10 November 2020
The Lebanese Diaspora
My dear fellow Lebanese and concerned citizens,
The World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) officially declares Lebanon as an occupied country; and calls for the formation of an expatriate alliance to commence the peaceful liberation of this nation, besieged by the treachery and the tyranny of a foreign force, acting through its proxy, Hezbollah.
The WLCU, relying on its global and societal responsibilities as a sixty (60) year old expatriate, non-governmental organisation is, as it modestly sees itself, a conscientious movement that is committed to the overseeing of Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence.
It views its responsibility through a persistent presence throughout the Diaspora together with the governments of nations of residence and prides itself on a populace comprising a membership that seeks to defend Lebanon’s rights to freedom and independence and to ensure she remains sovereign and free.
The WLCU also seeks to defend the rights of Lebanese residents and expatriates who seek to live a free and dignified life under the rule of law and in a society that has, as its cornerstone, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which Lebanon proudly participated in the drafting of that solemn consensus of what constitutes the fundamental precepts of a free, fair and open society.
The ruling authorities – such as they are and such is their “rule” – continue to ignore the legitimate demands of the Lebanese people and after due and proper assessment, with the effluxion of time as has occurred and, in particular, to what has beset and currently besieges Lebanon, commencing from the Revolution and throughout the period therefrom, including the crisis with the explosion in the Port of Beirut, necessitates that the WLCU declares the following:
- The Lebanese Revolution, which began on 17 October 2019, to denounce corruption, remains the focus of our vision of Lebanon’s bitter reality and the flame that illuminates our expatriate struggle. If the Corona Pandemic, the economic and financial collapse that has both impoverished the Lebanese populace and emasculated the Lebanese economy, together with the brutal repression and the fabrication of files in the unjust, arbitrary and utterly capricious detention of revolutionaries, whose arrest and detention have been determined as “legitimate steps” to repress and to infiltrate those deemed to be “troublemakers” and thereby spoil the revolution in tarnishing its image – it has not thwarted their collective and individual resolve. If so, how can we then stand by and desert our people? If all of this has failed to temper the glare of a popular movement, let it be known that this Revolution has strongly pleaded its case, domestically and globally, as to the satisfaction of the existence of a corrupt regime that will not benefit from nor take any credence, in terms of its malevolent and menacing attitude insofar as it has sought to maliciously circumvent those who dare to protest for what is just and right and thereby seek to incarcerate them and persecute them in order to compel them to prove their innocence. In all of this we shall not stand mute or silently as witnesses to the national disgrace playing out before our eyes.
- The alliance in this system of corruption is clear in the way its so-called “leaders” have undertaken a gross deformation of the French initiative to regain their quota system, despite their political differences. Corruption is what brought them together and it is corruption that effectively coalesces them in this compact of illicit and ill-gotten gain. They have distributed amongst themselves the stolen money of the Lebanese people, its residents and the expatriates who have invested in Lebanon, together with the taxpayers and their contributions to the fiscal wealth of the nation, apart from and in addition to the grants and loans given by international financial institutions on the solemn fiduciary trust that they would be utilised for the benefit of the nation and its people. They have formed alliances that effectively resemble no more than pieces on a domino board, and as such suffer and will suffer the fate of any entity that cannot stand and/or withstand the allegations that are justly mounted against them; like dominos, they will surely fall, each on top of the other, cascading into a chasm, which is their just desert.
- If the Syrian occupation was an important element in creating this corrupt system, which was to be at the service of the Syrian and Lebanese followers, it was the Syrian withdrawal which initially gave a glimmer of hope for reform. Sadly and unfortunately, the Lebanese have failed to take and seize the opportunity, both locally and internationally, to restore their independence. Rather, the Syrian occupation was substituted by the more malicious Iranian occupation because it concealed and carried with it the pernicious panoply of “patriotic” slogans, such as the resistance against Israel by Hezbollah and that it was a necessary tool for reaction and for the taking of military action, insofar as the Lebanese Army was seen to be without full force and effect. Equally, the demise of the Republic was attended to and more importantly compromised by the entry into the legislature of Hezbollah-elected members of Parliament who have neither served nor for that matter held true to their oaths of office to uphold the sovereignty of Lebanon and the democratic ideals in response to which they were purportedly elected. In that regard, the legislature has become both a “lame duck” and nothing more than a cypher for the corrupt conduct that percolates throughout Lebanon in all facets of government.
