I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan. In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our master and Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets Abi Al-Qasim Muhammad Bin Abdullah, and his good and pure family and all his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.
Gentlemen, scholars, deputies, ministers, brothers and sisters, all of you, Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.
To begin with, I would like to thank you for this great attendance, which comes naturally and is expected from you - the people of the resistance. I welcome you all to this festival. I extend the greetings especially to our people participating in the South's third district electoral festival and our great people from Nabatieh, Marjayoun, Hasbaya and Bint Jbeil.
The aim of this celebration is to advocate and declare support for the Hope and Loyalty List in the parliamentary elections slated for May 6, to declare support as well as political, popular and public advocacy [for the list], and also to express the aspirations through the Hope and Loyalty List in this district and in all districts.
Naturally, I will talk during a number of celebrations in the next few days. Hence, I will divide the topics, headlines and files throughout the celebrations. I will choose two headlines or two files and I will focus on them. In the coming days we will discuss other topics.
But before I delve into the subject of the occasion and the purpose of the celebration, allow me on your behalf to greet those stationed at the borders of Gaza - the rebellious, oppressed and steadfast people of Gaza, who have been marching for days in their tens of thousands to the Strip's borders to face the occupation army. They gave tens of martyrs and thousands of wounded. They expressed their presence courageously and through martyrdom and sacrifice. We pay tribute to all the martyrs, all the wounded, those present, and the leaders in the resistance factions in Gaza that took this courageous and creative decision to confront the occupation in this form of resistance. This movement delivers a powerful slap to what is, these days, referred to as ‘the deal of the century'.
Secondly, while the aggression against Yemen entered its fourth year, the legendary steadfastness of the Yemeni people is continuing over three years in the face of the ongoing war and the relentless Saudi-American aggression. Despite the daily massacres, siege, disease and starvation, these people continue to defend and participate on all fronts and to demonstrate. The mass demonstrations that we have witnessed several days ago in Sana'a are an expression of the solid popular will.
Allow me, too, from the resistance point of view in Lebanon to send all the greetings to this historic and legendary resistance, the steadfast, patient, and oppressed Yemeni people including its leader, supporters, army, and popular committees.
Thirdly, I extend my condolences to all the Muslims, especially the followers of the [Prophet's] Family, peace and blessings be upon them, on the martyrdom anniversary of the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) Imam Musa bin Jaafar al-Kadhim. Starting tomorrow and during similar days of the month of Rajab and on this occasion, the city of Baghdad will witness great commemorations.
Fourthly, I also greet all Christians who abide by the Western and Eastern calendars on the occasion of the glorious holidays taking place in the past few days. I ask God Almighty to grant all Lebanese - Christians and Muslims alike - and all the people of the region goodness and blessings.
Brothers and sisters, we return to the occasion.
First: Hope and Loyalty. This title was deliberately chosen due to its significance.
First, hope, the hope for the future and the hope for everything that is coming, the hope for victory, the hope for reform, the hope for the ability to face and overcome the challenges. This hope is not an illusion and not a mirage sold to people. This hope stems from our culture and our faith in the promise of God Almighty, and our confidence in His words "If you support Allah, He will support you". If you support God in all fields, he will support you in all fields. If you are with God in every arena, God will be with you in every arena, in fighting, in politics, in economy, in reform, and in the fight against corruption. Hence, this hope stems from the faith in God Almighty first. This hope stems from believing in you, this nation, its men, its scholars, its women, its youth, its elders, its elites, and its public. For this nation has proven that despite all experiences it does not give into despair. Despair cannot sneak into its heart. It is as the lofty mountains - as we said in the July war - that face all the hurricanes. It is a people firmly rooted in the land and is not shaken by earthquakes. We do not say this to complement our people, but to take as a stepping-stone all these experiences, challenges and difficulties that you have faced, showing steadfastness, where you have sacrificed, and you have been victorious. And you are still filling the fields and squares. Hope is the foundation of any movement towards the future. Despair is a deadly element for the individual, the community and the nation. Our culture is the culture of hope, the hope in God's promise and the hope in the near, medium and distant future; the hope that separates us from a time we do not know, the hope of the return of the Lord Christ to this world to expel all the thieves from all the temples and to create the kingdom of God.
Hoping for the emergence of the grandson of Muhammad from the dynasty of Muhammad (PBUH) to establish justice, security, peace and tranquility across this earth. Thus, hope is part of our faith and culture. It is part of our education and our psychological composition. This is what we want to strengthen in every occasion, in every event and in every battle. Loyalty is also a basis in our faith and culture because the best conclusion in things is loyalty. The best conclusion is loyalty. Loyalty is to know gratitude first. Secondly, to acknowledge the gratitude. Thirdly, to thank the one who committed a good deed. And fourthly, to be loyal to those who are loyal.
