Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on the Electoral Rally of Jbeil-Keserwan on April 23rd, 2018
Speech of Hezbollah's Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah Delivered at the ‘Loyalty to Glory' Electoral Rally for the Jbeil-Keserwan District Held at the Sayyed Al-Shuhada Complex in the Southern Suburbs of Beirut on April 23rd, 2018
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, his good and pure family, all his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.
Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you.
I welcome you all and thank you for this great attendance. The aim of this electoral celebration, and election rally, as was the case with the previous ones, is to express support and solidarity to the ‘National Solidarity' List. Of course, I would like to talk about electoral and national issues. But allow me for one minute to express sorrow on the one hand and to condemn on the other the events that took place in the past two days: the horrific massacre in Afghanistan's polling stations that resulted in the martyrdom of dozens of people and the injury of hundreds of others.
The oppressed Afghan people headed to vote and Daesh launched suicide attacks. We condemn these massacres. We express our sorrow for the martyrdom of the Afghan people, including men and women. When we witness such calamity, we recognize the grace that we have in Lebanon. Imagine if Daesh was still in Lebanon, Daesh and its affiliates, no one would have been able to hold elections and electoral rallies. People heading to the ballot boxes will be wearing shrouds. This dark Takfiri doctrine is an enemy of all forms of popular will, popular choice and true popular participation in the creation of destiny and the future.
At the same time we must also express our grief and condemnation of the aggression that took place in Yemen last night, which targeted a wedding in one of the Yemeni provinces. Dozens of people were martyred, and hundreds were wounded, including many women and children. This continuous aggression is killing the smile, joy and even destroying weddings in Yemen.
We must also condemn the "Israeli" assassination of an Arab, Palestinian academic and scholar, the academic martyr Fadi al-Batsh, who was assassinated in Malaysia. This has always been a manifestation of the permanent "Israeli" plan that does not accept an Arab mind, a mind full of knowledge and experience. The "Israelis" cannot accept the presence of a mind in this world that might one day think of being part of its nation and its causes. That is why we find them hunting down nuclear and academic scholars, including scholars from Iran, the scholar they assassinated in Tunisia, Malaysia, even Lebanese minds that have been killed in the past few weeks and months in ambiguous and mysterious circumstances as well as elsewhere in the world.
We had to say these words. Now, we return to our electoral celebration.
This is a special occasion because we are talking about the Keserwan-Jbeil constituency. This is also an important opportunity because usually all year round I address issues related to the region and those related to Lebanon. But today the area's composition gives me the chance to speak. The electoral occasion also forces us to speak about some matters transparently, clearly and honestly. Let us base all future and present speeches on this. Of course you have seen in previous rallies that I do not mention names of candidates or the heads of the lists. I speak in general and avoid names as much as possible. But today I will talk a bit about names because this is also a requirement of transparency and clarity so that there is no room for misinterpretation or ambiguities.
I will divide my address as follows:
There is a basic set of titles that concerns national affairs. It directly concerns the Christian-Muslim issue in Lebanon. From there I will tackle the Jbeil-Keserwan subject as well as some other titles directly.
When I said that the particularity of this district is a door to talk about the Muslim-Christian issue as well as the approach of the Muslims and Christians regarding the country's causes, concerns and its present and future challenges, I meant it.
Of course, those being addressed are all the Lebanese people. This is a general address despite the particular nature that concerns Jbeil-Keserwan. But if we take the wider constituency, those being addressed are divided into three parts:
The first part: We agree with them politically and we disagreed with them regarding the elections. We do not have political discussions with each other. We agree with each other politically regarding the top headlines and we understand each other, but we disagreed electorally. This part includes the Free Patriotic Movement in particular as well as some other friends.
The second part: We disagree politically with each other. Therefore, we also disagree when it comes to the elections. They are present in Jbeil-Keserwan and express their presence; specifically the Lebanese Forces Party, the Lebanese Phalanges Party [Kataeb Party] and some figures known for their sharp positions towards Hezbollah and the resistance.
The third part: Those who are being addressed today in this district. We politically and electorally agree with each other. This part is represented by the National Solidarity List.
I begin with the first headline. I must emphasize that we believe - here I am talking about Hezbollah and the Amal movement - in all the resources that I will speak about. We strongly believe that after all these years and decades and the extensive experiences in Lebanon, the country can only be built on a true partnership and not a delusive one.
There should be true partnership between all the components of the Lebanese people, including religious, sectarian and political components. It should include all basic and non-basic components so as not to neglect anyone. The solidarity and partnership of all are the foundation of the resurrection of Lebanon, the survival of Lebanon and the development of Lebanon. Especially solidarity and partnership between its two largest components: the Muslims and the Christians. This is our conviction. We are not complimenting anyone. It is not important what I say or others say. What is important is what we do.
