On August 23, 1982, Bachir Gemayel was elected President of Lebanon. The best way to know Bachir is to hear his speeches. The following is taken from Taken from the article: The voice of a commander and statesman: Bashir Gemayel by Pete Ajemianis a New York-based researcher and Contributing Editor for Arab Media & Society.
Speaking as Lebanese president-elect (September 8, 1982):
I come here today to request that you not pull an Ahmad Saeedii on me. I’ve come to request that when you have any apprehensions, to reveal them publicly with all due love an respect for me and others, for it’s necessary that the truth be said. And you in radio and all other forms of media, it’s your responsibility to speak the truth, since when it’s you who make the people live, make the ruler live, make officials live it’s as if everything’s fine and as it should be.
[If you say] the security forces are sent down to West [Beirut], and the army is dispatched, and they threw rice, sugar, perfume, flowers, and whatever else, but in reality this isn’t happening, then you’re cheating the army, you’re cheating the state, you’re cheating your situation, you’re cheating public opinion, you’re cheating everybody, you’re not providing a service to the people.
If the army or the Security Forces were to be sent somewhere, TV reporters go down to check it out so we won’t be cheated, so we don’t lie to the people anymore, so we don’t lie to ourselves about our situation anymore. We no longer want [military] television inspections. We should do an inspection in silence between us as accountable people; we no longer have the right to cheat the people… (section of video omitted) (beginning at 2:25) The ruler needs someone to tell him the truth, and maybe we got what we had from ’43 until today because there was someone to reach up, make people kiss his hand and say, “Whatever you want master;” they kiss his hand, and they placate him as much as they can to win [his approval]…
[The media] show him on television as much as possible, drag out his speeches as much as they can, and show his picture and put on his family, village, and clan. These things, I beg you, let’s do without them, it cost us a hundred thousand dead, all these things cost us our children, it cost us our homes, it cost us our sovereignty and independence, it cost us the horrible situation that we were living in for the past eight years with all the cocktails of armies [imaginable] on our land.
Tell the truth, speak honestly as it is, and give everyone their due. If the president deserves credit then give it to him; if the Prime Minister deserves credit then give it to him. If the president wants to make a speech for 30 minutes just to be on TV cut it…
[If] the Prime Minister wants to have an appearance every Wednesday, and if it has no added value then it shouldn’t be put [on air]. If ministers have nothing to say don’t put them on, but if they do keep them on for 24 hours. But if there’s nothing then there’s nothing.
Things from now on should have meaning. Things from now on should have value. Starting today things will be one plus one equals two. They don’t add up to eleven – From now on the situation will be that everybody will have their own responsibility Each one of us must bear his own responsibility. No one should bear someone else’s mistake, they should bear their own – because after today I hope to that I will be able to work [within a system of] reward and punishment. He who works correctly should be honored, should be raised up, should be respected; it should be acknowledged that these people have worked. He that totally screws up (khabas) with good intentions we should treat him in a tactful way, [but] he who screws up with bad intentions we’ll say to him there’s no place for you here.
We will help to create correct social security, to create a social apparatus that can decrease the burdens for all citizens, but the state as an administration is not able to carry these burdens. It’s not able to carry these vestiges. The administration should be scaled back it should be purified. Purified doesn’t mean that everyone who didn’t vote for us we send them home, no. Or everyone that doesn’t say “whatever you want master” or “long live [the ruler]” like they did in the past, no. It should be scaled back. It should be corrected. It should be cleaned.
Like Sheikh Pierre [Gemayel] says, an administration in the hands of the ruler should be like a chisel in the hands of a sculptor. Today there is a sound ruler who needs a sound administration. A ruler who will be sincere, clean, and honorable, he needs an administration that will also be responsive to these aspirations and views.
This is the model that I will try to follow even if they try to smother me from all sides with laws, protocols, personal connections, bribes, etc. I hope that I won’t be influenced by these things and I’m not usually one of those people who are; I am not one that would be overwhelmed by these issues, or I am not someone who is running for parliamentary elections, or for a ministerial nomination, and the presidency I did it you all know how… you know these things aren’t very influential with me…
I come with a purpose that is very specific: 10,452 square kilometers… I come with a purpose that is very specific that after today our children will no longer be killed like they were killed in the past, our homes will no longer be destroyed like they were destroyed in the past, our sovereignty will no longer be violated like it was violated in the past, we will no longer have a state of disorder, because a country, a nation, in all the meaning of the word, we will pay its price. (speech continues)