have been trying to conceal through their manipulated mercenary media in regards to certain internal critical hot issues affecting influential figures. Their difficult confusing stance is well understood. They are helpless, crippled and unable political to defend the critical status they are encountering with chaos in every national domain. Accordingly their only left venue, which is a sickening escape mechanism, is to respond through the judiciary. I hope they can realize it is time to wake up from the shock of facts stated in my article. I hope they can focus on vehicles to help themselves get out of the mud created by the notorious Hrawi reign.

Question number three: It has been evident that the regime newly appointed officials take contradicting stances, promise what they can not fulfill and send threatening messages in all direction. Do you think their maneuver to sue you, is an indirect message for you not to return to Lebanon, and do plan to do so?
Mr. Abu Jamra’s answer: I served as Minister for justice and fully aware of all legal processes in this regard, and how the system could be manipulated and abused. After what have been published by the media in relation to Lahoud’s vows, I can say to him, if you are willing to accept the atrocities, justice can not do so. General Lahoud want the people to tell him openly what they think of him and of the regime, and does not want to sue any body for doing so. At the same time it seems some of his very close officials are not accepting this doctrine. The opportunists, parasites and those seeking high-ranking posts are more than to count, they are always more than ready commit all kinds of atrocities to get what they long for.

Question number four: Is there any legal obstacles that stops you from returning back to Lebanon after spending almost nine years in exile?
Mr. Abu Jamra’s answer: The only legal reason that prevents my return to beloved Lebanon, is the presence of foreign troops that forced the legitimate government out of office and then into exile. These troops still enforce their hegemony on Lebanon and its regime. Accordingly my return, as an individual, is not going to be of any meaning or help. All Lebanese leaders and citizens in exile must be allowed to return freely, but this matter is impossible before the withdrawal of all foreign troops.

Question number five: In 1990, your Late wife, God bless her sole, was exposed to a Mafia-like act. Her money was confiscated illegally by the Beirut Air Port Security forces and since then the Taef Regime officials denied you right to retrieve back your money. Is there any change in this atrocity inflicted on you and your family?
Mr. Abu Jamra’s answer: Last year, my late wife went to Lebanon and declared her full cooperation with judiciary to decide on either to return the money, or to confiscate it legally. But the judiciary did not take any action up till now, and the case is continuously postponed with no legal justification…What I can say about such a judiciary?

Question number six: How do you see Lebanon’s future under the newly appointed Lahoud regime, and in the midst of the regional conflicts in Israel, Iraq and other hot spots?
Mr. Abu Jamra’s Answer: Lebanon’s future will not be for the advantage of democracy, freedom or prosperity as long as the Lebanese regime is clinging to the foreign troops. The future will be doomed as long the regime is refusing all Israeli proposals to withdraw from the South. The situation in the South will become more difficult in the future as a result of the unstable internal Israeli situation during the pre- coming election period. The confusion in Israel is to either fight Hezbollah and Syria in Lebanon or to fight the Palestinian preparations for declaring an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza. This confusion is caused by the coming Israeli election and the internal Israeli parties’ struggle to win it. What happens in Israel during the coming few months will with no doubt reflected on Lebanon.

I wish our communities in Diaspora as well as our beloved Lebanese in occupied Lebanon all the best for the new year and ask them all to join forces and work hard for the Liberation of our great Lebanon.

Long Live Free Lebanon.

France. January 3/1999