Lebanon & Freedoms are inseparable
By: Elias Bejjani
LCCC Media Chairman


The minister of information Ghazi Alaridi has warned from falling again in the context of delusions, dreams and hastiness. He cautioned from falling in the hazardous trap of adding fuel to fire. He said: "in a bid to protect their specific interests some people tried to shelter themselves behind tags of sectarian climates. Their attempts were hurting Lebanon and they almost succeeded in destroying it. We stood firm against their projects helped by our Arabic nationalism and Islamic positions".
( Al-Anwar newspaper on 5/8/02)

It looks like Minister Aridi is furious and outraged. Aridi who never missed a single occasion in attacking in vociferate manners whoever called for the restoration of Lebanon's sovereignty. He takes a certain joy every now and then in waving the vocal sword of those who installed him in office. He has delivered their message openly and loudly: The media must refrain from addressing and criticizing the squabbles between the PM and the President as well as between the Ministers themselves, the other taboos they should not speak or write about are related to the disintegrating economy and the armed Syrian presence in the country. Whoever does not comply will see his media facility closed down by a decree, or like in the ottoman era by a "Faraman".

Mr. Aridi armed with his brotherly sword charged the LBC station with "instigating sectarianism through highlighting the religion of the culprit and victims in the UNESCO crime" LBC is accused of provoking sectarian animosities in its reporting of the massacre of eight ranking employees of the social fund of Lebanon's private school teachers at Beirut's Unesco district July 31.

The LBC aired reports addressing Ali Mansour's crime committed in cold blood that targeted eight of his Christian colleagues. The reports covered live comments and questions raised by the traumatized victims' relatives who wondered what were the actual motives behind the massacre. Was it acceptable in the view of the minister of the media to ignore the religion of the slained citizens? The reality is, all of them were Christians, and apparently this was their only crime unless the minister can prove to us otherwise. It is worth mentioning that the questionable judiciary investigation with the killer did not alleviate yet, any of the nationwide fears and suspicions, on the contrary many believe those fears and suspicions increased substantially.

In the same realm of intimidation, the General Prosecutor at the appeals court, Joseph Maamari, ordered a lawsuit against the MTV political programs director, Boulos Haddad, and the host of the popular "Poll" program, Ziad Njeim. The penalties could range from a prison term of between one and three years and fines of between 50 million and 100 million pounds (33,000 dollars and 66,000 dollars), They were accused of "harming Lebanon's relations with a brotherly country (Syria), undermining the dignity of the head of state, insulting security services and disturbing public order,". Maamari filed a second lawsuit against the MTV too, accusing the station of illegally broadcasting electoral propaganda during legislative polls in the Metn mountains east of the capital.

The magic has turned against the magician: Mr. Aridi is now at loggerheads with the chief of Lebanon's General Security Department Brig.Gen. Jamil Sayyed for taking the MTV network to court without consulting with him. "If some people think they can ambush the media around the corner, then I am around the corner too" to confront them. Isn't it strange to hear from Aridi what An Nahar newspaper termed as an escalation of the minister's objection to the MTV prosecution? Aridi, who has no love lost for Sayyed, has been infuriated by the case brought against MTV behind his back. "No one has told me about any legal proceedings contemplated against the MTV," Aridi told a news conference in Shtawra. What a Charade!!!!

In the same context, officials started lately spreading news about canceling the license issued to the Christian Tele Lumire TV and Charity broadcasting station. The Catholic Information Center Chairman, warned the government against this unwise act and stated that no one will be allowed to play games with the Church: "the license matter was arranged with His Beatitude the Maronite Patriarch, who is not only the head of the Maronite Church, but also the figure who is the symbol of  the glory of Lebanon.. Nobody can revoke the license, he said"

Aridi's statements about sects and sectarianism, are not only sectarian, hostile and provocative, but also openly anti-Christian, especially his statement, "We stood against their projects with our Arabic nationalism and Islamic positions". It seems the Minister does not see any sectarianism in his focus on "Islamic positions". The question is: why he does not focus on his Lebanese nationalism!!!

In reality, Lebanon's main problem, lies with the camouflaging attitudes of officials, clergymen and politicians like Mr. Aridi who practice exactly the opposite of what they preach. Rhetorically they call for the abolition of sectarianism and attack viciously whoever they tag as sectarian, while in fact they themselves struggle to foster sectarianism and instigate people against each other to keep it alive. It is obvious that these Trojans will be marginalized and they will lose all the privileges they usurped if the people of Lebanon enjoy peace with each other. This fact explains their camouflaging and double standard conduct. Unfortunately Aridi's sectarian statements personify this reality.

One wonders when some of Lebanon's politicians and clergymen ,who are attracted constantly by the Arabic deserts, will stop abusing and hiding behind slogans of superiority, enmity to Israel, resistance, liberation, Arabism and the Syrian so called fraternal favors?

Aren't these people aware that the Arab countries, including Syria and the P.L.O have recognized the Jewish State, ended the war status, and that most of them exchange with it covertly or openly diplomatic and trade relations? Aren't they aware that all the Arab countries have already abandoned resistance and liberation options of the sixties and seventies and the issues they have not agreed upon with Israel are nothing more than details?

Aren't these people aware that there is no existence for the kind of Arabism that they cling to and advocate for? In reality there are different countries and different people of numerous ethnicities and cultures in the Middle East who speak the Arabic language, exactly the same way as the Americans, Canadians, Newzealanders, Australians and even Indians . They are all English speakers. 

Lebanon is unique in its history, civilization and roots.The Lebanese society is a mixture of nineteen different cultures and ethnicities. They chose and accepted to co-exist in a convivial and harmonious way under the cedar's flag, embodied with the Lebanese unique peaceful coexistence formulae.

The mosaic culture of Lebanon existed throughout  its 7000 years of history and distinguished a Nation that continuously struggled for tolerance, democracy, independence and peace. The Lebanese sanctified freedom until it became an integral part of their every day life and culture. Meanwhile Lebanon as an independent entity is more deeply rooted than any other Middle East country. Syria was created by France in the twenties by uniting the entities of, Aleppo, Druze, Alawi and Damascus. There would have been more stability, freedom, representation and democracy in the region if these four entities were left alone and not forced into an amalgam of what is now known as Syria.

Lebanon, the message and the nation with its 10452 square kilometers has always been a barrier for invaders and occupiers. By God's will, and our peoples' faith this nation shall reclaim its confiscated independence, freedoms,and sovereignty.

Lebanon with its freedoms are inseparable, all vicious schemes to muffle its media and the free sovereign voices will be aborted and defeated as it has always been the case.

Long Live Free Lebanon

N.B: Email your comments to the writer on lccc@10452lccc.com