The speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the ceremony held in Sayyed Ashuhada Compound in Beirut Southern Suburbs on Wednesday June 17, 2009 to honor the electoral machineries in Beirut, Mount Lebanon and the North
I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, The Lord of the world. Peace be on our Master and Prophet – The Seal of Prophets – Abi Al Qassem Mohamad Bin Abdullah and on his chaste and kind Household, chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers. Scholars, deputies, brothers and sisters, peace be upon you all and Allah’s blessing and mercy. The aim of our meeting tonight is to honor and offer our thankfulness. True those gathering in the hall are the central electoral machineries and the machineries in Beirut, Mount Lebanon and the North, but my speech is addressed to all the brothers and sisters in the South and Bekaa also. We really did not wish to bother them coming from a far place. The essential topic is the elections, what took place during the elections, our evaluation, the influential elements, the outcome and our practice in the upcoming stage especially that since Monday June 8th till now neither any of the brethrens nor I did present through the media our evaluation or reading of the elections. That needed time to be scrutinized and evaluated and that’s what took place in fact.
Still before ushering in the topic of the meeting, we have to offer our condolences to the honored family of His Eminence Professor Sheikh Fathi Yakan may Allah bless him with His mercy. We also offer our condolences to our dear brothers in the Islamic Labor Front in Lebanon, to all Lebanese, all Muslims and all those who liked the late great Islamic preacher Sheikh Fathi Yakan. To fulfill some of the right of this leader and preacher, we say he was indeed through what we knew from our direct contact with him a great brother, a virtuous scholar and a faithful preacher who worked industriously to achieve unity among Muslims and among the Lebanese. He was a true supporter and also in fact one of the founders of the resistance and Islamic and jihadi movement in Lebanon. He backed the resistance movements in Palestine, Iraq and the region. He was one of the eminent men of jihad, struggle, steadfastness, fighting and sacrifices in face of the Zionist- American project in the region. He was very clear in organizing priorities from an intellectual, jurisprudential, scholar, political and jihadi perspectives. I would like to remind that he was the imam of Friday Prayers in Beirut’s city center. It was the greatest prayers in the history of Lebanon which gathered Sunnites and Shiites behind his imamate and platform. His goal was to call for a national unity government in Lebanon following the events that took place after July War. We ask Allah Almighty to bestow the great late eminent Sheik Yakan with his mercy and to join him with prophets and holy men. We ask Allah Almighty also to bestow patience and condolences on his family and to grant his brethrens, comrades and pupils success in following his way.
There are several points which I will handle today. Indeed I will focus on some essential topics to correct some points because since May 8 till this day, everyone whether from the loyalists or the Opposition in and outside Lebanon and from neutral sides is making his say and presenting his evaluations in the media, seminars, dialogues and discussions. So there are some points which I must mention to set the way of dealing with them in the present and the future. We are concerned with presenting our reading of the elections outcome, the reasons and after all setting the way of dealing with the next stage besides a word of thanks at the end of the speech.
The first topic is the goal. From the very beginning we put a goal which we announced. Our goal was not to increase the number of deputies of Hezbollah and the Loyalty to Resistance Bloc. We said that our goal was working so that the Lebanese National Opposition gains the parliamentary majority because that would enable it to execute a great and clear reform project which we agreed on. This goal was not achieved. But after the results were announced, a question was posed. I read articles and watched some of those who said whether in internal sessions or in the media that Hezbollah didn’t in fact want the Opposition to win. That’s why the party did not exert all its efforts. If it wanted the Opposition to win, Hezbollah would have exerted greater efforts. It was also said that Hezbollah did not want the Opposition to win because it has fears from the post-elections stage. The answer is clear, direct and instant: No, that’s not true and not only inaccurate. It is not true at all. Put aside that some people talked as such thinking good of us and our capabilities. Others might have said that to stir discord between us and our allies in the Opposition. Disregarding the background, this is not true. Hezbollah believed in this goal and worked faithfully, truthfully and industriously and cooperated with its allies. It exerted the greatest central, regional, political, media and social effort possible on all levels to achieve this goal. But there were many and diverse factors that led to another results some aspects of which I will address in my speech. Yes, I do not hide that true we were fearsome from winning because winning means great responsibilities and facing great challenges. Winning means we are concerned in fulfilling our promises because we are people who fulfill their promises. We can’t make promises and when winning forget our promises. So if we make promises we are concerned in fulfilling these promises should we win. We will assume responsibility and responsibility to us is not authority and high esteem. It is an answer we will give on Doom’s Day before our Lord before giving to people in this world. Thus we felt the gravity, seriousness and burden of this responsibility should we have won as part in the Opposition and as an Opposition as a whole. Thus I do not deny that we did not feel fearsome but that did not influence our performance, will and seriousness. We dealt with the issue on the basis of “if you awed something, get involved in it.”
Thus when the results were issued we did not felt shaken because we considered these elections as a station on a long way. It’s not the end of the world or the universe or history. As a joke we say that if two are playing football or checkers, the loser will feel sad. So it’s natural that he who exerts great efforts and has a great national goal and when people offer sacrifices and act with patience and tolerate endless hardships and the goal is not achieved, it is natural that they feel sad. But sadness is one thing and frustration and feeling tension, feebleness and the shaking of the will is something else. We are not shaken because we are still ourselves and because we are still where we were. Nothing changed according to us.
This is the first topic. The other topics which I will handle do not mean by any means that we do not accept the results of the elections. No but there are facts that must be said and highlighted so as to be addressed and avoided. Some negative aspects must be addressed. We must be realistic when dealing with other aspects while doing the self-criticism. We will not go to self-whipping as some losers usually try to do. At the same time I will commit myself to the appeasement ceiling in the country which we took pain to preserve since the results were announced or else many of the points which I will tackle tonight might have been presented differently if I do not commit myself to the appeasement ceiling.