One can speak about solidarity and true partnership from morning to evening. But what does he do to bring the country to this true partnership? In light of the action, we must evaluate him, hold him accountable, or confront him. I would like to talk about this topic specifically.
Therefore, we, the Lebanese, with all of our components are supposed to be done with the idea of the leading sect or the leading party. We have spoken about this on more than one occasion. Today I would like to go back to it because there is always talk about concerns related to the Muslims in general in Lebanon, and Shia Muslims in particular. The talk is that the Shiites believe that they should be the leading sect. I assure you that there is no one from the Shiite leaders and Shiite scholars that thinks this way. Also at the Sunni level and among Muslims in general, the idea of a leading sect and leading party is over. Experiences say that this is over. There is no chances of this succeeding in Lebanon whatever the circumstances and possibilities available to this sect or this party or this movement.
We must always be governed by the idea of partnership, cooperation, solidarity and collaboration. I do not want to talk about history but about recent years. We have already done what supports and affirms that we are seeking a true partnership between Muslims and Christians.
Both before and after the year 2005, you know that there were climates in the Christian milieu that spoke of frustration, marginalization, exclusion, elimination, and the likes.
I will specifically talk about us because before 2005-2006, we were not part of the internal political equation. Thus, I do not want to go into the assessment of that stage.
After we became part of the internal political equation and established friendships, relationships and alliances with our Christian friends, with our allies constituting Christian political forces and Christian figures, our first challenge was to return to true partnership. What was the gateway? They said the gateway was the electoral law because it - I will speak with clarity and transparency - allows Christians to elect their deputies or as many of their deputies as possible because we have a Christian representation problem. They wanted to make additions to the 2000 law and the law that was applied in 2005. So, as the first parliamentary elections in 2009 neared and the May 2008 events took place and the majority of the political leaders headed to Doha for the Doha Conference in 2008, a discussion regarding the electoral law took place.
Our allies and Christian friends have said that ‘we are in favor of the 1960 law with some minor modifications'. The 1960 law is a plurality/majority system. The districts are divided, allowing the Christians to bring more Christian deputies with their votes.
(Our response was) we do not have a problem if this makes you feel comfortable. We do not have a problem, although perhaps with partisan or sectarian calculations, some of our Shiite, Sunni or Druze allies might have problems with this. Indeed, there were remarks and some objections. But at that time, along with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and other friends in Doha, we adopted this issue. The 2009 elections took place according to the 1960 law, as our Christian allies and friends demanded. They felt that their representation improved. But there was still a problem in this regard. After four years and before coming close to the first extension, the elections were supposed to take place. Discussions regarding the electoral law took place. Our friends and allies told us that we have a historic opportunity to adopt a fair electoral law that will fully satisfy the Christians and end the frustration. The law will give them a true opportunity to fully elect their deputies with their votes and will. This means true partnership in the government and the state.
What is required today? This detail is important because these are facts. These are not electoral speeches we prepare for the people and forget them later. These are facts. In my own words I say: Those who claim that these are not facts and that I am not accurately describing things, let them come out and explain it or correct it.
We asked them what was required? They told us that the best electoral law that achieves this purpose is the Orthodox law, known as the Orthodox Gathering electoral law, which means that each sect elects its own deputies. There was a discussion. Does this mean that Christians elect Christian deputies despite their different sects, and Muslims elect Muslim deputies despite their different sects? That is Shiites elect their deputies, the Sunnis elect their deputies, and the Orthodox elect their deputies. The same goes for the Maronites, the Druze, the Catholics, etc.
There were discussions. But in principle we said we agree and we have no problem, even though there was a fundamental remark on the Orthodox law. Many, even some of our allies, strongly protested against us. ‘How could you accept the Orthodox law?'
We bilaterally discussed it between the Amal Movement and Hezbollah and with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. Despite the remarks, it was said at that time if this relieves the Christians, eliminates their frustration and makes them feel that they are real partners, so be it. Indeed, we were going to vote on the Orthodox law. After that, there were people who retreated. The Lebanese Forces who were on board with it, backed down and missed this opportunity. If it were indeed an opportunity to solve the country's problem, apart from some remarks and problems surrounding it.
