Gemayel: We Are Ready for Openness, But Won't Give up the Country

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Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Friday stressed that the party will continue to fight corruption and strive for Lebanon's independence and sovereignty, affirming that it will never compromise the nation.

“Fighting corruption through our national struggle will remain a top priority and we will continue to defend the people even if some of our friends get annoyed,” Gemayel said in his speech at the Kataeb party's 31st congress.

“The Kataeb does not have two faces and two political rhetoric; we have never deceived the people,” he stated, adding that the party “is open to everyone because it believes in the importance of dialogue and cooperation to reach national goals; however, this doesn't mean that we will ever compromise our values and constants.”

“We favor communication and openness, but we will not give up the country and our opposition will be honest and courageous."

“It is true that the Kataeb is today paying the price for its constants and positions, but this is nothing compared to the tremendous sacrifices that those before us had made,” he stressed.

“Throughout its history, the Kataeb went through hardships and difficult times, but nothing and no one was able to eliminate it."

“The Kataeb party has been at the heart of the struggle for independence for 80 years. It has made tremendous sacrifices for Lebanon's independence; it has and will always live for Lebanon,” he said. “Our resistance has never been targeted against anyone; it is only aimed at building a nation.”

Gemayel outlined the Kataeb's commitment to speaking the truth no matter what, noting that what the Kataeb lawmakers said this week during the Parliament sessions is the only thing that has stayed in the Lebanese people's minds "because truth is the strongest weapon”.

“The Parliament does not belong to anyone. The political settlement that was sealed a few years ago will not tame everyone. There will always be free voices that speak up the truth in the Parliament,” Gemayel assured.

“We will continue to defend the people even if some will get irritated by that. No one will be able to muzzle us. Intimidation will not affect us. We have never feared anything and will continue to defend Lebanon's independence and sovereignty even if standing alone,” Gemayel stressed.

“I quote Martyr Pierre Gemayel who once said: Who said that we do not adore to be threatened and adore resisting?”

Gemayel deemed the current phase as decisive and pivotal in the history of Lebanon, adding that it is time to make a serious change in order to build the country that everyone aspires to.

“Amid the chaos, confusion and the power struggle battering the country, we must find an answer to one key question: Which Lebanon do we want?”

“The Lebanon that we want is free, sovereign and independent; we want a pluralistic and developed country,” he interjected.

Gemayel deplored the fact that Lebanon's sovereignty is still incomplete due to the presence of a non-state group that is "dragging Lebanon into conflicts, undermining stability, weakening the economy, preventing justice, stirring up enmity with other countries, and dashing equality between the Lebanese."

“What is even more dangerous than all else is that non-state arms are disrupting and controlling the formation of authorities in Lebanon” he said, specifically referring to the recent acknowledgement made by a Hezbollah MP who said that President Michel Aoun was elected thanks to the “the rifle of the Resistance”.

“Openly admitting that non-state arms had the biggest influence in the presidential election, the government formation and the parliamentary polls is exactly what he had constantly warned of. This has dashed all the slogans and pretexts that have been repeatedly presented over the past period. While others were hiding behind illusive pretexts, we had the courage to say the truth as it is.”

“Martyr President Bachir Gemayel taught us to resist and say the truth, not to deceive, maneuver and yield to the de-facto reality,” he stressed. “Bachir’s project was to disband militias starting with his own Lebanese Forces.”

“Does national partnership mean handing the country over to a non-state group?” Gemayel asked in an address to Christian forces. “Power becomes illusive when it is linked to the relinquishment of the country's sovereignty and independence”.

“Hezbollah has repeatedly said that it would put down its arms once it trusts the State,” he noted. “If that is true, then why don't you do that now that you got a president to office and engineered the new government? Aren't you saying that you got President Aoun to power? Then why don't you hand him your arms? If you do not want to hand him over your weapons, then to whom would you want to do that?”

Gemayel pointed out that the struggle for Lebanon’s sovereignty will not stop the party from thinking in building a better the future, because the ongoing violation of sovereignty and independence is the result, not the main problem.”

“Over the past 80 years, we’ve been suffering from institutional disruption, and we have been seeing the Lebanese people’s lives being put on hold due to recurrent and continuous crises as well as foreign interference,” he said.

“It is time to put an end to lies and to stop the cycle of conflicts that the country keeps whirling inside,” he stressed.

“Constitutional mechanisms must be reconsidered by setting deadlines for the presidential election and the government formation.”

“We must preserve the 1943 National Pact that laid the foundations for coexistence and national partnership,” he noted. “The Constitutional texts that sought to manage coexistence have turned out to be a failure as sectarian identity has been favored over the national one, and good citizenship is still missing.”

“It is time to move from sectarianism to pluralism. It is time to establish a political system that respects all citizens, regardless of their sects, and safeguards pluralism in the country,” he highlighted.

“Let’s transform Lebanon’s diversity from a curse into a blessing through a system that protects the person while preserving historical characteristics.”

“It is time to establish decentralization in order to draw the State closer to the people, ease the power struggle and alleviate the burdens endured by the State,” he reiterated. “Once decentralization is applied, the country will no longer stay in limbo pending major political stalemates, such as the protracted government formation, to be solved.”

Gemayel outlined the need to embrace neutrality as the only policy that protects Lebanon and curbs foreign allegiance.

“It is time to reflect on a new political approach in the country. No one is thinking about the fundamental issues and challenges facing the country,” Gemayel urged.

“We cannot continue to wait for all the country's problems to be solved so that we would start thinking of how to improve it. It is time to stop deferring a thorough examination of our problems,” he added.

“Sovereignty and the nation-building represent the fundamental basis of our political approach in the next stage; however, the Kataeb party will also continue to address the daily economic, social, environmental, educational problems in the country.”

“My friend Ramzi Najjar once said to me that the Kataeb party is bigger than independence but smaller than Lebanon. I respond to that by saying that the Kataeb is bigger than independence but has died for it, and it is smaller than Lebanon but lives for it,” Gemayel stated.

Gemayel hailed all the Kataeb supporters and partisans as the “rock” that safeguards Lebanon’s democracy, praising them for withstanding all challenges, temptations, intimidation and skepticism.

“My comrades, you are the rock that will preserve this country!”

Then, he addressed the Kataeb veterans by saying: “I was raised by you and I am honored to have grown up with people who were and still are ready to do anything for the sake of Lebanon. I have had the privilege to be raised in a Kataeb family.”

“My goal in the upcoming four years is to safeguard the struggle, sadness and tears that you have presented and endured for this country. My objective is to stop the shedding of tears and blood and work hard to build and defend Lebanon no matter, and to speak the truth no matter what. That is the Kataeb’s mission,” Gemayel concluded.