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Home arrow newsitems arrow Maronite Patriarch Rai to EF: Lebanon's Roots+Mission can be ReBorn by its People+World Community

Maronite Patriarch Rai to EF: Lebanon's Roots+Mission can be ReBorn by its People+World Community

Written by ACM
Sunday, 04 July 2021
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/(Embargoed since 2/7/2021)- Replying to an "Eurofora" Question at a Video-Press Conference organized by "Oeuvre d' Orient" just after a Series of Exceptional High-Level Meetings at the Vatican, in Rome, with Pope Francis a.o., the Religious Leader of Maronite Chistians, (Historicaly Headquartered at the Lebanese Mountains), Boutros al-Rai, unvealed a Vibrant Belief for Lebanon's Capacity to be ReStructured and Saved from the Current Serious Crisis, thanks to its Solid Foundations and Deep Roots in History, as well as its Mission for the Middle East area and even the World, as he interestingly Highlighted, referring also to Pope Francis' latest Calls, (See Infra).

    Rai Described, Earlier, that those "Consultation" Meetings, that Pope Francis had Invited under the Name of "Reflexions on Lebanon", were mainly Composed by 3 Key-Parts of Presentations, (1) of the Current Political Situation, by the Catholic ArchiBishop, (2) of the Role and Engagement of the Christian Community for Lebanon, described by Rai himself, and (3) of the General Situation, by the Greek-Latins' Head, Followed by a landmark Speech by the Holy Father himself, (Giving us a "Complete RoadMap" for the ReVival of the Country, that we needed, "Encourgaging" and filling us with "Hope", Because it was "Wonderful" and "Prophetic", as Rai Enthousiaticaly felt, at his Return Back Home : See also Infra).

    The Organiser of Today's Press Conference, Experienced Mgr Pascal Gollnish, Director General of "Oeuvre d' Orient" ("Eastern Works"), a landmark 160 Years-Old Humanitarian Organisation, Founded on 1.856, (which had Started, precisely, by a Project to Help the current Lebanon's area, already then, Extending Afterwards to All Middle East, and Eastern Countries, including Asia, up to India, etc), had Invited Journalists, including "Eurofora", in order to take the pulse of the Current Realities, Since the 2020 Huge Explosion at Beirut's SeaPort, and the Governemental Crisis Before or After that, compared with the Historic but mostly Future-Oriented Approach of Both Pope Francis and the Spiritual Head of the Historic and influential Maronite Christian Community, notoriously Headquartered mainly on the splendid Mountains of the Country, where it reportedly represents Nowadays about 800.000 of Faithful, But has a very Strong "Diaspora", mainly in Europe, (France, Cyprus, etc), composed of almost 4 Millions of People, closely networked.

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-"Even if the Roots of Lebanese People are More Ancient, it's, notoriously, the Historic Peace Treaty of Sevres, on 1920-1921, which led to set up a Lebanese State, and Now is its over-Centenary Anniversary", "Eurofora" Observed from the outset, in our Question, - Obiously referring Also to that Key Central Part of Ancient Phoenicia, a Naval Netwok which Controled the Middle of the Mediterranean Sea, throughout Cyprus, Malta, Tunisia and Gibraltar areas, Contributed to the Creation of largely circulating Greek Alphabet (the English or French of Ancient Civilisations), the Legend of Europe, etc.

- But, "do You Believe that it's really Possible to SaveGuard the Unity of the Libanese People Nowadays, Despite of, and/or Because of the Recent Exceptional Difficulties, also given Your Optimism and Voluntarism, in order to have a Solid United State in the foreseable Future ?", We Asked Patriarch Boutros al-Rai.

- "This Question is Today even More Important, Not Only for Lebanon alone, but Also Because, currently, several Countries, (including Small but Strategic, Neighbouring Cyprus, where Many Maronite Christians are Traditionaly living, Facing Recently a Turkish Demand to Drop All UN SC Resolutions for a Peaceful ReUnification of the Island in order to Impose a Secessionist " Sovereign States" Partition, [See : ..., etc], but also Other States in that Region, or Elsewhere in the World), are Facing more or less Similar Challenges, Provoked by some, in one way or another", We pointed out, while Wishing him "Good Lack" for his Efforts.