The Parliament's term was extended until we agreed on the final electoral law. We demand proportionality. Proportionality provides the best possible opportunity for the best representation of all components of the Lebanese people. We only argued for the standards to be unified so as not to have some things in plurality and others in proportionality. We preferred a proportionality electoral law on the basis that Lebanon is one district. I repeat and say Hezbollah and the Amal Movement. Or if Lebanon is not a single constituency, let it be made up of greater constituencies. But there, too, was insistence on dividing the districts like this because this reassures, relieves and does not bother anyone. But we agreed. We agreed to this Proportionality law to give the best possible opportunity for representation, knowing that usually the major political forces, the great political forces would prefer to remain by themselves. For example, now we hear some comments: ‘why the proportionality? Too many lists. We are the huge force in this district, we can do what we want without hear aches.' But we insist on proportionality because it will allow the largest and most important elections in the history of Lebanon to take place. It is happening now, with some flaws remaining.
Well, if this pleases you, the division is 15 districts. So be it. We put our trust in God.
I want to say more than that. I want to add a comment on the electoral law. At the beginning, they told us about the issue of the expatriates. ‘Most expatriates abroad are Christians and we want them to participate.' This also gives strength to the logic of participation. We do not have a problem with this. What is the required formula? It was said that now we elect deputies abroad. That is we will divide the deputies similar to what would have taken place in 4 years, God willing, according to the law. There are constituencies abroad and expatriates who elect people representing them abroad. This year they will vote at embassies and in designated centers.
Here, I want to specifically point out to Hezbollah's sacrifice. Our brothers in the Amal movement are a little bit better than us. From the first moment we agreed that expatriates vote, we told everyone, we accept on a national basis. If we spoke about our partisan interest, we should not accept. As far as we are concerned, no one is giving us visas. Our candidates are not able to travel around the world. The people who are going to vote for us will not have the freedom to vote. We are not going to appeal, but this is reason for an appeal. It might be possible that tomorrow someone might say ‘these elections have no equal opportunities. There is a large political party in the country that did not have the possibility to send its candidates abroad. They did not hold electoral celebrations or conferences for the expatriates. Even those who will elect them must have to tread carefully in some countries. We will be in the Hope and Loyalty List. It is possible that we pass it considering that we and our brothers in the Amal Movement are on the same list. But in general this is a problem. We accepted it. If this law puts you at ease, reassures you, allows the participation of the Lebanese expatriates who are mostly Christians and solidifies Christian partnership, so be it. This is the first point.
The second point: All the governments formed after 2008, after the Doha conference, were the result of our strong presence in the political equation. We used to show our solidarity while we were accused of disrupting the formation of the government. It used to take six months to a year because we were supporting the demand for a strong Christian presence in the government. Did this happen or not? Are these the facts or not?
The third point: the lead-up to the presidential elections, and this is a subject you are familiar with.
Thus, this first title is sufficient. We have to continue with the rest of the points. Hence, the first title is we want true partnership between Muslims and Christians. We want the Christians to be true partners who are strongly present in the state, in the government, in the presidency, and in the parliament. We want them to express themselves away from any compelling or economic circumstances.
The second headline that I will talk about is the demographic change. Usually, some political parties try to use this title specifically against us in Christian areas that are predominantly Christian. They say that Hezbollah has a plan for demographic change. For example, the people of Jbeil and Keserwan - here we will minimize the circle - the Shiites in Jbeil and Keserwan remain far away from their villages, their homes, their lands, their farms, and their fields. The civil war has driven people away. It has driven the Christians from their villages and many Muslims from their villages. In the Islamic circle, many of the Shiites from Jbeil and Keserwan were forced them out of their villages. The country is stable now. There is a state. There is an army. There are security forces. There is a judiciary. There is a president. There is a government. Naturally, people will start to return to their villages. Some would say ‘they want to make a demographic change'. Brother, these people hail from those villages. They are returning to their villages. They are building their homes, plowing their farms, and living their normal lives with their Christian, Sunni and Druze neighbors. Where is the problem? No, ‘you want to demographically change the area. You are invading Jbeil and Keserwan.'
I will deal with this calmly. Let us go back to political science, sociology, experiences, and history. Everyone knows that if someone wanted to demographically change a country, there are two basic ways. The first way is the state. The state harnesses all its capabilities, capacities, ministries and budgets and imposes on people to move from one area to another. In this way, it is making a demographic change. This, though, takes decades. There is another way which is known in the world. Most demographic changes are done using the second means, which is the exploitation of wars, especially if it has a domestic character.
