By: Elias Bejjani
There are only few days that separate us from the new millennium. It now definite that the world and man will survive beyond year two thousand. The old predictions that the world will come to its end by year 2000 have proved to be false. Accordingly Man on earth will continue until Almighty God decides on the Resurrection Day when His Son, Jesus will return for the Judgment Day.
How man is going to enter the new millennium after he has almost destroyed the earth and its atmospheric resources, his main requirements for survival.? In fact he has left very little of the earths resources not destroyed and turned it into a place not fully suitable for life. He has already demolished the woods, polluted the air, soil and atmosphere. He even cracked the ozone layer with his poisons and invented massive destructive weapons.
The most distressing destruction that man has committed during the last one hundred years has targeted mainly his fellow man, the poor and weak. It affected badly his principles, behavior, beliefs, social structure, and humane concepts. These demoralizing ailments have made man a merciless creature with no justice in his heart towards the poor and weak; he even persecutes them in their faith, freedom and rights.
Mr. Zibengnio Bringenski, in his book "loose restraints" has stated that the number of human victims during the twentieth century wars (world, regional and internal) is estimated at 187 million individuals. My country Lebanon whose population is less then three and a half million has lost 3000 thousand victims during the war of others on its soil since 1975. Earlier at the end of the nineteenth century its mountainous inhabitants were exposed to a Turkish holocaust (Ottomans), a cruel massacre in which one third of their population were killed. In addition, thousands suffered crippling war injuries and many others were forced to emigrate.
The Lebanese people have suffered great injustice during the last 100 years, more then any other people in the world. The most traumatic injustice that was brutally inflicted on them came from those who claim to be their brothers (Syrians and Palestinians). This frustrating fact poses other questions:
Is Lebanon, as an independent State that has a deeply rooted history, a distinguishable identity, a great civilization and a remarkable heritage viable for life in the new millennium?
Will the Lebanese in the new millennium be able to protect Lebanons immense fortune inherited from their great ancestors and continue to carry the torch of survival, dignity, sovereignty and independence?
Our great ancestors established the unique Lebanese nation with sacrifices, martyrdom, hard-work, faith and perseverance. A country that has survived 6000 years despite all kinds of challenges. They never lost hope, compromised their convictions, surrendered for an invader or once prioritized their personal interests over those of the Lebanese nation.
Lebanon through its 6000 years of history has given to the whole world and humanity with unlimited generosity. The Lebanese taught the world navigation gave them the first alphabet, built the mightiest holy temple of King Solomon in Jerusalem etc. At the same time the world abandoned Lebanon every time it needed help and support. Despite this bitter reality, the contemporary Lebanese fought bravely since 1975 and defended courageously their nation and its independence. They fought both brutal enemies and those who claim their brotherhood.
A few days before we all enter the new millennium, huge frantic exaggerated preparations are taking place all over the world. In this context every individual is definitely holding dear to his heart and memories certain, bitter and pleasant, experiences from past years and a set of hopes and wishes. I have spent most of my life outside my mother country, Lebanon, a reality that made me continuously feel that a part of me is missing. This feeling definitely will remain as is, in the new millennium with an unshakable faith in the righteousness of Lebanons cause and its ultimate victory. At the same time I wonder what Lebanon we are going to hand over to our children? And will this Lebanon be able to survive and face the ongoing challenges and hardships?
The past experience that has already been carved in my heart, soul and mind during the last 54 years of my age are related to two set of events.
The first revolves around the victorious holy Lebanese years of patriotic authentic struggle lead by Sheik Bachir Gomayel in the seventies and early eighties. An era marked with a strong re-emergence of Lebanons distinguishable identity, dignity, history, culture, pluralism, tolerance, human rights and Lebanons right in sovereignty and independence. I can never forget the day Sheik Bachir was viciously assassinated with an elite of his assistants. The disasters, displacement, wars, and betrayal of his dream and the martyrs blood that followed the crime will stay vivid in my mind as long as I live. Bachirs era was a golden one in Lebanons contemporary history that will never be forgotten.
The second unforgettable event focuses on the emergence of General Aoun, the historic leader, carrying courageously the liberation, strong will and dignity torch in 1988. We were fascinated by his natural leadership qualities, sensitivity, transparency, integrity, intelligence and spontaneity that made him gain the support of the majority of the Lebanese people. I can still see the historic remarkable scene of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese from all regions and all denominations surrounding the presidential palace at Baabda, chanting national songs, dancing, joyful and expressing freely and authentically their full support to the leader. During Aouns reign (1988-1990) Baabda Palace became a home for all the Lebanese, and for the first time in Lebanons contemporary history the people felt that the regime was for them and that they were a part of it.
I will also never forget how the whole world conspired against us, the Lebanese people, and aborted the fulfillment of our national dream twice. Once when Sheik Bachir was assassinated and then when the USA, Israel and European and regional countries gave Syria their blessings to invade our free regions, murder our patriots and oust our legitimate government of General Michel Aoun. Lebanon, because of this conspiracy is now suffering brutal Syrian (90% of the country) and Israeli (10%) occupation under which the Lebanese are treated in their own country as slaves and strangers.
Like any other Lebanese patriots, and activists who believe strongly in the 10452 km square, independent, sovereign, unique, multi-cultural, free Lebanon concept, I will never lose my faith in myself, in my people, or in Lebanons legitimate rights. We Lebanese in occupied Lebanon and in Diaspora have all potentials and capabilities needed to liberate our beloved country and to make it again after liberation an oasis for freedoms, tolerance, coexistence and democracy. We will never forget our martyrs who offered themselves happily on Lebanons altar all through the 6000 years, so we can live a decent life with full respect and dignity in a free independent, sovereign country.
I am entering the new millennium with millions of patriotic Lebanese with an unshakable faith in Lebanons ultimate victory and its just and righteous cause. We will carry with us a set of solid Lebanese convictions and beliefs inherited from our great ancestors, an optimistic look on Lebanons future, a set of feelings including pain, sorrow, anger, and awareness of past traumatic national experience. We will carry with us into the second millennium a solid faith in Lebanon, its just cause and the hope for its liberation with the courage to always witness for the truth and fight for it.
Long Live Free Lebanon