Today, loyalty is for all those sacrificing for our people that have sacrificed, remained steadfast and loyal. Loyalty is for all the martyrs who have fallen in defense of this country and to liberate this land and the detainees. It is for dignity, for Man, and for every martyr of the resistance. Loyalty to every martyr in the Amal movement, in Hezbollah, and in the Islamic and national forces that have fought for decades to achieve liberation. Loyalty to every martyr in the Lebanese army, the security forces, the Syrian Arab army and the Palestinian resistance factions who were martyred on Lebanese territory in defense of Lebanon. Loyalty to their honorable families. Loyalty to every wounded person who still bears the traces of the wounds on his body, soul, and will. Loyalty to all the prisoners, including women and men, who have suffered in the occupation's prisons for many years. Loyalty to those who have been forced to leave their homes. Loyalty to those whose homes and farms have been destroyed. Loyalty to those who have endured decades of oppression, injustice and fear but remained firm and steadfast. Loyalty to their Imam, master, inspiration, and their first teacher, His Eminence Sayyed Musa al-Sadr, may God return him and his brothers, God willing. Loyalty to all of our martyred leaders including our Sheikh Ragheb Harb, the son of this good land and towns and who used to visit their squares, mosques and platforms. Loyalty to our Sayyed, Sayyed Abbass Al-Mousawi, the master of the martyrs of the resistance. Loyalty to Hajj Imad and to all the martyred leaders in all the resistance factions.
This is the headline. Through the elections and through the results of the elections when the candidates from the Hope and Loyalty List are elected, we all want to be in the position of hope and loyalty. We certainly want to remain in this position. Today, this list that includes political forces and figures holds this meaning. It strongly underscores this meaning as it did in previous years.
Allow me today in this meeting and in the time available to tackle two dossiers and a conclusion.
The first file: Of course the files do not concern each district alone, but it includes all the districts in Lebanon while some specifically tackle the South.
Pardon me, before the two files. Allow me to [state] an introduction. Thus, first is hope and loyalty. Second: Why do we elect?
The importance of the parliament in Lebanon. I mentioned this issue before, but to complete the picture, let me go back to it.
The Parliament of Lebanon is the mother of institutions in the Lebanese state. It has very broad and very important powers. It may be that a small number of parliaments in the world enjoy this level of authority. The Lebanese parliament is the one that elects the president of the republic. It is the one that names the prime minister. It gives its approval to the government and approves its ministerial statement. It approves the budget and the most important things related to financial and economic issues. It sets the laws governing all matters of life and everything related to economy, living, finance, security, stability, administration, education, culture, media, society, etc. Unlike many countries in the world, it is the only institution that has the powers to amend the constitution without going back to a popular referendum. Hence, we have a parliament and a constitutional institution that possesses very broad and very great powers, and there are few like it in the world.
Therefore, when we elect, we are creating a new parliament to carry out all these tasks and exercise all these powers. Therefore, we must elect. Not electing is giving up the responsibility. Not electing is letting go of the fate of the country and the people at every level, their sovereign, constitutional, security, and economic fates as well as life and livelihood. It is leaving their dignity, future and the future of their children and grandchildren to the unknown.
Thus, clearly we must participate in the parliamentary elections. Failing to participate is a failure to take responsibility. Who we elect is another topic. I am talking about the origin of the strong, effective, and real participation in the parliamentary elections.
Hence, according to us, after 1982 and since the first parliamentary elections were held in 1992, our decision to enter, participate and attend was decisive. So, the Parliament has a high degree of importance.
This was the first topic: why do we elect?
Second: Who shall we elect? Who shall we elect? This is a question for all the people. Today every voter in Lebanon must ask himself this question. Who should I elect? Why would I elect this person or this party or this list? To some people, family solidarity is enough: ‘the person from my family is a candidate in this list, I want to elect him, full stop.' There are people who are taken by tribalism, partisanship, or sectarian fanaticism: ‘he belongs to my sect or faith, I want to elect him.' But what is most important and correct is that we answer this question in a different way. This is the responsibility of the Parliament. This is not a parliament of prestige and privileges. This parliament is for law-making. It is a parliament to draw the image of the country and its future. This parliament is capable of protecting the independence of the country and is capable of subjecting it to a lethal dependency. This parliament is capable of saving the country economically and it can push it to bankruptcy that destroys all its financial and economic institutions. This parliament can ... and can ... and can.
From this point of view, we must think. And on this basis, each one should return to his or her diagnosis of challenges and risks in the coming years to form a parliament that suits these existing and future challenges and dangers.
