Sergio Jalil wrote:
Today, we celebrate the 70 years since the Republic of Lebanon declared its Independence from France, but beyond the tribute and homage to those visionaries that in 1943 decided to create a democratic, republican , sovereign and independent state based on the respect for the individual rights and religious co-existence of thedifferent minorities that inhabit the Lebanese soil, we must also remember an honor those who fought and struggled during those seventy years to defend, reinforce and solidify that Independence.
Because the true struggle for Independence and its reaffirmation did not happen from one day to the next on that November 22nd of 1943…that was only the beginning of a long history of battles that even today continues.
To understand the true meaning of the declaration of the Lebanese Independence, it is necessary to understand the political agreement that sustained it and that was imprinted on the National Pact of 1943 among the political leaders that represented the different ideological orientations and religious communities. In this historical agreement that complemented the declaration of independence, it is established the legitimacy of the Nation and the notion of Lebanese Identity. The Christians accepted that Lebanon has an “Arab face” and renounced the “privileged” relationship with France and any other western nation. The Muslims accepted the existence of a specific Lebanese Identity and renounced to any notion or attempt to include or attach Lebanon as a part of any Arab State.
Naturally, this agreement between Lebanese, generated disconformities amongst those who had desires to incorporate Lebanon as a province of a larger entity under its domain, or that it would form part of any national idea that was larger and more encompassing. It was also rejected buy those who understood that Lebanon should be only a Christian state and by those who desired that Lebanon be a part of great Islamic nation.
So it was during the past 70 years, that Lebanon was subjected to the assault, aggression and influences that included to utter provocations and direct intervention and even occupation by foreign nations: Syria, never recognized the independence of Lebanon and maintained a steady hostility to the Lebanese Nation, establishing diplomatic relations only few years ago.
Gamal Abdel Nasser, with his Egyptian centered Panarabism, also attempted to destabilize Lebanon with his active obliterating and integrationist policy which by definition opposed that concept of Lebanon as an independent nation, provoking the first civil war in 1958, in which the National Pact was subjected to its first test, that fortunately was passed with success.
The PLO with its weapons loaded army which established itself in Lebanon with total disrespect and irreverence, after having been received with generosity and hospitality, also violated violently the Lebanese sovereignty and altered its internal peace and equilibrium, ultimately provoking israelí reprisals and the Syrian intervention that since 1976 until 2005 kept its military presence, political influence that intentionally kept Lebanon divided and occupied under a negative colonialist attitude. Syria attempted without success, to impose the authoritarian and anti-democratic and brutal system which the Assads have ruled the neighboring country since the seventies.
Israel, that since the sixties has consistently violated the Lebanese sovereignty through attacks, infiltrations and the 1978 and 1982 invasion, crowned its belligerent attitude towards Lebanon with the tragic bombings of 2006 during which the infrastructure of the Lebanese state was virtually destroyed.
There were many the martyrs and victims of all these battles that happened since Lebanon declared its independence and that actually fought precisely to sustain it and defend it from its multiple enemies. To those we also owe our recognition and admiration when we celebrate the independence.
Today Lebanon is going through a different phase. The enemies of days past, are now too busy with their own problems and have come to realize that Lebanon is to small to be divided, to big to be devoured and absolutely committed to its independence to be subjugated. All those who attempted to dominate Lebanon, to oppress it or dissolved have failed.
The risk these days is different and it is more related to the fact that certain Lebanese groups have decided to intervene in external conflicts, participating in Syria either fighting alongside its regime or supporting the opposing militias, becoming an instrument and agents of the regional policies of Iran and Saudi Arabia. That is also an invitation to the violation of our sovereignty , because exposes Lebanon to reprisals and interferences of terrorist groups and foreign governments that intend to, once again, use the Lebanese soil as their battleground of their ideological, political, religious and strategic disputes. The price is high, because it alters our stability, harmony and specially our national independence.
That is why today we celebrate the Independence as an objective, as a model for the construction of a state with its own National Identity. An independence that we must keep always and stay alert, because many do not accept it, others do not respect it and some do not understand that the intervention of Lebanese nationals in foreign disputes, may bring us violence, instability and danger for Lebanon.
The independence of Lebanon is a permanent struggle to which we will never renounce and will always honor, because is the pillar of our National Identity.
* Sergio Jalil - Argentina
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