General Michel Aoun's Questionable
By: Elias Bejjani
Lebanese MP Walid Khoury, a member of the "Reform & Change Parliamentary Bloc", headed by MP, General Michel Aoun, claimed last on Saturday October 21/06, through "Radio Free Liban", that general Aoun had accepted the "Taef Accord", and that his only objection pertained to the absence of any schedule for Syrian troop withdrawal from Lebanon. In a call to the program, I pointed out the untruthfulness of this claim which takes lightly the Lebanese people’s intelligence and insults their memory. Mr. khoury’s claim is a scandalous attempt to sap sacrifices and contributions, and a clear negation of constants and facts. As to the documented truth, General Aoun's cabinet had opposed the "Taef Accord" and rejected it for more reasons than the withdrawal schedule. Although General Aoun then stressed this point in a series of letters, one of them sent to the French President. The Arab delegate, Mr. Lakhdar Ibrahimi, had explained to General Aoun and his military transitional government with extreme frankness that what had been decided in Taef-Saudi Arabia could not be modified - not even a comma - in any fashion neither regionally nor internationally.
General Aoun, Pierre Rafoul, Minister Brigadier Issam Abou Jamra, Colonel Fayez Karam, myself and numerous other Lebanese writers, politicians, and nationalists have all published tens of articles, reports and studies addressing numerous clauses rejected in the accord, among them the overlapping of jurisdictions and their distribution with disregard to the posts, the marginalization of the President of the Republic, the lack of a mechanism to dissolve Parliament, the Arab identity, and many other issues. General Aoun originally, and prior to his return from exile, never recognized the legitimacy nor the legality of the accord along with all its consequences and the regime that emerged from it. I will dedicate a future article on the "Taef Accord" and present all the evidence that corroborate my
Let General Aoun himself answer MP Dr. Walid Khoury, who, as far as I know, was never a recognized Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) activist neither in Lebanon nor in the Diaspora, that is until the last parliamentary elections.
General Aoun’s answer to MP Khoury can be found in an article General Aoun himself published on 7/7/2001, under the titled “The guilt complex”: “To all who claim that Taef is a good accord that has been badly implemented, we reiterate that it is a bad agreement that has been well implemented. Its damages have exceeded all expectations. It is time for those who used Taef as a cover for their political mistakes to have some courage and acknowledge that they have committed a taboo, and all Lebanon’s calamities are the consequences of this so-called Taef accord, after it pushed Lebanon towards extinction. Taef gave us a paralyzed political system in constant need of an arbitrator in order to make this contraption named the Troika function.”
Since General Aoun (the one that resides now in Rabiah, Lebanon) is an “absolute leader”, as observed by MP Abbas Hashem, and since he is the “primary”
Christian leader according to a warning issued by MP Ibrahim Kanaan to his colleague MP Walid Jumblat lately, and since the FPM (Free Patriotic Movement Party) has duplicated the Stalinist and Hitlarian style in its rehabilitation/educational and doctrinal boot camps for its members, we suggest that these sessions should include the FPM MPs, especially to those who have been camped since 1990 on the opposite side, and all the transients who joined the FPM through the Internet and PALTALK chat rooms!! What is actually sad is that the vast majority of them were completely detached and distanced from the FPM struggle and platforms. All of these decorated new members were in general barricaded in hidden posts, far from view, waiting to determine the winning side before joining in.
The credibility of any leader, politician, or activist in the public domain is in his persistence in action and thesis. It also depends on his respect of his own word and actions. And most importantly, not to cut corners in the service of personal interests and greed, or hatred and psychological complexes. The people who supported General Aoun and saw in him the qualifications and idea of a leader and savior, did not do so for his personal characteristics, but rather for national ones, including the destiny, identity, aspirations, and hopes for a free, sovereign, and independent homeland. We all gathered around him because he was the son of Lebanon's well respected military institution, and because he promised to safeguard the state and its legitimacy in security, justice, and rights in an era where Lebanese politicians in general became Syrianized (Syrian puppets) and traders in deals and compromises.
Any Lebanese citizen in the homeland or the Diaspora who lost a loved one in any of General Aoun’s numerous military battles, or anyone who supported him, or
struggled for the liberation of the nation under the general’s leadership during the occupation years, or any political or rights activist who collaborated with him, or a citizen who voted for FPM members of parliament in the last election, they all have the right to question, doubt, and hold General Aoun accountable without being tagged with treason. More importantly, critical thinking should not be simplified to accusing people who disagree with the General's current stances and political choices of having deserted to the opposing political groups.