The second topic is the media and political rhetoric. During the electoral campaign the other party waged a very great campaign of accusations which they directed to all the forces in the Opposition. These accusations were totally baseless. Unfortunately that shows that the other party – to win the elections and gain some additional votes – did not have any moral problem in resorting to means based on falsehood, lying or misleading. Here I did not find milder than these terms to make my description. We did not resort to that. During the election campaign we did not falsely accuse anyone or mislead anyone. We did not resort to rumors and falsehood. I also say that we were not able to do that. I saw some media debates that said that the Opposition gradually took a defensive position and the other party took an offensive position. That’s true. We couldn’t do anything because we have our religious, legal and moral commitments which do not allow us even in parliamentary elections to use illegal means.
Indeed, there was another very influential factor. Our electoral campaign used to talk about national partnership, national unity government, national unity and cooperation. That meant that we could not resort via the media to media confrontation and a war of demolition and destruction of all bridges with the other party. Or else if we wanted to file suits and make accusations based on facts, uncovering the past and weaving fears around the future, there were many things to say. But if we said such things and won the elections and came to form a national unity government, what were we to tell our electorates and masses? We will lose our authenticity because the characteristics we will give to the competitors will not allow us to cooperate with them. On the other hand, they had no problem in referring to us with all the descriptions that cross – and do not cross – the mind and then sit with us. They might have no problem with their masses but we will face a problem with our masses. That’s why, the Opposition gradually and especially in the last weeks turned from the offensive to the defensive rhetoric because lies were raining around. We had to open our umbrellas because we couldn’t do without them!
Before the elections, I pointed to some topics. I will not repeat any of what I tackled before June 7th to gain time. For example the issue of tripartite rule, decreasing the tenure of the president, accusing the Opposition of not wanting the elections to take place, accusing the Opposing of crippling vote counting, accusing the Opposition of not accepting the results if not to its interest and blowing up the situation in the country, raising fears about arms –especially that of Hezbollah and the Resistance – and its influence on the elections, talking about wilayat-al Faqih (the authority of the Jurist Leader), the Islamic state and the third republic… All of that was exploited besides other points I commented on previously but I will return to in a while. In the media rhetoric, I will comment on some details to be taken into consideration in the post June 7 era. The first detail in the media topic is the statement issued by His Eminence Patriarch Sfeir on Saturday – a day before the elections. It was circulated and then it was said that it was withdrawn from circulation. The statement tackled two points: threatening the entity and threatening Lebanon’s Arab face or the Arab face of Lebanon. Indeed, I as a Lebanese citizen, I can’t understand how His Eminence the Patriarch comprehends that should the Opposition win, the Lebanese entity will be threatened. Till this very moment this is not clear to me so that I discuss it. Still I have a question to His Eminence who has been present in Bkirki since 1980s, 1990’s and after 2000. This long period witnessed Israeli wars, aggressions, massacres, displacement, settlement projects, settlement imposing and condition imposing on Lebanon… All through this period, I never heard His Eminence talking about threatening the entity. Is it true that all what Israel perpetrated, all what Israel represents even after Netanyahu’s speech and all what Israel did in the past, in the present and will do in the future towards the Lebanese entity do not call on His Eminence all through 25 years (His Eminence has been assuming his post for more than 20 years) to talk about a threat to the entity. Still the winning of the Opposition had made him raise the ceiling that high? Indeed this is more dangerous than the Taklif Shar’i (legal obligation) they always accuse us of. The second point is Lebanon’s Arab face. Are the Lebanese in the Opposition Arabs or non-Arabs? I’m asking His Eminence this question: Are we in the Opposition Arabs or non-Arabs? This is first. Second if he means Syria, Syria is an Arab country. If Lebanon has a special relation with an Arab country or joins in another Arab axis (I will not mention names because that has clear influence on the Arab arena and the upcoming events) will that make Lebanon’s face Arab and the other makes it non-Arab? Maybe Iran is intended (though there is nothing in Iran now called Persianism or the Persian civilization). What’s there in Iran is an Islamic civilization. What’s there in Iran is the religion of the Arab, Hachimi, Mecci, Qarashi, Tuhami, Mudari Mohamad and the founder of the Islamic Republic is an Arab the son of an Arab the son of the Messenger of Allah Mohamad (May Allah’s peace be upon him and his Household). The Higher Guide of the Islamic Republic today is His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenai who is a Qarashi and a Hachimi and the son of the Messenger of Allah and the son of Ali Bin Abi Talib and Fatima Zahra. All of these are Arabs. Anyway, Iran might be intended. I will not debate much in this detail. But we really like to hear from His Eminence how the triumph of the Opposition might have posed a threat to the Arab face of Lebanon. We must build on this speech in the future. I will suggest on my brethrens and allies taking the fears of the Patriarch seriously and working at plotting and making researches and a number of suggestions to stress and promote the Arab face of Lebanon and we will ask His Eminence the Patriarch to support it in an overt statement.
