Australia’s Day
By: Pierre Raffoul
(Free translation by: Elias Bejjani)

For the third successive year, the FPM "Free Patriotic Movement" celebrated "Australia’s Day". It was the "Australian Day Committee" that officially granted the FPM the right to celebrate this great event. The FPM took this significant initiative in a bid to exhibit the Lebanese community’s gratitude to Australia and its people. This great hospitable country has embraced the Lebanese immigrants for one hundred years and still does. It provides them with all means of freedom, security, comfort needed for a decent life with dignity.

From day one, the Lebanese-Australian community members have considered themselves an inseparable part of the Australian society. They willingly have chosen Australia as their new homeland.

"Australia’s Day" is an event for renewing full affiliation and loyalty to Australia, a dear country to all of our community members. On this day we enforce the need for national integration among the rich mosaic communities who came from all over the world and chose to settle in this country. We enforce the need to maintain and enrich the national unity and to promote Australia’s welfare and progress.

"Australia’s Day" is an opportunity to again propose strongly a constructive conciliation project to bridge relations between Australian different communities and Aboriginal native people. The original inhabitants of this continent and this project would require the support of all Australians. It is also an opportunity to show genuine gratitude and gratefulness to the Lebanese community members and through them to their Fathers and Grandfathers for appreciating Australian hospitality and support.

The Lebanese community, thanks to Australia, enjoys and practices like other Australian communities their full freedom, dignity, and prosperity. The Lebanese in return show their gratitude to the country by being hardworking, honest, and loyal citizens.

The FPM has taken a courageous initiative, started celebrating "Australia’s Day" and participated actively in promoting the objectives of this great event. The FPM has opened to the Lebanese –Australian community numerous venues via this annual celebration. It is a golden opportunity when we show other communities who really we are, our rich, glowing culture, tolerance and values.

We learned recently that an Australian dignitary has said to a university professor:" the Lebanese in this continent are a group of mere"Combos", which means "Back pain"". The professor stared at the man’s face surprisingly and answered:" My friend, you are mistaken and your understanding applies only to a minority among the Lebanese community. Please take note that the majority of the Lebanese in Australia have worked hard, and offered a great deal of sacrifice to help actively promote the progress and growth of this beloved country".

We, the Australian-Lebanese community members need to constantly remember the answer of this wise professor. His response must be our guideline in responding to all those who question our loyalty, devotion and patriotic role.

In fact, through "Australia’s Day" celebrations, our community started to reap such positive attitudes from not only numerous Australian officials, politicians and community leaders, but also from many members in the Lebanese community who have isolated themselves for years and stayed away from all public and official activities for tons of different reasons.

The dirty war of others in our beloved Lebanon has falsely portrayed us to other people as criminals, drug traffickers and terrorists. While in reality we have always been, and still are, the actual victims. It is our national duty as Lebanese living in Diaspora to take advantage of all opportunities to amend the world’s distorted concept about our great people. We have to show the whole world by example who we actually are and the richness of the Lebanese culture, civilization, values, tolerance, traditions, respect for human rights, love for freedom and honesty.

Long Live our patriotic community.
Australia February 10/2/2000