President Michel Aoun Speech on Independence Day 2017

The word of his Excellency the President Michel Aoun for Independence Day 11/21/2017.

Dear Lebanese men and women,

Tomorrow is a day unlike any other days, a holiday, unlike other holidays, It is the country’s day and the day of its independence, and independence is not a specific moment in time and space, an event that is done and ended, it is a continuous work and a constant struggle; it is the story of a people that have paid a lot and still is, so he may remain sovereign self-determination on free land. It is a history filled with stations some painful, other bright, and it is your day, your holiday, so do not hesitate to celebrate it.

This covenant is one of those stations, and I am seeking very strongly to make it a glowing one, tirelessly seeking so our concerted effort strengthens our independence, our sovereignty, our freedom of determination while maintaining the stability of our country in the midst of the storms that batter the region so we may continue together the rebuilding of our country, for if we succeed and we shall succeed, we would have put down the main foundation for a strong country and brought forth a new approach to the management of the issues of the nation.

Dear Lebanese, I have declared during my inauguration speech that at the forefront of our priorities is the prevention of any transfer of sparks of hostility from the neighboring  flames into our interior, and I stressed the need that Lebanon separate itself from the external conflicts and respect the charter of the Arab League in particular part eight.

This is why we have adopted the completely independent status and avoided entering into conflicts and have called for talks and accord between Arab friends as we still do because in an internal war there are losses for both winners and losers with no meaning to neither side and the bigger loss falls on the country.

Lebanon distanced itself, but unfortunately, others did not do the same with themselves nor with their influence on it. For with the start of the war in Syria the terrorist organization began to infiltrate our eastern borders and encroach on the Lebanese interior in an attempt to control whatever villages, towns, and areas they can, bringing death and destruction through terrorist bombings touching all of Lebanon, and despite our triumph over terrorism and the liberation of our lands of them we still ask ourselves where did this terrorism come from? who sent it? who financed it? who armed and trained it? and why? Is it not to strike at the stability and the planting of sedition, and we have the condition of the Arab countries that have succumbed to those organizations.

From a second stance, Israel is poised at our southern borders and its history with Lebanon since its inception is filled with aggressions and destructive wars, from the attacks in the sixties and seventies until its invasion in 1982 that reached Beirut and occupying half of Lebanon then its withdrawal while keeping parts of the south under its control for 18 years during which it has launched several destructive campaigns of which is the settling of the score in 1993 the grapes of wrath in 1996 the first massacre of Cana as well as the destruction of the power stations in 1999 until they were forced to withdraw in 2000 under the pressure of the Lebanese resitance only to come back in2006 and wage a new war during which they committed the most horrific of massacres  and destroyed the infrastructure including bridges as well as some villages and the ousthern suburb of Beirut, only this time without being able to cross the southern border, and is to this day continuously violates our sovereignty by land and sea and air not caring about international decrees while threatening us with new wars and new destructiveness. Is it not better for the family of nations to work on a reconciliation based on truth and justice and the rights of people to decide their own future through which the issues of armament and war can be resolved?

Dear Lebanese,

Through all these times and periods, Lebanon has paid the dearest prices and is trying today to distance the ghosts of dissension, for the country that has spilled blood most generously, people and army, against the Israeli enemy as well as the extremists and has created heroics and sacrifices in the liberation of its land from both, is not an easy country to push aside as long as it holds dearly to its commitment to its internal unity in the face of sedition that is the greater evil.

What Lebanon has endured is the fallout of conflicts and the shrapnel of explosions, and nothing works to cure conflicts unless we shut down its source. Anyway, we shall not be influenced by any opinion or advice or decree that pushes it toward internal strife, and anyone who seeks the good for Lebanon will help it strengthen its unity for it is its security valve.

And in the wake of this comes our latest crisis, and the problems that surrounded it, and while it is true that it has passed it was not a fleeting event, because it has created for this administration and the Lebanese people and great experience and a challenge to the greatest of national causes that are impossible to ignore or dismiss.

Should we have ignored the fact that a national duty requiring the prime minister to return to his country so he may, according to the constitution, present his resignation or not? Not to mention that first and foremost, it is a matter of a nation’s and a people’s pride, a people that have shown a unique unity and cohesiveness, for sovereignty cannot be split up on the ground nor in the internal or foreign policies.

Dear Lebanese,

Amongst the boiling cauldron that surrounds us, a few messages I present to you in all truth and honesty:

My first message is to the Arab brothers: Your dealings with Lebanon needs a lot of wisdom and prudence and anything else is just a push towards the fire, and despite all that has transpired we still have hope that the League of Arab nations will make decisions based on its own charters and beliefs and goals, and maintains itself and its member nations through it and saves its humanity, sovereignty, and independence.

I also address the international society that is aware of the importance of stability in Lebanon, and I invite them to preserve it through the total implementation of international justice.

As to the Lebanese people I say: With your unity you have overcome a lot of obstacles and trials and tribulations, so do not allow dissension to rear its ugly head among you for it is the total destruction from which no one escapes and only your unity is the savior, your safety your stability and the future of your country and your children.

And to our army and security forces, I say: You are the guardians of the internal cohesion and the defenders of our borders, so be always prepared to perform your duty and maintain your oath.

Dear Lebanese men and women

We have all paid the dearest of prices so that our independence day may become a celebration after it had become but a memory, so rejoice and celebrate and this is your right, so protect it for it is your duty.

Long may you live,

Long live Lebanon free and independent.

Translated by Hala Najjar, Rami Najjar