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Gebran Tueni Perishes in Massive Car Bomb Explosion Near Beirut

Retrieved from Naharnet on December 12, 2005

Read his last article criticizing Syria


Gebran Tueni, a fiery critic of Syria, was assassinated in a car-bomb explosion in Mkalles, east of Beirut Monday. He was 48.

Tueni was An Nahar's general manager and Beirut legislator.

"God have mercy on Gebran and An-Nahar will remain the beacon for freedom," Druze leader Walid Jumblat told LBCI.

A parked car packed with an estimated 100 kilograms of TNT exploded at 9 am as Tueni's motorcade passed in the hilly industrial suburb of Mkalles, flinging his armor-plated vehicle and several other cars into a ravine. Tueni, his driver and a passer-by were killed. Another 30 people were wounded in the bombing, which shattered nearby store windows and started a fire that destroyed at least 10 vehicles

"This is a new terrorism message," Jumblat said of the killing, which follows a series of subsequent bombings that have targeted mainly anti-Syrian officials in the past year.

At the scene Tueni's wife was in tears and refused to answer when asked by a reporter whether her husband was hurt.

Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh, who is also Gebran's uncle, threatened to resign if the cabinet did not meet by Monday evening "to demand an inquiry under the supervision of the Security Council on all the crimes committed by Syria."

Hamadeh was also targeted on October 1, 2004 in a failed assassination attempt.

Speaker Berri described him as a "voice that shouted in the wilderness of a nation against oppression."

An outspoken critic of Syria's role in Lebanon, Tueni had just returned from France where he had been living for fear of assassination. His columns in An-Nahar often raised the ire of the Syrians.

After ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination, Tueni played a prominent role in the leadership of the mass demonstrations that, combined with international pressure, succeeded in forcing Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon in April, ending a 29-year hegemony. He was elected to parliament for the first time in the last elections in June.

Tueni's grandfather, Gebran Tueni, founded An-Nahar. His father Ghassan Tueni is considered the dean of the Lebanese press, having turned the newspaper into one of the leading media institutions in the Arab world.

In his final days, Tueni was campaigning for an international probe into recently discovered mass graves near the Defense Ministry in Yarze and Anjar which he blamed on the Syrians.

In his last editorial published Dec. 8, Tueni accused Syria of committing "crimes against humanity" in Lebanon. He charged the Syrian leadership with "trying to turn the clock back" and to intimidate the Lebanese.

He is survived by his wife, Siham Asseily and his four daughters Nayla, Michelle, from a previous marriage, and twin infants Gabriella and Nadia.


Gebran Tueni: The Mass Graves are a Crime against Humanity

His last article before his assassination

Retrieved from Naharnet on December 12, 2005

The Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa should understand that Syrian hegemony in Lebanon is over, and that the Lebanese people know more than the Syrian regime what is best for them. The latter is trying to reestablish its control over Lebanon whereas the Lebanese people aim at defending their independence, sovereignty and unity after the independence uprising and withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon.

He should also understand that what happened in Lebanon is a miracle and a big achievement, not a negative thing as he said in his last declaration in Cairo.

What does he mean by internationalization when he speaks of the "internationalization of the Lebanese issue"?

Isn't the Madrid conference an internalization of the Middle East issue?

Aren't the Security Council resolutions about the Arab-Israeli conflict a part of the internalization?

And what about the summits held between the Syrian President Hafez Assad and American officials to try to find a solution to the Golan issue?

And the UN resolutions which we repeatedly call for their implementation, aren't they a part of the internalization?

How does Mr. Sharaa explain his participation as Syria's representative in the Security Council meetings?

Does he recognize the authority of the United Nations? Or on the contrary, does he consider that the Arab league which was unable to solve any pending Arab-Arab or Arab-international issue, is the only competent authority in this regard?

How can he then explain the Syrian recognition and implementation of resolutions 1559, 1595 and 1663?

Isn't the Syrian regime accepting internationalization when it approves of the interrogation of Syrian officers in Europe instead of Lebanon?

Dear minister, Lebanon appreciates all the help it is getting from the international community in order to ensure the implementation of the Security Council resolutions. In this regard, Lebanon also calls the international community for the implementation of all UN resolutions on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

That is unless Mr. Al-Sharaa is upset about the change in the international policy which now backs Lebanon's independence and sovereignty while he was satisfied when the international community gave Syria an authorization to govern Lebanon. At that time, the Syrian minister was happy with the international action because it allowed him to speak and take decisions on behalf of Lebanon!

