How much longer with the Taef Illusion?
By: Elias Bejjani
LCCC Media Chairman

We ask everyone without exception how long do we hold on to the illusion of “Taef”? Isn’t suffering through thirteen years of marginalization, humiliation, and empty promises enough? Aren’t those lay or religious people who demand the implementation of this mirage of an accord convinced yet that it is one big lie that can never be implemented because it was created in the first place not as a solution but rather as a mechanism to confirm the Baathist occupation, annihilate the institutions of Lebanon, and dismantle any opposition to the expansionist plans of sisterly Syria?

Aren’t the leaders convinced yet, they who are entrusted with the destiny of the people and the nation, that the goals of Taef are to uproot all that is Lebanese in the country’s identity, history, culture and co-existence model?

What do those who adopted or supported Taef expect, when the facts since its imposition on Lebanon on 10/22/1989 have proven to them without a doubt that it is an agreement of the others over Lebanon? That it will not deal fairly with any of the Lebanese factions but on the contrary it will work to marginalize them and strip them of their particularities, spreading fear and division among them?

How do those leaders explain their adherence to Taef in regards to its call for a Syrian withdrawal, when Syrian leaders do not even recognize the agreement, nor do they hide their opposite intentions and state at any chance they get that they are not ready to withdraw from Lebanon without reaching a comprehensive peace with Israel? Here is an excerpt from an interview conducted by the Washington Post and Newsweek magazine with the Syrian President on 5/11/2003: “In answering a question about Syria’s intentions to withdraw its forces from Lebanon, Assad said “that is related to a peace accord and a full (Israeli) withdrawal”. He added: “The Israelis did not fully withdraw (from Lebanon) and they still occupy the Shebaa Farms”.

Note here that Assad did not mention the Taef accord and did not say that the withdrawal of his troops is governed by clauses in the agreement. It is not the first time that Syrian leaders, especially Assad Jr., ignore that agreement which they imposed on Lebanon through military force and repression, and then used it as a tool to enforce their occupation through a vile Lebanese puppet regime whose power comes from the offices of the Syrian “governor” in Anjar.

For the past thirty years, the practices of the Syrian leadership confirm without a doubt that Lebanon and the Palestinian cause are to them nothing but bargaining chips they use to serve their interests as they see fit and always according to their timing and pace.

It is time for our leaders to stop lying to people, and stop distorting and wheeling-and-dealing with Lebanese values and convictions. It is time to stop the silencing of our freedom-thirsty younger generation. Shame on them for taking advantage of their prestigious and prominent positions for political gain through the haggling and cheap tricks of traditional Lebanese politics. It is time for them to stop advocating despair and helplessness, weakness and dhimmitude. Stop sowing illusions in people’s minds. Stop subverting our basic notions of patriotism and ethics.

It is the duty of all those who seek the restoration of lost sovereignty and independence to welcome the shift in international will to reversing its previous policy that had backed the occupation of Lebanon since 1990.

The demand by France and the United States to implement UN Resolution 520 is a positive and useful development. Those who want the return of peace, law, and sovereignty to Lebanon should support that demand, instead of doubting the intentions of Paris and Washington. They should not forget that they had supported the international will back in 1990 and submitted themselves to the regional powers when the Taef Agreement was imposed on Lebanon and its people. That same agreement which the past thirteen years have proven to be futile.

The new situation in Iraq has provided the Lebanese people with a historic opportunity. They should benefit from it as much as possible through the implementation of UN Resolution 520 that calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanese soil and the spreading of legitimate Lebanese authority over the entire country using its own forces. The Resolution also states that the internationally recognized Lebanese borders should be respected.

Christ accepted the help of Simon of Cyrene in carrying the cross for him on the way to Golgotha. It is unethical for the religious and temporal leaders of tormented Lebanon, if they truly believe in its existence, identity, and people, to refuse help because Lebanon is in dire need of a Simon of Cyrene to extend a helping hand and help it cross its own Golgotha where it has been nailed on its cross for the past thirty years.

N.B: (Translated from Arabic by: Nabil Khoury & Joseph Hitti)