AFTER LIBERATION: TIME TO REBUILD OUR DEMOCRACY
Address to the Lebanese People
as the Syrian Troops Left Lebanon
[Address in PDF]
April 27, 2005 | Visit:
My fellow compatriots in Lebanon,
I greet you in the name of freedom, peace, and democracy.
This is indeed a joyous day in our history; we have been awaiting it for three
decades. Lebanon is finally free from Syrian troops and we are delighted.
This is one of the most important moments in the life of our country. The blood
of our martyrs, the sacrifices and tears of our mothers, and your tireless and
heroic struggle and sacrifices have made it all possible.
You have survived 30 years of unrelenting persecution to emerge today as a free
and independent people looking forward towards a bright tomorrow, filled with
hope, rich with dreams and crowned with victory.
I write to you today with a heart filled with deep pride and great joy:
- pride in the ordinary, humble people of our country. You have shown through
the years a resilient calm and a patient determination to reclaim this country
as your own, and you never gave up despite the impossible circumstances.
- and joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops of our buildings, from
the bell towers of our churches and from the minarets of our mosques - free at
last! Free at last!
This freedom, however, remains tainted as long as there are political prisoners
in Lebanese jails and Lebanese citizens imprisoned in the Syrian and Israeli
jails. I call upon the government of Lebanon to free all political prisoners and
call upon the international community to help us free the Lebanese political
prisoners in Syria and Israel.
Our march to freedom has only begun. But it will remain lacking unless we
carefully plan to rebuild our country, learning from past mistakes. Our only
cause today should be consolidating our Lebanese society and strengthening our
internal unity around important national themes vital to our survival in a
modern era of globalization. These themes include:
1) the finality of our national identity; we are all Lebanese and proud,
2) the equality of our citizens and their rights regardless of ethnicity, faith
3) the reform of our governmental institutions,
4) the open access to and the transparency of our government,
5) our freedoms of expression, speech, worship and creed,
6) our privacy and freedom from governmental intrusion,
7) the vitalization of our economy, creation of new jobs and retention of
8) the modernization of our education, health care and retirement systems,
9) the outreach to and involvement of the Lebanese Diaspora in our rebuilding
10) the democracy of our decision-making process.
You are all invited to be part of this dialogue and to contribute to these
reforms. After all this country is for its people, all of the people not just a
class of politicians and these are matters of primary importance to everyone of
us and to our children.
Let us steer away, for good, from the divisive empty rhetoric of the ideologues
of hate, and the exclusive ideologies they uphold and the zealous religious wars
they claim to fight. It is similar hate rhetoric and those same exclusive
ideologies (many of which ironically originated in Lebanon) that ripped us apart
in the past. And it is in the name of these ideologies that our small and
vulnerable country was injected into the Israeli-Palestinian military conflict
(Cairo1969), and was left alone thereafter to fight 30 years of an existential
war, to a large extent about foreign ideas and esoteric dogmas.
Our brothers in Palestine are preparing today to build one of the first true and
pluralistic democracies in the Middle East. We wish them all the luck in shaping
it up and liberating its land, and we look forward to the near future when we
can build with them new and strong bridges of peace, prosperity and cultural
To the Palestinians in Lebanon: you have been our guests for decades and
admittedly your stay in Lebanon has not always been the most hospitable, without
assigning blame. We call upon you today to help us rebuild our country by
complying with international law and laying down your arms; for your arms in
Lebanon have only contributed to its destruction and weakening your cause. Our
fear is that your arms may bring upon all of us the same fate again.
Our brothers in Syria are facing their own existential problems today and our
prayers go to them to peacefully reach their own solutions. We look forward to
build with the Syrian people strong and friendly relations rooted in mutual
respect of the sovereignty and specificity of each of our countries. However,
for the time being, let us put everything on hold until we reclaim our
government and rebuild our institutions.
We are thankful to the international community for UN Security Council
Resolution 1559, without which we would not be celebrating our liberation today
and regaining our sovereignty and national pride. We look forward to a full and
complete implementation of all the terms of 1559; for our sovereignty will not
be complete and our democracy will not flourish as long as there are armed
groups in Lebanon beyond the control of the collective will of the Lebanese
people, and outside the framework of the Lebanese army.
This sovereignty will also remain incomplete as long as there is any foreign
intervention in the Lebanese internal affairs, be it from Iran, Saudi Arabia,
France or the USA. Therefore, we say to the governments of these countries and
to the Lebanese groups and politicians who peddle their policies in Lebanon: if
you really wish to help us rebuild, then in the words of the late Anwar Sadat:
“Take your hands off Lebanon”.
My fellow Lebanese, it is my sincere hope that this message will reach you and
touch your hearts. I was 7 years old in 1975; the only Lebanon I remember is a
country ripped by hate, destroyed by wars and divided over petty claims. I do
not wish to pass my experience with that Lebanon to the seven year-olds of today
or the youth of tomorrow. Neither do you.
So stay away from those who call upon your darkest demons with their war
rhetoric; they have only death and destruction with no future, to offer you and
your children. I call upon your best angels to join me today for peace and
democracy and let us brainstorm together to bring about modern reforms and a
stable society to a country that will remain a beacon of civilization for
generations to come.
God bless you and God bless Lebanon.
في لبنان: 27 نيسان