president of the Republic
Founder of the Lebanese Forces
Bashir Gemayel 1947-1982
(Lebanese Forces homepage)
Some people worshiped him; some
hated him. He was a leader to many; to others, he was an enemy to cut down. But above all,
he was a man with a dream and the conviction, strength and popular support to make that
dream a reality. He had already begun weaving the threads of a new fabric for his country
when his life was cut short by those who feared the changes he would propose. But his
spirit lives on in those who knew and loved him.
Out of the wound in our bleeding
hearts, out of the tears in our children's eyes, out of our strong attachment to our land,
he struck like lightning in the sky and gave us hope and gave us a dream, a beautiful
dream called the 10452kmē free from all foreign occupation and brotherly presence. the
dream of a strong unified Lebanon where all its different ethnic and religious groups can
live in peace and harmony.
After the Cairo
Agreement, the situation in Lebanon was steadily deteriorating, with continued violent
outbreaks of fighting between the armed Palestinians and the Lebanese Army. Attacks by the
armed Palestinians against Israeli targets across the Lebanese-Israeli border grew more
numerous and deadly. After the Lebanese-PLO war broke on in April 1975, Bashir joined his
fellow militia members of the Kataeb party in defending the Christian areas against the
When William Hawi, Commander-in-Chief of the Kataeb Military Council was killed in the
Lebanese Forces siege of the PLO stronghold in Tell Zaatar in July 1976, Bashir was named
to succeed him. By August 30, he was appointed head of the unified command of the Lebanese
Forces, a coalition of the Christian militias of the Kataeb Party, National Liberal Party,
the Tanzim and the Guardians of the Cedars.
On July 7, 1980, these Christian militias were unified into one as the Lebanese Forces
with Bashir Gemayel as their Commander-in-Chief. By January 1981, Gemayel also held
positions as Chief of the Kataeb Security Council and member of the Kataeb Political
As Commander-in-Chief, Bashir strengthened the military potential of the Lebanese Forces,
instituting military training in schools of the Christian sector to build up reserves. he
also gave the Lebanese Forces a broader political dimension and popular basis. he
organized public services in the liberated areas to substitute for the lack of government
provided services. these included a public transportation system; a popular committee to
provide the daily needs of the population such as water, electricity, road maintenance,
garbage collection, sewage, social relief services, etc.; two radio stations and a
television station; and a small airport.
Under President Elias Sarkis, a Council of National Salvation was formed in June 1982
which grouped the major militia and political leaders in an effort to draw up measures to
end the seven years of war which had shaken Lebanon. Gemayel participated on the
short-lived Council as the representative of the Lebanese Forces.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Lebanese Forces, Bashir had many opportunities to meet
foreign officials both abroad and in Lebanon to discuss his vision of Lebanon. Most
notable of these were several trips he made to the United States, where he consulted with
officials from the State Department, the White House, Senators and Congressmen; his visit
to Saudi Arabia in July 1982 to consult with King Fahd; his meeting with European
Christian Democrat Parliamentary groups; and his meetings with US, UN and Arab envoys who
were working on solutions to the Lebanese crisis.
Bashir officially announced his candidacy for President of the Republic of Lebanon on July
24, 1982. On August 23, 1982, Gemayel was elected President of the Republic in a second
ballot by a vote of 57 for with 5 abstentions.
During the next few weeks, he held countless planning sessions and intensive meetings with
Christian Moslem leaders, drawing up plans for the new Lebanon he wanted reborn. He began
rallying all of Lebanon, Moslems and Christians alike, around him as no other leader in
Lebanon had been able to do since independence.
Nine days before he was to be inaugurated President, Bashir attended his usual discussion
session at the Kataeb office in Ashrafieh. A powerful explosion on the second floor ripped
through the building, collapsing it on itself and killed Bashir along with 26 others. The
hero and hope of Lebanon was dead and all Lebanon mourned.
It was later discovered that two members of the National Syrian Socialist Party one of
whom was related to the owners of the building in which the Ashrafieh Kataeb offices were
located, were the instigators of the bombing and that Syria was backing them.
