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Letter to US President George Bush: «The United States and the Christians of Lebanon»
(The Association of Lebanese Forces Veterans in the Diaspora)

With our steady history as the people of an uninterrupted 6,000-year old Lebanese civilization and heritage, and in our desire to preserve our identity and origins in this heritage, we are keenly aware of the dangers lurking against it and against its values and freedoms. Lebanon was, and will continue to be, an oasis of freedom and a mountain of pride for whose sake our ancestors never tired of struggling through the ages.

Lest others forget, the Christians of Lebanon have always been sovereign, free and secure about their destiny and their heritage, even under persecution and at the cost of martyrdom, carrying their message of the Gospel amidst the violence of the surrounding Near East, never wanting for themselves what they would not want for the other spiritual and cultural communities that make up the Lebanese nation. Never wanting to monopolize the building of their nation, they would rather build it together, defend it together and share in the shaping of its policies and the organization of its administration, all together, resident and émigrés, across the globe.

We address ourselves to the people and administration of the United States of America with whom we share democracy and its values, the values of liberty and one mankind, with the trust and hope that they will be more understanding and fair to our cause.  How can they not be, when Lebanese immigrants to these shores have contributed effectively to the building of the American nation in all cultural, economic and political arenas, when there are 22 cities and towns bearing the name of Lebanon in these United States, and when Lebanon co-authored the Charter of the Rights of Man of the United Nations, which both countries uphold.

We address ourselves to you to ask you to make your conscience the criterion by which you measure your actions because one ought never fail to be witness to the truth. We hold the conviction that you share some of the responsibility for what has become of Lebanon:

In 1969, when there was no effective action on your part to oppose the Cairo Accord which, under intense Arab pressure, handed the south of Lebanon to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

In 1975-1976, when the war against the existence of Lebanon began with the goal of replacing it with a substitute State for the Palestinians, your envoy Mr. Dean Brown proposed to then-Lebanese President Frangiyeh to deport the Christians of Lebanon and you turned a blind eye to the entry of the Syrian occupation forces into Lebanon. The Christian resistance rose to fight both the settlement of the Palestinians in Lebanon and to reassert the existence of the Lebanese nation.

In 1983, you stood idle watching the massacres of Christians in Mount Lebanon at the hands of Walid Jumblatt and his Palestinian and Syrian allies. You did not thing; you said nothing.

The revolution of March 14 did not start in 2005; it was always our objective, and the Cedars Revolution was the core of our cause. You stood against the War of Liberation of 1989 by the government of General Michel Aoun, and you actively promoted infighting between elements within the Christian enclave, then gave the green light to the Syrian Army to complete its invasion and occupation in 1990. We stood alone on behalf of liberty facing the treason of the Free World against us, undeterred by the enormity of the sacrifices we made. The Taef Agreement which you co-sponsored and promoted did not stipulate clearly and specifically a timetable for the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon; yet you knew full well the modus operandi of the Syrian regime and what it stood to do to our deeply-rooted democracy.

Yet, our faith never faltered despite the false promises and the bitterness of disappointment and treason. The Syria Accountability Act in the US Congress was soon followed by UN Security Council Resolution 1559, and the Syrian withdrawal came 15 years too late, but we saw a glimmer of hope. However our joy – and our dream – was incomplete, as the US Administration did not agree to postponing the legislative elections in 2005, not even briefly to allow a consensus to emerge on a new electoral law which would not be prejudicial to a genuine Christian representation in Parliament and which would replace the Ghazi Kanaan-Rafik Hariri Law, which had been tailored under the occupation to serve Syria’s interests and its agents in Lebanon.

The false democracy that emerged from those elections is a form of dictatorship which has marginalized the Christians and denied them a genuinely free role in rebuilding Lebanon’s democracy. The government’s policy vis-à-vis the Christians did not change as we transitioned from the Syrian occupation to the post-occupation period, and the true representatives of the Christians were denied a place in the government. Then we saw a revival of fundamentalist organizations that do not even recognize Lebanon as a nation, with the government issuing them permits and licenses, in violation of the Pact of Shared Coexistence. Moreover, it is commonly felt by the Christians that this government is deliberately engaged in a policy of economic neglect to starve the people and push them into emigration. Do not be their partners in our forced emigration.

How can you even consider contributing to the rebuilding of Lebanon in partnership with yesterday’s collaborators with the occupation? How can we feel reassured by the role you play when your allies are the enemies of the values we both believe in? Your allies are the same people who pilfered and squandered the Lebanese Treasury into a $50 billion debt. You extend a hand to the butcher of Mount Lebanon who practiced ethnic cleansing much like the butchers of the Balkans and whose hands are drenched with the blood of the innocent in Lebanon, while you drag the others to the International Court in The Hague for prosecution. You welcome them in the White House. Doesn’t that put a blemish on your credibility?What would the standing of people like them before American Justice?

For many years the United States took it upon itself to place Lebanon under Syrian tutelage, and today you are replacing this tutelage with Political Harirism, a product of the Wahhabi School that is ignorant of the principles of partnership and sharing and coexistence. You supported this Salafist school in Afghanistan in the so-called “Mujahideen for Freedom” against the Soviet Union, only to be the recipient of their gratitude with the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. What makes you think, erroneously, that your interests can only be secured by denying the Christians a sovereign and free existence? If there is a will, we know very well that the power of your diplomacy can reconcile masterfully and simultaneously between our free and dignified existence as authentic champions of Western values on one hand, and your vital interests in this East on the other.

The essence of our existence is rooted in a unified humanistic world civilization, and the dialogue between civilizations and religions will not bear fruit without the presence and effective role of a free and vibrant Christian presence in Lebanon and the East. We have refused and we will continue to refuse, we have confronted and we will continue to confront all attempts at uprooting us, subjugating us, marginalizing us, and implanting the Palestinians in our homeland. We ask that you not be the obstacle to a solution in the land of the Biblical Cedars, for there can’t be peace in the Middle East without peace in Lebanon.

Our banner has always been, and will continue to be, a Lebanon that is a bastion of freedom and a beacon to the East. Do not participate in undermining that bastion and snuffing out that beacon because we believe that you will wake up one day and behold the heroism of our historic – and often tragic – endurance in defense of values that are our values as much as they are yours.

September 9, 2007

Chebl Zoghbi – General Coordinator
Tony Ghanem – Official Spokesman


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