نقلا عن جريدة الجمهورية

الكاتب: مجد إسكندر

يا اخوتي

أما وقد أسستم بطريركية على اسمي بعد موتي، فلم يعد يُجدي الكلام إن كنت راضياً على ما قمتم به أو معترضاً. وكيف لي أن أزيد في متاعبكم؟ وأنتم بسبب هذا الكرسي البطريركي، خاصمتم الإمبراطور البيزنطي، وأمضيتم سنوات طويلة حتى اعترفت بكم روما الفاتيكان.

في حياتي، وربما بعد مماتي، لم اعرف بطريركية نقلت مقرّها عشرات المرات، كما فعل بطاركتكم هرباً من الاضطهادات. ولم اعرف بطريركية تتكنّى بإنطاكية وليس لها في إنطاكية إلا القليل.

ولم اعرف كنيسة لا يرد في بال أبنائها ضرورة عودة مقرّها الى منطقة المنشأ! ما سر تلك الأرض التي اسمها جبال لبنان، والتي لا تعرفون كيف تستقرون فيها أو ترحلون عنها؟ خصوصاً بعدما علمت أنكم في مرات كثيرة، كنتم تحاربون في وقت واحد أباطرة مسيحيين وجيوش الفتح الإسلامي. أرجو أن يكون هذا العَناء مُجدِياً، وليس بدافع العناد فحسب.

ولأكون صادقاً معكم، لا يسعني إلّا إبداء الإعجاب بكم، وفي الوقت عينه الخوف عليكم من هذا العناد التاريخي الذي أُصبتم به. تعرفون كيف تُقِيمون أوطاناً، ولا تعرفون كيف تَحكمون الأوطان. تعرفون ما ترفضونه، وتجهلون ما هو في مصلحتكم. ساعة تعطون خليفتي مجد لبنان، وساعة تدخلون صرحه وتبعثرون داره وتصفونه بأقذع الأوصاف.

أيعقل أنكم في إحدى محطات التاريخ نَصَّبْتُم بطريركين اثنين في آن واحد؟ وكم أهدرتم من وقت وحبر، لتَسْتَجدوا رضى روما التي اعتقدَتْ أن عقيدتكم الكاثوليكية تشوبها شوائب المِلل والنِحل في هذا الشرق؟ أهي العلة في المياه التي تشربون أو التراب الذي تزرعون أو الهواء الذي تتنفسون؟untitled

أهي عوامل الطبيعة والمناخ، تجعلكم غير راضين عن أنفسكم وتجعل غيركم غير راضٍ عنكم؟ رسالتي هذه لا تحمل إليكم توجيهاً ولا تكليفاً ولا قراراً كنسياً ولا حتى نصيحة. كل ما أريده، إن كان لي حق الشفعة، ما دمتم نصبتموني شفيعاً لكم، هو أن تتواضعوا قليلاً.

الانتصار على الامبراطوريات ليس بطولة وليس فخراً، خصوصاً عندما تعيشون هزيمة ذاتكم. لا تُمَنِّنوا أحفادكم وأصدقاءكم وأعداءكم بأنكم تموتون ولا تركعون. لستم وحيدي عصوركم في الشجاعة والكرامة. معلمكم ومعلمي أراد رحمة لا ذبيحة. ارحموا أنفسكم يرحمكم الله.

ربما بعضكم يسأل، لو كنت حياً، هل كنت أرضى أن تقيموا كنيسة على اسمي؟ أنا الغريب عنكم، كيف أرضى؟ نعم أنا وانتم غرباء بعضنا عن بعض. أنا لا أفهم في شؤون الدنيا، وأنتم لا تفهمون في شؤون الدين! أنا تَنَسَّكْتُ في العراء، لم أنم تحت سقف، وقلما نزلتُ تحت خيمتي. ولم أجلس على كرسي خشب، ولا على كرسي ذهب. على التراب بقيت طوال حياتي لأعود بأسرع ما يمكن الى التراب.

