By: George Khoury
LCCC Foreign Affairs Media Chairman
The year was 1976, The town was called Damour: A town that has been terrified forever. The Lebanese shall never forget the atrocities committed against innocents by Yassar Arafat's PLO and the Syrian Army. January 9, 1976 is a black day in Lebanon's history. On that day the Damour's priest Father Mansour Labakey was visiting the town's houses, blessing them with holy water, suddenly A bullet whistled past his ear. As he attempted to continue the ritual, rattling of a machine guns from the hill site looking over the town followed. The fire came from the nearby Al-Naami town.
To his amazement the priest suddenly found the town surrounded by heavily armed Palestinians, Syrians, and other mercenaries from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya. Desperate to save the town from an imminent massacre, Father Mansour telephoned the Muslim Sheikh of the district and pleaded for his help. He then turned to several religious leaders for the same purpose. To his shock and horror all refused his plea with the same response: 'Sorry we can't help, we cannot do any thing. nothing can be done"
Syria's plan was to destroy the town and massacre its Christian inhabitants. The invading armed Palestinians and other armed mercenaries were acting under direct orders from Syria.' It was very clear. The town was being abandoned to a horrible fate.
Father Mansour immediately called Chairman Yassar Aarafat, begging for his intervention to avoid the massacre. But his pleading fell on deaf ears. When Father Mansour again pleaded with Aarafat, he was told by Arafat's assistant, "Father do not worry, we are not here to harm any body, if we have to destroy the town, it would be for strategic reasons only,"!!!!
After numerous pleading phone calls, Father Mansour was told not to worry. He was assured that the PLO head quarters would send urgent instructions to its armed men to immediately stop the attack. None of the promises made by the PLO leadership were honored.
The Syrian devious plan was to launch a religious war in a bid to weaken the foundations of the Lebanese state, ruining Lebanon's democratic, common living regime at any cost. The Syrians were adamant. They would destroy Damour. They ignored Kamal Jumblat's pleas that they cease their evil plan. Syria's intent was evil and megalomaniacal. It intended to put Lebanon under its total control and complete domination. Mr. Kamal Jumblat revealed to Father Mansour that he thought Yassar Arafat and the other Syrian militia proxies are untrustworthy.
The Syrian-Palestinian plan was to completely ravage and ruin the town of Damour. The spirit and patriotism of the Damour unarmed residents was no match for the long range mortars and missile launchers of the Arafat militia and the Yarmouk Brigade (Palestinian Army stationed in Syria). Despite odds of five to one, Damour citizens heroically resisted the invaders for 10 days using only hunting rifles and shot guns to defend themselves. In the end, the town fell.
Five hundred brave civilians lay dead. Hundreds of others were injured. According to witnesses who were able to flee the town, many Damouri kids were maimed. Arafat's militia raped and then shot young girls and women. Over 600 women were taken hostages in the Palestinian camps of Sabra, Shatilla and Tal Alzahtar. Continually raped for weeks, these women were then mutilated and hung upside down.
The Lebanese people shall never forget the Al-Damour massacre. Never will forget that the Syrians and the Palestinians are totally culpable for it. It is incomprehensible and reprehensible for the international community to turn blind eyes to such a clear manifestation of evil. Who can turn a deaf ear to the cries of the innocent victims? Those responsible for mass terrorism must not be allowed to hide or escape.
We call on the UN, the Vatican, the Arab League, the European Countries, Canada, the USA and the entire free world to launch an immediate and thorough investigation to determine the identity of those responsible and to swiftly and unconditionally bring them to justice.
God bless the souls of our martyrs