Leadership

Dr. Charles Malek once wrote about Leadership:

LEADERSHIP

by Dr. Charles H. Malik

I respect all men, and it is from disrespect for none that I say there are no great leaders in the world today. In fact, greatness itself is laughed to scorn. You should not be great today- you should sink yourself into the herd, you should not be distinguished from the crowd, you should simply be one of the many.

The commanding voice is lacking. The voice which speaks little, but which when it speaks, speaks with compelling moral authority- this kind of voice is not congenial to this age. The age flattens and levels down every distinction into drab uniformity. Respect for the high, the noble, the great, the rare, the specimen that appears once every hundred or every thousand years, is gone. Respect at all is gone! If you ask whom and what people do respect, the answer is literally nobody and nothing. This is simply an unrespecting age- it is the age of utter mediocrity. To become a leader today, even a mediocre leader, is a most uphill struggle. You are constantly and in every way and from every side pulled down. One wonders who of those living today will be remembered a thousand years from now- the way we remember with such profound respect Plato, and Aristotle, and Christ, and Paul, and Augustine, and Aquinas.

If you believe in prayer, my friends, and I know you do, then pray that God send great leaders, especially great leaders of the spirit.

A great leader suffers in a hundred different ways, and keeps his suffering to himself.

A great leader survives both his suffering and the fact that nobody knows anything about it.

A great leader loves being alone with God.

A great leader communes with the deepest the ages have known.

A great leader knows there is a higher and there is a lower, and he always seeks the higher, and indeed the highest.

A great leader fights against the spiritual forces of darkness and disintegration, both in his own soul and in the world.

A great leader overcomes himself, rises above himself, daily, minutely.

A great leader is very polite, but he never tones down the truth just to please others.

A great leader never seeks fanfare and publicity- they come to him, and often he rejects them.

A great leader never craves the approval of the world- in fact he often intentionally provokes its disapproval.

A great leader hitches his wagon to the remote, the unattainable, the stars.

A great leader does not worship quantity, multiplicity, perpetual motion- he stubbornly sticks to the one or at most two ultimate truths that there are.

A great leader is very simple, but the moral force of his conviction shines through every tone of his voice and every gesture of his hand.

A great leader lets the oneness of his interest burst forth with endless creativity.

A great leader is absolutely fearless- fearless because he fears only God.

A great leader loves, not sentimentally, not by making an effort, but with the effortless overflow of God’s love for him.

A great leader identifies himself with, and is not ashamed of, the deepest in his own tradition.

A great leader is never disturbed by the fact that other traditions too have their own deepest.

A great leader is decisive, yet with the utmost tentativeness and tenderness.

A great leader, under God, does not care if he is crucified- there is something he knows and sees in the distance infinitely more important than to avoid crucifixion.

A great leader knows what the Bible calls “the fullness of the time”, I mean the time in which he lives, and God gives him the grace and the power to fulfill that fullness.

You insult a leader if you call him great; he does not want your judgment; he wants only to please God.

A great leader calls forth the most secret and the most sacred impulses of those whom he leads.

A great leader leads those who are not even aware that they follow him, but only rejoice in the fact that he leads them.

A great leader is at the forefront of danger, be it physical or moral danger, when danger strikes.

A great leader heals….

And so, if we really believe, my friends, we should pray, and work together, and accept suffering and sacrifice, and we should have the courage of our convictions when it comes to the deepest we know.

For the greatest single evil today is this blanket of fear and intimidation spread all over the world, so that people do not dare to stand up for their convictions.

But nothing great has ever been accomplished in history, nor indeed can it ever be accomplished, except through fearless courage in the face of the greatest terrorization. This is the now-forgotten way of how really to live- I mean, the way of the Cross. The world needs today the unterrorized man- indeed, the unterrorizable man.

… I pray you all to consider on your knees how much God has blessed you and how much you therefore owe him.

For you owe him everything. And once we realize how much we owe God, then, since we can never give him anything commensurate in return, we can at least pay him back tears of gratitude and love.

A Letter to Christians by Mr. Antoine Najem

In 1992, Mr. Antoine Najem, the conscience of the Lebanese resistance and the Lebanese Cause, wrote a letter to Lebanese Christians. He made it clear that to face current events, “we must look at the roots of the problem and concentrate on them, in order not to forget the first, and it must be the starting point. If we don’t we will not be able to have the right diagnosis or a clear vision for our future”. In the introduction of his letter, Mr. Najem added that: “The basis for this vision is to stay. To stay free Christians in our country Lebanon and not somewhere else. And Christianity, through us, remains in the east always free, sovereign and safeguarding its heritage and destiny.”  …. He adds that: “We agree with Charles Malek that it’s not permitted that any minority to be crushed or smelted or suppress or fade away.” And that “if free Christianity vanishes in Lebanon – its last stronghold in the Middle – it will be its end in the Middle East and in Asia and Africa.”  To read the full letter in Arabic, please follow this link: letter to christians – Antoine Najem

“Noun” to support the Christians of Mousl – Iraq?

