On April 26, the Lebanese National News Agency carried the following report:
The head of the Lebanese Democratic Party, Minister Talal Arslan, toured the towns of Sarhamul and Bshamoun where he met with officials and citizens while accompanied by a number of cadres from the Democratic Party. In Sarhamul, speeches were delivered to show support for Minister Arslan, while in Bshamoun, the people gathered to receive him along with the municipality chairman Hatem Eid... Minister Arslan then made the following speech:
“From Bshamoun, this good land, the land of real men which was chosen by the hero of the independence Prince Majid Arslan as the headquarters of the government of the independence, the stronghold of the free state of Lebanon and the fortress of the decisive confrontation with French colonialism; from this town of Bshamoun which holds a prominent status in Lebanon’s historic memory and symbolizes the unity of the Lebanese will and the respect of the legitimate institutions; from this town of Bshamoun I address the Lebanese, all the Lebanese, from Mount Lebanon to the farthest border point of our blessed land, to say a few words as the country is in the midst of the general parliamentary elections fever.
“All the electoral victories and gains in the legislative and executive authorities, without any exception, are not worth one drop of blood shed by an innocent Lebanese citizen or the tear of one child. Let it be clear to everyone. No political gain has any legitimacy if it is secured at the expense of people’s security, stability and livelihood. Nothing is worse than jeopardizing people’s stability and civil peace, because any threat affecting this civil peace under any pretext or justification is an attack against Lebanon and a crime that does not deserve any mitigating measures. From Bshamoun I say to the Lebanese people and political sides they should respect the slogans they are raising, considering that the contradiction between the slogans on one hand and the political, electoral and media behavior on the other has become utterly blunt, has exceeded all the red lines and started to pose a threat to the Lebanese entity.”
Minister Arslan then called on all the Lebanese sides “to follow the road that was successfully inaugurated on May 11, 2008 when we were able, along with our brother Sayyed Nasrallah and my brother Walid Jumblatt, to completely change the course of events. Therefore, instead of allowing the fall of the state, the division of the [Lebanese] entity and the shedding of Lebanese blood, we opened the windows of hope, protected civil peace with our true wills and restored life to the constitutional institutions, starting with the presidency of the republic… We will work with you, people of Bshamoun and Mount Lebanon, all of Mount Lebanon, to set a date for a comprehensive meeting between Mount Lebanon and Dahiyeh to restore the familiarity and love and turn the page on the May events once and for all… When there is will, nothing is impossible. Therefore, in Lebanon’s name and in the name of Lebanon’s people and history, I urge all the Lebanese political leaders to become more moderate because moderation is the only thing that will keep Lebanon alive.”
He then [said he] believed “the elections should be an occasion for us to perfect our democratic behavior to deserve democracy, for it is not logical for the elections to be an occasion for tearing the Lebanese social fabric apart… We are all responsible for Lebanon, for the security of the Lebanese and the livelihood of the people. In order to uphold this responsibility, we should uphold moderation. Therefore, we will enhance the march of May 11 because it is the only way to salvage civil peace, democracy and the project of the state in Lebanon.”