The second point in the media rhetoric is the issue of Wilayat Al Faqih (the authority of the Jurist leader). We will overlook what was said weeks before June 7th. But also I like to call the attention of the various Lebanese parties, our friends and foes alike. Know that there is no problem that we differ in politics. There is no problem that we accuse each other politically. It might be permissible that we harm each other politically. For example in Hezbollah’s relation with Syria you might say whatever you want. Similarly you might say whatever you like on our relation with Iran. You might say: You are Iran’s group. You are Iran’s agents. You are the Iranian axis. There is no problem in that. This is politics and there is no problem in that. I only want to call the attention of the political forces, political leaderships and the media outlets in Lebanon. It’s written in the Lebanese Constitution “the freedom of religious conviction”. That means no one from the followers of one religion has the right to do harm to the religious conviction of the other party even if he does not agree with it. It’s normal that when I follow a definite religion that I do not accept the other’s religion or else I would have accepted and followed it. Well the country is found on respecting religions and religious convictions. I like to inform you that the issue of Wilayat Al Faqih (the authority of the Jurist leader), imamate and such issues are for us part of our religious conviction and doing harm to such issues is doing harm to our religious convictions. We are ready for whoever likes to get involved in a religious debate with us. But that indeed has nothing to do with elections, political campaigns, the government and deputies. Rather scholars, religious men and men of intellect and culture gather and make seminars and discussions as we discuss theology, prophethood, divine messages, jurisprudential rules and the Worldly and Hereafter affairs. There is no problem in that. But the issues I mentioned before are part of our religious conviction. True some might say that there is no consensus among Shiites around the world and all through history on this point, but there is a number of religious convictions which are not unanimously agreed upon. Still there is a great number of Shiites who believe religiously in this point. In other religious convictions of other sects also there are convictions not unanimously agreed on by their sects. So if it is not unanimously agreed upon that does not make it anymore a religious conviction which must be respected. With all my love, courtesy and respect, I will address the media outlets in and outside Lebanon (but especially Lebanon as it has such a clause in its Constitution which we all say we believe in): Avoid doing harm to our religious convictions and say about us in politics whatever you want.
The third point has to do with the exaggeration that took place during the elections when talking about the consequences of the Opposition triumph. Should the Opposition win the elections, what might have happened and how would the foreign countries have dealt with Lebanon? They talked about the choice of Gaza i.e. Lebanon will be like Gaza. It was said that Israel will wage a war on Lebanon should the Opposition win. Indeed the Israeli rhetoric which came later on took the course of rhetoric in this direction. Barak showed up to make plain threats. It was said that America will reconsider its aids to Lebanon. It was said that some countries in the Gulf will pull their funds from Lebanon. All of that was said. I have my saying on that. If all what you said during the elections is not true, we will add them to the lying, misleading and falsehood mills. If that was true (they are either untrue or true after all), that means that America, the West, foreign countries and all the countries that resorted to such pressure do not respect the will of the Lebanese electorate and the will of the Lebanese people. Thus they practiced such pressures, exaggerations and threats to take them vote to the other side. Indeed many of the Lebanese were not subject to such terrorizing, but no doubt a definite group was influenced with such terrorizing. Consequently, let’s describe the elections that took place in Lebanon. They said that will take place under the threat of the arms of the Resistance and Hezbollah but that did not take place at all. What took place were Lebanese elections under American, Israeli, western and Arab threat to impose the choices of the Lebanese voter so that it won’t necessarily express his true will. That also means that the world which brags about democracy and the will of peoples, if the results of the elections served its interests, will welcome and applaud them. If the results do not serve its interests, it confronts and arouses doubts on them. We have examples in what took place in Palestine and other places. The Iranian elections are but an internal affair. (Here I advise March 14 forces, leaders, analysts, media outlets and politicians to let aside the Iranian elections. Let them not bother about an affair which they do not know about. Soon President Ahmadi Najjad will be in March 8 Bloc and Mir Hussein Musawi in March 14 Bloc. This is absurd.) Anyway, Obama grasped the point yesterday in a clear way. There is neither March 8 nor March 4 there. There are some ambiguities on the elections. Some interfered and set fire, killed, set explosions and demolished because there are enemies for the regime. Yesterday, His Eminence Sayyed Khamenai said clearly that the saboteurs are not from the followers of any of the candidates. They are known, exposed and ugly. Anyway, the whole world does not stand in face of 40 million Iranians who were voting from the morning till evening under the Islamic regime and the cloak of the Wali Al Faqih (Jurist leader). Where is that present in the world? Presidential elections in which 80% of the electorates vote! Yes, some in Iran destroyed this feast for some disputes over vote counting. Usually in Iran such disputes take place but with the blessed presence of the Wilayat Al Faqih and His Eminence Leader Sayyed Khamenai and the great awareness of officials and great faithfulness of the Iranian people, I would like to confirm to you and assure you that Iran will transcend this ordeal with ease Inshallah. To all those who make their comments and analyses and build hopes I say: there expectations are not but illusions and mirage.
The third topic is the emigrants. At the time in which I will criticize some courses in the election process, I can’t but do justice to some people, support them and not accept that harm be done to them. Indeed emigrants played a very influential and decisive role in some electoral districts on the level of the results. We say that yes every Lebanese emigrant and any Lebanese living abroad even if he hasn’t come to Lebanon for forty or fifty years and did not partake in the sufferings and pains while living in another world has the right according to the Lebanese Law to come and vote as he holds the Lebanese nationality. We respect the right of the emigrants in partaking in the elections by coming to Lebanon and voting. It is not accepted that either the Opposition or the Loyalists in districts we won in or lost in do harm to any of the emigrants and present them in an inappropriate and improper image. After all they are Lebanese and it’s their legal right that they express their convictions. When talking about emigrants, it’s clear that tens of thousands of emigrants came to share in the elections, or in many cases let’s say they were brought to share in the elections in critical districts. In examples I will focus on Zahle because I believe that Zahle changed the whole image or else the results would have been 64-64. There would’ve been neither a loser nor a winner. Indeed the other party focused strongly on Zahle. Two days ago there was a ceremony to honor the emigrants in Zahle. The ticket that won in the elections stood and one of the deputies said (I heard them on the TV) thanks a lot because if you did not come we wouldn’t have won in this district. The debate here is not over the right of emigrants to vote. The remark here is in the inequality of opportunities between the Opposition and the Loyalists. True the Opposition also brought emigrants as did the Loyalists but there was no equal opportunities. First the financial affair is unmatchable. If we are to spend money to bring the emigrants from abroad and they too do that, there is no equality. That’s disregarding the legal aspect of the affair – meaning does the law accept this kind of expenditure or not? I am not describing. No doubt facts confirm figures mentioned in Newsweek and other media outlets that the expenditure exceeded 750 million dollars. Let me joke for a while tonight. If it was so, it was better that they give us these 750 million dollars and we would have left the majority for them this year and gained 750 million dollars to carry on paying compensations and serving the deprived, tortured and deemed weak regions and later saw how to carry on with them in politics! So there was no equality in opportunities on the level of bringing emigrants. The other point has to with the countries in which these emigrants dwell. Some countries provided the other party with great facilities where as we didn’t have such facilities. On the contrary, security and psychological pressures were practiced on us by these countries (and I will not mention names). So as far as the emigrants are concerned they have the right to come and vote, but there was no equal opportunities by any means. This issue will be studied later. As for the emigrants abroad if they want to come and vote in Lebanon this will have to have guarantees and discussions in later stages.
