atrocities inflicted on Christians
in occupied Lebanon
By: A Lebanese Christain University Student
Read what happened to me on September 14/2001 at hour 16:00
Like every year we all gathered for the mass of Sheik Bashir Gemayel, the man - the soldier - the leader - the president - the martyr. This year due to much work at my office I could not be there like usual ahead of time. I actually arrived late. The church was full and so were the streets leading to it. You could feel the presence of this great man in the eyes of the youth, mostly who don't even know him, after 19 years of his physical absence.
A night before we had received phone calls threatening us not to be present in the mass.. But it's Bashir's mass, how could we not be present? You could see the "mukhabarat" (army intelligence) all around us in the church. They were actually taking pictures of the men and women inside. As we walked out from the church I felt that this year there will be something special for us. A nice surprise awaited us as we marched towards where Bashir had martyred.
Tens of "mukhabarat"
were waiting for us. They pointed at each one they liked, and their big gorillas pulled
those individuals away from the crowd. We had gotten information about that couple of
minutes before, but there was nothing we could do, but walk and hope that our turn won't
come. But>something within me told me that this year, my turn would come.
As we marched I saw one of the "mukhabarat" point at me . I knew then that my time had surely come. Within seconds I was being pulled away by 2 men, away from the crowds and into a building that was occupied by these civilian soldiers. As I was pulled away from my brothers, I could see that helpless look in their eyes that broke my heart to pieces. We walked into the entrance of this old building and a slap right across my face greeted me as my shirt was taken off. I could see another guy whom they had also pulled from street, who was there before me and a step ahead of me in their barbaric procedure, and thus I took a glance of what was to become of me and that helped me to be somewhat ready, as I expected the worse.
After searching me throughout, I was blindfolded using my own t-shirt. And then it started, slapping, hitting, kicking that came from everywhere. I could not see anything except the cross on the rosary I have around my neck.. What a beautiful cross, so peaceful yet so powerful; and indeed it lifted up my spirit. I was being pushed without being actually able to see in front of me. We went up one floor and into one of the flats. (Remember I could not see anything). I was made to sit on a chair, as they took my t-shirt off and put a specially made piece of cloth over my eyes and part of my nose. I was handcuffed from behind my back and through a chair.
Meanwhile the slaps, kicks and their renowned beautiful vocabulary followed every step of the way. Then the questioning began, though it was not the first time I was being interrogated, it was indeed the first time it was done in such a manner. Questions.questions.. questions.. (Please do not for a single moment think that everything had calmed down and I was just being asked questions). Their hospitality exceeded ALL expectations. A liar, son-of-a-bitch, an agent for the enemies, ruining my country's reputation, a threat to security, a cock-sucker, a dog, an animal, my sister a bitch, and my mother whore, a sample of the names they gave me. And the kick and slaps and punches went on and on and on. It felt like hours had passed¦ but I was in there not more than 30 minutes.
What really struck me was the quantity of people that were being brought in, of course I could only hear them. I heard a girl shout out "I cannot believe this, what you think we are animals." next thing I hear was a slap sound.. and the girl started weeping. I wanted to hold her soooooo much and tell her that it will be alright, but. They continued their abuse on all of us. Suddenly they released my hands and were guiding me out of the place, and some of them where murmuring about taking us up to "the ministry of defense" (those of you who follow the Lebanese politics, most know what that means). As they got me up I was still blindfolded, the soldier would not allow me to put my hands before me so as to not hit anything (I was still blindfolded and shirtless), he said that he would guide me out, I brought my hands down as he twisted my left arm. He guided me alright, but into a wall. I could hear them laughing, he pulled me away from the wall and said something about me being an animal for not knowing where to go, and then he banged me into another wall as they laughed some more.
I heard the voice of the soldier who initially pulled me away from my brothers, getting closer (as if running towards me) while saying: "where are you taking this son of a bitch, he was the one to break my camera" and then he kicked me with his knee right below my left ribs and then the punches hammered down on my stomach and back. They are well trained to hit where it does not leave that much of a trace, yet leaves you with agonizing pain. A look at my cross was enough for me to realize that I will be okay. They sat me down again as they swore at Bashir and ridiculed his memory and as they mocked my rosary. Then this guy gets closer to me and holds my head as he bangs his head on mine and talks with this soft voice telling me that I could go now, but when the photos are developed if I happen to be in any of them I will be brought back for further interrogation. He then released my hands, put the shirt on me, guided me out of the flat asked me to put my head down, he took the blindfold off and asked me to walk away without looking backwards and I did just that.
I went down the stairs, crossed my face, spat. and went out. That my dear friends is what happened with me last Friday evening, and that is NOTHING in comparison to what went on with over 150 of the young women and men of the Lebanese Forces who were present at Bashir's mass. Some of my closest friends, who were there and were taken away, underwent much forceful interrogation and for a much longer period. Two of my friends were blindfolded and handcuffed behind their back (like everyone else) and put on top of each other along with the rest of bunch of people they were taking. As the vehicle pulled away a soldier, kicked one of my friends on his back and made him fall out of the truck as it sped away..The other friend stayed the whole night in their hospitality, undergoing barbaric interrogation methods.. That is but a sample of that goes on with the Free Christian youth of Lebanon. That is but a simple illustration of what goes down EVERYDAY with the free women and men of your Christian community, and how our beloved government treats us. I am a witness to that. My head, legs, back and neck are witness to that. The bruises all over my friends' bodies tell the story of a free nation that refuses to kneel and die. As for you Bashir and the rest of our martyred comrades who gave their lives for us to remain, we have taken an oath long ago to remain faithful to the cause, to your blood, to Samir and the rest of our comrades and to OUR Lebanon.. and we have.
Be confident that we will remain,
Always. Always Faithful
long live Lebanon