- In order for Iran to dominate Lebanon, it has assigned its agents to protect, foster and harbour corruption and to give patronage to the corrupt, thereby enabling them to build a fictitious majority through elections that carry out what are purportedly free and open elections, but are nothing more than a mockery of mandate of the will of the people, insofar as it is the securing of votes and the election of representatives by the force of arms. These elections have legitimised the Iranian intervention and have turned Lebanon into a regional player, hostile towards the Arabs and the free world within which Lebanon is so situate. The national and political processes have been suppressed, the State has been subjected to a calculated collapse on all fronts, followed by the further imploding, within Lebanon, of the banking system and in turn, as it was placed at the service of the occupation and its forces, has ultimately become subject to international sanctions which have made a mockery of what was once a fine monetary system.
- Observing the reality of Lebanon today, it does not take long to realise that the hand of Iran has become a card that is akin to a means of “use it as it pleases”, so to speak, to adopt the lingua franca of the Lebanese language. The government does not control the decisions of war and peace and Lebanon has been plunged into armed conflict and regional interventions, in particular in Yemen, the Gulf States, Iraq and Syria. The authorities, rather than determine their own foreign policy, have become supplicants, dare we say satraps, submitting to the foreign policy and dictates of Iran and subordinating Lebanon’s national interests in security matters to those that deserve the attention of regional concern at the behest and under the direction of Iran. The best proof is the ongoing negotiations for border demarcation with Israel, initiated by the representatives of this occupation, in clear violation of the Constitution, clause 52, which assigns the President with constitutional responsibility to engage in such international pacts, in co-ordination with the government of the day under the leadership of the Prime Minister.
- It is only the Fourth Estate, namely the Press and the Media who (leaving aside the hired journalists and their bought journalistic influence), it is they who remain the monitors to the recognition of the martyrs who have to date been sacrificed on the altar of freedom, and they in turn mirror Lebanon as a nation which has grown up clinging to the freedom of opinion that will not be affected by the umbra of the dictatorships of the East that loom menacingly and seek to encapsulate the last vestiges of freedom that are within Lebanon’s borders. It is the freedom of the press that is the sole vestige of hope and while it remains as the sole vestige of hope, it is the free press and the media that have been to the forefront in propounding and propagating the Lebanese cause in the ongoing battle for transparency and independence.
- The Lebanese situation today is very similar to that of Lebanon before the adoption of UN Resolution 1559: In part, it provides and reads that Lebanon is occupied, its government is dominated, its dealings are either corrupt, her citizens are threatened, exiled or imprisoned. The detainees are not confined to the citizenry, but extend to the “power puppets”, be they exiled or imprisoned in their palace, home, or the headquarters of their political party, because effectively they are trapped with the system that forces you to choose between participation in power and be oblivious, equally, to regaling yourself in isolation; or even being threatened by the prospect of physical liquidation that we see in the entrenched apathy that exists within the political movements in Lebanon today and has effectively deprived them and in turn the country of the voice of dissent that every democracy so justly needs, to be able to be heard and to respond to, as and when the time for such expressions of dissent are both timely and necessitous. Lebanon is a pale imitation of democracy.
For the reasons mentioned above, which are just the tip of the iceberg, in the extent of our belief, there will be no change before the hands of annexation are lifted from around the throat of Lebanon, necessitating that we declare the following:
- The World Lebanese Cultural Union officially declares to the Lebanese and the Peoples and Countries of the Free World that Lebanon is an occupied country.
- We consider that the battle for the liberation of Lebanon has begun, a peaceful and civilised battle, through the solidarity of the Lebanese, with the pressure being brought to bear on the decision-making nations that are required to justly consider and respond to bring pressure to bear on the occupation of Lebanon as it currently stands. In short, the free world owes a just debt to the Lebanese to respond to them in their hour of need and the Diaspora are the agents for that message to be sent to their domestic governments, wherever they are so situate.
