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Reader's feedback - issue 1, December 1998

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For this first issue, only three of you wrote back to post opinions. What are the others doing? Does no one else has something to say on the subject?

Does that mean that everyone else totally agrees with me? Well, I didn't know I was that close to the absolute Truth.... :-)

Anyway, those who wrote back seem to be valuable persons with very interesting point of views. I liked what they said. South Lebanon is a complicated problem that requires a complicated solution. Let's get to think about it then....

Last thing, I wanted to make a disclaimer for some of you who thought I was a Hizbullah supporter. I'm the man of no party. None of them corresponds to what I am, and so, I am totally independent. If anyone is interested in knowing my personal postion regarding Hizbullah, I praise and support them for their effort in resistance that serves the whole country, but I don't agree at all with their political project of founding an Islamic state. I value freedom, tolerance and open-mindedness too much for that.  Religion and politics should each remain in their place.

That's all. I hope we get more feedback next time. Won't you love to have your ideas posted on the site....

Youssef Ilych Hacienda

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Where is the Thinking?
Where is the Conscience?
An Appeal to Humanity.

Many claim that man is superior to the other creatures roaming this Earth because of his ability to think. I have recently lost my belief in this claim. How can a man of what is almost the twenty-first century be considered superior when he is capable of taking the lives of twenty-nine people in Hebron in cold blood in the name of religion? Where is the thinking? Where is the conscience? What hurts more than anything else is that the victims were gunned down while praying to the same God worshipped by the assailant, and in the same city where the remains of Abraham, the father of all, are buried.

This tragedy is only one of thousands that have taken place in this century, and almost every one was committed in the name of religion. The massacres of Jews in Hebron in the 1920's, the Der Yassin massacre, the Sabra and Chatila massacres are reminders that man does not always think. We cannot call the people who commit such atrocities "animals," because that would be a great injustice to the animals of this world.

Where is the thinking? Where is the conscience? Just think of the magnitude of this last tragedy. Children are now deprived of one of the most meaningful experiences in life - the love and support of a father. What about the widows? How will they financially support their children? What about the parents? How does it feel to raise a child, only to see that child die violently?

When will it end? Ten people killed in a bomb blast at a church in Lebanon, fifty sprayed with machine-gun fire at a mosque in Hebron, sixty-five people blown to bits at a market in Bosnia - these are the headlines we see regularly, not to mention the events themselves shown on television worldwide. How many more such incidents can we expect?

If you are contemplating revenge, please stop and think for a minute. Violence will only lead to more violence. Even if you are able to get your revenge this time, the next time someone may get even with you. Besides, do you truly believe that God's cause is served when innocent people are killed? Think of the orphans, widows, and grieving parents you will leave behind.

I often wonder what has happened to the human conscience. Did it die or become inactive? During the turmoil that swept India after Pakistan was declared an independent state, a Hindu asked Mahatma Gandhi if anything could be done to ease the Hindu's conscience for killing a Muslim boy by mistake. Gandhi told him to adopt an orphaned Muslim boy and raise him as one of his own, with one exception: He must raise him as a Muslim, not as a Hindu.

If humanity is to survive, we must learn to fight religious hatred with tolerance and respect. No religion has an exclusive claim to the truth. Several paths lead to God. We should always remember this; otherwise, may God help us all.

Note: Since the day I wrote this essay a number of atrocities were committed all over the world. For the sake of fairness, I would like to mention the bombs that exploded on passenger buses in Israel, the car bomb that exploded in Saudi Arabia, and the Oklahoma City Bombing. My heart bleeds for the victims and their loved ones left behind. Some people critiqued this essay by saying it has left behind many un-mentioned atrocities. They are absolutely correct in their assessment. However, they have failed to recognize that this essay was written as a response to something that moved me. Call it a whim or a mood, or a snap-shot of my feeling at a certain time and space. It would be a mistake to keep on revising the essay to make it up-to-date and inclusive of all acts of violence. This is not to say that I have not been moved when other atrocities are committed.

By Mounir Murad (http://www.dahesh.com), USA, posted 12/12/98.

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South Lebanon is so alone! Help....