أما أنتم فاستغليتم ضعفي وغيابي وموتي لتقيموا عروشاً، ولتتقاتلوا على ذهب هذه الدنيا. وما حاربتم سلطاناً إلّا لأنّ في نفوسكم سلطاناً يريد أن يحكم مكانه، وربما بظلم أبشع من ظلمه. الحمد للعناية الإلهية لأنّ زمنكم في الحكم كان دائماً زمناً قصيرا. تليق بكم العذابات ولا تليق بكم السلطة، وستبقون تحت وطأة هذه اللعنة الى أن تعودوا عودة الابن الشاطر.

يومذاك أقول كنتم أمواتاً فعشتم، وضالين فوُجدتم. نعم إنكم أبنائي الشاطرون! أخذتم اسمي لتُقيموا مجداً زائلاً لأنفسكم. وبدَّدتم رصيدي على موائد المُقامرات الدولية والمغامرات الشخصية. الحكام والمستبدون لم يضطهدوكم لأنهم قساة، بل لأنهم شعروا بأنكم لا تقدّرون ألمي وصلاتي وعذاباتي.

لم يحاربوكم لأنكم على ديني وعلى دين سيدي، حاربوكم لأنهم وجدوا فيكم شبهاً بهم! صدقوني لو كنتم تملكون ذرة من إيماني، لكنتم قلتم لهذا الجبل الذي اسمه لبنان، انتقل الى جبل قورش وحلب ولكان انتقل. لقد ثَبُتَ بحكم التجارب، أنكم ضعفاء، فأتيتم الى جبل لبنان بدلاً من أن يأتي الجبل إليكم! لا التقى جبل على جبل، ولا التقى إنسان مع إنسان.

وحتى لا تفهموني خطأً، أنا لم أطلب منكم هذه الطوباوية في النظر الى شؤون الدنيا والدين، ولم أطالبكم بهذه الرسولية التاريخية التي تدَّعون، ولكن انتم تنطّحتم الى هذه الابراج العالية، وتوهمتم أن علو النفس يُقاس بقدْر ارتفاع قراكم عن سطح البحر! سيدكم المسيح ظهر مجده حول بحيرة، ولكن أنتم من يتبجح ليل نهار بأن البحار والمحيطات لا تتسع لمجدكم وعظمتكم. تواضعوا. ثم ما سر هذه العلاقة السخيفة بينكم وبين ستة آلاف سنة حضارة؟ من منكم، إلّا قلة، تعرف من هو جدّ جدها؟ المسلم فيكم كان مسيحياً.

والمسيحي منكم صار مسلماً. الأرثوذكسي انتقل ملكياً كاثوليكياً، وعائلات درزية وسنية حولتهم السلطة موارنة، وكثير من “موارنتي” بحسب ما يُقال يغيّرون دينهم ليطلقوا! في عرفي ونهجي وإيماني، أنتم، بصراحة، وثنيون منذ ستة آلآف سنة! توقفوا عن الاحتفال بعيدي، ففي كل عيد أنتم لستم بخير. أُصلي لكم لتصبحوا على خير. وبارك يا سيد.

You have to rise above Lebanon to see its beauty. I had mixed feelings when I watched this video. I loved every scene and region (couples were left out). It reminded me why I have this deep love for this country even though when there are times I feel like I hate it with passion and lost hope in it. On the other hand, I felt sad and angry. We have a beautiful country and instead of enjoying and make it better, the Lebanese are following corrupt leaders and are divided by their sectarian sects. I still doubt that one day we will have a decent country without corruption, religious division, hate, and Zbeleh – garbage (be it real garbage or political garbage). Enjoy this short touristic ad about my beloved country and maybe one day the children of my children enjoy it from the street level and not from above.