The fourth topic is the financial expenditure. During the past months and despite the law which puts limits to the financial expenditure, the expenditure was enormous on the media and services levels (asphalting, school fees, food supplies, medical treatment fees, financial supplies…) I will not stop for long here. I only say that was for the good of the people. People wish there are elections every year so that they pay on their behalf school fees, register their children in universities, pay on their behalf medical fees, supply them with food supplies and asphalt their villages roads. Here also disregarding the law, this might be understood, but what is serious, harmful and humiliating and what represents a real challenge to the elections and its results in one of the districts is buying votes: asking a citizen to vote a ticket which they hand to him to put in the ballot box in return for being paid for that. Keep you convictions for June 8th. On June 7th keep you convictions but we will put them aside on June 7th for five minutes. Take the price of the vote and vote for us. This challenges the elections. As for the other points, they might be discussed on the legal, moral and humanistic levels.
No doubt, what took place in many districts in an astounding way (and here I give Zahle as an example because it changed the equation and there are witnesses). You know I like to verify things before I say them. Two and three thousand dollars were paid for one vote. And as we used to go closer to the closing of ballots the price of votes used to increase. They contacted some of the Opposition supporters in Zahle and told them do not vote for the loyalists but give us your identity cards. In return for keeping the identity, take 500 or 1000 dollars. So money was paid to cut off votes and money was paid to buy votes. Well does that express the will of the Lebanese people and the true will of the voters? No. Now if we get the very people in these districts and told them there is no money. We will give you no money in return for keeping your identity cards or buying your votes. Go and vote. Will the results issued be the same?
Indeed this is dangerous. No, I don’t say we don’t accept the results of the elections. But yes, we must pause before this point because it challenges the fairness of the elections, the results on the level of legal representation with all its repercussions. But we will follow this issue in legal ways. We will not stage a sit-in or a demonstration or cut roads. We do not want to influence the calmness and harmony now present in the country.
The fifth topic is the sectarian, factional and racial provocation. No doubt the sectarian, factional and racial provocation had a great influence during the elections. Unfortunately some such provocations are still taking place after the elections. If you want my view point, the financial point is less dangerous. Inequality of opportunities is less dangerous. Political accusations are less dangerous. The most dangerous thing that took place in the elections and is present in the country is sectarian and racial provocation. That’s because who sold their votes and voted, did that and the world remained intact. Political dispute afflicts injuries but political meetings rapidly heal these injuries. But sectarian, factional and racial provocation opens historic wounds which will not easily be healed. It takes us to blind fanaticism which we don’t know where to that might lead the country.
He I want to pause for a while and ring the alarm bell. I like to say with all my pride and glory. As I said before June 7th, whoever has any remark on our speech as being sectarian, racial or factional let him demand us of that. If we made any such speech, we are ready to offer our apology. But we know that we never made such a speech not for one moment. That it not only a result of our commitment but let us talk pragmatically as well. We never were in need for such a speech because we are not weak. Yes we aren’t weak. This rhetoric was used before the parliamentary elections and is still being used after the elections.
The two groups which were targeted with such rhetoric (I am obliged to talk about sects to defend and I don’t want by any means to harm anyone) are the Shiites and the Armenians in Lebanon. Armenians were attacked pursuant to their political choice. In one moment, the Armenians became a foreign community in Lebanon. They aren’t Lebanese anymore. These Armenians who were nationalized some 100 years ago (more or less), their nationality is challenged; whereas, those nationalized (with our respect to them) some 10 or 12 years ago and voted to the other party are true Lebanese. This is racial rhetoric. Indeed opening this chapter is very dangerous. No soon the Lebanese Kurds will be a foreign community and then they will search for the origin of the rest of the Lebanese. Are they Turkish, Turkmen, Persian…
Opening this chapter is shameful whatever the need for opening it was. Still who did not say the Armenians are a foreign community in Lebanon said the Armenians are not Christians. When some talk about the Christian representation they consider the Armenian votes outward the Christian representation. It’s not that I know the Armenians have become Muslims. They are still Christians in Lebanon. They are Orthodox and Catholic Armenians. But unfortunately during the elections up to this very moment, there are such racial, sectarian and immoral arrows pointed at the chests of the Armenian sect. The other Lebanese must respect the choices of the Armenians whatever their political choices were. It’s not that when they vote for me they are Lebanese and partners in the nation and when they don’t they become a foreign community. I talked about the Armenians before the Shiites because their case is easier a bit than that of the Shiites.
