Exclusive Interview of Odiaspora.org with Joumana Bousaab-Mazigi

Originally from Ras Baalbeck, a border village occupied partly by Daesh and a battlefield for several years, Joumana Bousaab-Mazigi (@Jouja_M) is also the sister of lieutenant martyr Georges Bousaab. On both counts, she is a privileged witness to the latest events in Lebanon that resulted in the liberation of its territory occupied by the Islamist terrorist forces (ISIS).Today, after the victory of the Lebanese army, Mrs Joumana spoke about her mixed feelings, and her own analysis in an exclusive interview with Odiaspora.org.

ODiaspora: You are a native of Ras Baalbeck, the village where part of the fighting took place and you are currently there. What is the feeling around you after the end of the battle?
JBM: From the first day of the battle, I went to Ras Baalback. It is both a sign of attachment to our land but also a need to be beside our army. Being able to  help the troops both morally and materially gives us an enormous sense of pride.Today that the battle is over with minimum casualties is by itself a great victory for the army which has proved that its power rivals the best armies in the world.
The atmosphere in our village is very moving, everyone is in the street to accompany the troops coming down from the front; The village has become like a hive, proud of the soldiers who themselves are proud of their people.
The military moral is at the zenith; it is the first time in four or five years that the army has regained its dignity, honor and freedom of decision to liberate the territory without any political calculation. We would have liked to see all the Lebanese in our village with us. I have received dozens of people from Beirut every day who came to share these exceptional moments.
We begin to understand the true meaning of patriotism, of belonging, of being always ready to support our soldiers and army.
We are aware that if the decision to intervene had been made four or five years ago  we could have avoided many martyrs, a lot of suffering and tears.

ODiaspora: The happiness of victory is tainted by the martyrdom of the soldiers who were kidnapped by Daesh. You are the sister of an army hero who fell to martyrdom in Abra and you are well placed to know that the delay in making courageous decisions at the right time makes the price of victory heavier. What is your impression at this level?
JBM: Today is a great day for us, yet with a feeling of enormous sadness due to the news of the assassination of the kidnapped soldiers. If the political decision had been made three years ago these soldiers would have been here today.
The price of victory is always dear, the price of this liberation has been paid with the blood of the soldiers but the borders of countries are always drawn with the blood of the martyrs.
We feel the desire to celebrate but we are not able to because of this news.
Politicians a few years ago committed an enormous sin by allowing the withdrawal of terrorists from Ersal without releasing the soldiers they had kidnapped. At that moment there was a complacency, a false policy which managed the country, and which led to the martyrdom of these soldiers; The leaders at that time are responsible for this issue because the release of the soldiers would have been possible but the political interventions following the famous “mediation” of the so-called Muslim ulemas allowed the terrorists to withdraw from the village keeping with them the kidnapped soldiers.

ODiaspora: What should we do to avoid this type of situation and thus these tragedies?
JBM: In order to avoid these mistakes, political intervention in military action must be prohibited because the army is capable of protecting the territory, deciding when and where to intervene because it is capable of assuming its responsibilities, of protecting borders and honoring its martyrs.

ODiaspora: Do you feel any real differences with the presidency of General Michel Aoun?
JBM: At times, even the martyr had no value. Today with the new presidency, the martyr is honored, the soldier valued and his morale sustained; the army surrounds its soldiers and most importantly our president is from the army, and so he knows how to protect it and restored its dignity and honor.
We can also recognize the major role played by the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army, General Joseph Aoun, who took the courageous decision to liberate the territory ,and find a way out to the tragedy of the kidnapped soldiers and that he has done so. We really needed a commander like him with all these qualities.
Nevertheless, and without the presence of the chief of the armed forces, President Michel Aoun, we could have never lived these exceptional moments and we could have never liberated these territories that were taken by the terrorists.