An Opportunity to Affirm Unity and Harmony

  • 14 February 2010

This Sunday marked the fifth anniversary (February 14) of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri. In the past the political forces in Lebanon have used these commemorations to accuse each other for their internal disputes and have demonstrated their influence on the streets by mobilizing their followers and leading to tension at official and the public spheres. However, this year’s commemoration comes under a different domestic, regional and international circumstances that necessitate internal unity and readiness to move forward with a new spirit. This is not the time to divide the streets and revive tension in Lebanon because Rafik Al-Hariri devoted his life to developing and maintaining internal cohesion and sovereignty over its land and destiny.

There have, however, been some positive developments witnessed in the country in the past few months since the parliamentary elections took place and the national unity government, headed by Saad Al-Hariri, was formed. It is now important that this progress is translated into further consolidation of Lebanon’s internal security and in handling the various differences within the country instead of retreating on issues that are of vital importance.

Recent times have also witnessed significant changes in the relationship between Lebanon and Syria which has happened due to a series of steps taken by both the parties. The clear and positive impact of this has been reflected on the nature of interactions between the two sides and relations within the Lebanese political arena. These changed circumstances have also created a great opportunity for further progress, especially because there still are complex and sensitive issues inside Lebanon that needs to be dealt with in a spirit of nationalism away from the constraints that have been part of the slogan of different forces in Lebanon since 2005.

There is no doubt that repeated Israeli threats are dangerous for Lebanon and does not leave any room for discussions within the Lebanese political arena on the Rafik Al-Hariri assassination anniversary but they must push for greater unity and not give an opportunity to the Israeli government’s extremist elements from attacking Lebanon again. This is more so because Israeli threats are aimed at the state of Lebanon and not at one group or the other, similar to the results of its destructive aggression in 2006 which everyone had to face and the country is still bearing the consequences of its catastrophic impacts.

There is no doubt that closing the chapters of the past, putting differences aside and moving to the future does not conflict with the determination to continue the investigations aimed at establishing the truth behind Al-Hariri’s assassination. This process will bring the culprits to trial and get them punished for the crime they have committed against Lebanon, its security, stability and its future.

This was clearly indicated by the United Nations Secretary-General on Friday when he said that the organization is committed to taking all legal measures to get to the truth behind Al-Hariri’s assassination and bringing those responsible to justice because unearthing the truth behind such an act of terror is in Lebanon’s interest and will help the country emerge stronger.