Arab culture 'under attack from West in name of democracy'
By Adnan El-Ghoul
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Adnan El-Ghoul-Daily Star staff

BEIRUT: A National Conference to Support the Resistance endorsed on Friday the option to resist and confront the "American-Israeli schemes against Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East."

The conference, organized by several civil societies at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut, emphasized the need to promote the culture of resistance and reinforce society's immunity to meet the current challenges facing Lebanon.

In effect, the conference president, Yehya Ghaddar, was saying that Lebanon should use its intellectual heritage and not its fists to beat off the challenges facing the country.

"Reinforcing our immunity must become a strategic choice because Lebanon is put again on the agenda of invaders who want to change our culture, politics and rob our resources in the name of democratization following devious road maps," said Ghaddar.

The Democratic Dialogue Forum, the Cultural Committees Gathering in Lebanon and the Permanent Conference to Confront the Zionist Cultural Invasion called on intellectuals and social activists to come up with a strategic plan to consolidate the country's unity and prepare society to face threats from outside.

Many national political and religious figures or their representatives attended the meeting, including representatives of President Emile Lahoud, Speaker Nabih Berri, the Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir and the Leader of the Free Patriotic Movement Michel Aoun. Premier Fouad Siniora was not represented.

Other politicians attending the meeting included former Prime Minister Salim Hoss, the head of the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc MP Mohammad Raad and other MPs and former ministers. The Conference observed that the priorities of the "national struggle" must include realizing a true political and administrative reform, abolishing the sectarian system and creating legitimate representation of the people in all state institutions.

Speakers read several work papers tackling intellectual and political topics related to the objectives of the conference. One study suggested a "clear definition" of terrorism and tried to draw a legal distinction between resistance movements and terrorist organizations.

On the media level, another paper offered its view on how the Zionist and the Americans organize their media campaigns with the aim of defeating the Arab masses culturally and psychologically through "establishing and financing nongovernmental organizations and political and cultural associations capable of penetrating society's immunity and will to resist."

On the political level, the participants discussed the characteristics of the New World System, which they believe is based on the racist principles of confrontation with the civilizations that describe Arab culture as aggressive and violent, based on an "alleged Islamic fundamentalism."

"The Americans," according to the conference, "seek to reconstruct the Middle East and create a new political and demographic change, dividing the people into small states based on sectarianism and ethnic groups."

Other speakers concentrated on the role of culture in consolidating the will to resist and the role of Lebanese expatriates in promoting Arab causes in the countries to which they had emigrated.

In addition to encouraging cultural resistance, one speaker emphasized the need to support the Lebanese resistance and appreciate its valued contribution in liberating the country from Israeli occupation, recommending "protection of the resistance as long as there is an Israeli threat against the country."