In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Salam (Peace) be upon you oh most honorable of people, who made the glory of the nation, you were the makers of the victory, heroes of the resistance, the meaning of sacrifice and symbols of steadfastness.
I bless and congratulate you for the recorded victories and those yet to come in the course of mankind’s history and that of the nation.
At this dear gathering in this honorable region, I do not want to repeat nor speak about current events, but I will continue from where I left off when I spoke in Bint Jbeil about the overall situation.
But first of all I want to speak about this Bekaa region.
It is from inside the sacrificing Western Bekaa here to the Middle Bekaa, reaching to Northern Bekaa as well as Baalbak and Hermel region ever supercilious to injustice… that I want to immediately start talking about this region:
– Firstly- its position during the war, to give it some of the credit it is owed
– Secondly- its position in this nation
– Thirdly- our position in this nation.
Here I like to describe and remind as briefly as I can possibly make it, as I will try not to be long tonight, but I will give the subject its fair time to describe what happened.
As for the place of this region to resistance and Jihad during the July 2006 war.
In the beginning, the Bekaa and Baalbek-Hermel sent its finest sons, the dearest to its people and was not reluctant to give of its finest men, arms and supplies in spite of its difficult circumstances.
Your sons fought in the front lines, and here I want to comment on the absurdity of the Zionists when they explained and analyzed their military airdrop operations, that they wanted to get at Hizbullah combatants.
To them I say Hizbullah fighters were on your borders and you failed to harm them, just as they confronted you in Baalbek and at Bouday.
Secondly this region offered the best of its mujahideen sons to the battlefields of the South and the Bekaa, Mujahideen martyrs and resistance fighters.
Thirdly this region suffered very heavy aerial bombardment, a severity never witnessed here before. I do not believe that similar circumstances were experienced by this region ever before, where thousands of homes were damaged as it faced the aggression.
The outcome and results were civilian Martyrs, leading to massacres in more than one town, many periled in this war, and many others bore the situation with reckoning and contentedness. Houses were demolished, a large part of the people had to flee the area, a great part steadfastly remained and another was forced to migrate to safer areas, but all this did not affect the will of the people of this region.
Everyone used to treat the area of Baalbek-Hermel on the basis that it was the reservoir of the resistance and not a conflict front-line, but in the July war it was turned into a front line. We never talked of preventing military airdrops and the alike, but we committed ourselves to confront and fight landings wherever they occurred in the South.
Many confrontations and military landings occurred, which were confronted by the resistance fighters and the Lebanese army, such as the airdrop landing in the vicinity of the Tyre region, failed to achieve its objectives.
In Baalbek the enemy was able to get on the ground at Dar-al-Hikma Hospital, but there too the enemy was confronted by resistance fighters, Mujahedeen and bullets; martyrs fell from the resistance and innocent civilians and enemy soldiers were killed, subsequently the “Israelis” were forced to shell houses and homes to secure their soldiers’ landing and exit.
The same thing occurred in Bouday, when the Mujahideen frustrated a landing operation killing the commander of the paratroopers unit or his deputy.
Yes, in Usairah too there was a large scale military landing. Here we speak about them reaching the ground but landing on a huge military and moral failure, for they came believing they are here to arrest the Secretary General of Hizbullah, or party leadership.
It is natural to expect me or the operations headquarters to be held in Baalbek, but they failed.
For a substantially large military force, commandeering these military landings, coming with the expectation of arresting all the resistance leadership, to be confronted and frustrated represents a moral and security failure to the enemy along with its media and its public.
In any case, in the face of airdrops our brothers took on the enemy and confronted them.
Just like the north and south of the Litani River, this region became a front-line, and a forward area in which the brothers fought. Right through the 34-day war, this area held onto all its Mujahidin and weapons, and did not hold back on giving and providing reinforcements and supplies for the duration of the period.
The brothers in leadership remained there for the whole time; it is them who were targeted by the “Israeli” landings.
The people of the region too extended their partnership in this war when they quickly returned to their homes, so as not to remain in the circle of displacement, without having any regret on their position, commitment and sacrifices.