Bashir was frank and direct in his dealings with people. His zeal for the Lebanese cause,
an independent Lebanon free of all foreign occupation, inspired many. This goal took him
around the world, meeting with Arab and Western leaders, in search for solutions and
support. He was a bold man, charismatic, decisive. he maintained a clear political course,
attracting young, dynamic and specialized individuals to the cause. He was forthright and
realistic, a man who refused compromise or half-way solutions. He was open to dialogue and
not afraid of criticism.
The Lebanese emigrants had a major role to play in supporting the Lebanese cause, Bashir
believed. he instituted offices in many countries overseas, including the Unites States,
France, Brazil, West Germany and Italy to keep those governments informed about the
Lebanese communities there active in working for the liberation of their mother country,
Gemayel consistently worked for free, democratic, independent Lebanon, pluralist in nature
and strong, secure state. he believed that Moslem and Christian could live together in
peace and that Lebanon need to maintain good relations with the Western World as well as
the Arab World. He advocated the withdrawal of Syrian forces occupying Lebanon since 1975,
the withdrawal of Israeli forces occupying Lebanon since June 1982 and disarming of the
Palestinians while on Lebanese soil.
When Bashir Gemayel announced his
candidacy for presidency, he went beyond confessional conflicts and personality quarrels.
He pursued a very sublime goal to unite all the Lebanese, defend the country's sovereignty
and champion a modern and democratic Lebanon. Exhausted by so many years of war and terror
under foreign occupation, the Lebanese yearned for independence, freedom and peace. This
could only build upon a country at peace with itself. For this purpose, Gemayel ordered
the Lebanese Forces as they prepared to reenter their villages to refrain, under heavy
penalty, from any wrong doing to their Lebanese brothers. He firmly warned against any
breach of discipline.
- "Those against whom you
fought; those who demolished your houses, desecrated the tombs of our grandfathers... we
must respect their dead without any feeling of vengeance. They destroyed our homes, but we
shall protect their homes... We must secure freedom and protection for every Lebanese
In the Middle East, where
tyranny, fanaticism, turmoil and intolerance exist, Lebanon has always attempted to be the
country of stability, liberty and tolerance--peaceful by vocation, democratic by tradition
and liberal by civilization. Bashir Gemayel was seen as the man to restore this freedom
and peace to his country. His candidacy was not only a bet on the future of Lebanon, but
also on the interests of the Free World and above all the United States.
Bashir Gemayel's sole purpose
from finding the Lebanese Forces was that he wants an organization, a party that would
always be ready, able and willing to stand in defense of Lebanon. He wanted it a strong
political party and a strong military power whenever the Lebanese army failed to defend
the country as was the case in 1975. The Lebanese Forces was created to see that what
happened in 1975 never happen again and that the reasons that lead to the explosion of the
war be resolved in a final and permanent way.
The Lebanese Forces was a need
and Bashir saw to that need. When the Lebanese army unwillingly was divided there was a
strong need for someone to protect the true and free Lebanese from Palestinian fighters
who sought their Palestine through our Lebanon.
The Lebanese Forces and its
allies resisted and liberated all of what was once known as the liberated areas where no
foreign armies existed and where the Lebanese government and institutions were working
freely and where the Lebanese Army had a presence.
The Lebanese Forces fought
everywhere on the Lebanese soil trying to resist both foreign and local threats to Lebanon
and its independence, in many cases our resistance was successful and we liberated our
land due to the fact that the people of certain areas backed us and stood behind us and
supported us and unfortunately we were not successful in others due to the fact that many
local threats were a knife in our back working with the invaders against their fellow
In the summer of 1978 Bashir
Gemayel and the Lebanese Forces launched the war that was later known as the one hundred
days war which ended in a great big victory for the Lebanese Forces commanded by Bashir.
Syrian and Palestinian forces were defeated and were kicked out of East Beirut and from
then on wards it BEGUN.
Bashir resisted the Syrians and
Palestinians anywhere they existed and anywhere he could attack them starting from the
north, passing through Beirut all the way to the south and the mountain.
Bashir Gemayel gave his life for
his dream and ours, he gave his daughter's life and set the example, he set the road and
paved the way and believed in us to accomplish the mission.
(Courtesy of Bashir
Gemayel Home Page)