We had no hand in the internal war. We were still young. Let us go to our experience with the resistance. I will quickly mention two experiences. Let no one say that I am asking someone for gratitude. Never. This is our duty, conviction, manner, and our path. In 1999, when the borderline was in a state of collapse, intensive operations were taking place in the Western Bekaa-Rashaya axis and on the southern side of the Jezzine area. Jezzine was a large city with a large number of the villages. Most of the population who were there were Christians. The "Israelis" decided to withdraw from Jezzine in 1999. You are familiar with the Lebanese civil war. I do not want to open files and wounds again. I just want to ask one question. How do the victors behave when they conquer and enter the areas they've liberated by force of arms? What used to happen? Displacement, demolishing houses, looting, demographic changes. Then it will be dealt with in one form or another. We were the ones who fought. Since 1982, it was us, the Amal Movement and the rest of the national resistance forces fighting to liberate the area of Jizzine and part of the Western Bekaa- Rashaya. Back then we were in contact with the Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri through the phone. We saw that the situation was sensitive. Someone might interfere so we decided that no one enter Jizzine or its villages. Civilians and not the military were forbidden from entering Jizzine. A car waving Hezbollah or Amal flags was not allowed to enter. Do you remember this or not? This history should be written in gold because it has important and precious implications. As a result, the "Israelis" and the Lahad army withdrew and the Lebanese army as well a the Lebanese security forces entered Jizzine. The people of Jizzine and the rest of its villages remained unharmed. Properties, money, people all remained unharmed. The agents working for the Antoine Lahad's army left with the "Israelis". It was over. Jezzine continued living a very normal life. After that came the development and services regardless of the political representation issue, which is mentioned from time to time.
Is this action or words? In 1999, "Israel" and Antoine Lahad's army in Jezzine area used to always bomb Sidon and the surrounding villages. They bombed Mashghara and Sohmor. They committed massacres. If you want I can show you on the television pictures of school children's head decapitated in Sidon. Despite that, there were no reprisals. But it was possible that under the pretext of "Israel's" presence, a person could have stolen, looted, destroyed, displaced others, and made a demographic change. But no one did anything. It did not occur to anyone.
On the day that contact between Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and me took place, neither of us asked for it. We did not have these Christian alliances. No one contacted us. No one asked us. We had a prior estimate about the situation and we had to be careful.
The second experience - also quickly - is the year 2000 at the occupied border strip. Of course, many at the border areas were cooperating with the "Israelis". They killed us, flogged us, shelled us and kidnapped us. They attacked our women and skinned our backs. Let me say this between brackets. They were not just Christians. They were Muslims and Christians and from all sects. But when the "Israelis" started withdrawing - as I mentioned in the Nabatieh address and I repeat - they could have informed Antoine Lahad and his army that they had to withdraw. ‘I have 24 hours, 48 hour to withdraw.' They did not tell them anything. They left them to be surprised. Why? Because the "Israelis" were assuming that a massacre would take place as it usually happens in wars all over the world.
Because we are now talking to our fellow Christians and the people Jbeil and Keserwan, everyone is praising France. When the French Resistance defeated the Nazi army, they killed ten thousand Frenchmen in a matter of days over charges of treason without trial. Bring me a chicken that belonged to an agent and was slaughtered at the border. Shouldn't this history be written in gold? We were cautious back then. Even though with the presence of agents, traitors, "Israel", and Antoine Lahad, there was an opportunity for a demographic change to take place in the south and at the borderline. Why wasn't it done? Because none of us thought in this way at all. I do not want to go any further. Therefore, it is clear that any talk accusing us of wanting to make a demographic change in any Lebanese region is unjust and trivial. It is not based on evidence. It is provocations. Words that want to destroy the country. It is baseless. There is a certain detail. The people of Beirut no longer have a place to stay. Whether they are the people of Beirut, the Shiites, Sunnis or even Christians. Where are they today? They no longer have apartments. They cannot buy an apartment worth a million dollars. Where would people go? They would go to the mountains and on the coastal roads. There are no more places for people to live in the southern suburbs. There is a scary population accumulation in the southern suburbs. It is natural for people to go either to the coast or to the mountains. You are told that this is a demographic change. Where will people go? Shall they throwing themselves into the sea? Shall they live on boats?
No one is thinking about this project at all. We, for example, encourage the people of Beirut, the people of the suburbs and the southern suburbs to return to their villages, to the South, to the Bekaa. We are working on this. But this is a huge project. You have to provide people with job opportunities, freeways, etc. But this has nothing to do with demographic change. This is related to people returning to their homes. Are not the demands of the Christians today still stand that they want to return to their villages in the mountain? What is required of you is also required for all. All people return to their houses and villages.
Let us get over with this topic, too. You have to excuse me for this honesty because times like these need such revelations.