From here, I begin with the files. The first file: There is no doubt that for all the Lebanese as well as the people in the South in particular and with them the people of Western Bekaa and Rashaya, the first file remains the Zionist enemy, the existing "Israeli" threats, and the conflict with this enemy. This entire file is called the confrontation with the Zionist enemy. We face an enemy that is practicing aggression. It is a greedy enemy, covetous of our oil, gas, natural resources, water and land, especially in the south. You, in this region, especially as part of the south, in Nabatieh, Bint Jbeil, Marjayoun and Hasbaya, have lived decades and long years of suffering with this enemy. The suffering began since the beginning of the previous century, before 1948 when the Zionist gangs came to occupy Palestine. This suffering was exacerbated after the establishment of the enemy entity in Palestine in 1948 because the north of Palestine and our borders fell in 1948. The new generations in Lebanon, especially the youth, should know this fact. Today, young men and women in Lebanon, especially in the south have not seen bombardment, beatings, prisons, detention camps - the Ansar detention camp, the Khiam detention camp, Atlit detention camp - arrests on the roads, fear, raids of the homes of the southerners during the night and day, displacement, and insults at the checkpoints. They are living safely, securely, with dignity and peace. They do not know what used to happen in the past. They must read. We must inform them of all the suffering our children and us have experienced; our generation, the generation after us, and the suffering our fathers and grandfathers have endured in the face of this "Israeli" aggression for decades. [They have to be informed about] the time the Zionists used to enter the southern border villages daily without regard for sectarian backgrounds. They used to attack, detain, and bomb houses. They even attacked gendarmerie stations and Lebanese army checkpoints. They bombarded and destroyed fields. They displaced, threatened, and deprived people of security until the occupation of our land before and after ‘78, up to the great "Israeli" invasion in 1982, and what Lebanon experienced from 1982 until 2000. From all those experiences and this entire file, let me start from the facts and experiences. We did not come to speak about theories. We did not come to speak as if we were starting again, even though we started with hope, the hope for victory over the enemy, liberating the land and expelling the occupiers at a time when many were consumed by despair. We want to speak from experience. Who forced the occupiers, the Zionist occupiers, out of Lebanon? From the mountains, from the suburbs, from Beirut, Sidon, Tire, Nabatieh, the western Bekaa and Rashaya reaching the border strip in 1985? Who liberated the entire border strip except for the Shab'a farmlands and the hills of Kfarchouba in 2000? If there is anyone in the world, not only in Lebanon, who can say that there was another element other than the resistance - the armed resistance, the popular resistance and the integrated resistance, in which the armed resistance constitutes its spearhead - if there is another factor that forced the occupation out of Lebanon, let them speak-up and present the evidence. Not only in Lebanon, but the whole globe, the whole world knows and all the Lebanese people know that neither the Arab League, or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or the United Nations, or the National Security Council, or the Non-Aligned Movement, or the European Union, or anyone forced the occupiers out of Lebanon. Nor was it the international resolutions. The ones who forced the occupiers out of Lebanon were the resistance from all factions who fought, were martyred, captured and sacrificed, looked over and were patient as well as their people who stood with them and embraced them, and those who have always been loyal to us in supporting the resistance, both in the Islamic Republic of Iran or in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Well, this is their achievement.
The resistance's achievements: The resistance achieved the 2000 liberation. I tell you that because of the blessing of your unity, with the blessing of that unity, integration, interdependence, love and brotherhood that prevailed in the 1990s between the Amal movement and Hezbollah as well as the Amal movement and Hezbollah bases and the efforts of the resistance fighters, the 2000 liberation was achieved. From here I will narrate a story. Since 2000, the "Israelis" and the Americans and that alliance realized that there is a real force in Lebanon called the resistance. This resistance was able to enter the hearts of the Lebanese and was able to make a historic and strategic victory. It was able to force the "Israeli" enemy unconditionally and without restrictions out of our Lebanese and Arab lands. It managed to put the region into the era of victories and was able to make a strategic change that was evident in the start of the Intifada in Palestine a few months after the victory of Lebanon. It was able to revive the spirit of resistance and the culture of resistance not only in Lebanon and Palestine but also throughout the entire nation.
Thus, we must rid ourselves of this resistance in any way. We must erase it, wipe it out, abolish it and end its presence in Lebanon because it poses as the guarantee, because it constitutes immunity, because it constitutes protection, because it constitutes the renewable spirit, and because it constitutes the vigor of youth, dignity and pride.