As for the Shiites, for the first time I will talk about the Shiites in Lebanon. During the elections great provocation took place whether covertly or overtly. The essence of the cause was that should the Opposition win, the Shiites will rule Lebanon. This was clearly being said in public places, lectures, seminars, meetings and some articles. The political rhetoric used to covertly said that under the title of the Islamic state of Hezbollah and the state of the Wilayat Al Faqih and the state of the arms of the resistance. It was circulated that should the Opposition win, it’s not General Aoun or so or so – with my respect to all the personalities in the Opposition – who will rule but rather Sayyed Hassan. The focal point of the speech was: O people! O other sects! Should the Opposition win, Shiites will rule Lebanon. Indeed this is lying. Still under the ceiling of appeasement, I can’t say less than that being lying, falsifying facts and misleading the public opinion. We said that our utmost aspiration is that we be true partners in this country. We were a neglected forgotten sect (We will not make a consolation council out of it). All what we aspired for was partnership. We believe in the specialty of Lebanon and its diversity and variety. We believe that no sect, faction, party or movement may rule Lebanon no matter how strong and capable this sect, faction, party or movement may be.
This Lebanon can not stand but with partnership of all its composition. We believe in this and take it for granted. Any other speech is misleading. But harm started on the day of the elections and after the elections when they started talking about the Shiite Bloc, Shiite vote, the so and so deputy won with the Shiite vote. Well this is not shameful. They finally reached saying the dumb Shiite bloc. That was the greatest humiliation that might be directed. That means that the Shiites do not think, see, discuss and make dialogue. They were told: vote for such and such bloc and they did so.
This bloc does not think and it might be oriented to serve whatever ticket. Indeed that was said in some newspapers and media outlets and some politicians tackled that. This is humiliating. We do not accept that. On this topic I say: I would like to remind you that the Shiites in Lebanon are not one party. In other sects, one party or movement tries to solely take the representation of its sect. We don’t have this. We do not claim sole representation. Hezbollah and Amal Movement together don’t claim that they represent all the Shiites. This is the truth. We do not claim sole representation and none of us seeks to annul the other. In fact, the Shiite cultural, conventional, jurisprudential, religious, scholar, conscientious and historic composition does not allow such sole representation. We are a human group which was brought up on multiple scholars, authorities, leaderships and intellectual besides political trends. True today we have an alliance of two great movements: Amal and Hezbollah. This alliance is found on mutual respect between the two parties and faithful and transparent discussion. But they do not claim that they represent all Shiites. The Shiites in the religious and cultural posts don’t follow Hezbollah and Amal Movement. But these positions meet with Hezbollah and Amal Movement over the great national political choices.
The third point: The Shiites are one bloc not for sectarian or factional reasons. Like the other sects in Lebanon, Shiites once had conflicts, fights and competitions in parliamentary and municipal elections; but today those Shiites (whether in Hezbollah, Amal Movement or others) are united by meeting over the great national political choices. This is the true position of the Shiite sect in Lebanon. They do not meet in being foes for anyone in Lebanon. They rather meet on the choice of Resistance and on Israel as being absolute evil and an illegal entity, on rejecting occupation and hegemony, on the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon, on building the state and the Taif Accord, on the principle of national participation, on the natural and distinguished relations with Syria and all our Arab world and on a clear conventional position from the Palestinian cause, Palestinian people and Palestinian resistance. These are the choices we agree on. Today if we are paying any prices – whether we won or lost, whether we made peace or war – we are paying the price for these choices. But if we abandoned these choices, you will see what our position would be to the Americans, westerners and the whole world. It will be totally different. Because the Shiites in Lebanon met and got united on these choices which became convictions, a culture, commitments and a matter of faith to them, they went to elections 20009 to express this conviction. That’s why nobody bought their votes. They did not give their votes with money but rather with conviction. They weren’t subject to terrorizing. They weren’t subject to Barak’s terrorizing (voting for Hezbollah puts Lebanon under the tyranny of the Israeli army). True with this speech the target was all the Lebanese but the main target was the Shiites in the South, Bekaa, Beirut Southern Suburbs and the other areas which were exhaustively bombarded during July War. But the Shiites answered Barak in the elections.
The Shiite electorate was not a dumb bloc at all. They rather came to express their views and convictions. Nobody told them it is a religious obligation. Whoever claims that let him get his evidences. Regretfully the only time in which we were obliged to use the rhetoric of religious obligation with our masses was in 2005 for one reason: the course of the elections then was likely to lead to an ordeal in Lebanon. So to avoid an ordeal then we addressed our masses with religious obligation. The only time in which we addressed our masses with religious obligation was when we voted for them. But in these elections who talked about religious obligations? These masses did not in fact need the address of religious obligation because the motives, the feeling of responsibility and the gravity of the stage were enough to make them go collectively to ballots. That was enough to push many emigrants to pay at their own expenses the traveling charges and come to Lebanon and vote and express their convictions and choices.
Shiites went to ballots not by a religious obligation or sectarian provocation. They had an image in their minds about the good and kind things that the country would gain should the Opposition win. In many districts, they had in their minds that there were allies who supported them in July War and in hardships and calamities. Thus we have, besides the political alliance, to express our moral and convictional loyalty to them. Or else what would the electoral machineries in districts other than Baabda in Mount Lebanon and the North be for? That’s what they are for. But there is another more important point and stronger message which the Shiite electorate came to present (though I believe that many non-Shiite voters, whether they are from the other Muslim sects and from among Christians, who gave the very message).