I have clarified in a previous article this matter and will reaffirm again: “ I, the Lebanese Canadian who REFUSED by free will and conviction to join the FPM Lebanese Party (declared last year after the return of General Aoun from exile), I also refuse to join any other Lebanese political party as long as I am residing in Canada. Here, I am a Canadian citizen bound by all the obligations of citizenship and my first allegiance is to Canada. And when I join a party, it will have to be a Canadian, and not Lebanese party.
As to my patriotic duty as Canadian-Lebanese, it is to help my motherland Lebanon with all my strengths and means, but within the frame of all Canadian laws and
within civic, legal, and ethical boundaries. By doing so I stress my willful integration in Canadian society and avoid any acts of alienation within it. I have an obligation like the rest of the Canadians to be foremost loyal to Canada, my country, and practice politics through its democratic system.
The many responses I received after publishing the first part of this series, "Your General In Rabiah, Mine in Paris" varied in theme and style, and I have answered all readers, and will allocate a future article on this topic since it is the result of a Lebanese condition that requires a lot of study and lessons learned.
In this second part entitled the focus will be on a set of astonishing contradictions in General Aoun's stances, advocacy, allies, arguments, convictions etc, as they pertain to who participated in shedding the blood of the innocent Lebanese people on October 13,1990, as well as what relates to the General's declared concepts in regards to a strong Lebanese state and army, in addition to his interpretations of the civil war during his exile years, and how he totally changed his skin after returning to Lebanon in the aftermath of its liberation from the Syrian occupation last year.
Below two paragraphs quoted from a speech delivered by General Aoun on October 15, 2006:
“I address you to confirm again, convictions and practices, its base being the truth, honesty, transparency, courage, and loyalty. Convictions and practices that has formed the solid foundation and the bright framework to our march and struggle in defense of Lebanon, a final nation for all its children, and in defense of its sacred right to sovereignty, freedom, and independence”
“The Lebanese people were defeated that day and lost the battle. In that day, also fell the human values and principles of human rights, and the 13th of October remained in our conscience as dignity of the losers and the disgrace of the winners. It was a historical shame that cannot be erased, an imprint on the forehead of all those who stayed as spectators on the sidelines… It was a crime perpetrated by all those who participated in shedding the blood of the innocent.”
We wonder whether such indictment includes all those who partnered in shedding the blood including the symbols of that era and among them Lebanon's North Matn region MP Michel Murr, the prominent member of the "Reform & Change Parliamentary Bloc", headed by General Aoun. Today, Murr occupies the big seat next to the General in their weekly bloc meetings. Isn’t he the same Murr who engineered the Metn last parliamentary election to his liking? Isn’t he the same person who opposed the General and all sovereign forces during the previous North Metn By-election when Murr's daughter Mirna competed with his brother Gabriel and the current North Metn MP Ghassan Moukheiber who is currently a member in Aoun's parliamentary bloc?
Didn’t the General, and we supported him that day, describe MP Murr in the worst terms as a puritan describes wine? Isn’t Murr the same man who oppressed,
arrested, harassed and threatened FPM activists and supporters alike, and who was behind numerous propaganda campaigns all through the 16 years of devastating Baathist Syrian occupation of Lebanon?
Do we have the right to recall what Brigadier Nadim Lteif, the General’s personal representative in Lebanon (while the General was in exile) said about Michel Murr, and specifically in an interview I conducted with him and which is published on our LCCC web site during the last municipal elections in which the FPM participated for the first time? Isn’t MP Murr the one who instigated and encouraged the shutdown of the MTV television station, his brother’s media company? The same TV station that had conducted the first interview with the General while in exile and endured all the negative and devastating consequences? MTV took the burden, and its owner, Gabriel Murr saw his parliamentary seat confiscated in a campaign of hate and tyranny.
And yet, how can someone like Michel Murr, who hurt his own brother, be good to the General with whom, based on their past history, he has nothing in common.
In an interview I conducted with the General a few years back, we discussed the accountability after Lebanon's liberation, he stated verbatim: “On the day
of Lebanon’s liberation, the fate of most symbols of the regime and Syria’s agents, is the prison, assuming they did not escape the country. As to Michel Murr, I am certain that he will not succeed in reaching the airport, and the security forces will be unable to arrest and protect him, because the people will rush to reach him because of all the harm and humiliation he brought upon them”.