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    - "Thank You", Maronite Christian Patriarch Boutros al-Rai, started to Reply to "Eurofora"s question : - "I am well Aware of the Current Difficulties for the ReConstuction of the Country", he stressed. But, "for Us, the Most Important are the Roots : The Roots which are Untouchable and Still Always there", he stressed.

    - "These are the Foundations of the Country, its Basement, which have Not been Harmed". On the Contrary, "whatever is Now that (2020) Crisis, is an Epiphenomenon, over our Current Situation", Rai Distinguished.

    => "That"s why, the Pope (Francis) Cited, in his Speach, "Lebanon's Symbol, the Cedar", saying that "the Branches are Growing Higher, where there are Deep Roots".
 

    >>> So, "We must Work Together with All the Lebanese People, and Not Only the Lebanese People : There is, Also, the International Community. With those Countries who interfere in the Libanese Issue. In order to Tell them, that We Must Work Together, in order to Save this Country, given its Values, for the whole Region", underlined the Spiritual Leader of the Strategicaly-Located and Only Country which, inter alia, has, Notoriously, Succeeded to Welcome Various Refugees from Syria and elsewhere, withOut Closing them inside Barbed Wire-covered "Camps", (as, f.ex., Turkey, at least "Initialy", etc), But Living mainly Together, Side by side, with the Local, Original Autochthon Population...

    + "And, also Myself, Despite Everything, I have the Hope that We Can Do something, Emerging from the Interior" of Lebanon, he naturaly added. "From All Components of the Country : Either Muslims, Or Christians".

    - "I Know that there are Many Difficulties. These Internal Difficulties, Political, Social, Communautarism, brought the Country in a Dramatic Situation" Now. (i.e., particularly Starting since Already Before the 2020 huge Explosion, inter alia, f.ex., reportedly : No properly Elected Government, a Currency which Lost about 90% of its value vis-a-vis the US Dollar $, near 50% of the People thrown Under the Poverty line, Electricity Problems, Security Threats, Popular UnRest, etc).  "But We Must Innovate and are Called to Work !".

     => "That's why I Reply to You, that, with Great Hopes, We are going to Re-Start the ReConstruction of this Country !", Boutros al-Rai Firmly Stressed.

    >>> "Why ? I Repeat : Because there are Foundations : It's Not an "Ab Novo" Creation of the Country. It's a Re-Structuring. A ReNovation of the Country. Lebanon has, Since its Establisment, Back on 1920 (i.e. after Sevres' Treaty : Comp. Supra), Up to 1975, was Nick-Named : -"Switzerland of the East"..., he Reminded. "There was Prosperity, Money, Development, Openings to All Countries. Because it was Founded on Solid Basis, Thanks to the French Mandate, (by the nearby Geneva-Based "League of Nations", Before New-York-Based "UNO"). That's Why we Can Recover".

    - Nowadays, "Lebanon is Sick. When there is Ilness, You Can Recover, You Cooperate with a Medical Doctor, in order to Find anew your Health. It's Not True that Lebanon would be Dead. It's Not Dead. It's Sick. Seriously Sick. But we Can Save it !", he Resumed, in a NutShell. "That's what I can Tell You, being Fully Convinced".  

    + "And what we have Seen and Heard from the Holy Father, (Pope Francis), and his Collaborators, (these Days at the Vatican, in Rome), Showed to us, that Lebanon is Needed, for the Middle-East Region, and Even the World, thanks to the Message and the Mission it Supports", the Spiritual Leader of the Strategicaly located Country of the Famous "Eternal Cedar" Majestic Mountainous Tree, Widely Concluded, including the manifold, Larger Issues at Stake, from the Ancient Phoenicians, to the Post-1920 Lebanese Key Crossroads, (allmost Meeting a Core-part of what "Eurofora" had Evoked, at the Beginning and the End of Our Question : Comp. Supra).

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    Indeed, at the End of Today's Press Conference, Patriarch Boutros al-Rai Stressed that he felt Necesay to Free Lebanon from some Foreign Interferences which Risked to Damage its Historic "Mission", to be a Pluralist and Open Democratic Country in the Middle East, for Both Christians and Muslims Together, without whom its Original Identity would Not Exist, as he Warned.