After July War, much was said in the great media machinery which is also called the dark chambers which supply materials to satellite and local media outlets which started after July War saying that the Shiite disposition in Lebanon started to retreat from the line and choice of resistance. Shiites are tired and weary. This choice is imposed on Shiites with arms, money, arousal of interest and terrorizing. Even the collaborators who were arrested by the state and then were set free said that during and after July War one piece of information which the Zionists charged them of collecting is detecting the public disposition and more precisely the Shiite disposition. That means what do the people of Dahyieh, the South and Bekaa say? Israelis were very much interested to know what these people are saying. I like to tell you that one of the most important goals of this degree of demolition of buildings, houses, factories and commercial centers, this level of killing of women and children, and this harshness and savagery with which Israelis confronted us in July War is damaging the public awareness and disposition especially the public awareness and disposition of the Lebanese Shiites in particular.
Shiites showed up on June 7th and stood in long lines in districts where there is no competition and voted though they knew the success of their candidates is guaranteed. They voted to tell locals and foreigners alike and to tell Barak, Netanyahu, Liebermann and Begen in his tomb that their minds, hearts, blood and religion is the resistance. This is the strongest message. It is the strongest message of those who were killed in July War, whom massacres were perpetrated against their women and children, whose houses were demolished and some of which are not built yet and the one million and hundred thousand people who were displaced from their homes in July War for more than 33 days: killing, massacres, displacement and demolition can’t separate us from the resistance because the resistance is not a gang or a party which came from Zimbabwe. The resistance is our project whether big or small, elderly, women or children, laborers, teachers or students or peasants or farmers in fields. We made the resistance. We did not import it from abroad. Nobody imposed this resistance on anyone. This is our choice as it’s that of our fathers, grandfathers and children. This message you all delivered on June 7th as strong and reverberating and clear for the whole world.
Today it’s good to hear that the issue of resistance and the arms of the resistance are not in the sphere of discussion and it is back on the dialogue table. What guarantees calmness? What are the demanded guarantees? This is good talk, no doubt. I hope the atmosphere would remain as such. Still we are ready to listen and make discussions. But I like to tell you O Lebanese and I like to tell the whole world and all who talk about guarantees, reassurances or elements of force. I address you who are sitting before me and your brothers and sisters whether from among Shiites or other Lebanese, who embraced, supported and defended the resistance. I tell them that you are the guarantee. That’s why after the elections results were announced I was very clear. I told you all: let nobody be worried on the resistance as long as you are its people, flesh, blood, bones, mind and heart. Let nobody be worried on the resistance in Lebanon.
When those Shiites whom you refer to as a dumb bloc went to the ballots they had this idea in mind. They were trying to present this disposition. On the contrary, there were people who said in the few past months that they represent Shiite movements and that Amal and Hezbollah are dominating over others with their staffs, money and services. Give us money and see what we would do. One of them made a movement. They gave him between 40 and 50 million dollars which he spent in few months in the South. He made his own staff who themselves did not vote for him. In the district he run, he took 743 Shiite votes only, while Amal and Hezbollah candidates had 36 and 37 thousand Shiite votes. The 40 or 50 million dollars did not return on him 800 votes. This indicates that who goes to some rich Arab states and tell them give us money and that the story in the South, Bekaa and Baabda and others is that of money would be laughing on these states and taking their money. Pay your money in some others places where it might benefit you more than paying them here.
The Shiite disposition is based on an intellect and a culture and not on fanaticism. What would he gain he who has 100 million dollars and goes to the South of Lebanon, criticizes the resistance, attacks the arms of the resistance and belittles the sacrifices and martyrs of the resistance? What is this resistance other than these people before whom he is attacking the resistance? Is any of our people in the various regions -whether he be a father of a martyr, a mother of a martyr, a wounded or a detainee- ready to sell the blood of his son for millions of dollars for the sake of a leader here or there?
As far as Shiites are concerned, I tell you that not from now but from far ago, we are through with the story of political federation. I like to tell you that hundreds of millions of dollars can’t revive any aspect of political federation as far as Lebanese Shiites are concerned. This is as far as the losers in elections are concerned. Still it is my duty – to be respectful with people – to mention one point that in some districts whether in the South, Bekaa or even in Dahyieh or other places, there were Shiite candidates running against Amal and Hezbollah tickets but they were not against the resistance choice. Even if any of them got 1000 or 2000 votes that does not mean that he is against the choice of resistance. In fact many of them are friends but their reasons and considerations pushed them to insist on moving in their candidacy till the end.
Moving to the winners, let’s take Zahle for instance. This is an important detail because it will be the bases of many issues in the future. In Zahle, 16857 Shiites voted. The deputy who won the Shiite seat currently in Zahle gained 422 of these votes. He did not even have 500 votes. On the other hand, the Opposition candidate got 15655 votes. In Western Bekaa, 12950 Shiites voted. The winner of the Shiite seat in Western Bekaa got of these Shiite votes 844 whereas the Opposition candidate got 10699 votes. In Beirut III district, the winner of the Shiite seat got 1064 votes from 17820 Shiite votes whereas the Opposition candidate got 14182 votes. What does that mean?
That means this disposition is greatly overwhelming. I like to tell you that is not sectarian or factional fanaticism. That is rather based on the political awareness, political will and historic awareness of those electorates who followed all through the past years and who were before and after the Israeli occupation in the heart of the Lebanese ordeal, calamity and development from various positions. What I read does not mean by any means that I do not consider them winning deputies. In fact, I consider the winner in Beirut III district the Shiite deputy in Beirut III district. This is his legal right because the law says that there is no significance for the votes a candidate gets from his own sect but rather what is significant is the total sum of votes he gets in the district. But as I respect the will of the voter in Beirut, others must respect the will of voters in all regions and not belittle a Shiite or Armenian or whatever vote.