Despite all the difficulties of living conditions, this region remained as it has been and will continue to be an essential partner in the manufacture of this divine and strategic victory for the Arabs, Islam and Muslims. Therefore, you have helped to thwart the objectives of this aggression.
You gave, endured and sacrificed with patience, a quality that is not new to the Bekaa and Hermel, for this is its natural position in the battle.
This region was the first to respond to the call of Sayyed Musa al-Sadr for the founding of the resistance and taking up arms to confront the “Israelis”. Your sons were the first to embrace the Islamic resistance from its early beginnings, when it was founded in your area of Baalbek, when a group of clerics met, headed by the Martyrs’ Master, the Islamic Resistance Sayyed Abbas Musawi (God bless his soul).
Here was the beginning and the start, the name of Hizbullah was in its beginning, when you embraced hundreds of thousands of Mujahideen in the West Bekaa, who trained among you, where they felt aided and supported. It was for this stand and position you have withstood many “Israeli” bombings and attacks and sent your sons to fight.
Martyrs in all the regions stand witnesses today to your history in this resistance. You are partners in the launching of the resistance and its continuation, just as you are partners in its protection and embrace until this moment today.
You know what the resistance was exposed to when its existence and weapon were targeted through all forms of pressure, yet you never abandoned it.
You were the partners in the Divine Victory. You have done this and everyone knows that this area of Lebanon was partner and supporter of the South the resistant, the wounded and the occupied.
The people of this region never used the excuse that ‘there are no occupied areas here’, in order to avoid stand up to the enemy of the nation.
On behalf of all of Lebanon and the entire nation as well as all those who felt the glory of victory, I salute you and take pride in your young and old, your tribes, your good spirits and your resolve.
– Secondly, this region’s position in relation to the rest of the state and this nation.
Since the founding of the Lebanese state, leading up to the Taef Accord and through to the recent government, this area has been faced with a single government policy of neglect and inattention, which leads to financial and living crises, even to security issues and more diverse crises.
Some have tried in the recent past and some are still trying today… Some parasites, which try to comment on the position of this area of Lebanon, claim that the negligence this area is faced with is caused by the political option adopted here and that you will rid yourselves of this policy of neglect and that your government will come to your service once you change your political choice, affiliation and position.
This logic encloses deception and lies… so before I make comments here, I should state that I do not address this issue as an attempt to explain or for fear of confusion…because I know you well, and so does the resistance. We know your commitment and resolve. You are the ones who offered your blood, martyrs, and Sayyed Abbas and all the young people, you who gave your blood will not sell your martyrs and blood for money …I know, for certain, that your hearts and swords are with Hussein (pbuh)*, despite the siege, hunger and thirst, but there is a fallacy that should be clarified and a suspicion that must be given an answer:
1- Where was Hizbullah in the early formation of the State of Greater Lebanon? Yet, this area of the French mandate has been exposed to neglect and deprivation since the French Mandate and the State of Independence all the way until the Taef Accord was drawn up, and again from the Taef until today. Where is the state in relation to this area which is still being subjected to deprivation…?
Over the length of this entire period of time where was Hizbullah? Even “Israel” had not existed yet, nor had occupation or resistance to occupation started…
In the early seventies, like many areas, a political path or choice started forming for this region with Imam Sayyed al-Sadr. But what political choice were you being punished for before Imam al-Sadr?
I have doubts about this argument, I say there was no political choice taken at the time, and issues still existed prior to taking the choice of resistance. In that past, this area had not made a political choice to be punished! Yet it still did get punished.
2- Based on this fallacy, we should run a comparison between the Bekaa and Baalbek-Hermel and between the Muslim and Christian north, and not with the other areas of Lebanon in order to avoid the unreal reasons and make clear the real motives.
If the political identity, Hizbullah choice, is the reason behind this area’s punishment, then why is the North, where there is no Hizbullah, being punished?
In the North there are areas that are probably more disadvantaged. Hence, this is not a matter of political choice.
At times some have also said that this area is a Shiite region.
