THE SYRIAN DARK AGE
The introduction of the civil marriage proposal by the Syrian occupation regime, upon the arrival of UN secretary Kofi Anan to Beirut, is designed to arouse the sensitivities of various religious organizations, and implant in the mind of the secretary general, an image of a Lebanon whose communities refuse to melt, and to join into a heterogeneous people, having common blood, common ways, and common aspirations. Thus the end result of the Syrian policy is to project the Lebanese people as disparate communities entrenched along confessional lines and in need of an external force to maintain unity and stability among the various groups.
The timing and the method are suspect. Such project would be best introduced via a public referendum after months of open public debates in all the media including TV, and even town-homes meetings. Such debate would raise the awareness of the people on the issues and help them exercise their democratic rights and thus form a majority for, or against, as well as an opposition that is not bitter because it found an outlet for its opinions. The Lebanese people would be better off to ignore Hrawi and his actions. Those who are opposed to the civil marriage may always teach their children not to marry outside the faith. Those who support the civil marriage may take advantage of the new law. Regardless of the final outcome of this project, the Lebanese people will remain united in our love for our country and all its people, regardless of religion, age, sex, color, or ethnic origins.
The half-hazard introduction of the civil marriage law by the occupation regime, is just another example of Syria's strategy in Lebanon which has always been to divide and rule. The Syrian dictatorship has steadily worked for years to nurture divisions among the Lebanese people. Since 1958, Syria has used a variety of methods to destabilize Lebanon in order to enter it, and later maintain its occupation. Syrian tactics included armed infiltrations, border closures and economic blockades, implantation of terrorist camps, drug cultivation and trade, proxy-wars against Israel and western powers, assassinations of Lebanese national leaders, the arrest-torture-exile of all those who oppose Syrian hegemony, and finally direct Syrian military strikes against the Lebanese Army and the constitutional governments of Lebanon.
Syria's active military aggression against Lebanon has subsided since October 13 ,1990, when its army completed its occupation of Lebanon and forced the constitutional Lebanese government of Prime Minister Michel Aoun into exile. Syria has since ruled Lebanon through a puppet government that acts as a very thin mask to its occupation. The current Lebanese government is powerless and has done little to heal sectarian wounds which were opened through years of Syrian butchery. The puppet regime demoted national entente. And in the image of the Syrian masters, the Hrawi-Hariri-Berri Troika regime organized a police state security apparatus that has violently oppressed the national aspirations of the Lebanese people. In 1992 and 1996, fraudulent elections were conducted under the tanks barrels of 40,000 Syrian occupation troops and through hands-on orchestration by the Syrian intelligence services. The occupation regime sabotaged the return of the Lebanese refugees to their villages, and promoted confessional speeches by war lords who have been appointed as cabinet members. Syria has also exiled the national and secular opposition leaders and restricted internal dissent to two groups; the parliamentary pro-Syrian opposition which was elected in the fraudulent 1996 elections, and the religious bodies who naturally speak from a confessional perspective and not a national one.
The Lebanese people see beyond the local masks and clearly recognize the responsibility of the Syrian dictatorship in the ongoing destruction of Lebanon. The Syrian regime has committed numerous crimes against humanity in Lebanon and has violated human rights at a grand scale. It has massacred thousands of Lebanese, Palestinian, even Syrian innocent civilians through its 35 years of totalitarian rule. It has bombarded hundreds of Lebanese towns and villages into oblivion, looted the resources of our country, diluted its identity, and assassinated our reputation in the world community. It is time for the International community to publicly acknowledge the facts on the ground. The ongoing pillage of Lebanon by Syria should stop. The UN needs to look beyond 425 and force Syria to accept resolution 520 which require the withdrawal of the Syrian occupation troops from Lebanon. If Syria refuses, the UN should then impose global sanctions on Syria with the same intensity as the sanctions on Iraq, and force the Syrian dictatorship to change its ways or die. This is the least the UN can do for the prisoner nation of Lebanon. Stop the charade. Solve the problem and not the symptoms. End the Syrian dark age.