- The WLCU invites all expatriate individuals and organisations to join this alliance, especially in those decision-making countries. The World Lebanese Cultural Union has already begun a serious and more importantly meaningful dialogue with many in this regard. It is in the coalition of concern amongst all free-thinking and free-minded NGOs and organisations who value a free, fair and open Lebanon, that they join together and bring to the forefront of each of their domestic governments of the world in which the Diaspora are resident and to the United Nations General Assembly, the plight of Lebanon and the need for urgent intervention and resolution. In doing so, we call upon these individuals and the organisations equally within Lebanon to join this coalition which we seek to have as inclusive as is possible and to act collegiately; but also independently of any of the forces that are present within Lebanon that seek to repress and unjustly detain the individuals who seek to speak out against this repressive regime.
- We appeal to all expatriates who are free from this pernicious occupation; who are not tempted by self-interest, nor subject to intimidation, to join hands with us to free Lebanon from occupation, to join efforts towards the implementation of all international resolutions concerning Lebanon, as this liberation is the sole gateway to the salvation of modern Lebanon, to ensure the achievement and attainment of social justice for its children, to the redemption of the decisions of war and peace, to the attainment of institutions that are the beneficiaries of that achievement, in particular, an independent Judiciary, capable of fighting corruption and recovering the money looted by the corrupt political system and the cadres who have plundered Lebanon and have fed off her, as if she were Carrion Comfort.
- We further seek the restoration of Lebanon and her educational establishments; to mention not least, her Universities, Schools and her contribution to the arts which were once proudly places of high learning and fine scholarship as well as icons of cultural creativity.
- We further seek the rehabilitation of the Medical and Hospital System within Lebanon, that it be spared from the gangs of organised criminals that have looted, raped and pillaged the social system of health care that was once the pride of place within the Middle East.
- We seek the establishment of Lebanon as a neutral nation – a friend to all peoples and an active member in the Arab world regionally and throughout the world, as a Member of the United Nations and a Nation where all people can live within the harmony that is their just ideal, as was so reverently enshrined within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and which, in this its seventy-fifth (75th) year of the United Nations and its formation, has seen Lebanon fall from being a cornerstone to a mere piece of rubble at the hands of her political pariahs, under the puppet presidency of the executive and the limp lamentable legislature and the indifferent judiciary. All of them have paralysed Lebanon and for which they must bear the burden and in respect of which we must rise up to deliver our beloved homeland.
- The need for provision of public utilities is an equally deplorable feature of a society deprived of electricity, water and waste disposal – all basic integers of civilisation but denied to the Lebanese populace on account of the corruption that has ensured that the public purse has been rifled of the funds and their application in the public interest. In short, a national tragedy and travesty of immense and incredible criminality.
- The WLCU as an NGO member affiliated with the United Nations, and in particular the DPI-UN and an Accredited Member with ECOSOC, is equally sensitive to and bears responsibility that in being affiliated with the United Nations, we are responsible to commit to the due order and able government of the international community as best we can within our limited capacity. In that regard, the World Lebanese Cultural Union seeks and insists upon the implementation of all international resolutions concerning Lebanon, and in particular the demarcation and preservation of Lebanon’s physical borders both within the land and her maritime borders, whether they be with Israel and/or Syria, and that there be an end to the violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty. We further seek the safe return of the Palestinian refugees, that they be repatriated to their homeland in the State of Palestine, which is their right and just due in terms of their self-determination, and that they be allowed the safe return from Lebanon to Palestine in due course. In like terms, we seek the safe return of the displaced Syrian citizens who are and have been welcome to find refuge in Lebanon but are now entitled to be given the safe return from Lebanon to those safe zones within Syria as established under the international auspices of those agencies and the United Nations initiatives that should be followed and observed, ensuring their safe return. In all of this, Lebanon is entitled to a repatriation and a restoration of her self-determination.
In concluding and making the assessment on the Lebanese political personages who have brought Lebanon to her knees and bowed her head shamefully, we can do no better than to quote a real general – Julius Caesar – who said: “It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.” Long live Lebanon, and may God watch over and deliver her.
STEPHEN J. STANTON
World Lebanese Cultural Union