The third title is the constant intimidation of the resistance's weapon. This exists in the Jbeil-Keserwan constituency. It also exists the speeches of some of our rivals in politics. There is constant intimidation of the ‘weapon'. Also, two quick words on this. The resistance and the weapon of the resistance along side the Lebanese army and the popular embrace is what we call the golden equation. Until today, experience has proven that this triple equation guaranteed by the resistance is the basis for security and stability in Lebanon. It protects Lebanon from a volatile region.
What has this weapon that they are using to intimidate people with done? It has accomplished the liberation of the land. It did not only liberate the Shiite villages or the Muslim villages. It liberated the entire South. We still have the hills and the mountains of Shebaa farms. But all the people have returned to the homeland. It has provided alongside the army security. I will return to the subject of the army later. It has established a balance of terror with the enemy. It protected the country. This resistance contributed to the protection of the country in the "Israeli" subject. This resistance also protected the country in the face of Takfiri terrorism along the eastern and northern borders. These armed groups targeted the villages of Bekaa, especially the border villages, Muslims and Christians, Sunnis and Shiites. There is no difference. The dozens of Afghan martyrs who were killed in Afghanistan today, they were Sunnis. Daesh killed them. It also kills Sunnis and Shiites in Kbul. There is no problem at all in this matter. Sunni Christian, or Shiite. They are all alike to them. This resistance fought in the outskirts in the worst circumstances beside the Lebanese army. The Christians remained in their villages in the northern Bekaa. They were also forced to carry weapons. And every weapon carried by the Christians in the villages of the northern Bekaa, whether he bought from his party or from his own money, or we gave it to him is ultimately a weapon of resistance because he carried it to defend his town, his village, his family, his children, his blood and hid survival. Isn't this true or not?
Imagine that Syria today is in the hands of Daesh. If we hadn't gone to Syria, what would be the fate of Lebanon, entire Lebanon? This is the prevailing thought. Where were the Muslims in Lebanon? Where were the Christians in Lebanon? The subject is not only about the Christians. The resistance is a factor for Lebanon's security, stability, strength and immunity. It is not a threat to Lebanon. It should not be used as an intimidation tool to frighten the Lebanese. In the internal security matter: I invite the people of Jbeil-Keserwan to go to the areas of Jizzine, Marjayoun, Rmeish, Ibl, Ain Ibl, Alma al-Shaeb and to all the villages. Christians are now living in the South, in the southern villages and in the border villages. There is security, safety, peace, dignity, blissful living, and coexistence with their Muslim brothers in the region. This is a situation not seen in the history of Lebanon, in the history of the recent decades, before the formation of Lebanon in 1920 and after it as well as after 1940 until today. This is because of what? It is because of the blessing of this equation, the blessing of the army, people and resistance as well as the cooperation and solidarity of everyone. I would like to ask you a question. Today when we talk about the economic issue, agriculture and the industry - and most important - Lebanon is country built around services and tourism. Can it stand without security and stability?
Imagine today Daesh is threatening Lebanon every moment. Imagine "Israel", like in 1980s, is bombing Beirut, the south, the Bekaa and the north. Who can create an economy or services, or who can bring tourists to the country? This resistance is part of the future. The advancement of the country does not only depend on security. When security and safety are established, everything else falls in place. But we always say that the resistance is complementary to the army. The basis is that the government and the Lebanese army take responsibility. As I said two days ago in Tyre, this is the basis. This is what we were betting on in 1948. But the state left us. The army did not leave us. The army is subject to political decisions. If the state ordered it to go to the South, to be present, to defend and fight, it would have been fit and qualified to do so. Its officers and soldiers, even the few numbers that were in the south, fought and showed heroism. Great martyrs fell. But there was a political decision preventing them. The political decision remained. This is what made the people head towards a popular resistance in 1975. Today, in our electoral program we are giving a compliment to anyone. It is also not because ‘we are sitting around and have nothing to do, so we decided to fight in the resistance.' We are also scholars, school and university professors, engineers and people with jobs. We would also like to live, get married, have kids, own houses and live blissful lives. Our fate is not just to bear arms and remain at the frontlines and give martyrs. The people of Jbeil and Keserwan have given martyrs in the history of the resistance. They are still giving martyrs. There are wounded among the sons of these Lebanese areas. The basis is that a day would come when the Lebanese army is the one protecting the country. But can the army do that. I always say that the army, its leaders, its officers, and its soldiers do not lack anything, not in mind, not in understanding, not in knowledge, not in courage, not in patriotism. But they lack arms. Even the issue of the political decision is on the verge of being solved. They lack the real potential of confrontation. This issue should be addressed. Also, resorting to the constant intimidation regarding the resistance and its weapons should end. I would like to reassure you, all the Lebanese and especially the Christians; the resistance through its ideological and national commitment is a key factor in the stability and protection of Lebanon given the inflamed regional situation. Any neglect in any element of the Lebanese strength, either within the army or the resistance, is a waste.
