Maronite Bishop's Communiqué for October 1999

On Wednesday, October 6, 1999, Their Excellencies the Maronite Bishops held at Bkerke, their monthly meeting. It was presided by His Eminence, Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and the entire East. They discussed organizational church matters, reviewed the prevailing situation and issued the following communiqué.

1-Their Excellencies stated the bomb exploded inside Saint George Church, at Dekwaneh, and killed the server of the church, the late Shafeek Rajha, indicates the criminal mentality prevailed during the war era is still in existence, although the Lebanese were under the belief it has become some thing from the past. Hence, such a criminal act requires alertness, carefulness and preventive measures to be taken, for it seems there are still some who do not want Lebanon to pull up and recover, nor the State to stand and assume its responsibilities without foreign custody.

2-The deteriorating economic situation exhibited in high percentage of unemployment, the lack of cash flow, the high living cost and inability of parents to provide school fees for their children, even in public schools, requires careful thinking in order to come with solutions needed to protect the Lebanese from despair and frustration. Such difficulties pushed the Lebanese to immigrate and never return.

3-The situation of the arrested people, especially those from the Jezzeen region, calls for taking into consideration the situation of their families which are suffering from a state of extreme poverty. The providers of many Jasseeni families have been arrested, sentenced to prison and made unable to support their poor families. Meanwhile these citizens would have been left free if they have joined armed militias.

4- As for the rest of the Jezzeeni detainees, some were released, while others are still detained without any trials. Does this conduct exhibit the state abides by law and Human Rights standards? Recently, the International League of Human Rights, the European Union and two local societies held a conference in Beirut and called Lebanon to respect Human Rights, abstain from using torture in detention centers and prisons and appealed for the immediate release of political detainees.

5-The general political atmosphere is loaded with detestable personal accusations. It is far away from what it should be and from the calm, serious and respect of other which should characterize it. Such a state is an unfounded pretext for those who pretend that Lebanon will not be able to run its own affairs without a permanent foreign custody. Is it this what those engaged in the media accusations against each another aim to?

6-October is the month of Our Lady of the Rosary, dedicated to turn to this tender Mother in whose hands we put the burden that weighs upon our shoulders and the concerns of our heavy hearts. We ask her to obtain for us from her divine Son the patience we need to cross the severe state we are living, in the hope that we reach thereafter the rest and peace we are longing for.