nadimgemayelThis question is directed to MP Nadim Gemayel. He attended today the Mass that was held in Damour village in the memory of Damour’s massacre. After the Mass MP Nadim Gemayel said:”no matter how intense the difficulties are, we stand firm in our land, we are anchored in our roots, we believe in our principles and our values.  We will return to our land because it is the land of our fathers, grandfathers and martyrs.”
Great words, but can you tell me, MP Gemayel, what did you do for those who left to return? In addition, what kind of program you presented in order for people to return? Furthermore, can you please enlighten us, what kind of programs you, the Kataeb MP’s, Tayyar MP’s, LF MP’s, ….. put in place in order for those who stayed to be able to live and not leave? The garbage been on the streets for yours and as MP’s none of you proposed a solution. None of you resigned because he is incapable of serving the people. Remember an MP serves the people and not vice versa. From my part, I had enough of few nice words said in some occasions. Don’t you think it is better to resign because you are not capable of presenting one single project to help our youth from immigrating? I think it will be too much to ask from you to introduce programs in order for those who left to return. You and other MP’s been elected in 2009 and you guys extended your terms in 2014 to 2017. Can any of you, besides empty words, tell us what did you do for people to return? or to stay? I know I’m asking too much but “birabak” your words can’t be cached in any bank.

Historical Fact: The Massacre and Destruction of Damour

Damour lay across the Sidon – Beirut highway about 20 km south of Beirut on the slopes of a foothill of the Lebanon range. On the other side of the road, beyond a flat stretch of coast, is the sea. It was a town of some 25,000 people, containing five churches, three chapels, seven schools, private and public, and one public hospital where Muslims from nearby villages were treated along with the Christians, at the expense of the town.On 9 January 1976, three days after Epiphany, the priest of Damour Father Mansour Labaky, was carrying out a Maronite custom of blessing the houses with holy water. As he stood in front of a house on the side of the town next to the Muslim village of Harat Na’ami, a bullet whistled past his ear and hit the house. Then he heard the rattle of machine-guns. He went inside the house and soon learned that the town was surrounded. Later he found out by whom and how many — the forces of Sa’iqa, consisting of 16,000 Palestinians and Syrians, and units of the Mourabitoun and some fifteen other militias, reinforced by mercenaries from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a contingent of Libyans.

Father Labaky telephoned the Muslim sheikh of the district and asked him, as a fellow religious leader, what he could do to help the people of the town. ‘I can do nothing,’ he was told ‘They want to harm you. It is the Palestinians. I cannot stop them.’

While the shooting and some shelling went on all day, Father Labaky telephoned a long list of people, politicians of both the Left and the Right, asking for help. They all said with apologies and commiserations that they could do nothing. Then he telephoned Kamal Jumblatt, in whose parliamentary constituency Damour lay. ‘Father,’ Jumblatt said, ‘I can do nothing for you because it depends on Yasser Arafat.’ He gave Arafat’s phone number to the priest. An aide answered, and when he would not call Arafat himself, Father Labaky told him, ‘The Palestinians are shelling and shooting at my town. I can assure you as a religious leader, we do not want the war, we do not believe in violence.’ He added that nearly half the people of Damour had voted for Kamal Jumblatt, ‘who is backing you,’ he reminded the PLO man. The reply was, ‘Father, don’t worry. We don’t want to harm you. If we are destroying you it is for strategical reasons.’

Father Labaky did not feel that there was any less cause for worry because the destruction was for strategical reasons, and he persisted in asking for Arafat to call off his fighters. In the end, the aide said that they, PLO headquarters, would ‘tell them to stop shooting’.By then it was eleven o’clock in the evening. As the minutes passed and the shooting still went on, Father Labaky called Jumblatt again on the telephone and told him what Arafat’s aide had said. Jumblatt’s advice was that the priest should keep trying to make contact with Arafat, and call other friends of his, ‘because’, he said, ‘I do not trust him’.