The fourth title: our keenness on coexistence. I also want to emphasize on this meaning. We are keen on people being at harmony again, to live with each other, to communicate with one another. This is what we have been trying to do at least since 2006 onwards, in Jbeil, Keserwan and other areas. People should communicate with each other. The heads of municipalities, mayors, families, villages, the elites, and political forces should communicate with each other. Why do we stay apart from each other? The same goes for the rest of the regions. In all these areas, we are keen that this fabric - the different sects in Lebanon and the political forces - remains connected to each other. Therefore, we have always been careful to avoid sensitivities. You notice that three, four or five years, many of our brothers, officials and deputies do not appear in the media. Do you know why? It is not because they do not know how to speak. On the contrary, they are the ones who know how to speak best. It is so that no one drags the questions and answers during interviews to places that raise sensitivities in the country. In our opinion the country cannot afford this.
There are a lot of accusations, grievances, articles and forums that insulted us. We remained silent not to raise sensitivities or to provoke adversaries. We dealt with any problem that came up. We dealt with many of the internal problems at our expense, at the expense of our people, at the expense of those who are with us. There is no time now for to bring proofs. But allow me to say that there are people in the country and in the region who do not want people to go back and open up to each other. They do not want this fabric to coexist. I am talking about the adversaries. I am not speaking about friends. They do not want this. There are people whose projects depend on sectarian fanaticism, partisanship, regional fanaticism, depending on the size of this leadership. That is why they always resort to fanaticism and not bringing people together. I follow the details. There are a lot of people that would say ‘this person is occupied with Syria, with Iraq and the region.' I follow the minutest detail in Lebanon. That is why you notice that the smallest disagreement that takes place anywhere in Lebanon, for example an attack in Jbeil-Keserwan, or a death - God Forbid - two cars collided into one another, two families disagreeing with each other, the first thing I do is lift the handset and ask ‘brother, between who and who? Forgive my transparency. If both were Shiites, then it is easy. If it was between Christians, it is easy. If it was between Sunnis, it is easy. But if they said the problem was between a Shiites person hitting a Christian or a Christian fighting with a Shiite, then we declare a state of emergency. Why? Although this is a natural occurrence and happens in every corner of Lebanon, yet there are people on social networking sites and the media who spread the data quickly causing sectarian strife, sectarian invasion, saying ‘we do not know what the Shiites might do.' I mean there are those who incite here. The simplest issues are exploited in the area of Jbeil-Keserwan. They are being exaggerated. Why? For whom?
Another example is the land and real estate problems. Do they just exist in Jbeil and Keserwan? In the south, there are villages where the lands are not yet settled who they belong to. There are disagreements and lawsuits between Muslims, Shiites, and even the same family. Hezbollah, Amal, and the Shiite Council, the religious figures, the tribes and the whole world interfere but the problem remains unsolved. There are wide areas in the Bekaa. The biggest problem we face there is the real estate issue. We face problem in sorting real estate and lands. Whenever two people disagree on a real estate or the border of a property, a sectarian war and a global war erupts! What does this express? Doesn't this express bad intentions? These matters must be addressed. They must be put with their natural norms, from both sides. If a Muslim person faced a problem in Jbeil-Keserwan or different areas, he should not take it as a Muslim-Christian basis. If a Christian person had a disagreement with a Muslim, he should not take it as a Christian-Muslim basis. This is should not happen. But there are political forces and figures that thrive on sedition and on this sectarian logic. Until today, we consider that there has been great achievements in Jbeil-Keserwan, in most of the areas where the Christians and us are present. Especially since 2006 until this day. During the July war, there was wide popular solidarity to reinforce this emotional relationship that His Excellency and President General Michel Aoun calls internal peace. It is not only security and safety, bur also a feeling of reassurance towards each other. Brothers, we want to preserve this climate in Jbeil and Keserwan despite the differences when it comes to the elections. This is a recommendation not only for the Shiites but for all those who support this list and working on other lists. Let us enter a clean and decent electoral competition. In the end, people will continue their friendships. I will get back to this soon. We must be calm when dealing with things that cause sensitivities. We deal with it the best way we can. Allow me to delve into more details. What Mr. Juan Hobeich, the head of the Municipalities' Union in Keserwan-Jbeil, did was a symbolic move that expresses people's mutual respect. This is how big the subject was. But of course some went into implications and turned it into an election story. I thank him for the move. But today, since I am addressing this issue, I would like to tell the people of Jbeil and Keserwan and people of the mountain that the key to Jbeil and Keserwan will only stay with the president of the Lebanese Republic. No one is thinking of keeping this key. It will remain in Bkerke with the master of Bkerke. It will remain with the Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi. That is it. No one will take keys and no one has keys. There is no need for this atmosphere.
