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Αρχική 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

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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.

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    >>> 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.

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    -"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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  Ten Years of ECHR : 1998 - 2008 show need of Revival in 2009-2010 coinciding with 2009 EU Election
   

A threefold, coordinated move by new Top French Political actors in the 2009 EU Parliament Elections, expressed in Strasbourg a will to boost Europe's Political dimension close to Citizens' concerns, going from protection of Economy to defence of Human Rights.    

The move met an exceptional ECHR's call for a "revival" of Human Rights' protection mechanism', in a Mega-Conference, early 2010.   

Obviously focusing on June 2009 Elections to EU Parliament, it involved from the outset the recently nominated "dual" Head of French Governing Party (UMP)  Michel BARNIER and Rachida DATI :

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     - "As President Sarkozy has clearly said, we (France) are in favor of a Strong, Sovereign and Independent, Political Europe, which protects its Citizens, and not for a large Super-Market, nor for a Europe under influence",

    "This goes for everything, including Energy", added to "EuroFora" the experienced former EU Commissioner, Minister of Foreign affairs, currently of Agriculture and Sarkozy's new pick as Leader of the Governing party UMP to EU 2009 Election, Michel BARNIER                                              .                             

  - Human Rights are important because they are at the Heart of the Political Europe that we aspire for : I.e. a Europe able to act and protect its Citizens, stressed also the New French Minister for European affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE, while meeting Strasbourg's Journalists at his first visit to the CoE.   

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This is one of the main interests for CoE, which is also a natural place for cooperation between EU countries and Russia or Turkey, which was recently helpful at the Middle East crisis, he added.

The move gained momentum with French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati's main observations at ECHR's 5Oth Anniversary :   

- "While we are seeking Europe's Borders and Identity, you (ECHR) remind us also of its Values", Human Rights, Dati noted.   

Citizens seek more and more often ECHR's help, and the tempo accelerates, Europa awaits a symbol, while national legal orders are not freezed   

And she expressed "support" to ECHR President Jean-Paul Costa's call to satisfy the vital need to revigorate the PanEuropean Court by deciding big changes at a High-Level Conference open to a large audience, a kind of "Etats Generaux" of Human Rights, at the beginning of 2010.       

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It's not so much the recently growing number of applications for Russia or Ukraine etc, which seems to be Costa's main concern : In fact, the cases declared "admissible" are much fewer...    

But rather the persistent violations of Human Rights, sometimes very grave (ie. murders, torture, abritrary deprivation of liberty, oppression of freedom of speech, destructions of homes/properties, etc), despite numerous, repeated condemnations by ECHR. So that CoE's Ministers, due to "supervise execution" of ECHR's judgements, are overloaded.   

F.ex. most Media noted that Turkey still remains, even in 2008, the 1st among 47 CoE member States in the number of condemnations by ECHR :  257, compared to 233 for Russia, with a population more than the double..    

The problem is that it's not the 1st time at all : During all the last Decade 1998-2008, Turkey was condemned by ECHR much more than any other State, and for particularly grave violations :   

- 1.652 condemnations, compared to 605 for Russia, 548 for Poland, 494 for France, 476 for Ukraine, etc.   

Italy's second place with 1.394 condemnations is a misleading false appearance : In fact, most of them (999) concern mere "procedural delays" in national courts. Same for France.   

On the contrary, Turkey was condemned 180 times for Killings, 192 times for Torture or Inhuman/Degrading treatments, 340 times for arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, 528 times for "Unfair trial", and 169 times for oppression of Freedom of speech, (etc). And the latest, 2008 numbers, indicate no change in this trend, (See supra).   

The current Spanish CoE Presidency (November 2008 - May 2009) has made of the implementation of ECHR's judgements its 1st Priority.   

ECHR's President, Jean-Paul Costa, stressed in its 2009 Annual Press Conference, CoE Member States' obligation to implement the judgements, according to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.   

Moreover, if CoE's Committee of Ministers delays to ensure implementation, then, the repetition of violations in similar cases provokes a multiplication of complaints tabled to the Court, which overload the mecanism for the protection of Human Rights, denounced Costa.          

A series of Debates on "the situation of Human Rights in Europe", focusing on the "need to fight against Impunity" of perpetrators of grave crimes, is  currently prepared by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly for the session of June 2009.  

The final Timing comes shortly AFTER the EU Elections, but the main Reports should have been adopted before.

Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy and German Chancelor Merkel's recent call "for a Political Europe" in 2009 EU Elections (See earlier "correspondence from Paris, Elysee Palace), seems more and more endorsed also by other EU Countries' Top MEPs :

Thus, f.ex., EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, Greek MEP Mrs Rodi KRATSA, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed that 2009 EU Election would be a "naturally good" opportunity to debate what really interests EU Citizens : "The Future of a Political Europe, able to face the Economic Crisis, with a Culture and identity which attracts the People"

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(Photo taken earlier during Sarkozy's 1st visit at EU Parliament, in 2007 : Sarkozy and Merkel's Ideas for a Political Europe inspire also other EU politicians accross the continent)..
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