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    - Mgr Pascal Gollnish observed, reacting on that Key point, that, in Fact, Nowadays, "Lebanon is the Only Country in the Middle East which has a Full Religious Freedom : There is Not any Other like that, in this area", he found.

 vatican_stampa_va__eurofora

    >>> Significantly, Pope Francis' above-mentioned Landmark Speech, during the recent Ecumenical Vatican Meetings on Lebanon, (Comp. Supra), devoted to "Plans for Peace, Together for Lebanon", calls the Country "a Singular experience of Peaceful CoSxistence", in addition tion to "a treasury of Civilization and spirituality that has radiated wisdom and culture down the Centuries", as "a Small, yet Great Country" with "a Universal Message of Peace and Fraternity, arising from the Middle East". "Lebanon is, and must remain, a Project of Peace. Its vocation is to be a land of Tolerance and Pluralism, an Oasis of Fraternity where Different Religions and confessions Meet, where different Communities Live Together, putting the Common Good" Above all, he stressed, (after Criticizing "the Mistakes that we have made", and "the Opportunities that we have Missed, along the Path to Fraternity, ReConciliation and Unity").

    => "Stop Using Lebanon and the Middle East for Outside Interests and Profits ! The Lebanese People must be given the Opportunity to be the Architects of a better Future in their land, withOut Undue Interference", Pope Francis urged.

pope_francis_on_lebanon_speech_the_961__eurofora_400 

    -"The Symbol of the Country : ...Tall Cedars, evoke ... a Unique History", and "that Large Branches can only Grow from Deep Roots", he reminded, pointing at "those ...who saw in Diversity Not Obstacles, but Possibilities, and could, thus, Build Common Foundations". For that purpose, "Sink your Roots in their Dreams of Peace !", the Holy Father called the Lebanese. "Recently, we Realized, "that we canNot Save ourselves Alone or remain Indifferent to the Problems of Others". That "there canNot be Peace withOut Justice", he said. While "Christians, today,... wish to ...Build a Future Together", "called to be Sowers of Peace, and Builders of Fraternity", since "God ...is a Father who Desires his Children to live in Peace". I.e. "Ensuring our Muslim Brothers and Sisters, and those of Other Religions, of (Christians') openness and readiness to Work Together in building Fraternity and promoting Peace", "Despite the Misunderstandings and Hurts of the Past", but "journeying From Conflict to Unity”, (as Francis has Recently Called, in his landmark Address to the InterReligious Meeting at the Plain of Ur, Abraham's Historic Home, during the pontifical Trip to Iraq : See ..., etc). "Hoping" for "concrete Initiatives under the aegis of Dialogue, of efforts to Educate, and of Solidarity". "In the Night of Crisis, ... remain United. Together, through honest Dialogue and Pure Intentions, we can Bring Light Where there is Darkness", he invitef.

    => Thus, the Lebanese "Citizens", would "Find in the Roots of (their) History, the Hope of a New Flowering". The "Political Leaders" should "Find Urgent and Durable Solutions, to the current Economic, Social and Political Crisis", and "the International Community" should "create conditions... so that the Country will Not Collapse, But embark upon a Path of Recovery", which "will be to Everyone's Advantage".

    As World-Famous Lebanese "Poet Gibran" had said : "Byond the Black Curtain of the Night, there is a Dawn, that Awaits us", topically reminded Pope Francis. In such a Context, "Young People are ...Lamps Burning Brightly at this Dark Hour... Before making important Decisions, ... Look to their Hopes and Dreams". "Women Generate Life and Hope ...May they be ...Included in Decision-making processes ". And "the Elderly ... are Our Roots, ...they Give us the Sense of History, the Foundations ... to carry Forward. They Desire to Dream, once More : ...Listen to their Voices, so that ...their Dreams may Become Prophecy", he suggested.  As that Poet said, "there is no other way to come to the Dawn than by passing Through the Night" : "May the Night of Conflicts recede before a New Dawn of Hope. May Hostilities Cease, Disagreements Fade away, and Lebanon, once more, Radiate the Light of Peace, Pope Francis concluded.

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

adali_gongadze


- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

imag0335_400


      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
-------------------------------

ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
--------------------
    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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