Conspiracy against it began on the eve of the withdrawal. The first conspiracy against the resistance was in the sudden "Israeli" withdrawal on the one side. Why do I say a plot? The "Israelis" did not inform Antoine Lahad's army, the agent, as well as the networks of agents at the border of their final decision to withdraw. They deliberately left them to their fate. They deliberately left them, not out of neglect or because they were confused or they did not have enough time. No, they had already planned this matter when planning to withdraw in July 2000, not in May 2000. They deliberately left them knowing that these agents belonged to one category - the category of being agents - even though they belonged to different sects in Lebanon. Some of them were Shiites, Sunnis, Druze and Christians. Unfortunately, being an agent was transient to sects. The agents belonged to all sects and came from all towns and villages, mostly from border towns and villages. They left them. Why did they leave them? Their misjudgment was that when the resistance enters this area in moments of chaos and defeat of the "Israeli" enemy and the confusion of Antoine Lahad's army, massacres will be committed, field courts will be established, houses will be burnt and money will be looted as it happens in most wars in the world. This will be avenged and that will be avenged. Hence, the Lebanese national celebration will be transformed into a funeral, victory into sedition, civil war and sectarian war, in which the resistance will end and be struck. But this was overcome.
I also return to you, our people in the south and all the resistance fighters who fought with you in those times from the Bekaa, from Baalbek-Hermel, from the rest of the Lebanese areas. With your awareness, wisdom, patience, faith, patriotism, elevated humanity and generous manners, you have overcame this sedition. It was not only the issue of organizational discipline within Hezbollah, the Amal movement or the rest of the forces and parties, as much as it was an expression of awareness, understanding, perception, diagnosis of the enemy's conspiracies, and the human feeling towards the other, even if we the other was one of those who killed us, bombarded us, beheaded our children in Nabatieh and Sidon, even if we the other lashed us, lashed our backs in Khiam and Ansar and inside occupied Palestine. This was the first plot. It was cut off.
Well, after that they asked, what will we do with this resistance? The second attempt - because all of it was cajoling and intimidation - the second attempt was invitational. I do not want to go back to this topic, but I will just remind you of it. After the September 11 events, I previously mentioned in detail that a representative came from America with an American citizenship. He was of Lebanese origin. I will say his name today. He was personally sent by Dick Cheney, who was at that time the US Vice President. He visited me. We thought he was a Lebanese journalist, but he turned out to be an American citizen with a message from Dick Cheney. He informed me at that time ‘we are ready'. ‘You are entering the government and the power. We will give you billions of dollars to rebuild the south and the Bekaa. You can compensate. We will take you off the terror list. We will release your prisoners, etc. But on two conditions. The first condition was that we work for the Americans in security and the intelligence apparatus. The second condition was that we cease resisting the "Israeli" enemy.' They came and offered us everything, security, safety, taking us off the terror list, being part of the authority, billions of dollar in return we give up the resistance. Why will I give the name? To give credibility to my statement because with all the scandals and investigations taking place in America nowadays, this name is being cited in the media over what is happening between Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the Americans and Trump. It is the American journalist of Lebanese origin living in America, George Nader. It was him who came at that time. I admit that my mistake was not taking the paper. I mean, I took a very hard stance towards the Americans and did not accept to receive the paper. I should have taken it. It would have been a document and a bond. Anyways, this was the second attempt.
The third attempt, 2005: After the events that took place in Lebanon and the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon, we, specifically Hezbollah, was offered everything, once again a US-French-European offer. Even when I refused and we in Hezbollah refused, we were told what would we tell the Americans, the French, the Saudis, and the Egyptians. To this extent the Americans, the French, the Saudis and the Egyptians were interested in us accepting your offer. We were offered everything, what a political party in Lebanon aspires to. Take all the power, of course the share of the Shiites in power, the projects, funds and understanding.... Hoping to reach the following:
First, if Hezbollah competes for power, this means that we are working on a problem within the Shiite situation between Hezbollah and the Amal movement. This will undoubtedly weaken the resistance. Secondly, some heads of state explicitly stated that when the resistance tastes the bliss of power and tastes the sweetness of power, it would feel that the weapon was a burden on it and it would give up its weapons. Hence, the offer of power in 2005 was to end the resistance.
2006: 2006 - Of course there is something in it I will return to after a little while. In 2006, there was the war. What was the war for? In order to crush the resistance. When the dialogue and cajoling failed to produce results, the decision was taken to crush the resistance in Lebanon and crush the resistance movements in the region to establish a new Middle East. But this matter failed.
Leading up to the events in Syria that began in 2011 and which we believe - and every day proves the correctness of this belief and this understanding - that one of the main objectives of what happened in Syria is to hit the resistance and the resistance movement in Lebanon and the axis of resistance in the region. This targeting still exists. I say all this to get to the elections.