Some naive Lebanese such as myself wonder how could the General join forces in his parliamentary bloc with Murr, the man who took a major role in destroying
Lebanon's delicate denominational demographic balance through nationalizing Arabs and foreigners alike, and personally in his capacity as Minster transferred to
the North Metn region, his constituency, the registration of thousands of Bedouins from the Bekaa in a bid to vote for him. He is the same Syrian puppet who with cold blood and numbed conscience actively participated in enacting the famous half-a-million nationalization decree. Meanwhile, and as odd as Aoun could be and in the same parliamentary bloc he has Keserwan region MP Nemtallah Abi-Nasr, a Maronite League figure, and the head of Christian Democrat Party, who continuously brags about his opposition role and advocacy against the half million nationalization scandal. One really wonders how this cohabitation is taking place, who enforces it and why?
“Do you know, my compatriots, that some of those who monopolize power today, and work on marginalizing you, are the same ones who stood against your will that day, and marginalized your role, and persisted in humiliating you? (From General Aoun's speech on October 15, 2006)
Aren’t some of those who planned, executed, and covered the October 13 criminal battle the same who today sit next to the General in his parliamentary bloc? Isn’t the General allied with many of them and defends their illegal and terrorist weapons and cantons, their wars, illegitimacy, policies, and devastating practices among which Hezbollah's July 12 instigated war with Israel?
Wasn’t Lebanon's Syrian-installed current president, General Lahoud, today’s Aoun ally, the commander of the Lebanese and Syrian forces that executed the 13th of October 1990 massacre?
Didn’t General Lahoud boast for years that he was the one who reconstructed the Lebanese army and made it a “patriotic” one after liberating it from confessionals and division in a very blatant incrimination to the years when General Aoun was the Army commander and acting Prime Minister?
Did General Aoun forget his own demeaning statements before returning from exile regarding Lahoud's questionable capabilities and patriotism, and his criminal responsibility for the October 13.1990 bloodshed?
Wasn’t General Aoun himself the source of the comment that the only time Lahoud deplored the Syrian shelling on Beirut was when the bombs reached the “Bain
Militaire” denying Lahoud his joy of swimming (his day at the beach).
Didn’t Aoun recount dozens of times mockingly to many of his daily phone callers his description by the late Lebanese leader Raymond Edde of Lahoud at his appointment by the Syrian late president Hafez Assad as “Half-brained, half-sleeves, and half-tongue?”
Who does not recall the writings of General Aoun and many of us, his supporters including myself, about Lahoud’s pleasure trip to Monte Carlo, moneys, yacht, and expenses?
I do not believe that General Aoun forgot how much he laid it on Lahoud in editorials, speeches, news releases, and conversations (all documented) in terms
of criminal responsibility for covering the October 13, 1990 crime.
Wasn’t General Aoun the one who kept criticizing Lahoud for 16 years and accused him of dressing like a women to cross the National Museum front into West Beirut in 1990 to join the Syrians who appointed him Lebanon's Army Commander, the President of the Republic, and renewed his term despite nationwide opposition and warnings, including and ahead of all, our General Aoun?
Has anyone forgotten General Aoun's prophecy in this matter: “If Lahoud's illegally extended term is renewed, then he will not finish it.” One wonders, our General has himself broken such prophecy, wonder why?
“Therefore, we had to meet you, as usual, to be inspired by your solid will and certain determination, because we, and in every crucial phase of our national life, we make our decisions inspired by you, free Lebanese, not from the guardians and rulers, and away from personal interests and inducements, as we reject any pressure regardless of its strength, especially the one that carries the seeds of subversion. (from General Aoun's speech on October 15, 2006).
I personally wonder, does General Aoun have any sincerity left so that the
Lebanese people believe what he said in his October 13, 2006 speech?
That matter is left to the awareness and comprehension of the Lebanese people.
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)
LCCC Web Site http://www.10452lccc.com
CLHRF Website http://www.clhrf.com
*The lccc is a Federal umbrella for the following nonprofit municipal, provincial and federal Canadian registered groups:
Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation, (CLHRF), Canadian Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement (FPM-Canada), Phoenician Club of Mississauga (PCOM),/Canadian Phoenician Community Services Club (CPCSC),Canadian Lebanese Christian Heritage Club (CLCHC),World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU)-Canadian Chapter.
M.B: The above editorial is Part II in "Your General in Rabiah, Mine in Paris series)