dimanche 17 décembre 2006

Liban, Martyre et Caution - Lebanon, pitty the nation

Tadamon! [Solidarité! en arabe], est un collectif d’activistes pour la justice sociale. Basé à Montréal, il fournit appui et solidarité aux mouvements de justice économique et sociale au Liban. Voices for justice between Montreal and Beirut. Tadamon! (Solidarity in Arabic) also keeps an eye on the mediatic coverage of economic and social movements in Lebanon.

La Presse: Le Canada invité à la neutralité dans la crise libanaise
Monde, jeudi 14 décembre 2006, p. A26 JOONEED KHAN
"Ce qui se passe au Liban est un combat politique interne, que l'opposition mène par des moyens pacifiques et démocratiques, et le Canada n'a pas à s'en mêler et encore moins à prendre parti pour un camp contre l'autre."C'est en substance l'appel lancé hier par deux représentants de l'opposition libanaise au Canada, réunis en conférence de presse à Montréal par Tadamon!, une organisation de solidarité sur le Liban et la Palestine.
Lire l'article sur Tadamon!

==> MEDIA ANALYSIS. People Power in Lebanon: The Truth behind the Fog of Spin
One of the largest peaceful mass movements in the Middle East is currentlytaking place in Lebanon. Unfortunately, Canadians (and Americans) are getting a distortedpicture of what is going on through ill-informed, biased, and sometimesoutright misleading, reporting of the facts. This is not about which sideyou take in this crisis. It is about your right to know the truth andabout the right of the Lebanese people to protest their government’sactions and to democratically chose another one. Our government has takena strong stand in support of the Lebanese government. It is time Canadiansknow the facts about the struggle to hold their government accountable forsuch a stand. The following are distortions being propagated through someof our mainstream media outlets and the corresponding realities behindthem.

Distortion: This is a Hezbollah protest.
Reality: The opposition is a coalition of over ten parties from all sects,ideological leanings, and regions of Lebanon. Hezbollah, and its Shiiteally Amal, are the dominant force, but they are joined by the FreePatriotic Movement, a secular party with a mainly Christian base that has14 seats in Parliament (Hezbollah also has 14 seats). Other partiesinclude a group of Sunni coalitions, the Lebanese Communist Party, thesecular leftist People’s Movement, as well as Druze and otherChristian-based movements.

Distortion: This is an attempted coup to "topple" the democraticallyelected government.
Reality: The only tanks sitting outside the government building are thoseof the Lebanese army, under government command, and are there pitted alongbarbed wire against unarmed protestors. Delegations in the hundredswishing to express solidarity with the government visit the building on analmost daily basis. All calls for the protests have stressed the peacefulnature of the rally. The opposition has repeatedly called for a “nationalunity government”, in which two-thirds of members are from the currentruling coalition and only one-third from the opposition coalition. This ishardly a plan to seize power through a coup d'etat.

Distortion: These protests are a big threat to stability and the economy.
Reality: There are hundreds of thousands of bombs lying across the fieldsof Southern Lebanon, the legacy of the Israeli war on Lebanon this pastsummer. These bombs continue to kill and maim civilians of all ages anddisrupt the farming of these fields, a main source of income for tens ofthousands of people. Meanwhile, outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annanreported this month that daily mock raids are carried out by Israel overLebanese skies, in some cases reaching up to 14 raids a day. This is themajor threat to stability and the economy of Lebanon. Mass movementsinevitably cause disturbance to the economy and stability, but they are inthe first place a response to government policies that are doing fargreater damage to both stability and the economy.

Distortion: This action is a Hezbollah-controlled move to take over thecountry and create a religious state.
Reality: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has gone on record saying thatHezbollah is willing to relinquish its seats in a future national unitygovernment to its allies as long as all Lebanese factions are representedin the newly-formed government. The claim that the goal is to create areligious state, oddly suggested by the Globe and Mail (Editorial7/12/06), could not be seriously made within Lebanon. It is never evensuggested by Hezbollah's staunchest political enemies in Lebanon.

Distortion: The protestors are pawns of Syria and Iran, attempting tore-introduce Syrian interference and enforce the Iranian one.
Reality: Syria and Iran do wield influence in Lebanon, but to suggest thathundreds of thousands of citizens have taken to the streets for over aweek to serve the interests of foreign countries is insulting to thosepeople and cannot be taken seriously. And if it can be said that Syria andIran influence the decisions of the opposition coalition, it can also besaid that American and western interests, as well as the interests oftheir allies in the region (Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) influence thedecisions of the ruling coalition. U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon JeffreyFeltman meets on a regular basis with government officials and frequentlymakes press statements about internal affairs in Lebanon. The German andFrench governments sent delegations to support the ruling coalition duringthe first week of the sit-in. Irwin Cotler from the Canadian Parliamentmet with Siniora just two weeks ago.

Distortion: This is a sectarian conflict between Shiites and Sunnis.
Reality: This is a political conflict. Out of the four main speakers atthe mass rally over the past week, only two were Shiites. They includedtwo Sunni figures, and a religious authority who led joint prayers betweenparticipating Sunnis and Shiites. Two prominent former prime ministers andleaders in the Sunni community, Salim al Hoss and Omar Karami, are part ofthe anti-government coalition. There is no denying that tensions betweenSunnis and Shiites are strongly present and being fomented in the currentcrisis, with the majority of Sunnis siding with the government or neitherparty and the majority of Shiites siding with the opposition. But thebasic issues are political ones.

Distortion: The protests are designed to prevent the establishment of aninternational tribunal to investigate the assassination of former LebanesePrime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Reality: All opposition parties have expressed on record, sometimes adnauseum, their support for establishing such a tribunal. The governmentrefused to grant these parties the time to review the details of theprivileges and mandate of the proposed tribunal, which is a basicprotection against manipulation of such a sensitive and important tribunalby foreign powers. The move to ratify the order to establish the tribunalwithout proper consultation sparked the resignation of oppositionMinisters from the Cabinet and led to the current situation.

Rappel: Robert Fisk, Liban Nation Martyre / Pitty the Nation
Voir aussi: Le Liban, dans Le Monde aujourd'hui

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