Mousl in Iraq has been emptied of its Christians. They fled amid threats to convert or die. Mosul is considered the second largest city in Iraq. It housed around 60,000 Christians. Today no Christian is left in Mosul.

Muslim extremist group ISIS ordered all Christians to convert to Islam or get killed.  They left.

The end of Christianity in Iraq is very near. Two million Christians called Iraq home before operation desert storm. Many have left during the wave of attacks against them in Baghdad and other regions years ago and the rest have been forced to flee today.

Who is to blame? We can blame many factions. The West for creating the fiasco in Iraq and the region. The Arab regimes who supported Muslim extremists for many reasons. The Christians themselves. Yeah the Christians of Iraq. They should have reacted long before. They should have seen this coming. After all what happened in the pas years, they should have predicted that the time will come and they will be attacked and forced to leave. They saw what happened in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. They saw what happened during the waves of attack with car bombs and executions after. With the rise of ISIS in the region, they should have seen it coming. What did the Christians of Iraq do since the 1990’s? They relied on the Iraqi government for security. This would be normal if the country runs normally. They could have learned the lessons from the Christians of Lebanon. Lebanese Christians saw the danger coming. They experienced it in 1958. What did they do? Instead of staying idle, they started by training and arming themselves. This could have been an option to Iraqi Christians. Out of 2 million Iraqi Christians, they could have mobilized a hundred thousand to defend them.

Where we ended up today? Iraq empty of its Christians, France offering them asylum (maybe this was the plan from the beginning).  This was the plan for Lebanon, but Lebanese Christians defied it, paid the price by blood, lost a bit of their political power but they are still alive and doing relatively well in Lebanon.  In Syria, the Christians are clinging to a dictator hoping he will save them from the outcome of Iraqi Christians. In Lebanon, the Christians leaders are drowning in their ego and alliances and if they don’t pull their shit together, they will face the same outcome.

Charles Malek, in his article “A lot is required from Maronite Christians”, he wrote: “If free Christianity fell in Lebanon, and Lebanon is its last stronghold in the Orient, it will end not only in the Middle East, but also in Asia and Africa.  This responsibility is serious and dangerous!  The Maronites are the first responsible of this free Christianity in front of her divine providence. Are they aware of this responsibility?  Do they realize the danger? Do they understand the significance of what they have been entrusted with? Are they ready to carry it in front this holy providence and history? Are they able to carry this burden?”

Where are the Maronites of Lebanon? Can they carry the burden? They did for a while. They stood up and defended until the day they got divided and fought each other.  Since that day decadence took over. Since the 1990’s they are in a free fall. They can’t change because their leaders don’t want them to change. Their leaders own existence is based on this division. Yet the supporters, with all what is going on in Lebanon and the region, can’t realize that this division is the end of free Christianity as Charles Malek put it.

What can the Christians of Lebanon do? Sadly, all they can manage is an online campaign to post a “Noun” (N in Arabic) on a Facebook status, a tweet about it or wear a t-shirt with “Noun” on it.

What a tragedy …  What a loss …. what and end ….

LF Deputy on the wrong side

The Orthodox Gathering said in their statement yesterday that Mideast Christians under threat. They gathering criticized the international community for remaining silent over a recent attack in the predominantly Christian village of Maaloulah north of Damascus carried out by Al-Qaeda linked rebels. Maaloulah is a predominantly Christian Syrian village with many residents maintaining the Aramaic language, the language of Jesus. The gathering asked for “A unified stance by the church is a needed incentive for politicians, particularly in Lebanon and in the Arab [region], to get together, discuss and place strategic plans that encourage survival”.
From its part, Jabhat al-Nusra (qaeda arm in Syria), released a statement saying the aim of the aggression was to free the village from the Crusaders.

Then comes the reply from LF MP Fadi Karam. Looking back at the history of the LF and its pride to be the defender of free Christianity in Lebanon and the region, one might think that MP Karam will support the “unified stance”, “strategic plans” and “encouraging survival”.  I thought the reply will come in line with what Bachir Gemayel, the founder of the LF, speeches:

“We, who are witnessing here today for all the Christians of the world, confirm that it is logical for us to die , as the early Christians died at the hands of the Romans, witnessing for their Christian Faith and beliefs…”

“ A country, he said, where we can live without bowing our heads to the ground, a place where nobody can come and tell us : ‘Wear a turban or die’ as they did during the rule by the Turks…”

“If we, as a Christian sect in this east, weren’t different than others and didn’t have a country, it doesn’t have to be a christian country, but be a country truly for chrisitans in which we can live with our heads held high.”