Il est vrai que la situation du sud Liban est plus considérée comme un conflit entre Israéliens d'un côté et Musulmans et Palestiniens d'autre part alors qu'elle devrait toucher tout le Liban. Mais le sud n'est pas la partie la plus riche du Liban et son seuil de pauvreté est au dessus de la moyenne. Dans ce cas il est évident que cette situation n'effleurait pas le gouvernement Hariri trop occupé a engrainer l'argent illégalement soutiré au Libanais moyen. Leur commerce se bornait a faire du Liban une entreprise géante, une machine a sous pour une caste privilégiée, celle des magouilleurs en tous genres qui sévirent avec tant d'ardeur durant la guerre proprement dite. On comprend ainsi que le sud représentait peu de choses pour les personnes qui dirigeaient le Liban, or ce n'est sûrement pas le peuple, trop occupé a se sortir de sa misère ou à se battre pour sa survie et ses derniers biens, qui aurait pu s'occuper du Sud. Le gouvernement ne jouant pas totalement son rôle, le peuple dans l'incapacité de faire face à cette situation au lendemain de la guerre, il ne restait plus au sud Liban qu à se défendre lui même; or Hezbollah se trouvant bien implanté dans la région du fait qu'elle soit essentiellement habitée par des musulmans, ils prirent les rênes du combat et ne les lâchèrent plus, puisque depuis ils ne reçurent plus de personne, si ce n'est la simple présence des casques bleus, la moindre aide.

L'opinion politique mondiale ne fut pas non plus d'un grand secours, en effet, aucun gouvernement n'irait s'attirer les hostilités de la puissante Israël, d'autant qu'ils voyaient que les Libanais eux-mêmes se désinteréssaient totalement de la question. Il est donc aussi vrai qu'il faut réagir et aider le sud, mais il existe différentes manières de le faire. On peut utiliser les armes comme tu l'as un instant laissé entendre, mais cela fait maintenant quelques années que la guerre est finie et personne ne voudrait plus s'engager dans une autre qui aurait des conséquences catastrophiques sur le Liban, qui par ailleurs n'est pas en mesure de répondre aux assauts d Israël, même avec l'aide de la Syrie. Il faut ici se souvenir des guerres israélo-arabes qui infailliblement tournèrent à l'avantage des Israéliens, ne serait ce que parce qu'ils bénéficient du soutien des USA.

Non, il faudrait plutôt une mobilisation importante et insistante des Libanais envers la politique mondiale: si les Libanais expatriés se souciaient un peu plus de leur pays d'origine, eux qui occupent en Europe, au Canada, ou même aux USA, des postes importants et en nombre, ils pourraient facilement avec un peu de bonne volonté alerter l'opinion politique mondiale. Une sensibilisation des médias serait déjà une chose importante. Et je suis sûr que si les Libanais expatriés montraient une certaine solidarité, ils pourraient ainsi s'attirer des réactions de la part des Libanais du pays, et même du gouvernement; et sous les projecteurs de l'opinion mondiale, les gouvernements seront alors obligés de faire quelques pas en faveur de la paix.

On peut par ailleurs espérer que le nouveau gouvernement saura montrer plus d'égards au problème du sud, étant donné qu'il a à sa tête un général; les syriens seraient au contraire favorables à toute action pouvant éloigner un peu plus Israël de leurs frontières, car le Liban est leur seconde patrie, enfin ils le considèrent...

Il faut donc parler du problème avec plus d'insistance et diffuser un message d'aide a travers le monde. Le web est peut-être un bon début, mais il ne faudrait s'y borner. Maintenant il faut agir...
Eh oui, on a beau parler, le plus dur est à faire !

By Naji, France, posted 12/14/98.

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To have our country freed we need to:

1. get the Syrians out,

2. get Israel out,

3. get Hizballah back to Iran,

4. all the Lebanese should love and die for Lebanon, and not take their orders from outside the country,

5. all the Lebanese should be united and forget the past,

6. cancel the religion from the Lebanese ID,

7. get rid of the foreigner's ideas and stick with our Lebanese idea to live together against any outsider,

8. bring back to Lebanon all the Lebanese who left because of the war and their religion,

9. get all the business people back to lebanon - especially the Lebanese who are using ther money outside the country.

And that it be we can have our country free again from the occupation of the Syrians - who try to dominate our country and our government - and Israel, with the same metod in the south. Sometimes, I think Hizballah and Israel work together to destroy the south. I hope I am wrong, the only victims who pay for all this are the Lebanese people, nobody else. Thanks for your site where we can talk freely. My God bless our country - long live free Lebanon.

By 100% Lebanese,  posted 01/09/99.