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Inicio 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

Escrito por ACM
04.07.21
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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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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

eiw_project_eu_program_esprit_ds_1997.._400

        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
    In this New Political Landscape, we prepared a new, actualised and more developed version of our initial idea, in a simplified and more efficient form, thanks also to a large Experience accumulated during many years of EU/CoE/UNO Press work and Multi-lingual debates, with the New project "EuroFora" :

    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

    But European Citizens, incited by enlightened political leaders, are those who will finally write the real History.

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