As for the Shabaa Farms issue, the Syrian Foreign minister should explain to us why he refrains from submitting a Syrian official paper that recognizes the Lebanese sovereignty over the Farms instead of all his rubbish talks.

Why does he insist on establishing a link between the Farms issue and the Golan's liberation? Golan Heights are Syrian whereas Shabaa Farms are a Lebanese land.

Why does the Syrian regime, through its Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, refuse to submit the official paper before the Israeli withdrawal from the Farms?

Doesn't Minister Al-Sharaa consider that this policy serves the interests of Israel which is doing all it can to perpetuate its occupation of the Arab lands seized in the 1967 war?

Dear minister, Lebanon disagrees with you as it considers that the submitting of the paper helps liberating the Farms. However, it seems that your regime wants to keep this issue as well as the demarcation of the Lebanese-Syrian borders pending, maybe because it does not want to admit that Lebanon has internationally recognized borders and that it was not and will never be a part of Syria!

Accordingly, Lebanon insists that Syria should hand over an official paper that recognizes the Lebanese sovereignty over the Farms. The Lebanese government in its turn would submit it to the United Nations so that the international community and the United States would exert pressures on Israel in order to withdraw from the occupied Shabaa Farms. The area would be under the United Nations' control for a transitional period until the demarcation of the Lebanese-Syrian borders. Then the Farms would be handed over to the Lebanese authorities and the other frontier lands that belong to Syria would be subject to resolutions 242 and 338.

Therefore, the submitting of the paper is the first necessary step towards the liberation of the Shabaa Farms whereas the prevarication serves the interests of the Israeli occupation.

However, it seems that the Syrians do not seek the withdrawal of Israel from the Shabaa Farms because they want to use this card in the tug-of-war and policy of blackmailing.

All the Syrian talks about their will to help Lebanon and open a new page in their relations with our country are nonsense whether at the level of the issue of Shabaa Farms or the investigation in Rafik Hariri's assassination.

What positiveness is Mr. Al-Sharaa talking about when the Syrian Information Ministry uses Husam Husam as a weapon – a dull one – against the international investigation and Lebanon?

Where is the cooperation between Syria and the international investigation committee? Is it possible that the Syrian investigation committee has not listen until now to Husam Husam's testimony?

Syria would be satisfied with the international investigation committee in only one case: when the commissioner Detlev Mehlis would conclude that Premier Hariri, Bassel Fleihan and their friends as well as Samir Kassir and Georges Hawi "committed suicide" exactly like Ghazi Kanaan, and that Marwan Hamade and May Chidiac tried to put an end to their lives but did not succeed.

Anyway, the Syrian regime reactions show, since the formation of the international investigation committee, that Syria is afraid of the truth because it would expose its bad practices in Lebanon and point the finger of accusation at it.

In fact, these practices were best exposed with the discovery of mass graves in Anjar, the former headquarters of the "Syrian governor of the Lebanese province".

What a peace force that kidnaps, imprisons, tortures, kills and throw innocent victims in mass graves!

Then they accuse the Lebanese people of ingratitude!

All the explanations Syria is giving to justify the mass graves are false, especially when it tries to revive the memories of the "Lebanese civil wars" to cover its crimes against innocent Lebanese.

The Lebanese war and the atrocities committed by the militias and parties ended in 1990 with the Taif Accord, whereas the mass graves in Anjar are a separate issue that is in direct relation with the actions of the army and intelligence of a regime that used to pretend that it was not a party but a protector of peace while it was in reality a cruel murderer governor!

The Syrian regime is the sole responsible of Anjar's mass graves. It is a crime against humanity that urges an immediate international action, a thorough investigation and an international trial, independently from the Hariri's assassination and the results of the investigation.

The Syrian security apparatus and the Minister of "contradictions" Farouk Sharaa should realize, on the basis of the modern international policy, that the totalitarian and despotic regimes that committed crimes against humanity were prosecuted and overthrown!

Killing people and burying them in mass graves are illegitimate acts even in the most terrible wars… and the perpetrators of such crimes would meet the same fate as dictators like Adolf Hitler, Ceausescu, Milosevic, Saddam Hussein or the tribal leaders in Rwanda.

Excuse-us, Minister Sharaa, between loyalty to Syria and loyalty to Lebanon, we chose the second one because this would serve the Lebanese and Syrian interests at the same time.

At the Arab level, we will always back the just Arab causes in particular the Palestinian cause and the liberation of the Golan Heights. And we consider that those in Lebanon who chose to be loyal to Syria at the expense of their country, do not serve the Lebanese or Syrian interests but those of Israel, our common enemy.

Does Minister Sharaa search for such people to build alliances with them?