At about half-past eleven the telephone, water, and electricity were all cut off. The first invasion of the town came in the hour after midnight, from the side where the priest had been shot at earlier in the day. The Sa’iqa men stormed into the houses. They massacred some fifty people in the one night. Father Labaky heard screaming and went out into the street. Women came running to him in their nightdresses, ‘tearing their hair, and shouting “They are slaughtering us!” The survivors, deserting that end of the town, moved into the area round the next church. The invaders then occupied the part of the town they had taken. Father Labaky describes the scene:

‘In the morning I managed to get to the one house despite the shelling to bring out some of the corpses. And I remember something which still frightens me. An entire family had been killed, the Can’an family, four children all dead, and the mother, the father, and the grandfather. The mother was still hugging one of the children. And she was pregnant. The eyes of the children were gone and their limbs were cut off. No legs and no arms. It was awful. We took them away in a banana truck. And who carried the corpses with me? The only survivor, the brother ofthe man. His name is Samir Can’an. He carried with me the remains of his brother, his father, his sister-in-law and the poor children. We buried them in the cemetery, under the shells of the PLO. And while I was burying them, more corpses were found in the street.’

The town tried to defend itself. Two hundred and twenty-five young men, most of them about sixteen years old, armed with hunting guns and none with military training, held out for twelve days. The citizens huddled in basements, with sandbags piled in front of their doors and ground-floor windows. Father Labaky moved from shelter to shelter to visit the families and take them bread and milk. He went often ‘to encourage the young men defending the town’. The relentless pounding the town received resulted in massive damage. In the siege that had been established on 9 January the Palestinians cut off food and water supplies and refused to allow the Red Cross to take out the wounded.

Infants and children died of dehydration. Only three more townspeople were killed as a result of PLO fire between the first night and the last day, 23 January. But on that day, when the final onslaught came, hundreds of the Christians were killed. Father Labaky goes on: ‘The attack took place from the mountain behind. It was an apocalypse. They were coming, thousands and thousands, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar! God is great! Let us attack them for the Arabs, let us offer a holocaust to Mohammad ‘And they were slaughtering everyone in their path, men, women and children.’

Whole families were killed in their homes. Many women were gang-raped, and few of them left alive afterwards. One woman saved her adolescent daughter from rape by smearing her face with washing blue to make her look repulsive. As the atrocities were perpetrated, the invaders themselves took photographs and later offered the pictures for sale to European newspapers. Survivors testify to what happened. A young girl of sixteen, Soumavya Ghanimeh, witnessed the shooting of her father and brother by two of the invaders, and watched her own home and the other houses in her street being looted and burned. She explained: ‘As they were bringing me through the street the houses were burning all about me. They had about ten trucks standing in front of the houses and were piling things into them. I remember how frightened I was of the fire. I was screaming. And for months afterwards I couldn’t bear anyone to strike a match near me. I couldn’t bear the smell of it’.

She and her mother Mariam, and a younger Sister and infant brother, had been saved from being shot in their house when she ran behind one Palestinian for protection from the pointing gun of the other, and cried out ‘Don’t let him kill us!’; and the man accepted the role of protector which the girl had suddenly assigned to him. ‘If you kill them you will have to kill me too,’ he told his comrade. So the four of them were spared, herded along the streets between the burning houses to be put into a truck, and trans-ported to Sabra camp in Beirut. There they were kept in a crowded prison hut. ‘We had to sleep on the ground, and it was bitterly cold.’

When eventually Father Labaky found the charred bodies of the father and brother in the Ghanimeh house ‘you could no longer tell whether they were men or women’.

In a frenzy to destroy their enemies utterly, as if even the absolute limits of nature could not stop them, the invaders broke open tombs and flung the bones of the dead into the streets. Those who escaped from the first attack tried to flee by any means they could, with cars, carts, cycles and motorbikes. Some went on foot to the seashore to try to get away in boats. But the sea was rough and the wait for rescue was long, while they knew their enemies might fall upon them at any moment. Some 500 gathered in the Church of St Elias. Father Labaky went there at six in the morning when the tumult of the attack awakened him. He preached a sermon on the meaning of the slaughter of innocents. And he told them candidly that he did not know what to tell them to do. ‘If I say flee to the sea, you may be killed. If I say stay here, you may be killed.’

An old man suggested that they raise a white flag. ‘Perhaps if we surrender they may spare us.’ Father Labaky gave him his surplice. He put it on the processional cross and stood it in front of the church. Ten minutes later there was a knock on the door, three quick raps, then three lots of three. They were petrified. Father Labaky said that he would go and see who was there. If it was the enemy, they might spare them. ‘But if they kill us, at least we shall die all together and we’ll have a nice parish in Heaven, 500 persons, and no check points!’ They laughed, and the priest went to the door.