The sixth topic is the technical aspect of the elections. In this perspective we made a primary and semi-final scrutiny and an evaluation because we were following up from the very beginning. Here I like to stress that Hezbollah machineries by the way do not include only Hezbollah members but also Hezbollah supporters and advocators, Shiites, Druze, Sunnites, Christians, Alawis and members of all sects. These machineries worked forcefully and industriously – many thanks to them. As for the machineries of our allies, we know that they worked forcefully. We can’t evaluate the machineries of our allies and their conditions and capacities. It’s they who must make the evaluation and we will benefit from this evaluation later on.
As for polls, yes there was a gap in polls surveying. The polls presented did not take into consideration the emigrants. It might have taken into consideration buying votes because those who were making the surveys used to question the residents of a definite region. But the people who came from outside the region and who vote in it were not taken into consideration in polls. So the emigrants were not taken into consideration. That’s why we observe that in regions where no emigrants were brought, the results of the elections matched that of polls whereas in districts were the elections results differed from that of polls emigrants were intensively brought to these districts. This is not to accuse polls centers. This will indeed be taken into consideration to benefit from for the future. To comment on polls, I read and heard much that because the Opposition depended on the results of polls, it considered itself the winner. There is no accuracy in that. True polls showed that the Opposition is the winner and I affirm this. The other party was worried. In some districts its polls showed that the Opposition is the winner. Because it was worried as you have noticed in the last two weeks before the elections, efforts were doubled in some districts coupled with great expenditure and a severe attack which exceeded all limits. Yes in fact polls made the other party worried. But here I like to assure the masses of the Opposition that the leaders of the Opposition and its machineries did not build their performance, resolution, movement and activity on the light of the polls because despite all the polls, we used to say in between us that either we win with two or three deputies or they win with two or three deputies. So implicitly we had the possibility of losing. Even if we guaranteed winning, in such battles there are surprises and changing elements. I affirm to you (so that nobody in the Opposition whips himself or others) that the electoral administration in the Opposition did not sleep soundly and did not depend on polls results. It rather exerted its utmost efforts. If there was any defect in some machineries, that is due to defects on these machineries and not due to depending on the given of polls. Anyway we have to benefit from that in the future stage.
The third point in the technical aspect is the speech issued by the Opposition which talks with utmost confidence of winning what made the resolution of the electorates and the Opposition forces cool down. That’s not true but on the contrary, at the time the Opposition was saying that it is going to win, it was exerting all possible efforts. After all this is one means of elections. In all elections in the whole world, all parties say that they will win the elections. This is a trademark in elections. I confess that talking in such a confidential way about the victory of the Opposition made the moral and psychological influence of the contrary results on the Opposition masses greater. This is true. We will take that into consideration in future stages. But saying that this speech influenced the process of the elections and that if that was not said the results would have been something else is not true.
The last point in the technical aspect is what was said that the Opposition speeches had some slips or mistakes. Well nobody is infallible. This might have taken place disregarding the fact that moving into details that would turn out to be wrong or not. Still I like to stress that even if we gathered all of these mistakes, that wouldn’t have changed the track of the elections. What took lead of the track of the elections are the factors I mentioned before. But we do not deny that as the other party made many mistakes which did not influence the results of the elections because the true factors were other things, we in the Opposition too might have made mistakes – some of which in the media – but I believe that they did not influence the outcome of the elections.
The seventh point is the outcome of the elections. True the Opposition did not win the parliamentary majority. Anyway we did not have the parliamentary elections before too. So it did not achieve its goal. It did not however lose its position. It rather reserved and remained steadfast in face of a true global war: money, exaggeration, threatening, America, Israel, the West, satellite channels, the media, lying mills… And the Opposition remained steadfast. I like to tell you that after what was revealed of what was exploited in the elections, the Opposition masses especially in Mount Lebanon must thank a lot the Resistance because it remained steadfast and reserved its position.
Also as far as the outcome is concerned, the Opposition acted with responsibility and serenity. It accepted the results disregarding the legal challenges. But I like to ask a question. I do not know and I do not want to make accusations but should the Opposition have won, how would the other party and the world have acted? That shows that we in the Opposition are more democratic and have sportsmanship more than others. At least we had a trial and we passed it successfully. The others did not pass the trial. Let’s wait and see when they would pass through such a trial how would they deal with results.
Still the Opposition proved its national presence in all sects and regions. We talked on the Shiite level. On the Christian level, there was a grinding battle and the result was the steadfastness of the Opposition. On the Druze and Sunnite levels the ratios were good especially that in some Sunnite districts in which fierce battles were fought we find the number of votes got by the Sunnite Opposition figures did at times reach one third or almost half of the votes which is excellent and might be taken into consideration. Consequently, the Opposition today has a true national volume on which much might be built to continue working and serving the project we made our alliance for. Well maybe when I talked on Monday after the results of the elections were announced, I said we will study the parliamentary elections and the public elections. Since then many studies were carried and many figures were given and as you know I always handle numbers with precaution. But I like to decisively confirm to you that whatever calculations we made, the results of the voting on June 7, 2009 show that the Opposition is the popular majority in Lebanon.
They are the parliamentary majority according to the law on which we used to agree. They are the true parliamentary majority until the results of the challenges are issued. We do not deny that, but yes the Opposition is the popular majority. Maybe that is of no value in the parliament but it has a moral and political value. No it is not allowed that people show up and make argues over the will of the Lebanese people. No they can’t depend on the parliamentary majority that differs from the popular majority saying that these are the political choices of the Lebanese people as a people. That has to do with the division of electoral districts and the election law. The popular majority has a moral and political value as well as a constitutional value in what opposes mutual existence, the national covenant and the national partnership. Yes that issue is of great value.
The eighth topic has to do with the upcoming stage.
As for Hezbollah we first stress our compliance to our alliance and our relation with all the forces of the Opposition with no exceptions. We stress the persistence of this alliance and this relation whatever the position of the Opposition was in the upcoming stage. They are our allies. We will remain loyal to our allies and will remain on their side. All what is said about meetings, considerations, analyses, guarantees and promises remain under this ceiling which is untouchable.
