Democratic scene, wished to be in Yemen one day [Archives:2006/1007/Opinion]

December 14 2006

Hayder Al-Attas
Lebanon, a country which is small in area, but big with its democratic system, is at present giving a new and gorgeous example for the Arab people. It's seeking decision from the people peacefully in the bid of solving their differences that were this time difficult for the austere rulers and politicians to reach satisfying agreement on differences because of some apparent and hidden fingers interfering in the Lebanese affair. Those do not wish to see the healthy Arab Lebanon in the heart of the nation responding to its woes, as it used to be and as the nation's peoples know it at the forefront of defenders of their legitimate rights. Despite the differences between the opposition and the government, the latter did not resort to use its oppressive apparatuses to strike at the opposition's large masses in their expression of anger though they are frankly calling for the ousting of the government and the formation of a national unity government. The governement, according to opposition, could no longer preserve the national unity and fabric that is unique and with multi religions, sects and political visions based on accord and observance of rights and interests. It has let the rope loose for political and economic corruption. That has been the cause of affecting the people living and has threaten their national constants and the pillars of their unity and high standard of peaceful coexistence that blossomed into civilized prosperity in various areas that shadowed Lebanon since its independence last century.

The opposition is seeking the help of the people in expressing its refusal of the current government. Last year the opposition took to the streets after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, to topple the government deemed to be responsible for deterioration of the situation and to chase the Syrian troops from Lebanon in line with a U.N. Security Council resolution.

In both instances the leadership did not use its force to quell the opposition and the masses despite the government being deemed pro-Syrian. It allowed others to express their will.

The two democratic scenes Lebanon has witnessed in the summer of last year and the winter of this year are both peaceful without any bullets fired. Will this winter also produce peaceful developments? One wonders if the Yemeni authority could tolerate such a wonderful peaceful democratic scene.

I am sure and confident the people of Yemen have the same aspiration. It will not be long when the day comes that the Yemeni masses will embody their aspiration on the ground, taking the democratic approach and liberating themselves from all complexes of hesitation and fear to affirm that democracy is guarantees a prosperous and safe future.

In return to the Lebanese democratic scene, Lebanon before 1975 was a center for cultural and political radiation and also a distinguished trading and industrial center. For culture they find rich libraries, bookshops and printing presses that are not under by censorship. People wanting politics find a springhead for all nationalist and national movements. They will find its newspapers embracing all political trends without censorship. And it is also an abode for trade financial administration. Thus was Lebanon, an oasis of democracy, culture, politics and economy. With its unique political and cultural diversity Lebanon was able, despite a variety of religious and sectarian beliefs, to produce national unity and rare peaceful coexistence. It is committed to its national and patriotic issues and its pursuit was that of distinguished democratic respect of diversity as a source of its strength and steadfastness of its unity.

Several foreign, local and regional circles are not feeling satisfied with the situation of Lebanon, which was siding with the nation's first issues in the midst of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Each wanted to have Lebanon on its side without taking into consideration the observance of its national interests. Therefore, the beautiful country was pushed into a civil war that soon changed into a sectarian war during the period of 1975 to 1990 when Lebanon, with all of its components, was burnt with it. Its people got displaced and the economy collapsed and consequently collapsed all the civilized establishments.

The wise people and politicians of Lebanon then realized the horror of the trap and all were defeated and the greatest loser was the country. They came together for national dialogue, the ideal way to solve the internal disputes, if they were really the cause of the war. Then the Taif Agreement came under the care of Saudi Arabia and all parties signed it and Syria was entrusted with its implementation.

Lebanon had regained its health gradually and life began to enter all of its sectors. All that by virtue of the struggling people of Lebanon and support of brethren and friends and that enabled Lebanon to regain its position and its material and moral capabilities. The Israeli invasion in 1982 and reaching the first Arab capital as well as the massacres and destruction it committed, then Israel's withdrawal with keeping occupation of the south, also the American marines entering Lebanon and their forced withdrawal under the blows of the resistance in 1983 and forcing Lebanon to sign an individual agreement which the people have destroyed, were all indicators to the depth of the conflict around Lebanon and the insistence on taking it away from the Arab circle. That occupation and the change left behind complicated things with the intention of vengeance. Arab armies then came and withdrew afterwards, entrusting Syria to keep security under the Taif agreement.

The delay of the Syrian forces withdrawal from Lebanon, after it had regained its security and stability, the return of political life to its normal condition, the return of economy activity and the mistakes accompanied the Syrian presence, opened the door the enemies of Lebanon and Syria and also the enemies of the Arab nation to activate the mines they had planted to bring division and to recreate the disputes and to prepare for a repeat of the 1975civil war. Syria and Lebanon were the direct target and the Arab nation the wider target.

Former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated and then there were other assassinations of a number of Lebanon's personalities and also Syria and Lebanon were the target. Who will do justice to Lebanon? Is it the United Nations that legalized the occupation of Iraq? Where are the wise men of Lebanon and those of the Arab nation? Do they not realize that what is happening in Lebanon is a preparation for slaughtering the Lebanese in a conflict aimed at the entire Arab nation? Is it not an indication of vengeance by Israel for its defeat in 2000 to wage its invasion of Lebanon last June? Is it not insistence on the plot of targeting Syria and Lebanon and the nation? Some maybe think they will save themselves in a life boat not of their making and leave the rest of their people to die drowning.

The democratic scene in Lebanon has surpassed ten days and it has accompanying it expression of one opinion and now there is the Arab troika headed by the Arab League secretary general and foreign ministers of some Arab countries. All hope to bring together the various viewpoints in Lebanon. These efforts were preceded by foreign intervention that poured oil on the fire by pitting one party against the other.

May God be with you the people of Lebanon? Protect your unity and preserve your democracy to continue your giving. May God help you triumph as you have always supported yourselves, people and issue.

Hayder Al-Attas is former Yemeni prime minister