Mr. Speaker, honorable colleagues,
You know that since the ministerial statement of PM Riad al-Solh’s government in 1943 and the desires included in that statement until now, we are destined to have a country, but that country is not destined to have a state. The situation came to a head in 1958, but then came President General Fouad Chehab, and with him an actual reform program for the establishment of a state. However, due to regional developments and local conditions which prevented it, President Chehab had to settle for a purely administrative and development program, without political [reform].
On May 11, 1975 came the first response to General Chehab’s speech after a ceasefire during the two-year war (…) In this context, Imam Moussa Sadr sponsored a much-needed document in Lebanon at a time in which the country lacked national vision, Arab identity and a definition of the political system. This document was the first of its kind from an Islamic front:
After the publication of this document, which was an essential element of [national] understanding documents, Imam Sadr put things right, inserting by hand the phrase: “In order to facilitate this goal, and until national parties are to be found in Lebanon as a whole, the extended district should not be smaller than the mohafaza.”
The second response came after the Israeli withdrawal, when the [national] vision was brought to completion, and Dar al-Fatwa issued the definitive Islamist position, which was almost identical to the Shia Islamist action paper, stating: “Lebanon is a final homeland in its internationally recognized present borders, a sovereign, free and independent country, an Arab country in belonging and identity, open to the world, a country for all its citizens, who owe it complete loyalty, and to whom it owes complete custody and equality.”
The axiom of coexistence in a single Lebanese society is made up of four axioms, which comprise the meaning of Lebanon. The first is freedom, the second equality, the third decent living, and the fourth mutual responsibility and solidarity, in the context of a single state and with sole loyalty to the country.
We have a country, and in an ocean of events, preserving a country is certainly no small feat. But where are we in all this? We are taken aback by what happened recently, when we were thrown into a situation that pushed us to violence of arms, money and all other forms of violent coercion. No political, social or economic strategy can be formed under the crumbling of political power. As long as we do not build a state, there will be an inclination toward crises and the division of powers.
The resolution of the problems exacerbated by the last dialogue of 2006 necessitates a comprehensive understanding in order to examine events and propose solutions and other measures, keeping in mind that the event does not have just one meaning, since it is us versus historic events.
The political rhetoric by and large has not progressed to the level of logical construction, and it is comical for this rhetoric to be a source of pride to its author in the face of exceptional historic duties.
Was our constitution built on a sham? Not so long ago, we greeted the president of France, [Nicholas] Sarkozy, during his visit to Lebanon. The media covered the event, announcing that “the president, the prime minister and the parliament speaker greeted the French president,” who was accompanied by the French prime minister. Why was the latter not mentioned? Because France is a state, and it has a head of state. Despite the constitution, which states that the president is the head of all authorities, we still give him equal treatment with the speaker and the prime minister. This points to a lack of state, or else this would not have been newsworthy. I call on the speaker and the prime minister to begin an initiative to correct this concept among the media, and not to leave it for someone else to address.
I say this leading into what happened at Doha, having mentioned what we promised and agreed upon with Imam Moussa al-Sadr, and where we are now. We came to an agreement in Doha, and thanks to those who agreed, as they are the source of the problem to begin with, because they represent the ruling party. To call them the pro-government party and the opposition is a common mistake, and incorrect. There is the four-party alliance, which produced a partnership government, and it was agreed upon in the government that when the four parties to this alliance decide, the institutions are bound by their decisions.
And when they diverged, they became the pro-government party and the opposition. So in Doha, thank you, they all returned to power. Now, this deserves thanks because they have returned to each other, and moreover, they lifted the barriers and elected the president, who had already been elected by local, Arab and international public opinion before he was even elected by this parliament. We elected him, and he is our only hope to move from illegitimacy to legitimacy.
Indeed, ladies and gentlemen, it is no secret that this parliament and the parliament that preceded it were elected under the [electoral] law of 2000, which contravenes the constitution and the Document of National Understanding. In other words, we can describe the current parliament as legal, but it lacks the real legitimacy of the people. The ministerial statement tells us what happened in Doha: It tells us that it was agreed upon in Doha to create a government from which no minister is allowed to resign. I wonder: Are we still really in a democratic parliamentary system? Who can force a minister to resign or not to resign? This is not befitting for a government that represents the Lebanese people.
We come to say that the government restricts the freedom of a minister before [even] preserving the freedoms of the people. I do not want to tackle the ministerial statement, because the 48 pages, really, are empty of all meaning, and this includes the appalling regression in the way the judiciary [power] is viewed. This is really a long way from the ministerial statement of PM Siniora’s [previous] cabinet in 2005 and its provisions regarding the judiciary [power]. Ladies and gentlemen, I honestly say as God is my witness: We imagine that we support the existence of the political class and then forbid its renewal by means of an electoral law that was mentioned by both President General Fouad Chehab and the Document of National understanding. We now say: Let us accept the exception just this once! What kind of exception if this? It is the situation that is imposed on people against their will, it is a case of force majeure, it is [tantamount to] emergency conditions.
My advice is that you can all perpetuate this [political] class once or twice, but my great sorrow and fear is that you cannot preserve the country. The country is in greater danger than you realize.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have never, throughout my life in politics, which spans almost 50 years of war and peace, rule and opposition, seen a contradiction like this one. Never in my political life have I seen the constitution shredded as it has been here, where we stretch the words of the constitution until they are a mockery of its spirit. It is very sad indeed that this scene continues: As if we did not learn from experiences of the past, as if we want a state without institutions, as if we want a country without citizens. What, then, is the reason behind our inability, after all these ordeals, to agree on a sound electoral law based on the Document of National Understanding and the constitution?
(…) It is the responsibility of the wealthy ruling class and the absent cultured one. The strangest part of the matter is that we are invited to rejoice and give thanks for the postponement of the state’s establishment. Faced with this truth, the truth that the authority is capable to be when it wants, but that even now it does not want to be, I find myself compelled to announce my resignation as a member of this parliament, leaving it [in the hands of] those who granted me the confidence in the name of which I act. My absence or presence will not stop me from doing my national duty, which I will not abandon. I have seen Lebanon as a homeland and the Lebanese as citizens, and I have worked [for this purpose], having learned that a person may become the obstacle to the very thing he is seeking, unless the individual knows his limits.