Now, I will enter a sensitive point. Let me speak frankly. Allow me to speak with transparency. Some people may have reservations that Sayyed you should not delve too deep into this subject. But to learn from the past and be cautious for the future, allow me to say what I will say now. The most dangerous thing in all that was planned for the resistance in Lebanon was the internal fighting, as the following: Let's see the Lebanese army. We bring the army to clash with the resistance. The choice is to push for a fight between the Lebanese army and the resistance. It is not an illusion. These are not fantasies and fears. In 2005, the Americans conducted studies and gathered information. You can go and make sure within the Lebanese army and the Lebanese security services. They conducted studies and surveys within the Lebanese Army institution in 2005 whether this army with its leadership, generals, officers, and soldiers are ready psychologically and morally to fight the resistance? This is a study that was conducted. Unfortunately, it was also conducted on the basis of a sectarian makeup. That is, see what the Christians in the army would say, see what the Sunnis in the army would say, see what the Druze would say, see what the Shiites would say. They did not ask what the officers in the army would say. No they asked what the officers and soldiers would say based on their sectarian and religious affiliation. Whether they were ready to fight against the resistance or not? At the time, they found that the Lebanese army did not accept. Its culture, national ideology, structure, psychology, spirituality, for the most part, does not accept to fight the resistance. This was one of the reasons for rapidly heading to the "Israeli" war. They saw that the internal situation was difficult and requires a lot of time. They had to make a change in the army, in the army's doctrine, in the culture of the army, in the composition of the army. To achieve all that, they needed time. That is if they were able to do it. So, they rushed to the July war.
But the most dangerous thing is that in 2006 and in the midst of the July war, there were some who worked on such an option to strike the resistance. I do not calumniate anyone. I am not accusing anybody. We are ready to open an investigation and involve the judiciary and whatever else you want in this matter.
The government and the prime minister at that time gave a decision to the Lebanese army leadership in the midst of the July war - you heard that before, and it comes in the context I speak of - to confiscate any truck coming from the Bekaa to the south carrying arms, ammunition and missiles for the resistance. The first truck was confiscated. I assure you that those who gave the decision to the Lebanese army were betting on a clash between the resistance and the Lebanese army during the July war. However, the wisdom of both sides and the political intervention that I will talk about soon contained the matter but with difficulty. That is one meeting with the prime minister, a second and a third. He remained insistent on the decision that the Lebanese army must confiscate any truck transporting arms and ammunition to the south while the south was at the heart of the battle. I repeat and say that the issue is not just transporting weapons. The issue was betting that the Lebanese army would implement the political decision. And the resistance that is being bombarded along the Lebanese border, giving martyrs and whose people are being displaced would not be able to bear this confiscation amid this pressure. The armed confiscation of the resistance's trucks would lead to internal fighting. Unfortunately, this bet was in 2006. I did not shed much light on it. But this time I am compelled to reveal it for the future. I will talk about it in a bit.
After 2006, in 2008 when the Amal and Hezbollah ministers resigned from the Lebanese government, the Lebanese government convened. This means that there was no longer any work in Lebanon at the time but the resistance's wireless network. The timing was certainly a Western, American request. You have to find a solution to this issue. There are documents. And the Lebanese government never met until the break of dawn, until the call for morning prayers, even in time of war. But on the eve of May 5, it met until the call for morning prayers to decide to remove the resistance's wireless network. It gave orders to the Lebanese army and the Lebanese security forces to dismantle them by force if need be.
I tell you today, clearly, the objective was not the wireless network. The goal in 2008 was for the Lebanese army and the security forces to dismantle the wireless network so that Hezbollah would prevent them, which would result in an armed confrontation between the army and the resistance.
Today brothers and sisters, I am prepared to take responsibility for this in the afterlife before the world. I tell you, there is someone in Lebanon, outside Lebanon, in America, and in the Gulf who is back today to bet on this clash and this battle. Let us work on the army. Let us drag it to a confrontation with the resistance. The guarantee before entering into politics is to be present in the state - the strong presence in the state. In 2006, Amal and Hizballah had ministers in the government. They participated in all the discussions seriously and did not allow any collusion against the resistance or any backstabbing of the resistance. The decision to confiscate the trucks was taken by the prime minister. The government did not take it. Otherwise, Amal and Hezbollah ministers would not have allowed it.
For history to record and to be fair, the one who sympathized with them [Amal and Hezbollah ministers] at that time was Minister Yacoub Sarraf. The presence of the ministers as well as His Excellency President Emile Lahoud at the head of the government and his participation in all government meetings during the July War were also a real guarantee. But frankly I tell you that the guarantee in the state, the greatest guarantee during the July war was represented by His Excellency Mr. Nabih Berri, through his position as Speaker of Parliament. He had a strong and distinguished presence although the one concerned with the negotiations internationally was President Emile Lahoud. They isolated him. But Mr. Nabih Berri imposed himself on the negotiations through his position in the resistance, in leading the resistance, through his position in heading the Parliament and through his real and complete representation of this path, axis and public. The leadership of the army, the officers and soldiers as well as their national faith, their sincere and genuine national belonging also forms a guarantee.
