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Gebran Tueni: Tomorrow, a New Era Will Begin (Oct 20, 2005)
Tomorrow is a historic and crucial day that will herald a new era in Lebanon, Syria and the Middle East.
Tomorrow the truth contagion will spread from Lebanon to the whole Arab world including Syria, and will liberate all those who have been oppressed by totalitarian regimes and humiliated by the one-party regimes, mafias and organized crimes!
Tomorrow Lebanon will be delivered from a nightmare that lasted 30 years, the nightmare of fear, humiliation, occupation and tutelage, and the attempts to kill democracy and freedom and assassinate a country and its people.
Tomorrow, when the truth is disclosed, those who perpetrated crimes against Lebanon and the Arab world will be unmasked.
Therefore there is no need to enter into details about the programmed suicide of Ghazi Kanaan or the interview of the Syrian President Bashar Assad on CNN which was full of contradictions and superficial answers. The suicide and the interview show that the Syrian regime is confused, afraid, implicated and committing the errors that usually any "perpetrator" would do as we approach from the truth and the disclosure of the identity of the criminals.
That's why it is better to spare ourselves the effort of talking about the Syrian regime whose days are counted. The most important is to talk about the future of Lebanon and that of Syria which is now being shaped by the Syrian opposition especially its joint statement that constitutes a very crucial moment in the history of the new democratic Syria.
It seems that the contagion of the historic revolution of March 14th spread to Syria where the opposition statement amounts to a real turning point towards a united and democratic Syria for the first time in half-a-century.
The statement is a consolidation of the Syrian national unity while respecting political and sectarian pluralism in the country, and is an assertion of the principles of democracy, freedom and unity.
Notably, the statement talked about the need to rectify the Lebanese-Syrian relations on the basis of the respect of sovereignty, independence and interests of the two peoples and states! The expressions "two peoples" and "two states" mentioned in the statement have a special importance since we are not used to hear them in the speeches of the Baath Party.
It is also important that the same principles advocated and adopted by the Lebanese people are now advocated by the Syrian opposition. In other words, the Lebanese calls which used to be dubbed high treason have now become Syrian national claims. This also means that the Syrian opposition is speaking the language of March 14th because it is the language of democracy and freedom.
And since the Syrian opposition and the Lebanese people are speaking the same language, this is the best guarantee towards the establishment of excellent relations between Lebanon and the new Syria, exactly like it was the case in 1920, 1943 and 1954 when Syria experienced democracy and national unity. At that time, the relations with Lebanon were the best ever and the most positive. However, these relations deteriorated with the degradation of democracy in Syria after the rise of the Baathist totalitarian regime.
This clearly shows that free and democratic regimes not military and totalitarian regimes are the sole guarantor of stability. It contradicts all those who claim that the Baath Party is the only one capable of securing political, social and security stability as well as ensuring peace, unity, coexistence and equality, and keeping extremism and fundamentalist groups under control. However, the party's practices in the Arab world in general and Syria and Lebanon in particular proved the contrary.
There is no stability in the Middle East without democracy and no democracy in the Arab world and especially Iraq, without upholding democracy in Lebanon and establishing a democratic regime in Syria instead of the one-party system.
The international community should take note of the Syrian opposition's statement and assume its full role in this regard through the United Nations organs especially the Security Council.
The Syrian opposition stressed that the alternative to the Baath party and Baathist regime in Syria is not Islamic fundamentalism or extremism. It clearly stated its respect for the pluralism of the Syrian society. The stance of the Muslim Brotherhood was also remarkable as they declared that they did not aspire for taking hold of power in Syria but looked for a regime equally shared by everyone. This totally disproves the allegations of the Baath Party that has always tried to intimidate people using the threat of extremists rising to power in Syria.
The Syrian opposition's statement reflected the people's eagerness to democracy and change. And we support the Syrian people because we both suffered from oppression, death, displacement, humiliation, robbery, suspicious bargains and mafias.
As for Lebanon and the report Mehlis will submit to the Security Council – a report that will not be ambiguous as some have said or wished – I would like to reiterate that Lebanon respects and thanks the international community which backed our country and worked for the disclosure of the truth so that it would ensure that from now on, the conspirers and perpetrators of crimes and terrorists acts such as the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, would always be prosecuted and punished.
The disclosure of the truth means that the criminals are no longer protected, whoever they are and wherever they are, which is a new and crucial step in the Middle East!
The disclosure of the truth tomorrow morning will liberate the Lebanese people, the Arabs and the whole world so that justice would prevail.
And in order for justice to prevail, there should be no compromises or bargains like the ones we witnessed in the Lockerbie case, because the terrorist crime that took place on February 14th did not only target the Hariri family but also Lebanon as well as the Arab countries and the whole world, and because Rafik Hariri was not only the head of Lebanon's government and a Lebanese leader but also an Arab and international Sunni leader!
Whatever the result of the international investigation may be, no on would accept compromises or bargains in such a hideous crime. The perpetrators should be prosecuted and punished!
Tomorrow, a new page will be opened in the history of our country and that of the region. It will herald a new era where there is no place for criminals and regimes that commit crimes against nations, peoples and humanity.