Lebanon deserves peace

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Lebanon deserves peace

The July war has suffocated the voice of a youth calling for a more secular transparent and democratic system of governance, says Rima Merhi
“We are not allowing ourselves to have democracy”, says May Chidiac, “We have to stop blaming others. The ‘others’ are not saints. They are working for their own political agendas. We should not give them the excuse to invade Lebanon again”.

Even the Lebanese and Arabs who strongly condemned Hezbollah’s kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers last July can not come to understand how this international order is willing to acquiesce to a war against a whole nation and killing of thousands of innocent civilians to make a clear statement against the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers.

“I can tolerate what happened to me”, says Chidiac with faith, “but not what happened to my country. I can not deal with the deaths of innocent civilians getting pulled out of the rubble. I can not accept the destruction of Lebanon. We paid a lot to see our country sovereign again”.

Chidiac’s valiant return to Lebanon following the failed assassination last year is a vivid testimony – particularly to all the youth in the country – of our need to express trust, solidarity and unconditional commitment to our beloved country.

There is alarming concern over the degradation of human rights in Lebanon. The past year has seen a series of assassinations of prominent journalists and politicians culminating in a tragic and unexpected war, a humanitarian crisis, significant rise in sectarianism, and continued arbitrary attacks on civilian targets from ambiguous sources. The attacks on the down town area last week are an indication that the turmoil of the war is far from over.

“We can not speak of human rights where man is controlled or oppressed by other regimes.” asserts Chidiac, “The word human right is self explanatory: it is the right of a human being to be treated as a human being. It is the right to express oneself openly without fear. It is the right to be an active member of the community without applying the laws of others.”

“This is what happened to me”, protests May, “they could not tolerate a journalist who speaks out against oppression, domination, and control. It is terrible when you need explosives to silence someone. They could not use words to convince me that I am wrong. I believe I am not wrong.”

Our politicians are too busy holding festivals for victory and taking the stand to deliver fancy speeches to notice the despair of a youth completely lost in the political game. “This is the most sensitive and dangerous period of all”, says May. “The Lebanese who are leaving will not come back again. The youth do not wish to stay in a country that will know war forever. They want another Lebanon”.

The July war has suffocated the voice of a youth calling for a more secular transparent and democratic system of governance. The educated ambitious and active youth who led the Cedar revolution making a clear statement against the malignant sectarianism and domination of the past, are now either packing their bags ready to leave Beirut at the first opportunity, or worse still they have decided to turn their televisions and radios off in complete denial of any reality on the ground.

“Lebanon is not a hotel” confirms May to Lebanese youth. “It is not just a place to have fun during vacations. It is not a place we forget if we can not earn good income, drive a nice car, or live in a luxurious home. We have to remain attached to our roots. We have to deserve peace. We have to fight for Lebanon.”

Lebanese youth can not see a future for Lebanon without transitional justice. There is growing fear and mistrust of external intervention in Lebanese politics with the aim of overthrowing the current Lebanese government in order to hinder the process of forming an international tribunal.

“Real victory for Lebanon”, says May, “is the realization of a democratic free country led by a president shouldered by the Lebanese masses, and a competent government capable of taking decisions on behalf of all the Lebanese. The youth are leaving Lebanon because they did not choose this war.”

“We deserve peace. Lebanon deserves peace.” concludes Chidiac, “We need time to rebuild Lebanon. We can not rebuild Lebanon without the youth.” The Lebanese government must take immediate active measures to curtail the loss of intelligent young and creative minds.

With every passing moment, embassy hallways are filling up with long queues of young men and women eager to leave Beirut – a desperate cry for a normal healthy and productive life amidst uncertainty fear and terror.

Rima Merhi, an international human rights graduate, testified in the US Congress in the name of Lebanese youth last July and was on CNN BBC and Sky News in August to give Lebanese youth perspective on the conflict.

Source: Middle East Online
Published 2006-10-23