Now, the door is opened to something like this. Political fortification of the resistance is required. Political fortification is done through the strong presence. The forces that believe in the resistance, support and protect it must have a strong presence in the parliament in order to defend Lebanon, its sovereignty, security and stability Lebanon, and to cut off all the hands that covet Lebanon's wealth. Therefore these forces must have a strong presence in the government. They must have a strong presence in the leadership. Here comes who we are going to elect in light of these challenges. Is our story with "Israel" over? It is not. There is an existing dispute on the so-called conflicted lands. It is Lebanon's rightful land and is not disputed. The "Israelis" are saying they want to build on Lebanese soil. The Supreme Defense Council announced that the army is preventing this construction. A few days ago, when the "Israelis" insisted, the army sent a force to the border. Well, no one knows. Will the "Israelis" retreat? Will they not the retreat? If the retreated, it is good. But if they do not retreat, how should the performance be completed? What is our responsibility? The resistance alongside the army.
The country is in front of a challenge. This issue has not ended. At the border, there is the land border file. There is the Shebaa Farms and the hills of Kafrchouba file, which also directly concerns our people in the Marjayoun district.
In the Shebaa Farms and the hills of Kfarchouba, I would like to tell you something. The "Israelis" who are at the land border are negotiating over the span and the meter. They do not accept to give or bargain. During negotiations, would they want to return the Shebaa farms and the hills of Kfarchouba to us?
We have the oil and gas issue. This is a big challenge, that high hopes for the financial and economic situation in Lebanon hang on. All the Lebanese are pinning hopes on this file. Will the "Israelis" allow Lebanon? Will they break their evil on Lebanon and let it benefit from the oil and gas? This is also a challenge.
The "Israeli violations", the last of which was the drones over the south. One drone crashes and another comes to bomb it. What happened in the past few days, the shelling inside the southern territories was "Israeli" air strikes.
The violations file in general, in the sea, on the ground, in the air. And the file of missing persons. We have humanitarian files that are still pending with the enemy. But the most important and most serious is the file that includes the permanent "Israeli" threats to wage a war on Lebanon. Everyday they give us something. Several days ago, the enemy's chief of staff, and days before him the chief of the military intelligence, there is no one left in the usurper entity, a civil or military or security official who did not threaten or intimidated Lebanon. On the other hand, what do we have? We have the following: our golden equation, the army and the people, "You" and the resistance, "You". Strengthening and empowering the army, devoting and instilling this existing national doctrine, and the people's awareness, hope, loyalty, commitment, and resistance, which are getting stronger and stronger are what we have to confront all these challenges. Your unity, this unity that exists in the south among all the people of the south, Shiites, Sunnis, Druze and Christians, among the various political forces, especially between Hezbollah and Amal, among our people, our youth, our women, our children, our old and our young is the strongest guarantee for the resistance to be the strongest and to be the fortification. But all these need a political protector, so that the resistance would not be stabbed from the back or taken into internal strife. The resistance, army and the people should be the real equation. You can resolve this through your vote on May 6. Who will you vote for? For those who believe in the resistance, for those who protect the resistance. I am not telling you [to vote for] the candidates of Hezbollah, to those who support the resistance, to those who protect the resistance. I do not want to criticize or enforce other lists. Other lists, whether in this district or in other districts, include friends in them. But you know that there are enemies in some of the lists. They write, deliver addresses, announce, and declare. I am not revealing a secret. They declare their hostility to the resistance, its value and survival as well as to the resistance factor. The people of the south come first among all the electoral districts because the issue affects your direct security, your immediate dignity, your existence, your homes, your fields, your farms, your lives, your and dignity. Therefore, the people of the south from all sects must be decisive in this option so that they can enable these forces from being actively present in the Parliament and in the Lebanese government. This fortifies the situation.
The second file, which I want to speak briefly about and I might talk in more details layer, is the financial and economic file. I have the corruption issue and the administrative file. Everything we have talked about, the electoral programs, will come in all the speeches, but let me here speak briefly about the electoral file.
Of course, we have entered a sensitive stage. I join the voices of the officials who said that the country is not bankrupt. If it were bankrupt, its effects would have appeared and it would have collapsed. But if we continue as we did in the past as a country, as a state, as state institutions, then we are definitely going to be bankrupt. We will be heading to a difficult situation.
Now, the debt is 80 billion, of course, the Minister of Finance is present at the front row and appears to me on the screen, he is aware of the figures. But what I hear is that the debt is 80 billion and is increasing each year. In any case, debt service is increasing.
Following the Paris Conference or the first Cedar Conference, we have a hypothesis. In case all the loans come to $ 11 billion to $ 12 billion, we are talking about approximate figures, this means 92 billion. After several years of debt service, our debt will be 100 billion.
We all know the revenue. When the deputies in the budget committee and in the public assembly of the Parliament and before that in the government debate, we see that there is a real problem with revenues. New taxes are imposed.