This is not true either, since all religious denominations and sects are present in Baalbek-Hermel, yet the north suffers the same circumstance. If the reason for punishment is the presence of the Shiites denomination, there are no Shiites in the North, yet why do they suffer the same conditions, both in the past and now?
.. In the recent two years the North voted for team in power, ‘February 14’, as the political choice, how has this helped them and what has changed in their situation? Nothing!…
Thus, this is not the real reason behind such punishment, but I liked to mention that in order to arrive at the main reason. These may be secondary components or additional reasons but definitely not the real reason, as there are regions without a clear political identity that are still being punished with negligence.
So, it is not a political nor sectarian identity .. it is the prevalent governing mentality since the establishment of the State of Greater Lebanon. A mentality that does not recognize any governorates, whether South, North or Bekaa, and considers them as peripheral parts, where the original Lebanon is made up of the nucleus capital and Mount Lebanon, and the governorates and provinces are there to serve this original nucleus, according to their idea, regardless of political consideration, religious denomination or community affiliation.
The real disorder lies here within the governing mentality.
In recent years circumstances in Mount Lebanon along with parts of Beirut became similar to Bekaa and the North and worse than the South and the Bekaa became like the North .. All these areas became peripheral regions serving entrepreneurs, big companies, political feudalists and major banks.
Rather than turning governorates that were considered peripheral to essential parts of the nucleus of Lebanon, more parts were made peripheral. Instead of improving the country after the Taef Accord, everyone was turned to a partner in poverty, deprivation and neglect except certain particular areas that received special attention.
This is the truth we are facing now.
The Taef Accord attempted to address this imbalance in the governing mentality.. And here I am talking about two titles of the Taef Accord: ‘Balanced Development’ and ‘Decentralised Administration’.
1- As for ‘Balanced Development’ of the Taef Accord and since the Taef, you (the ruling team) have been in charge of development, taxes and finance policies…where is the development?
… Please, tell us where is the ‘Balanced Development’?
.. The second clause in the Accord is the ‘Decentralised Administration’, where is it today?
As for electricity, electricity must reach every home and we demand justice, equality and balanced development, otherwise what is the logic behind discrimination in the delivery of electricity and the Taef knows that the real problem lies in the mentality of government.
2- The purpose of ‘Decentralised Administration’ was for the re-division of the nation’s governorates, a matter completely unaccomplished, even after we worked on the issue over several years and reached a workable result, a decision was made but not implemented, because the team in power does not agree on the principal, not even the removal of some administrative issues or improving matters that concern the livelihood of the people that alleviate much suffering.
But such calls fell on deaf ears, and the two titles have not been seriously dealt with.
From the beginning there was a team rejecting the formation of the two governorates of Baalbek-Hermel and Akkar, only wanting to control and have monopoly over everything, even the taxes collected by some municipalities.
This is so because the mentality is one of bank management and tax collection and not spending. A mentality that sees cement before seeing people’s suffering, hardship, tears and concerns.
Herein lies the problem. Therefore, when we came and participated in the government, we hoped to defend our political options. They said the government is serious, and so we hoped to achieve something in the participation, but among the many differences we had with governing team was one over the government’s development plan.
The first demonstration we had was for economic reasons. We were conducting a big political battle that was peaceful, calm and civilized. The participants were from the opposition and every time we took a stand to defend the interests of the people, we were accused of ruining the country.
After the war, the problem grew and reached a difficult level and the issue remained in the defect within the mentality of the government which we sought to correct through peaceful means. And I said once that a balanced development cannot be achieved through the gunpoint and the use of force is not to anyone’s benefit.
We had employed political and civil means, which is why we were participating in the political process. Today, we will continue the political struggle in order to achieve a state of law and institutions, in order to achieve a government that considers all the Lebanese as equals, that defends and preserves their security.
In Bint Jbeil, I said we are not looking for control of the government but for a unified state that preserves Lebanon.
We are looking for co-existence that is real at a time when America brings weapons to inflame a war in the region.
We are seeking unity, cooperation, partnership and synergy because Lebanon cannot be divided, nor can it be defended or built except through the unity of its people. Politics in Lebanon push towards fragmentation and additional political crisis.
