Dictatorships cannot muzzle freedom
By: Charbel Khouri
UALM - Australia

As US Secretary of State, Colin Powell was meeting with Lebanon’s Syrian appointed leaders, the government with the support of the Syrian intelligence services was violently and brutally cracking down on hundreds of supporters of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). The protesters were beaten with rifle butts and were kicked while they were down on the floor.

Due to the Syrian occupation this type of practice has become the norm in Lebanon. Under Syrian domination Lebanon has become a police state. The scenes in Beirut were reminiscent of Nazi Germany during the 30’s and 40’s where Adolf Hitler’s S.A ‘brown shirts’ and the Gestapo (Secret Service) would terrorise innocent people into submission.

There was no valid reason to savagely attack the nonviolent demonstrators, after all their right to demonstrate is protected by the Lebanese constitution, a document that the puppet government rarely adheres to. A most likely scenario as to why the authorities turned violent is that the government and its Syrian sponsors fear the ever growing momentum of change that is building and are desperately employing any measures to intimidate the protesters into compliance.

In an attempt to justify the oppression and aggression against the students the Internal Security Forces (ISF) which has become a personal tool for the Interior Minister Elias el Murr, stated that the “protesters had stoned ISF forces and attacked them with flagpoles, resulting in three of its members being seriously injured and a military truck suffering damage” Video tapes and eyewitness reports of the incident, prove the ISF reports were fabricated lies to shift the blame on the protesters a ploy which failed and backfired on Elias el Murr.

Lebanon was once a trailblazer in the Middle East, but that’s not the case anymore. The small western Mediterranean country is now a fully-fledged member of the world’s police states; Lebanon has officially joined the ranks of countries such as Cuba, Its patron Syria, North Korea and until recently Iraq. Ever since Syria took full control of Lebanon, its human rights record has swiftly become one of the worst in the world.

The government is known to take a very extreme and violent line when it comes to the pro Sovereignty demonstrators, but on the other hand, the government supports anti American and pro Syrian rallies. The government even helps in brining the people from Syria to demonstrate, since it cannot get enough Lebanese to attend the pro Syrian rallies.

Incidents are occurring on a daily basis in Lebanon and the force that the authorities use is becoming more and more violent. Lebanon currently is under a state of martial law that is imposed by Syria. Any dissent is brutally quashed. The crime of the students was to call for the liberation of Lebanon, something even Colin Powell is calling for. Apparently this demand is too much for the Syrians and their appointed cronies.

Lebanon has been a victim of Syrian brutality and terror for almost 28 years. The Lebanese people have endured enough. Lebanon must be allowed to regain its sovereignty and independence and must not remain hostage to the Baath regime of Bashar el Assad. Through its occupation Syria has managed to establish a network of terror cells and secret service agents whose job is to terrorise the local population.  

Lahoud and co. must wake up and realise that what they are doing is wrong. Syria will not be there for them forever, there will come a time when it has to leave, either through its own will or through other means. Time is almost up for the Syrians and their Lebanese slaves. They seem to be hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Lebanon will once again be free and it will rise and take its rightful place amongst the freedom loving nations of the world.

They might be able to suppress the voice of freedom and change for a while but in the end they are fighting a losing battle. The voice of freedom will never be silenced. The Lebanese are saying today and will be saying everyday from now on; “Dictatorships cannot muzzle freedom”