Yes to Solidarity, But the Truth Must be Told
By: Ali Hamadeh
Translated from Arabic by Dr. Joseph Hitti

 An-Nahar, July 18, 2006

The open war in Lebanon between Hezbollah and Israel will ultimately lead, if it is not quickly stopped, to the destruction of Lebanon on the heads of the Lebanese who have become hostages of a cycle of violence between two regional wills that are dueling without end in sight, both in time and geography.
To this day, there is no place for diplomacy in this war that has taken the future of Lebanon hostage on the altar of a regional conflict whose outcome will not be in the interests of national unity or civil peace. When visions and choices differ to the point that one party allows itself the freedom to take an entire country into a destructive and imbalanced war for no convincing reason – the liberation of 3 prisoners from Israeli jails does not justify the destruction of Lebanon – the future of the country becomes wholly under question.
These words do not aim at opening an internal political debate and competition at a time when the people of Lebanon is being slaughtered from its south to its north. The intent is to assert, first and foremost, that if this period is one for solidarity – which it is – and a period for unity in facing the Israeli aggression that has transcended the issue of the two soldiers to become an exercise in excessive insanity in the use of force, we still have to tell the truth. The truth is in candidly telling Hezbollah, like Prime Minister Fouad Siniora indirectly did in his address to the Lebanese people that the State should be the final reference for all the Lebanese, and that it alone must own the decision of war and peace. The State must spread its authority over every inch of the national soil without any partner, be it Lebanese or foreign.
And if, as we said, this is a period of solidarity, this should not exonerate Hezbollah from a coming accountability to which it must be held after the guns fall silent for what happened and for the consequences of its monopolizing the decision that implicated and implicates the fate of our country, all of us together, the future of our children and the safety of the nation.  Neither the situational joy of rockets falling on Haifa and beyond Haifa and far far beyond Haifa will protect the country from the systematic destruction carried out by the Israelis over the past 6 days, nor the supportive utterances of some of the demagogical one-upmanship Arabs, such as the Syrian regime and others, or of Iran watching Lebanon burn from a distance, will suffice to draw our attention or convince us that the decision of war, into which an organization with a domestic façade but a regional agenda was dragged, will ultimately achieve the delivery of justice.
The fact is that today we are alone in this open war. For the Arabs, through the Europeans and on to the Big Eight gathered until yesterday in St. Petersburg, they all constitute a big circle that supports the Israeli war and gives it a sufficient political and time window to try and impose new facts on the ground.
In the end, we have to say that nothing will be the same after July 12. One era is over, and a new era has begun. In any case, no single Lebanese party will be able from this day forward to impose its private – untouchable by the State – agenda over its other partners in the nation because the result, as we see it today, is destruction, and destruction, then some more destruction.
It is not important that rockets fly over the Israeli settlements and for the masses to cheer and celebrate with fireworks. What is important is that we spare our country wars that take us nowhere in the end but to the destruction of our country over everyone’s head, and there is no difference here between the masses of Hezbollah and the rest of the Lebanese masses. The time has come to recognize the preeminence of the State over everyone, even over the rifle, be it sacred or not.