A Lebanese Abroad

Opinions from an opinionated Lebanese abroad about Lebanon's politics, business and the future of a United Lebanon.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Thousands More Kassirs: A Message to the Lebanese and Syrian Governments

While it will probably be hard to find direct evidence about this hideous crime linking the Lebanese and Syrian government, in reality, they are both responsible. The first one for not preventing it, and the second one for being the source of it.

What struck me about the coverage of Samir Kassir’s assassination is a report in the L’Orient Le Jour citing a well dressed woman lashing out at Prime Minister Mikati while he condemned the perpetrators as he arrived at the crime scene: “Is that all you can do? What is the purpose of these condemnations? They never stopped honest people from getting killed. You are a shame. What are you doing here? Go hang yourselves, you group of useless people who can’t stop honest people from getting murdered.”

If I was PM Mikati, that kind of statement would have jolted me. I would have come back to my office and started to shake down the security and intelligence apparatus of the Lebanese government, right away.

Why do we never find who killed anybody? Why there never seems to be any evidence that springs out or any lead that appears, every time a tragedy hits Lebanon? Why are the assassins and their means always stronger than the police’s ability to investigate them? Why don’t we have highly skilled investigators that have the abilities required to do what is expected of them?

Of course the Lebanese government is ultimately responsible for these murderous acts. Their job is to prevent them from happening. And if they can’t, they should let other more competent officials take the helm. Where is the government’s program for creating and implementing more security so that Lebanese can live in peace?

Regarding Syria, if criticism of their government was a major motive for the assassination, then Syria has a long list of journalists all over the world that have been criticizing that regime. Just Google the words “Syria regime” and you get thousands upon thousands of articles criticizing Syria’s regime. They add-up to an order of magnitude the number of editorials or passages that Samir Kassir penned, critiquing the Syrian regime. Does this mean that all these authors are in danger too?

Syria’s archaic government is the source of murders like this, whether they like it or not, and irregardless of whether they keep denying it. Their regime is the cause. It is archaic and pre-historic in relation to the evolution of governments around the world. By its proximity, Lebanon is the first recipient of the Syrian virus. For all the good things Syria claims to have done for Lebanon, there are thousand other bad things that overwhelm the previous list.

The February 14th Hariri assassination emboldened politicians and the people of Lebanon that lashed out against Syria instead of being intimidated. It created hundreds of thousands of Hariri’s. Similarly, the assassination of Samir Kassir will unleash a tsunami of more articles and editorials and renewed calls against the Syrian regime. It will create thousands more Kassir’s. If February 14th was the catalyst for the Syrian government’s departure from Lebanon, June 2nd might be the catalyst for their departure from Syria.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well thought and well written. PLEASE e-mail this posting to the Daily Star. These are the sort of "letters to the editor" that they should be publishing.

Keep up the good work. Thanks.

7:49 AM  
Blogger carine said...

or at least, maybe it will be the catalyst for them to REALLY leave lebanon! but yes, the syrians are in trouble. yesterday morning there was just one samir qassir; now, as you say, there are thousands...

a note on investigatory incompetence: i can't believe they're starting with the "we can't figure out where the bomb was located" line again. the car is still pretty intact-- shouldn't the nature of the damage show quite clearly whether a bomb was detonated in the engine or under the drivers seat??

8:44 AM  
Anonymous JoseyWales said...

Many reasons for police ineffectiveness: incompetence, corruption, treasonous leadership, etc...

Let me add this one:

You are a regular detective, or even a high ranking guy in the police/judiciary. You see a powerful guy like Hariri murdered in broad daylight, same with a prominent journalist like Kassir. What are you supposed to think? Yeah I'll try to uncover the murderers and Syria's thugs will leave me and my family alone???

That is why the opposition's mantra about good relations with Syria is PC and diplomatic baloney. With Syria: yes, but only after they change regimes.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point Josey. So this will accelerate the pressure on Syria for regime change.
I am not sure if the self-change option is possible anymore.
Only the U.S. can force a change there.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Maya said...

Yes, thousands and thousands more Kassirs. As Beirut Spring suggested, "we are all Samir". Keep blogging and change your profile picture into a pictre of him... in honor and memory of his sacrifice. We will keep on writing!

1:28 PM  
Blogger Charles Malik said...

Once again, we hit the same issue at about the same time.

I posted on my anger at our incompetent investigation teams that allow hundreds of people into the crime scene to trample all the evidence. If the perpetrator was around, he could easily clean up the job then and there.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous nada b. said...

Very nicely written blog!

Here is what I think:

For the past few months the Lebanese have been looking forward to voting
"freely" for the first time after the Syrian forces pull out. As a member of the International Committee of www.lebanese-abroad.com, I have
been actively demanding my right to vote as an expatriate Lebanese citizen. The assassination of Samir Kassir recalls into question all my recent excitment. It brings back the following question: What good is the right to vote in a State that does not respect Fundamental Human Rights? Upon leaving Lebanon, I was perhaps choosing freedom of expression over my right to vote. Samir Kassir was so much bolder, he chose free speech over his fundamental right to exist. Will they ever stop forcing us to make such choices?

7:33 PM  
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4:04 AM  

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