It was not the enemy but two men of Damour who had fled the town and had seen the white flag from the seashore. They had come back to warn them that it would not help to raise a flag. ‘We raised a flag in front of Our Lady, and they shot at us.’

Again they discussed what could be done. The priest told them that one thing they must do, although it was ‘impossible’, was to pray for the forgiveness of those who were coming to kill them. As they prayed, two of the young defenders of the town who had also seen the flag walked in and said, ‘Run to the seashore now, and we will cover you.

The two youths stood in front of the church and shot in the direction from which the fedayeen were firing. It took ten minutes for all the people in the church to leave the town. All 500 got away except one old man who said he could not walk and would prefer to die in front of his own house. He was not killed. Father Labaky found him weeks later in a PLO prison, and heard what had happened after they left. A few minutes after they had gone, ‘the PLO came and bombed the church without entering it. They kicked open the door and threw in the grenades.’ They would all have been killed had they stayed. The priest led his flock along the shore to the palace of Camille Chamoun. But when they got there they found it had already been sacked and partly burnt. They found shelter, however, in the palace of a Muslim, who ‘did not agree with the Palestinians’, and then got into small boats Which took them out to a bigger boat, in which they sailed to Jounieh. ‘One poor woman had to give birth to her baby in the little open boat on the rough winter sea.’

In all, 582 people were killed in the storming of Damour. Father Labaky went back with the Red Cross to bury them. Many of the bodies had been dismembered, so they had to count the heads to number the dead. Three of the men they found had their genitals cut off and stuffed into their mouths.

The horror did not end there, the old Christian cemetery was also destroyed, coffins were dug up, the dead robbed, vaults opened, and bodies and skeletons thrown across the grave yard. Damour was then transformed into a stronghold of Fatah and the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). The ruined town became one of the main PLO centers for the promotion of international terrorism. The Church of St Elias was used as a repair garage for PLO vehicles and also as a range for shooting-practice with targets painted on the eastern wall of the nave.

The commander of the combined forces which descended on Damour on 23 January 1976 was Zuhayr Muhsin, chief of al-Sa’iqa, known since then throughout Christian Lebanon as ‘the Butcher of Damour’. He was assassinated on 15 July 1979 at Cannes in the South of France.

In other countries, they preserve their history. In Lebanon, they destroy it.

In other countries, they preserve their history. In Lebanon, they destroy it.

What attend Adloun Beach (one of the most important is the lively and historic harbors of the town) in the south, through the construction of 100 thousand square meters seaport? A destruction of an old Phoenician harbor that dates back to thousands of years, in addition to the destruction of fish stocks and marine life.

The governmental project will affect the location of the prehistoric caves, the location of an ancient Phoenician port and The location of ancient Phoenician ruins and ornaments.

Please help NGOs and civil society organizations nationwide who are working hard to protect Adloun’s cost by signing this petition.

refugees-greek-sea

Interesting Quote: “One day we will tell our children about the ordeal and death caravan that Syrian and Palestinian jumped upon trying to escape to Europe even though Mecca and the land of Muslims is closer to them. One day we will tell them about the Hijra of Prophet Mohamed and his Companions to the land of Habasha at a time it was ruled by a Christian leader who didn’t oppress his people and immigrants.

beirut-old-building-super

In Travel section on CNN website, there is a photo article by Jacopo Prisco, published on July 1, 2015 . You can figure out what’s about from its title: “Last chance to see: 25 magnificent structures on the verge of extinction”. Picture # 11: Old Buildings of Beirut: “As if decades of civil war and bombardments weren’t enough, the remaining old buildings of Beirut are now under threat by property developers who are looking to create new luxury blocks on real estate currently occupied by traditional structures. Many have been hastily deemed unfit for living, pushing residents away: less than 350 heritage buildings now remain.” Not only old buildings of Beirut are under threat, the sea, the beaches, the rivers, the mountains, the culture, the animals and the human being are under threat of extinction in Lebanon. Ignorance and greed …. At least a foreign journalist appreciates the architecture structures that we used to have.

