Sunday, May 15, 2005

Syrian Withdrawal from Lebanon

Raw7a Bala Raj3a
-Amal Chaaban

On April 26, 2005, Lebanon finally became free. Free of the invading force that started out as a force to keep the peace. Free of the fear, of the humiliation, of the domination inflicted on them by the army of a neighbouring country. The people of Lebanon finally became free to say what they think when they think it. No more do we have to censor our words for fear of the hated Mukhabarat. No more do we have to stifle our hopes, our dreams, and our need for Lebanon to be free of all foreign armies.

Ok, end of celebrations. Now it is time for everyone to get down to the business of rebuilding our infrastructure properly and it’s time to re-democratize our country. All of the flag waving and patriotism is wonderful but it is time to back up words with actions. Time for everyone to put up or shut up as the case may be.

Since February 14, 2005, we have had demonstrations in the streets crying out for freedom, claiming unity. Now it is time to prove that unity. It is time to prove to the world and more importantly to ourselves that we will not allow sectarianism to raise its ugly head in Lebanon again. Most of all, it is time for the leaders of the opposition who finally have what they want to prove to the people who have protested daily (at great risk to themselves) in support of them that they are serious about setting aside the differences of the past and want a better future.

What it is not time for is sectarian clashes or even inter-sectarian clashes such as the one that happened between the LF and the FPM. The clash that was reported is absolutely reprehensible especially given that it took place in Martyr’s square where all of the peaceful protests were staged. Leaders of both sides have called it a “childish argument by some boys aged 16-17 whom I doubt know what is really happening between the political parties”. Regardless of whether or not it was a real clash or a childish argument filled with machismo, clashes such as that must stop and stop immediately. If they are not stopped, what starts out as a petty childish argument may metastasize into something much different and much more dangerous.

Lebanon is on the cusp of freedom. We are on our way to a true democratic government and well on our way to be ruled by a government we choose not one that Syria chooses for us. Those of us who cannot be there in body are certainly there in soul. Every person of Lebanese descent should be expressing their support of the movement in any and every way.

It is this writer’s hope that the lessons of the past will not be forgotten in the hubbub of the future. Lebanon is a beautiful place with beautiful people. Let’s stay true to the vision the Late Rafik Hariri had for the country and stay united in our cause. Remember: United we stand, Divided we fall.

With the support of everyone involved, Lebanon should be able to move past the horrors of the civil war and subsequent occupation by Syria and move into a free democratic country.


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