But instead LF MP Karam came out as a supporter of those attacking Maaloula village. This new brought politicians, either do not know the LF history, or the LF changed its course or he has no clue what strategy means and the future of free Christianity in the Middle-east. LF MP Karam said: “What the Gathering issued was not justified and drew suspicion when it asked Christian spiritual leaders to swiftly put a strategic plan to protect the Christians, which, reading between the lines, suggests it is calling for a plan to defend Assad’s regime based on the Maaloula events”. How the hell did he got that from between the lines???? Didn’t the LF used to issue such statements in the past regarding the Christians of Lebanon?

Does this LF MP Karam from Koura ever read what Charles Malek once said about free Christianity in the region? Did he read what the head of Mar Takla monastry in Maaloula said today: “the village is living a real tragedy due to the presence of Jabhat al-Nusra elements in its streets … they kidnapped this morning 3 young men and took them to an undisclosed location ..”

Yes the Syrian regime must go, but don’t led ignorants in LF history issue statements that looks like the LF is defending al-Qaeda elements in Syria. Don’t let the pressure from the Arab money put an end to what thousands died for.

 

Between Charles Malek and Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir

Left to Right: Michel Chiha, Charles Malek and Sheikh al-Asir

Couple of days ago, the Salafist Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir  and his supporters came down to Martyrs Square to protest against Syrian president Bashar Al Assad in downtown Beirut. Facing them was a small group from the Baath party in support of Assad regime.

There was no place for the Lebanese flag yesterday in Martyr Square. The area was under the Islamic and Syrian Flags. The majority of the demonstrators came from Sidon in support of Sheikh al-Asir.

Salafist believe themselves the only correct interpreters of the Koran; seek to convert all Muslims and to insure that its own fundamentalist version of Islam will dominate the world.

There are several countries and movements who support such doctrine and work for it. In a symposium on “Salafism: A Shariah approach and a national demand” on December 28, 2011, Prince Naif of Saudi Arabia said “”Salafism is rooted in the Qur’an and Sunnah and calls for peaceful coexistence with other faith communities and for respecting their rights,” the crown prince said. “We have to stand united against those who launch smear campaigns on Salafism.”

In the view of many, the Arab Spring has turned to An Arab winter. They either do not know their history or they wished that things will change. According to Egyptian Salafist cleric Yasser Borhami (another product of the Arab Spring) Jews and Christians are ‘infidels’ (Al Ahram Online, December 24.2011). His fellow Salafist Mujahedeen in Libya nothing has changed. The following is a desecration of Christians cemetery in Benghazi, Libya. Calling Christians “dogs” and destroying the cross is the new Arab Spring.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lubTLu_AnFA’]

So couple of days ago the salafist “Fataho” (opened) the city. They enter it and settled in a very important place, The Martyrs Square. In the 19th century, the square was known as Place des Canons. During World War I, Lebanon was under Ottoman rule. In 1915, Lebanon suffered from a food shortage due to Ottoman Turks confiscating food from the local population, swarms of locust invading the country, and western blockade by the Allies, intended to starve the Turks out. The effect was a famine, followed by plague, which killed more than a quarter of the population, mainly Christian Maronites from Mount Lebanon. A revolt against the Turks broke out which resulted in hanging of many intellectuals and nationalists on 6 May 1916 in the renamed Martyrs’ Square. Among them were Said akl, Father Joseph Hayek, Abdul Karim al-Khalil, Abed al-Wahab al-Inglizi, Joseph Bishara Hani, Mohammad and Mahmoud Mahmassani, Omar Hamad, Philip and Farid el-Khazen, and Sheikh Ahmad Tabbara. During the civil war, the square was a demarcation line between fighting factions. On March 14, 2005, over a million Lebanese took the street and demonstrated in Martyrs Square for several days which led to the withdrawal of the Lebanese troops from Lebanon.

Yesterday the Lebanese flags vanished from the square. The Lebanon of Michel Chicha, Charles Malek vanished from the square. Lebanon the wonderful and tolerant Christian-Muslim coexistence, Existential and responsible freedom and Openness to the world in space and time had died yesterday.

Yet, you still find Christian leaders saying let the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist rule the region, let us forgot their past and see what they will do in the future. What a naive and ignorant statement. Not every group or person drops its ideology and political program like certain leaders.

Yesterday, Charles Malek and Michel Chicha turned in their graves.