Tomorrow if someone in the south takes the key of the resistance and the resistance's rifle that expresses all these sacrifices, does this mean we gave the key of the resistance to someone we do not know! This expresses the point I am referring to.
This is the last headline before I move to the subject of the list and elections. Of course there are many headlines, but time cannot accommodate them all.
We emphasize our concern for this region, its people, its residents, their presence in it, to strengthen their presence in it, their security, stability and their coexistence, and caring for their developmental and service affairs as well as anything that achieves this.
In case we are heading towards the elections, we and the other brothers and friends in the National Solidarity List would like to represent and serve the people, all people in the district of Keserwan-Jbeil.
You can ask the deputies who have continued to call for turning Jbeil-Keserwan into a governorate. Who was the first to support them? Who stood in the Parliament with them to say that Keserwan-Jbeil must become a governorate? You know that with regards to such a subject usually there are problems and discussions. [The first ones who backed it] were our deputies and brothers.
We did exactly the same thing with the subject of the Akkar governorate as well as the Baalbek-Hermel governorate. We considered that this is a natural right and a natural condition to develop and strengthen the presence and services related to the area of Jbeil-Keserwan.
That is why we support everything that helps this area, even today when we talk about balanced development. In the past, there were deprived areas and other more fortunate areas. Today deprivation transcends all areas and sects. Poverty. There is no longer ‘the children of this sect is rich or the children of that sect is poor.' Poverty transcends all sects and areas.
We will not hesitate at all to support anything that helps to serve this region either by demanding it from the state or even using personal capabilities.
I come to the subject of the elections, the National Solidarity List and the nominations. I will speak briefly.
The first point are - I do not want to go back and enter into a debate on nominations - the alliances and lists. This is behind us. There are a few more days until the elections. This discussion is of the past. It is important that we understand each other, whatever the reasons, circumstances and data. We should take part in a fair, clean and calm electoral competition whether with friends or with opponents. This should be the title of our elections, our good people in the district of Keserwan-Jbeil.
The second point: with all honesty, why did I say I usually do not mention names but I have to? We highly value the courageous decision taken by His Excellency Minister Jean-Louis Cardahi to form the National Solidarity List, as well as the decision of the members of these list. There is a lady included in the list. We must say ladies and gentlemen in the National Solidarity List. Their decision to join this list along with the minister is by itself great and brave step regardless of the coming detail. You are forming a list here in Jbeil-Keserwan. There are great political forces, big sponsors. The elections are tough, yet these esteemed and respected figures took the decision to form a list and compete in the elections.
But what we should praise more is the acceptance and approval of the head of the list and the members of the list, including the candidates of Hezbollah and the Amal movement in the National Solidarity List because we all know the situation that has been triggered. We all know the pressures exerted to the point of intimidation. There are a lot of details that I have to skip.
However, this list including head of the list and the members continued and will continue, God willing, until May 6, beyond May 6, and beyond May 6. Unfortunately, some in the Jbeil-Keserwan districts - I do not think that friends would bet - the opponents were betting on isolation, that this list did not include a certain candidate. This reflects ill intention. This is not how a country is built. This is with regards to the elections.
Today in all the districts, the same political forces in Jbeil-Keserwan, in Baalbek-Hermel, in Zahle, in the Western Bekaa, in the various constituencies of the South, in Chouf, in Aley, and the rest of the districts our friends and opponents have formed lists. Those lists include some of our friends. Sometimes that list is competing against our list. But we never exerted pressure on anyone or resorted to intimidation. We did not even use rhetoric. On the contrary, no matter whether you were a friend or an opponent, your natural right is to run and form a list anywhere in Lebanon. Who likes to be included in that list should be included. Where is the problem? We do not have a problem with our allies or our friends.
But there was an exceptional misdealing with the issue of the Jbeil-Keserwan district. It was dealt with as an invasion. There are voters from the towns of Jbeil-Keserwan. They are registered voters. They live there. They have homes, villages, and people. They have the right to run and vote. Why do we have to discuss this right as well? They have the same rights as the rest of the Lebanese areas.
In any case, the Solidarity List exceeded this difficult atmosphere and progressed. God willing, it will continue and accomplish. In the end, this is related to the people's choice, will, and their votes.