Second as for the elections of the House Speaker, as Hezbollah, our candidate for this post is Speaker Nabih Berri.
Third, it is the right of the parliamentary majority according to the law to name the Premier.
Fourth, our participation or non-participation as Hezbollah and as part of the Opposition in the upcoming government depends on what ideas and suggestions we will hear and will be presented to us. I do not want to make anticipations and shut doors. I want to preserve the current atmosphere.
We will call on the majority to fulfill its promises. During the electoral campaign they made promises that have to do with financial and economic reform and development on various domains. One of the most important charges of the Loyalty to Resistance Bloc, as deputies, and as Hezbollah as a political movement in the country (I believe this is a point which we have to cooperate on with the Opposition) is to pursue the parliamentary majority to fulfill its promises.
We will fulfill our promises whatever our post was. We will do our best Inshallah to achieve all what we promised during the elections whether we shared in the government or not.
We will follow the legal aspects with our allies in some districts especially in Zahle because we show solidarity with Minister Elias Skaff and the Popular Bloc and we pause lengthily on what took place in Zahle from a legal perspective.
As for the dialogue table, we said before the elections and will not alter after the elections that we will carry on partaking in the dialogue table. We will see what the norms that will be followed to form a dialogue table are. I believe this issue will be among the topics of debate in the upcoming stage. I hope the resistance arms will be viewed only from a political and moral perspective as giving a definite image of the country to the Israelis. I hope the resistance arms have become outside political and media consumption.
We will call from now and in the upcoming government whether from within or without it and on the dialogue table primarily for a national Lebanese answer to Netanyahu’s speech on canceling Palestine, the Palestinian cause and Arab dignity and threatening the whole Arab environment. This needs a confrontation plot. It’s not enough that I say two words and so and so issue a statement or a press conference be held. The issue is not that of rhetoric. The issue is truly serious.
Before the elections, when one of the Opposition figures used to talk about settlement, they used to say that is a scarecrow. Now what? Netanyahu’s speech is clear. Obama lauded it too: it’s a positive speech, an important speech, a step forward…There is nothing positive or important about it. It’s not forward but rather it’s all backward. I like to stress what I said two days ago. Netanyahu’s speech revealed the America trick. Obama is coming. Netanyahu shows up to be dogmatic. Obama appears to press Netanyahu but finally Obama would say that’s what we could achieve O Arabs from Netanyahu. Accept that or you will have nothing.
I like to assert to you and to some of those who have good opinions saying that what is taking place is an Israeli-American dispute as some Arab elites are trying to market or analyze: No there is a single US-Israeli plot and administration. They are distributing roles to deceive the Arabs who have been deceived many times and might be deceived again. But the peoples of this region will not be deceived. We will call for a national plot. How are we to confront Netanyahu’s speech? How will we face the issue of settlement with reserving the dignity, humanity and civil rights of our Palestinian brethrens in Lebanon because we must be careful that no one makes a racial, sectarian or factional speech while discussing the issue of settlement? How will we face displacement? It’s Israel which carried the Maneuver Turning Point III. It’s the greatest maneuver in its history. If we did not highlight it in the media no one might have taken notice of it. Israel is staging maneuvers and is training every day and night. It did not stop from July War till now preparing for God only knows what war through which it would impose its conditions on all within Netanyahu’s vision and through which it would destroy the region and restore its defensive prestige. One repercussion of such deeds might be displacing the Palestinians of territories occupied since 1948 – God forbids.
If they displaced them, they will naturally come to Lebanon. What is the plot to confront this displacement and new transfer of which Netanyahu and Liebermann are dreaming. All in all this issue needs to be confronted. It needs cooperation and coupling efforts. We must get rid of spites and search for elements of force. Let’s put rumors and ill opinions aside and see how we can cooperate to protect our country which is part of this region which is in the line of target, quakes and storms. This is our view of the upcoming stage.
In this meeting I like to address you who are present here individually, all the brothers and sisters in the other electoral machineries of Hezbollah in the South and Bekaa, all brothers, sisters and friends in the electoral campaigns of the Opposition forces, our masses and the Opposition masses as a whole: Many thanks and a show of gratitude from the recesses of my heart. I can’t find the appropriate terms to express my thanks and emotions. I can’t find the appropriate and suitable terms that match the sacrifices of these masses and their emotions. I can’t find the appropriate words to thank these people who assumed such a degree of responsibility, showed up and offered sacrifices. Some of the terms we used on September 22 after the victory following July War and the legendary steadfastness might be appropriate. Today we came out of a legendary steadfastness. These few words might do for my shortcoming in expressing my feelings to you: O most honorable, dignified and pure people.
I thank the emigrants who came at their expenses to share in the referendum on the choice of resistance in the various regions. I thank the men, women and elderly who stood in lines for hours and endured pain to say their vote and express their convictions and disposition. Special thanks to my dear brother His Eminence Sheikh Naim Qassem – Hezbollah’s general coordinator of the parliamentary elections, the brethrens who helped and assisted him in this stage, all the officials of the electoral campaigns and the brethren deputies who won and of whom God willing the loyalty to Resistance Bloc Inshallah will be formed and will be loyal to you and to the resistance. It will express your will, convictions and choice Inshallah.
I renew my thanks to the other brethrens who were in the Loyalty to Resistance Bloc and now they are not anymore. I like to stress to you: All did exert all efforts possible day and night, but as we say in our culture: We have to do what we ought to do and we have to accept the results whatever they were. We accept the results and build on them and carry on the way. The path is open before us and it is full of hopes and great expectation. Peace be upon you all and Allah’s mercy and blessing.