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By: Elias Bejjani

We wish our national convictions would have allowed us to agree with those who hailed General Lahoud’s speech at the Francophone conference held last month at Moncton, Canada. Also we wish our patriotic conscience had allowed us to be among the few Canadian-Lebanese community members who welcomed Lahoud and met with him in Moncton.

General Lahoud heads a Syrian-appointed puppet regime that has forced us to immigrate and take refuge in Canada and other countries. He accepted the Syrian occupational status-quo forced on Lebanon and helped extensively to maintain and protect it from day one. Ten years ago, Lahoud betrayed his military oath and the Lebanese when he accepted his Syrian appointment as Army commander, and nine months ago committed the same crime when he accepted his Syrian appointment as president. General Lahoud is a Lebanese who is actively destroying Lebanon’s history, identity, culture, independence and sovereignty.

Lahoud’s speech at Moncton was Syrian more then Lebanese in both content and flavor: he addressed the Syrian concerns, not those of Lebanon. Lahoud said: “The Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon and Western Bekaa region would not lead to a lasting peace in the middle East if it did not coincide with a simultaneous Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan Heights. Yes Lahoud called for the implementation of the UN resolution 425, but advocated for the Syrian explanation for the resolution that makes it void of its international legitimacy. He also went to the extreme and tied the fate of the occupied Lebanese Southern and Bekaa regions to an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights up till the 4th of July 1976 demarcation border-lines. He also repeated several times, in a disgusting manner, his regime’s everyday rosary Syrian prayers …the united fate of the Syrian-Lebanese negotiation tracks.

General Lahoud pledged in his presidential oath to protect and safeguard Lebanon’s soil, unity, independence and integrity. In his Moncton speech he boldly and in front of representatives of 53 countries betrayed his oath. He tied the fate of his country’s land to that of another country. He gave priority to the liberation of the Syrian Golan Heights over that of his own country (South and Western Bekaa). He refused the Israeli withdrawal from a Lebanese occupied land and called for its withdrawal from a non-Lebanese one. He also committed a legal penalty by infringing on the UN resolution 425, related to South Lebanon, and tied it to the two UN resolutions, 242 and 338 related to the Syrian Golan Heights. Lebanon did not take any part in the 1976 Arab-Israeli war that lead to these two resolutions and accordingly are not related to its occupied land. General Lahoud committed a treason act by confusing the three resolutions with each other and did not serve Lebanon’s national interest

General Lahoud’s stance in tying the Lebanese-Israeli peace negotiation tracks with Israel, is a mere mockery and a bold treacherous act. As instructed by Syria Lahoud is advocating for a simultaneously Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon, Western Bekaa and Golan Heights. Meanwhile the majority of the Lebanese are willing happily not to sign any final peace treaty with Israel before Syria does so, but strongly oppose tying the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon to that from the Syrian Golan Heights.

We decided to ignore the patriotic obligation of welcoming General Lahoud in Canada during the Francophone Conference due to many legitimate reasons; the following are some of them.

1-He was appointed by the Syrian dictator, not elected by the Lebanese people or their legitimate representatives.

2-His performance indicates clearly that he does not believe in or honor the significant Lebanese identity, culture or history.

3-In his presidential oath he incriminated the patriotic Lebanese and made them accountable for the 17 years war of others on their country. He alleged the Syrians were the victims, not the aggressors.

4-He betrayed thousands of Lebanese martyrs and crippled citizens who fought for years to force the Syrians out of their country, he tagged them as aggressors.

5-He is turning a blind eye on hundreds of Lebanese detainees held arbitrarily in the Syria’s notorious Nazi-like jails without trials or specific charges.

6-He tied the fate of the occupied South and Western Bekaa Lebanese regions with that of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. He is keeping the South frontier burning while the Golan is tranquil.

7-He betrayed the South Lebanon residents and exposed them to mockeries of unfair trials.

8-He turns a blind eye on the illegal presence of one and half million Syrian workers forcing the Lebanese to immigrate and committing all kinds of crimes and atrocities.

9-He took no action to release Lebanese leaders and citizens imprisoned arbitrarily. He declined to facilitate a safe and dignified return of patriotic leaders forced into exile.

10-He is doing nothing to end the odd security status quo of many Lebanese “security islands” including Palestinian camps that fall outside the control of the state or its security forces.

11- He is not calling on the Syrian Army to withdraw from Lebanon, although Lebanon ‘s Army is more then capable to assume its national security role on all regions of the country.

12-He is betraying the Lebanese Diaspora by depriving its members of their legitimate right in the Lebanese citizenship through mockery legislations.

For all of the above and for hundreds of many other reasons related to atrocities in fields of human rights, culture, history, economy, demography, environment, agriculture, industry etc., we could not welcome General Lahoud in Canada. We will be more than happy to welcome any Lebanese official when we feel he is actually Lebanese in heart, spirit and mind. We differentiate completely between the Lebanese hospitality, which is a bright tradition in our heritage, and between flattering and cajoling an official who is betraying his people and hiding behind a patriotic military mask.
Long Live Free Lebanon