The full English translation of the resignation speech of Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi.
Kordahi was at the center of a weeks-long major diplomatic row between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia/Gulf states, which you can read more about here: http://middleeastobserver.net/a-window-into-the-saudi-lebanon-row/
Source: Al Jadeed KSA (YouTube)
Date: December 5, 2021
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George Kordahi, Lebanese Minister of Information:
Thank you for attending this urgent call (for a press conference) that has to do with the request of my resignation from the (Lebanese) government.
My story has become known, and I don’t believe there is a need to repeat it in detail along with the developments that have been going on since that famous interview was broadcast on a foreign channel. And I don’t believe there is a need for a reminder that that interview was conducted with me months before I was appointed Minister of Information, and that (my personal) stances included in it do not hold the Lebanese government responsible for anything. Moreover, I did not mean to attack anyone through the words I said regarding the Yemen war, it was rather a sincere call from the heart to stop this war in the interest of all the warring parties.
That interview was broadcast three months after being filmed, and as soon as (it was broadcast) a ferocious and deliberate campaign was immediately launched against me by some Lebanese media outlets, websites, and social media depicting my words as if they were a crime against Saudi Arabia, and this campaign soon moved to the Gulf (States) and its media outlets. I wont hide from you that these frantic campaigns that entailed prejudice, defaming, and insults towards me and my family have annoyed me on a personal level. They annoyed me more regarding the feelings I have for people I love, (people) in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the Gulf states, and there was nothing but love, appreciation, respect, and loyalty between us.
It got me more annoyed because this campaign was the reason that made Saudi Arabia and the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council to start immediately with (implementing) measures of diplomatic, economic, and trade boycott against Lebanon, and (calls) demanding my resignation from the government. It got me even more annoyed as it created a state of concern among my Lebanese brothers who are (residing) in the Gulf states, (and) who were afraid that their work, interests, and residential permits in those states (were in jeopardy).
What (has also) annoyed me – I shall say it: how could a whole people (of a country) be held responsible (and forced to pay the price) for words I’ve said in goodwill, sincerity, and love?
For that, I found it logical and aligning with my patriotic duty to refuse (the Saudi request) of (my) resignation, (despite) this massive pressure, unfair prejudice, and deliberate injustice. I refused the resignation to say first that Lebanon does not deserve this treatment. And secondly, to say that although Lebanon is passing through great difficulties these days, although it may seem to its brother (countries) a weak state, Lebanon (is a country whose) people have dignity, pride, dependence, liberty, and sovereignty.
Unfortunately, and that’s what saddens me, that most of those who held prejudice against me in Lebanon, including politicians and media people, are those very people who once raised the slogans of freedom, sovereignty, and independence.
However, ‘the resignation of George Kordahi’ was a major news item in Lebanese media for more than a month; every day, every hour – probably – politicians, media people, and commentators were calling upon me to resign because they see in it – (whether) out of conviction or not – the interest of Lebanon and all the Lebanese. And every day and every hour, politicians, media people, and observers call upon me not to resign because they consider (my refusal) an honourable, sovereign, and patriotic stance that is linked to national dignity. As for the people, honestly – and you know that (fact), as for the majority of people in Lebanon and all over the Arab world, they called upon me not to resign; and I have hundreds of poems, and thousands of messages (sent to me) in this regard.
Amidst all that, where are we today? We are in front of new developments: the French President Emanuel Macron is going to Saudi Arabia on an official visit, and I have understood from (Lebanese) Prime Minister Najib Mikati whom I met with three days ago, upon his request – I understood that the French wish that President Macron’s visit to Riyadh would be preceded by my resignation, and that perhaps it will help open dialogue with Saudi officials about Lebanon and the future of Lebanese-Saudi relations.
I consulted with Minister (Sleiman) Franjieh and all my allies on that matter, and they gave me the freedom to take the appropriate stance. Therefore, and after deep thought and keenness to take advantage of this available and promising opportunity (to restore relations through) President Macron’s (initiative), I called upon you today to say that I won’t accept being used as a reason to cause harm to Lebanon and my Lebanese brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States.
(Choosing) between (allowing) injustice and harm to befall my (dear) Lebanese people in the Gulf States and (allowing) it to befall me, I preferred to let it befall me. The interest of my country, people, and beloved ones is above my personal interest. Lebanon is more important than George Kordahi. The interest of the Lebanese (people) is more important than a ministerial position. Therefore, I decided – therefore, I decided to give up my ministerial position, (choosing) to stay in the service of my country wherever I would be. I wish all the best to the government which I will resign from, and I wish for Lebanon to have the best relations with its Arab surrounding (states), near and far ones, and especially with the Gulf States.
In conclusion, I extend sincere thanks to the brave minister and beloved brother Sleiman Franjieh for his trust, love, and noble mindedness, and I wish that he would excuse me in case I have caused him any difficulty, (because) only ‘the right thing will remain correct (to act upon)’. I also extend my warmest greetings to the allies and friends (of mine) who stood by my side with full trust, loyalty, and national (fervour), among which were politicians, media people, commentators, and observers.
As for my dear ones in Lebanon, my dear ones in Lebanon and the Arab world, who supported my patriotic position, I tell them (that) I have not failed them today, nor will I (ever) fail them in the future, and I’m sure they will understand my patriotic stance today that stems from my concern for the interest of my country and the people of my country, as well as for its sovereignty and independence.
As for the Yemen war, the Yemen war that sparked for us this whole issue, it won’t last forever. Wars do not last forever. There will come a day when those fighting (parties) will sit at the table and shake hands and sign a peace (treaty) of bravery. Then, I hope, I hope they remember that one day, a man from Lebanon stood and called for stopping that war, out of love for Yemen and the Yemeni people, (out of love) for Saudi Arabia and the Saudi people, for the UAE and the Emirati people, for the Gulf (States) and the people of the Gulf (Sates), (out of love) for Lebanon and the Lebanese people, and (finally) out of love for all Arabs. Thank you, thank you my dear ones for attending. Long live Lebanon.