The financial situation certainly needs an approach. We are faced with a new situation. The subject is not new. The subject is old. That is discussions in the Finance and Budget Committee with the deputies attending and seriously discussing and debating in the government, in the general committee and others. This is not new. But there is no doubt that we are facing an exceptional situation, and it needs a new action. Therefore, here I want to speak about the upcoming challenge for the Lebanese people.
Oh, Lebanese people, within a year or two, your public debt will be $ 100 billion if we were lenient in some things. What does it require? It requires that we have deputies in the Parliament and a government which is not burdened by debt to solve personal problems. I will speak in colloquial terms. No one should deceive the whole country, the parties, the forces, the ministers, the leaders and the deputies into believing that they will be economically rescued while he is drowning us more. No one mislead us. I am not saying that there is no advantage to finding someone in the world that would lend Lebanon. There is an advantage thing to this matter that we must recognize. But when these loans come piece by piece, project by project. This needs serious and real discussion in the cabinet. After the Cabinet.
But in the Parliament, it certainly needs to be discussed. In the committees, it needs to be discussed. In the general committee, it needs to be discussed.
We are facing a serious challenge, who are you going to elect? Here, too, comes the second file. We want to elect deputies who have a decisive position on the subject of accepting the loan in case there is a feasible project, one that will not become a waste and does not drown the country in debt, etc. But to say: ‘let this project pass for a certain person, let it pass because of a certain side, let it pass for a certain figure, let it pass because a certain party is bankrupt and needs money and we have to help it.' I tell you, from now, whoever does this is a traitor to the Lebanese people. He is a traitor to the Lebanese people's sentiment.
We need deputies who stand seriously and strongly. I will speak later about the other files. But now, I am speaking here to stop the financial deterioration, to stop the country from drowning in debt with no prospect, no horizon and no future.
To be more frank, we need deputies who are committed to the people. I also do not have accurate information about what happened in Paris, but what was said yesterday and today the taxes and their consequences. I don't know. In any case, the tax burden exists. In the topic of the Paris Conference that is elated to the 2019 budget, this country and this people should categorically and irrefutably reject any new projects and taxes imposed on the poor and people with low income in Lebanon.
Some might say we want to fund. In the Finance and Budget Committee, the Parliament, and in the government alternative options of nonsense spending which includes stealing and waste in spending are presented. There are clear and evident headlines. But during the voting, they either fall or remain.
Useless and nonsense spending for accounts and courtesies remain a factor in voting. As long as there is another door for financial income, it is not permissible to open the door to taxes. We need deputies who take a decisive position in the Parliament in the face of the enactment of any new taxes on the poor and those with limited income in Lebanon. We are committed with you in the government and in the Parliament. Despite all the warnings, in confronting any new taxes on the poor and low income classes we may have to take to the street. This means we will not just say that we said our opinion in the Cabinet but they did not respond, or the majority in Parliament voted on new taxes. No, we will not accept this, even if had to take to the streets, we will take to the streets.
Because this matter concerns the people, their social and living situations as well as their livelihoods can no longer bear any new taxes or any new steps of this kind. Of course, I want to emphasize that this course needs to be consulted later with the His Excellence Mr. Nabih Berri and also with my brothers. That is why I will state my personal opinion. I was thinking last night that we will remain in the government no matter what the government does or whatever it decides. The subject of retreating from the government, we as Hezbollah, Amal and the allies should not go back and think about it. We should not do refrain or be absent from any sessions. We should not resign from the government. The country's back is exposed when it comes to the issue of resistance. Its back is exposed when it comes to the security, financial, and economic issues.
For some reason in the past in 200, us and our brothers in the Amal movement resigned. I wish we had not resigned. Maybe the conditions imposed on us to do so. The file was serious. The International Court. But when we were absent from the government, you saw what they did. They stayed until early morning conspiring against us. We do not want to refrain. This is my personal opinion. Later, His Excellence and the brothers in Amal and Hezbollah will decide. But I am presenting a draft. Let us agree that we do not want to refrain, resign, and be absent. We will be present in the government. If we had to demonstrate, we will demonstrate. The ministers are present in the government while the people are protesting on the streets.
These are all legitimate means. Let no one come later and say how are you demonstrating on the streets and you are in the government. Yes, I am in the government and I want to demonstrate on the street if need be.
Brothers and sisters, the upcoming elections depend on your awareness, your will, and the intensity of your presence. I want to tell you a piece of information they told me yesterday. Some of my friends called me and informed me of it. I want to point to your attention. Now it is a start, since it is the first election speech it is useful to point it out. Everyone knows that this blessed audience cannot be bribed. It does not sell its voice in exchange for money. No one will drag it anywhere because the resistance is its choice. It is not its political and partisan affiliation. It is its culture, faith, sentiment, future, past and present.
