Salute To Walid Achkar
By: Elias Bejjani

In occupied Lebanon: the state of law and institutions, as alleged by the appointed President, General Lahoud; there is no respect for institutions, law or people. At the present time, occupied Lebanon is a state of puppet officials and collaborators who infringe continuously on peoples’ dignity, properties, private lives, beliefs and rights. They abide by no law, and there is no actual existence for a fair judicial system under their reign. People are treated like slaves and deprived of all their basic human rights.

This slave-like status has been imposed on the Lebanese since 1990, since Syria invaded its free regions, ousted its legitimate government and installed a bunch of mercenary official puppets against the peoples’ wishes. These puppets are the masks that Syria uses to steal Lebanon’s resources, oppress its people, destroy their history, confiscate their freedoms and force them to emigrate. The Beirut regime is a mere mercenary dictatorship serving the Syrian occupiers’ interests, and not those of Lebanese. They humiliate, intimidate and persecute their citizens, including youth and students because they expect everybody in the country to be like them, subservient, conscienceless, traitors and collaborators.

On December 4,1999, in the alleged state of law and institutions, 250 military police personnel waged a brutal attack against 60 peaceful university students using batons and machinegun butts. Thirty students were badly injured, one of them was a female who was injured seriously. The students were demonstrating peacefully in front of a detention center in East Beirut suburb (Sein El-Fiel) where their colleague, Walid Achkar, was arbitrarily detained. They carried candles, chanted patriotic songs and called on the officials to release Mr. Achkar. Mr. Achkar was arrested arbitrarily at the Balamond University, in south Lebanon on December 2,1999, without any legal reasons.

Why were the students assaulted, what crime did they commit, and what laws did they break? Their actions were fully legitimate as were their demands. They wanted the authorities to release Mr. Achkar, because he was not a criminal, a drug trafficker or a traitor. He is a patriot, a decent young man, an activist in the Free Patriotic Movement Students’ Committee. His crime in the eyes of the regime lies in his deep, genuine love of Lebanon and in his courageous stance with regards to the withdrawal of foreign troops. He struggles peacefully so that his country reclaims its confiscated independence, and his people can live in milieus of democracy, freedom and sovereignty.

What regime assaults peaceful students and infringes on their rights and abide by no law? Definitely it is a regime alienated from its people and does not represent their hopes or aspirations. This is a regime that represents the Syrian occupier, not the Lebanese people. It is time for the Lebanese who still delude themselves and advocate for the Lahoud installed regime to wake up and see what is going on around them.

Walid Achkar, the student and patriot activist, was kidnapped by security forces from the premises of the Balamand University, North Lebanon. He was transferred blindfolded to a detention center, without any legal basis. While in detention he was deprived from all his rights including the right of visitation and access to a lawyer. He was beaten brutally, tortured, humiliated and intimidated.

Why? What was his crime?
The only crime is his affiliation to the Patriotic Free Movement, that calls for a free independent, sovereign country with no foreign troops. Walid Achkar was released on December 6,1999, after all false charges were dropped. In an interview with "Assafir newspaper" published on December 8,1999, Walid described his horrible detention experiences as follows: "After accusations and numerous slaps on the face, I was beaten mercilessly without knowing why, I suffered a great deal of pain. They ordered me to stand on one foot motionless, or otherwise they threatened to beat me on that foot. While standing on one foot, they were eating seeds and throwing it over my head. They continued, verbally abusing and insulting me. They asked me in a sarcastic manner, who do I like Netanyahoo or Barak, and when I replied neither of them, they said: You are a liar". I was detained with twenty other individuals in a very small room (with an area of 20 square meters). They kept bringing more and more detainees till we became by the end of the day, seventy-five. The room had no proper ventilation and hygienically was not well maintained." We wonder if this is the right way to deal with students?

What actually scared and angered the Beirut regime and the Syrian occupier at the same time, was the unanimous support Mr. Achkar and the assaulted students got from the majority of Lebanon’s university students. Peaceful sit-in protests took place in all Lebanon’s Universities. Students from all political affiliations and religious denominations participated actively in the sit-ins and called openly on the regime to respect human rights and abide by the constitution. Meanwhile Lebanese in Diaspora sent tens of letters to officials in their countries, UN, Human Rights organizations and world –wide influential politicians condemning these atrocities and called on them to intervene and secure the safe release of Mr. Achkar.

Once again, Lebanon’s students proved to be the live conscience of their great country, the voice of their oppressed people and the guardians of independence and sovereignty. They proved to the whole world, they worship Lebanon and honor its multi-culturalism, pluralism, coexistence and distinguishable identity. They said loudly to the Beirut regime: " NO, NO, NO, you are not allowed to infringe on our rights, freedom of speech or patriotic beliefs, Lebanon and freedom are one entity, and will stay so. They stood tall like Lebanon’s cedars, defended their colleague Mr. Achkar, and the other students, they practiced what they preach.

We wonder if carrying candles, chanting national songs and calling for the respect of human rights is a crime in the eyes of Beirut’s regime?

We wonder if the students have threatened in their peaceful sit in the Syrian imposed Syrian-Lebanese peace track unity and the so-called one fate of the two countries?

We wonder why Security Forces are lions and brutal in confronting peaceful citizens or students defending their rights and calling for withdrawal of foreign troops and reclamation of independence and sovereignty?

We wonder why the same forces retreat and lose their courage when confronting criminals, outlaws, drug traffickers and thieves?

We wonder why Security Forces are stationed in the vicinity of many" Security Islands" controlled by foreign and local militias, and not allowed to force law inside them? The whole world is aware that there is no authority for the Lebanese regime inside any of these "Security islands" that are an oasis for local and international criminals and Mafiosi?

We salute Mr. Walid Achkar, the role model for Lebanon’s youth. He represents the youth who carry Lebanon’s torch of dignity, courage, faith, resistance and perseverance. At the same time we hail all Lebanon’s University students and youth for their brave stance in witnessing for the truth and defending freedom, independence, dignity and democracy. We are definitely sure, Lebanon’s future is going to be in good hands, the hands of our brave youth, the new generation. They will safeguard and defend all the pillars that made Lebanon, the 6000 years of history and civilization a unique, holy, distinguishable country.

History has proven again and again that Lebanon is bigger then to be swallowed and smaller then to be partitioned. History also teaches us that all invaders and tyrants who deluded their sick minds into thinking that the Lebanese could be tamed were disappointed, and forced to retreat in defeat and with humiliation. The fate of the current occupiers would not be different and the dawn of Lebanon will shine soon.

Lebanon, the 10452-km square meter, independent nation, will survive and remain an oasis for democracy and freedoms till the Day of Judgment and may be long after that.
Long Live our students
Long Live Free Lebanon