The third point is also on the subject of the elections and the list. After several days, the elections will be over. Following the elections, we are undoubtedly keen on all the friendships that we have built over the past years and all the alliances that we have built in the past years. But we also consider that what happened with us in Jbeil-Keserwan [is according to the aya] "But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you". Old friendships. In the end, the minister is an old friend. He drifted apart over a period of time due to political issues. Some of those present in the list are old friends. Some may be new friends. Forgive me if my data is inaccurate. But we consider that by being present in the list, we have made friends. We have established new friendships that add richness to our relationships.
As for the approach that says to befriend a person you should unfriend another, this mentality does not build a country or a society. It does not bring people together. We are keen on maintaining our friendships and alliances. Certainly, the Free Patriotic Movement and us coalesce in different districts and disagree in others. But the relationship and the alliance continue.
Our friendship and relationship with our friends in the National Solidarity List will continue, God willing. This will enrich, empower, and create more positive relationship in the Jbeil-Keserwan governorate, God willing.
The fourth point concerns brother Sheikh Hussein Zaiter. He is Hezbollah's and the Amal Movement's candidate in the Jbeil-Keserwan district. This comes following understanding between the Amal Movement and us.
First, I would like to thank the families, all the families of the mountain and Keserwan. Now, I am talking about our district which is concerned with the nomination - the families that have accepted and supported this nomination. From the very first moment of the nomination until now, they have been working with all efficiency and effectiveness. Be it the members of the electoral campaign, the mayors, the dignitaries, the elites, the brothers in Hezbollah and the Amal Movement.
I thank our families, our loved ones, our fathers and mothers, especially the families of the martyrs and wounded, and all the loved ones in Jbeil-Keserwan, for their support for this nomination.
Second, I would like to thank the brothers in the Amal Movement because in some districts our candidate is their candidate and in some districts their candidate is ours. We thank and appreciate the brothers in the Amal Movement, the officials, the organization, their cooperation, their positivity, and their constant presence alongside their brothers in Hezbollah in this district. This confirms the depth of the relationship and the alliance.
The point following this headline is the candidacy of Sheikh Hussein. This should be made clear and public. Our respect goes to all the candidates on the Shiite seat in the district of Jbeil-Keserwan, but no one should come near this. Hezbollah and the Amal Movement have one single candidate who is Sheikh Hussein Zaiter. There is no other candidate. Sheikh Hussein is a candidate over the table. Zaid, Omar or Bakr whom we respect a lot are candidates under the table. Some might imply that there is an understanding with a certain party to push for the success of the candidate who is under the table. I have to say these details. There is nothing of this sort.
In the district of Jbeil-Keserwan and in all the districts, we do not have candidates under the table. We do not have anything of this sort in the candidacy, voting, support or in the subject of preferential vote.
Let no one ask me to give him the preferential vote. ‘I am committed to someone else, and I would tell him that I will give him [that vote] and lie to him'. This we do not do. We do not have anything that is not transparent. We have nothing under the table. Let everything be clear and specific.
What I would like to stress on this list and the announcement of the head of the list. It is true that today in Jbeil-Keserwan there are several lists. Some of those lists have sharp political positions. There is also a main list, which is said to be the Promise List. It is only natural that the list formed by the Free Patriotic Movement is for the promise. I would like to join my voice to the voice of the head of the list, Minister Jean-Louis Cardahi, because he has already said that the National Solidarity List is also the Promise List.
Who do we mean by the promise? The promise is His Excellency President Michel Aoun. This list says it. its head says it. Our - Hezbollah and the Amal Movement - relationship with the President is well known. It is a strategic relationship, a political alliance, and extends beyond that to a personal relationship, affection, mutual respect and understanding. Since 2006 until today, His Eminence the President says it himself that ‘the gravest of problems between us - between me and Sayyed Hassan - can be solved with two words.' This means that no one can classify the National Solidarity List that consists of respected figures as a list opposing to the Promise List. No, the Promise has their lists in Jbeil-Keserwan. Among these lists id the National Solidarity List.
I hope, God willing, that everyone, all the brothers, all the sisters, all the esteemed dignitaries, Muslims, Christians, who are present in this district, intensively participate in the elections, to vote with conviction and conscience because these elections will bring forth Parliament that will faces Lebanon's major challenges by Lebanon at the national level, at the level of fighting corruption, at the economic level, and at the security level. It will also face the challenges of the region.
We depend on your loyalty. You are the people of glory. You have made glory. You were partners in making glory. You are the people of loyalty. God willing, you will express your loyalty to your resistance, to the blood of your martyrs, to the wounded, to those who defended you, to those standing by your side, and to those who serve you with their eyelids on May 6. Until then.
Good luck, be blessed and victorious. Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you.
Source: Hezbollah Media Relations, Translated by website team