Free Patriotic Movement Reply on Bill Rummell's lecture on Syria
Free Patriotic Movement
We read with big consternation excerpts of your speech yesterday in the British Parliament, published in todays edition, July 4th, 2003, of the Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq-el-Awsat in London.
Unfortunately, your words show that you are not sufficiently aware of the situation in Syria as well as in Lebanon, which is regrettable for a high ranking responsible in the British government like you. Syria is subject since 1963 to successive dictatorships that compete in number of mass graves, political assassinations, mass jailing of political opponents, unique party and doctrine rule, state-controlled and closed economical system, active support of terrorist organizations; a governing way that continues relentlessly since decades and of which Bashar el Assad ensures the perpetuity. The disillusion of the Damascus Spring that he announced upon his democratic accession to office in 2000 is a pertinent reminder.
More outraging is your easiness to qualify Syrian occupation of Lebanon as a distortion of the truth and to say, Lebanon enjoys lots of freedom of expression and democracy. Such talk is completely inaccurate and disguised whereas our country has been occupied, violated and ravished by the Syrian army since 27 years now.
The memory of thousands of our martyrs fallen under Syrian fire, the hundreds of political assassinations, the continuing tears of hundreds of mothers crying their sons prisoners in Syrian jails, the desperation of hundreds of thousands of young emigrants leaving their home country, the wounds of students savagely beaten and arrested at each demonstration attempt in the streets of Beirut, the closure of the Opposition television, MTV, the forging of popular elections, the Syrian method of forming governments and designation of Presidents, the manipulated justice, are only some examples to shed light on the real consequences of Syrian occupation of Lebanon and provide you with valuable information that you need in order to properly address such important and serious issues related to the existence and well-being of countries and peoples.
We regret your lack of knowledge on this subject but we are confident that, when in possession of the truth, the Minister of one of the most ancient democracies in the world, will not hesitate to stand beside the Lebanese and Syrian peoples against one of the worst regimes still existing on the planet.
Link to the debate: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/cm030702/halltext/30702h05.htm#30702h05_head0
I have just finished reading the transcript of the House of Commons Hansard debates dated July 2. As a Lebanese Citizen who has been exiled from my own land because of Syrian occupation, I am nauseated to find that the British parliament is having a pleasant nonchalant debate about one of the most repressive regimes in the world. As an American citizen (I am a dual national) as well, I find it equally horrific to see that not only are you promoting but also endorsing cooperation with the Syrian government.
For the record, Lebanon is the only country in the world with a proven democratic constitution that has been occupied by a foreign nation(Syria) for the past 27 years. I would also like to point out that Syria, besides its violent encroachment of Lebanese sovereignty, is one of the most openly outspoken supporters of terrorism.
Furthermore, I would like to show you that most; if not all of the information expounded by Mr. Howarth is inaccurate at best. It does not concern me that England has trade with Syria, although I find it appalling that any democratic government that supports human rights would want to help a regime such as this, survive.
It is evident that you are not aware of the reality of human rights violations in Syria, neither against their own nationals nor towards foreign nationals and particularly Lebanese citizens.
I doubt any of you had to worry about being picked up off the streets by Syrian security apparatus, Ghosts or their counterparts, for the simple reason that you expressed an opinion that is anti-Syria. I doubt any of you have had to worry about their fingernails being pulled from their beds or their testicles electrocuted or their bodies beaten inside rubber tires. I doubt any of you have had to worry about being incarcerated for decades without any opportunity of contact with your family. I doubt any of you have thought of ways to escape your own country because of the fear and terror of being detained.
And still some of you speak of President Bashar as if he were a gentleman deserving of a knighthood. I quote from your debate:
This issue was not referred to in the debate, but is worth highlighting. Some would argue that the Syrians occupy Lebanon and that the Lebanese Government are merely puppets of the Syrian Government. I think that that is a distortion of the truth. Lebanon has a thriving free market, a large measure of freedom of expression and a functioning, albeit idiosyncratic, democracy.
What does this mean? I must say this is a frightening statement. Are you aware of the severe repression and beating of Lebanese students who have attempted to protest Syrian occupation? Are you aware of the political assassinations of Lebanese presidents and political figures conducted by Syria to quell democracy? Are you aware that over 10,000 citizens in a population of 3.5 million attempt to leave the country every month because of lack of political stability, human rights and economic health. One million Syrian workers vacuum over 10 million dollars a day in income back into Syria. Lebanon is a country that has been devoured. Every source of revenue has been tapped by Syria. 40% of custom duties at our ports are funnelled off to Syria. Most of our water that stems from our rivers is being siphoned off. Even our casino must pay a huge portion of its profits to Syria. The depth and breath of this Rape of a peaceful democratic country is a crime that deserves mention, It deserves action. It deserves retribution.
I cannot even begin to explain how misguided your entire debate is. I cannot begin to show you how many innocent people have disappeared never to be heard from again. I cannot begin to make you understand the tragedy happening before your eyes. It is a disgrace and a shame that anyone of your representatives could be misled by a warm Syrian welcome and a pathetic ruse of closing an Islamic Jihad and Hamas office , into thinking that this is a regime that wants to change.
· I will not even venture into the issue of Hizbullah and the amour present between your sympathetic Bashar el Assad and Hassan Nassrallah. Do you honestly believe for a millisecond that Syria is not the enthusiastic babysitter of this terrorist monster child. I cannot help but get frustrated and annoyed and a little sarcastic. You cannot understand my view unless 200,000 of your countrymen have died for the greed of one nation: Syria. The loss of life in the past quarter of a century is staggering and the reasons are not because of ethnic or religious differences. Contrary to popular belief, Lebanon did not have a civil war to begin with. Lebanon was saddled with militant Palestinians and a Syrian occupation. I wonder what would happen to any nation in the world with that kind of luck.
· Instead of cultivating democracy in the world, you are actively engaging a repressor of freedom. Instead of recognizing Lebanons plight and fighting to change it, you are helping with its slow demise. Instead of showing the world that some Arabic speaking Middle easterners are really pro-democratic and liberal, you are an abettor in the perversion of an entire people. Instead of sowing the seeds of hope, you are depriving them of water.
· Need I remind you that the destruction of Lebanon at the encouragement of Syrian occupation, was the embryo out of which the plague known as suicide bombings originated. It was the breeding ground of Islamic fundamentalism, It was the laboratory that discovered car bombs, truck bombs, suicide bombers, and last but not least, plane hijacking. It was in simple terms, the birthplace of the terrorist.
How can people still be blind to this predicament, to this mistake, to this injustice?
Lebanon should be a prosperous oasis as it once was, an example of what the United Kingdom would like to see happen in the Arab world. That would be a topic worthy of discussion in the British Parliament, not continued blindness to facts.
In any event, I would hope that my letter can open an eye or with luck, maybe two. One should always remember that terrorists cannot and should not be appeased. Syria, dear sir, is the Mother Goose of terrorism.