Yo can see all 25 structures on this link.

walid joumblatt

In his weekly opinion in the “Anba'” online newspaper, MP Walid Jumblat stated this week his ideas to get out of the current crisis. I agree with the first point but I oppose the second and third ones.

First point: “Consensus must be reached on a complete package of appointments.”

Second point: regarding the presidential vacuüm, “It is time to end futile squabbles over this issue.” All sides must resort to a settlement to agree on a compromise candidate to end the crisis, which will consequently restore authority to the constitution and state institutions, added Jumblat. “The current local and regional circumstances have proven that there is difficulty for any of the major candidates to achieve their goal of becoming president,” he noted. “There is therefore no escape from reaching a settlement and agreeing on a compromise candidate” otherwise Lebanon is forever destined to remain at this impasse, argued the PSP chief.

Third point: He urged lawmakers to hold an “exceptional session” in Parliament to approve projects funded by international organizations, including a dam in southern Lebanon.

I agree with MP Jumblat that  all vacancies should be tackled by the government as one in order not to create several problems. When it comes to presidential elections, why doesn’t Jumblat pulls out his presidential candidate who didn’t receive enough votes in the first round of election? The other two candidates will not be elected as long as his few votes are holding the election process. In a way, he is also responsible for not electing a president. If his candidate didn’t get enough votes, it means he is not a compromise candidate. I understand why Jumblat opposes Aoun or Geagea but if wants to preach about putting ends to futile squabbles, he should act on his own words and be the first to pull out his candidate. I also disagree with him that the parliament should hold exceptional session to approve projects funded by international organizations. The priority should be electing a president. Those projects can wait.

She filled charges against her husband for allegedly beating her over 20 years so he emptied 20 bullets in her body. Ali al-Zein killed his wife, Sara al-Amin, using an AK47 in the suburb of Dohat Aramoun, about 10 kilometers south of Beirut.

One of the sons told Al-Jadeed TV his father had kicked his mother out of the house over the weekend following a quarrel presumably linked to her pressing domestic violence charges against him earlier this month. He said his mother returned overnight before the murder and got into a fierce argument with her husband, adding that he and his siblings woke up to the sound of gunfire, only to find their mother lying on the sofa soaked in her own blood with their father still holding his weapon. The son said his father “had been beating my mother for 20 years,” adding: “We want justice.”

How many women need to be beaten and killed to put down rules to protect women? How many deaths are needed to develop a national strategy to educate people about violence against women? Family Violence is the most common form of violence experienced by women in Lebanon.

When will this chauvinist society understand that a real man doesn’t hit a woman with even a flower????

Fatima the Flower Seller

The Flower Seller paintings was painted in 1941 and depicts a young woman kneeling with a very large bundle of calalilies. In Lebanon we have different flower sellers. Ours are young kids who are forced to sell flowers on the streets. Our flower sellers are not something you look at and enjoy. Our flower sellers are a real tragedy. The tragedy of displacement, poverty, social destruction, child abusing, child prostitution …. The latest victim is Fatima, the flower seller in Saida. Fatima was 11 years old when she passed away. She died in a car accident. Fatima was forced to leave her home in Syria. She dropped her dreams at the door step of her house in Syria looking for safety in Lebanon. War, poverty, abuse ….. threw Fatima on the streets of Saida to sell flowers to support her mother, her stepfather and her siblings. Fatima was forced to leave school to sell flowers. She was killed in a car accident.

There are hundreds of Fatima in the streets of Lebanese cities. We heard hundreds of similar stories, yet nothing was done or changed. The tragedy of Fatima and other kids should have pulled all Lebanese together to save these kids. Don’t, you Lebanese, brag around that the Lebanese family ties and our society is better than those in the west? Do you know what will the western population do if they see an 11 years old kid selling flowers on the streets?

Isn’t it about time to stop your hypocrisy and your fake faces and do something?