Lebanon cannot persist or rise from its slumber to resolve its issues except through cooperation and unity. So, let us implement the Taef Accord. Some see in the Taef only the item of disarming the resistance … strange they are!
As for the armistice agreement of 1948, it has been destroyed, demolished and torn to pieces by “Israel”, filled with the blood of our children, women and men in the South, the Bekaa and all the Lebanese areas from Beirut in the Dahiya, to the mountain region through to the North.
No area in Lebanon has not provided martyrs from civilians, resistance and the army. “Israel” attacks and launches wars against Lebanon. Yet, there are those who insist on bringing up a truce agreement that was once written with “Israel” and repeatedly destroyed by it.
Despite all that, we still agreed and suggested to discuss the resistance weapon as part of a national defense strategy, because we explained that our weapon is a resistance weapon and not a militia weapon.
We do not want to keep this weapon forever. We do not want to continue to shoulder this responsibility. We will forever be grateful when there is a strong state and a strong army that protect Lebanon, its South, villages and all its towns.
I said let us group and discuss the resistance weapon at the National Dialogue table as part of a national defense strategy. I tell you quite frankly our logic was not met with logic and our argument was not faced with an opposing argument.
The reply to the National Defense Strategy we the opposition provided at the National Dialogue table was met with the July 2006 war. Why? Simply because they are unable to face our practical and strategic logic and argument; as experience and the facts prove.
Since they failed to disarm the resistance through dialogue and logic, they took to trying to disarm the resistance by force.
We are not insistent, but out of the Taef Accord they only want to see that Truce with “Israel” and disarming the resistance…Yet, we are still ready to return to that discussion within the framework of a National Defense Strategy, which is acknowledged in the Hizbullah-FPM (Free Patriotic Movement) understanding document.
But naturally, we will not hold such a discussion at the dialogue table before the formation of a National Unity government.
So, let a government of National Unity be formed, to discuss a National Defense Strategy, and we will be ready to commit. However, what will you do regarding the rest of the electorates and governorates you neglect and deprive even of the most basic rights such as in the Bekaa, the North, Baalbek-Hermel and specifically in Akkar.
Again, I reiterate that the problem lies in the mentality and the way of thinking. It is in the priorities.
We want a government that runs a state, and not a bank or company. We are calling for a government that takes responsibility towards nationals of flesh, blood, the emotions of a group of people, people who are equal in rights and obligations.
This is what we call and strive for.
We want for Moslems and Christians to be together.
I do not want to enter into a discussion about the election battle taking place in Al-Matn today, but I want to quickly comment in the last few minutes of my speech on the matter, because I hear the ‘February 14’ rhetoric as it attacks FPM and their opponents in the elections there, blaming them for reaching such a firm understanding with Hizbullah.
Imagine that the FPM’s sin and that of the rest of the Christian sides is that they embraced the people of the resistance during the July 2006 war!
It is a crime to attempt to reach internal peaceful co-existence with the rest of the Moslems in Lebanon! And that they seek to make genuine patriotic choices, hence they form alliances with honorable sides.
I want to comment, because I heard a political leader whose allies in ‘February 14’ had not offered him a parliamentary seat in their allotment. At the time, he was disappointed and dissatisfied, whose name is not worthy of mentioning, when he says to the people: “you have to go into the elections and vote with all your weight (and I do not know how much weight he represents) because this is the battle of Lebanon and its survival”.
They see everything as a matter of life or death, existence and survival and this is how they view the remaining parliamentary seat, a matter of ‘life and death’.
Moreover, what did he say to them, that this battle should not be won by “Michel Nasrallah”, what is his intention by saying that?
In this way he wants to provoke the Christians.
Fair enough. So long as you are using this language, I am compelled to say a few words and address the Christians also.
With whom did the FPM form an Understanding? With Hizbullah…and with whom did the other side form an alliance?
In return, I want to pose the same Christians’ questions…
Did Hizbullah demolish your homes?
Did Hizbullah commit massacres against you?
Did Hizbullah demolish your churches, or prevent you from returning to your villages? Did Hizbullah do that to you or did those you are forming an alliance with commit such atrocities against you?