What did they tell me yesterday? In some areas where the electoral result is important, there are parties that started to contact a number of families, telling them that we want to take you to visit [Karbala] for free. You know that any person among us - we are talking amongst ourselves - any Shiite person if told that you will take him to Karbala to Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) for a week for free, where he doesn't have to pay a "Frank" would die for it. Is this correct or not?
At the beginning they told them the whole visit was $ 50. What is $ 50? Nothing. Then they told them it's for free. They replied, ‘Take us on the visit'. They said ‘No, the date - we are still in the beginning of April - was on May 3 and May 5. What is needed is that people should not be there on May 6. In a number of districts, some backers of the other lists and the countries backing them came up with this brilliant idea. When I was told about this I thought, truthfully these people sat long and thought carefully about this.
When I tell them in return for $ 100, $ 200, or $ 1000, give me your vote; he will not give me his vote. But when I tell him let me take you to visit Hussein (Peace Be Upon Him), he will run. I loved to talk about this subject. This subject doe not include one or two individuals. The information that I have received so far, until last night, from more than one side and in more than one place, involves hundreds of people who have been contacted. At least hundreds. You know now in the battle that in the new law the 100, 200, 10, 20 are all influential in the elections and on the electoral score. You can bring someone up or down.
Where do they want to take them? To the visit. I tell our people, supporters and those who love the Prophet's Household (Peace Be Upon Them), if you want to go, there is no problem. Accept their offer, but make the date May 7. If they are honest with you, tell them take us on May 7. There is no problem. We do not forbid anyone from visiting [Karbala]. But tell them on May 7, we can visit.
But this opens the door to the possibility that we may face similar ideas. In other words, they will do everything and utilize all means. I do not want to mention how, so I do not give them suggestions because it might be something they have not thought of and I gave it to them and presented them with suggestions. Sometimes the "Israelis" offer us suggestions because they speak a lot. We are thankful to them. We do not want to provide suggestions, but the central thought is how can we prevent these people from going to the ballot boxes on May 6?
The response from you and from all the supporters across the Lebanese arena must be at the ballot boxes on May 6 for hope and loyalty and for all the upcoming challenges and the dangers. This response must be from your end.
Of course, there is the issue of the preferential vote. In this district specifically, because in every district we have one candidate. Hezbollah does not have any problem to distribute its preferential votes on its candidates. Our brothers in the Amal movement have this problem because in some districts they have candidates. In some districts, a preferential vote might be needed from Hezbollah's bases to other candidates in the list.
Our brothers and sisters, I am now delivering a special speech because I did not have an internal meeting with the people from the south. In the internal meetings I spoke on this subject. As for us, we do not have the obsession of who will be taking the highest preference vote in any district. For example, it is not the case in Nabatieh, Bint Jbeil or Marjayoun districts if Hezbollah's candidate is the one who will take the highest preference vote. This is not the issue and not the objective. Our goal should be the success of all the members in the Hope and Loyalty List in this district. We work for them as if they were Hezbollah's candidates and not the allies' or the friends' candidates if necessary. This is determined by the voting machines, diverting the preferential votes of brothers and sisters in Hezbollah in the towns and villages to this candidate or that candidate on the list. The brothers and sisters must certainly do so. They should consider that they are completely giving their preference vote to the candidate of Hezbollah and must abide by all the decisions taken by the voting machine, not only in this district. It applies to all districts.
Let us not enter into a competition over the preferential vote, as is the case in some places with some political forces. We consider the full Hope and Loyalty List to be our list. We must work for the success of this list, God willing, with its entire members. Of course, with the law based on proportional representation, great and doubled effort is required.
Brothers and sisters, you are gathered here in the Imam Hussein (PBUH) arena, in the Ashura arena, in the city of Imam Hussein (PBUH), in the city of Nabatieh. You have always filled this arena. You filled all the squares. In the fighting, you filled all fields. You created hope for your people, your family, your homeland and your nation. You have always proved that you are the people of loyalty, presence, and who can bear responsibility - men and women of all stages.
From today until the 6th of May, you have a great responsibility. On May 6, you must translate this responsibility into a strong, massive, and wide presence as well as an honest, promising and loyal manner in electing those who will address your cases, to those who will hold responsibility, preserve your trust, and to those who will continue on the path with you.
The 6th of May is the day of Imam Sadr as is all the days of the resistance, defiance and confronting deprivation, occupation, oppression and injustice. It is the day of Sheikh Ragheb Harb. It is the day of Sayyed Abbas. It is the day of every martyr, wounded, captive and resistance fighter. I am confident, and we are all confident that you will be present. We will see you on May 6. We will see you similar to the crowds that were filled with hope as they returned to South of Lebanon after the end of the July war.
Today, in confronting new challenges we need the same determination, will, and decision. God willing, we will be present at the date, blessed and victorious, God willing.
Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.
Source: Hezbollah Media Relations, Translated by website team