Is the side allied with the FPM, Marada movement, Tashnaq party, President Michel Murr and others in this election battle today, the one that committed these crimes against the Christians?
Was it Hizbullah who did all that?!
Did you not see how Hizbullah conducted itself with all the Lebanese during the liberation of year 2000, and again I say this without sounding like we are owed anything by anyone, but this is due to our ethics, commitment, and understanding of the nation, religion, culture and morals.
We did not burn a single a house in the South, not a single person was assaulted. We did not carry out any demographic alterations to the area, definitely not. On the contrary, we preserved the people and their dignity.
Knowing that many of the owners of these houses killed our brothers and committed massacres against us, bombed our cities and killed children in Nabatieh and Sidon. Many of them tortured our brothers in Khiam and even assaulted our sanctities and dignity in the torture camps…
But how did we act?
Did we load responsibility on Christians?
How did we behave? …
Hence, keep your impulses, misinformation and lies aside. Yes, there is an understanding between Hizbullah and the FPM. Yes, there are some who shy away from allying themselves with the resistance that fights “Israel” and liberated Lebanon.
Yet, they do not feel ashamed to ally themselves with those who spent their lives in “Israeli” training camps and trenches; those who collaborated and allied themselves with Lebanon’s enemy, who destroyed and burnt Lebanon.
The Lebanese army as an institution whose leadership, officers, soldiers, wounded and martyrs I salute, is our partner in the resistance, war, steadfastness and in victory. It is an institution for all the Lebanese, but we also know it means more to Christians.
This is the structure of this country.
Who is it that weakened, destroyed and fought the army?
Who is it who killed the officers of this army?
Is it Hizbullah?
Or is it those??
Today, I want the Christians and all Lebanese Muslims and Christians to think with realism, seriousness and objectivity to see which are the forces and movements that constitute the defense of Lebanon, and the element of stability and peace in Lebanon?
I salute the army, but you all know that the officers and members of the Lebanese army shot our women and men on September 13, 1993. Ten martyrs fell and more than fifty were wounded. Yet, we refused to fight because our army constitutes our brothers and loved ones and our sons; an institution that forms a guarantee for the entire country.
We thought that the one that gave the order for the army to shoot wanted to instill sedition between the resistance and the army.
We view this army as our army and not as the army we fight, kill and tear apart whenever we want division or civil administration, nor do we embroil it in wars that serve the interests of the American project in the region.
We are keen to preserve the army for the sake of Lebanon and not for us. We are eager to preserve the army for the unity of Lebanon and its peace and stability. This is our nationalistic Lebanese choice that is not at all incompatible with our Arab and Islamic affiliation.
Of course, with the Taef Accord they forgot Lebanon’s Arab identity and the Lebanese-Syrian relations, so much so that they are eager to go to war against Syria, and I put my credibility on the line and say that they endeavored during the July war for “Israel” to go to war against Syria, perhaps they are still working hard now for that war to occur.
Unfortunately this is the existing reality in our country.
As for us, in reality we want our patriotic Lebanese choice. We want our country. We do not have a second option. We offered all these martyrs, you offered the best of your martyrs and dearest sons, and by God nothing in this world is worth wasting a single drop of blood from your martyrs, or a single drop of blood from Sayyed Abbas, Um Yasser or their son Hussain, or any child, woman, martyr or man in Lebanon.
But it is our pride and sovereignty, it is living with dignity and decency, it is our freedom and independence which we cannot accept to forgo. We may overlook it for a while if someone tries to starve us, but we have never forgiven or will we forgive anyone who tries to harm our dignity, pride and sovereignty.
That is why we gave blood and you gave blood. This is our choice today, and we invite them to this choice. I call on them to do away with these tales of claiming that “Syrians …Iranians are behind everything that happens”
When I was at the dialogue table, I challenged them to bring me a single incident in which Hizbullah did something that wasn’t to Lebanon’s national interests, or something that benefited the Iranian or Syrian interests at the expense of Lebanon`s?
I also challenged again to publish the minutes of the Cabinet Ministers meetings held during the war.
The reply to my challenge referred to records of the National Dialogue meetings. What is the relationship, the minutes of the National Dialogue meeting took place before the war?
I say let the Lebanese public see the scandals in the government`s war days so that the Lebanese know and realize what happened.
Again, I say to them when anyone simply classifies someone as being Syrian or Iranian, when every day George Bush does everything to protect this team and defend it while Feltman speaks openly to say “the opposition will not take the guarantor third”.
Do we still need more clarity than this?
Bush even threatens to legally, financially and economically punish anyone who destabilizes the Saniora government. I say to you, and I do not want to frighten you on the security level, but I want to ask why does he frighten and intimidate the Lebanese today?
A message was sent out today to all the Lebanese people that Bush considers the Saniora government as a part of the American national security and a part of the American policy. We on the other hand call for a Lebanese government that acts as a national Lebanese security government and not for American national security.
Undoubtedly, this is a government of American national security, why?
Because it stabs in the back, disowns and abandons the battle to defend Lebanon during the July war. On the other hand, when there is money and support and the wars serve the American project and occupation of Iraq, it rushes to provide it with cover by plunging the Lebanese Army in this battle of Nahr-al-Bared camp, along with its command, while they left the country to roam and tour the world, to conduct meetings and make plans.
How to address this battle?
How to resolve it to stop the bleeding? And many more questions??
They (the ruling team) are no longer concerned. They threw it in the face of the army and its leadership, officers and soldiers, and settled for issuing statements of solidarity now and then.
All we call for is for Lebanon to be Lebanon, keen on preserving its interests, reconciliation and dignity, and a part of this region. Again, I say that the Americans do not benefit any of us with anything.
In the past, the “Israelis” did not accept the Mountain until they prevented the changing equations between fighting parties and forces there.
The choice is to rely on ourselves and on each other after our trust in God.
The resistance in Lebanon triumphed because it relied on the honorable people of the Bekaa, Baalbek-Hermel, the South, North, the Mountain, Beirut and Dahiya and because it relied on our own arms.
Our martyrs are the sons of our villages, neighbourhoods and alleys, the sons of our dignified families and the blessed wombs, whose heads only bow down to God Almighty.
Let us group together to make a real national Lebanese choice, in order to protect our country, army and build our nation and a national government with a nationalistic, humanitarian and ethical thinking and not one that leans to sectarian, Bank and company oriented thinking, focused on a narrow banking financial and corporate agenda.
Let us put our hands together to disentangle our country, from all foreign projects. We are ready for an internal settlement that is independent of what is happening in Palestine and Iraq.
But do their American masters allow them this freedom since they are the ones who tie things together. We are nationalistic; we are the protectors of the nation.
We are the ones who offered our sons, not the sons of others but our dearest to defend the homeland, its dignity and sovereignty.
Our procession with you, our honorable folks of Baalbek-Hermel and in the Bekaa you are the faithful in your promise, in your pledge, and in your commitment to the path.
We are with you in this procession of resistance, dignity and work to build the state and the development process. Everyone knows that in the absence of a state and everyone knows we are trying on development and the best we can to fulfill the bequest inherited from Martyrs-Sayyed to serve you with all we can.
But these are our capabilities, and we and you, God willing, will continue along this path. And I assure you with all certainty that there are no defeats awaiting you, nor will there be any defeats God willing.
You are a victorious people, resistance and nation alike. Your victories not only started since year 2000, but since 1982, when we made our resolve to resist, sacrifice and give without limit by putting our trust in God.
You are the victors, with your giving trust in God, endurance and more giving.
Victorious alongside God’s great prophets, with all the martyrs and the banner of victory coming from afar, from the unseen from al-Muntazar (the awaited for) God hasten his noble return.
This nation is victorious whereas the era of subservience, bowing down, servility and defeat has gone…
May peace, God`s mercy and blessings be upon you.
* Your hearts and swords are with Hussein (pbuh), in contrast with what was said to Imam Hussain (pbuh) in Karbala by those who had been his supporters and in battle said: “our hearts are with you but our swords against you”