Monday, September 11, 2006

Semaine du 11-18 septembre 2006
5 ans après les attentats du 11 septembre 2001 aux États-Unis, les américains commémorent avec silence et émotion quelque 3000 victimes. Depuis près d'un mois, c'était le 61e anniversaire de la catastrophe d'Hiroshima laquelle en moins de 9 secondes avait fait 200 000 victimes. On commémore encore les victimes de la Shoah, ceux du Rwanda, du Kosovo, de l'Afrique du Sud, etc. Qu'en est-il de toutes les victimes qui n'apparaissent pas dans les pages écrites des mémoires nationales et internationale? Sont-elles acculées à sombrer dans l'oubli si leur destin n'a pas été jugé 'digne' de faire la une des journaux, des livres d'histoire, des discours de politiciens et d'experts?
Hier, le 10 septembre, nous avons commémoré la mort de mon beau-père Gebran, assassiné il y a deux ans en Irak suite à un kidnapping qui a 'mal tourné'... Gebran était de double nationalité libanaise et canadienne. Le dossier de son meurtre, ainsi que celui de ses collègues dont un couple de nouveaux mariés, fut bel et bien enterré. Nous avons été à l'Oratoire Saint-Joseph (Montréal) et nous nous sommes recueillis dans la chapelle. Le silence faisait place à toute parole, laquelle ne pouvait exprimer l'avalanche d'émotions: tristesse, déni, rage, colère, résignation, nostalgie... et quelques sourires esquivés de temps à autres au souvenir d'agréables moments passés ensemble. Un lourd silence pesait sur nos âmes tourmentées par la guerre, l'exil et les massacres continus... Pourquoi toi? Pourquoi pas un faiseur de guerre?
Gebran, tu nous manques énormément. Nous proférons rarement ton nom. Le traumatisme qui a frappé les membres de la famille suite à ta disparition est loin d'être surmonté. L'histoire se rappellera-t-elle de toi? Toi l'ardent défenseur de la liberté, l'indépendance, la démocratie, l'unité panarabe, le dialogue au quotidien au-delà des appartenances confessionnelles; le businessman accompli, le père, le mari, le frère et l'ami aimant, le beau-père attentionné...?
Tout comme le poète et philosophe Gebran Khalil Gebran, tu avais ton Liban lequel tu chérissais, avec sa beauté et ses dilemmes, son vide et son peuplé, sa mer et ses "collines qui s'élèvent avec prestance et magnificence vers le ciel azuré". La colline de Zaarour,tu rêvais d'en faire un hâvre de paix...
Gebran, nous ne t'oublierons pas...
Je n'oublierai jamais ton courage, ta ténacité, et ton espoir en un meilleur lendemain.
Je n'oublierai jamais ta joie de vivre et ton impétuosité.
Ta mémoire restera gravée dans nos coeurs, chérie, honorée.
(Mon texte fut publié par l'Orient-le-Jour (Beyrouth) le samedi 16 septembre 2006)
Tuesday 12 September, 2006.
8h19 a.m.

“War Memory”… Noteworthy terms that habitually ship us back to the 1975 war that struck our motherland, Lebanon. Noteworthy terms that are still cautiously being explored as we are mindful of their moral, social, individual and national magnitude. Accordingly, yesterday evening and the previous few Monday evenings at eight o’clock witnessed the birth of a prolongation and a persistence of a “War Memory” which now inevitably includes the latest “July-August 2006” war. Indeed, these very specific evenings allowed the happening of debates before some concerned Lebanese citizens on, for instance, the validity, viability and value of the Human Rights Watch Reports linking it all to the Geneva convention or on the human and medical achievements of the Lebanese Red Cross as well as their international violated protection by the Israelis on several occasions during their latest invasion, etc. At present, whether we are striving to lash the “War Memory” behind or rebuild it, it is and will become even more sizeable as the dreadful ramifications of the July-August 2006 war are forever now attached to its core.

Michèle Chrabieh
Bab Idriss, Lebanon
A message of love

No teaching is more effective than to love and be loved
St. John Chrysostom

“Suddenly World War II started. Hitler was to blame, of course. The spirit of England was different. Now, let’s say that you have arrived from another planet to Earth, three years after the outbreak of the war, and are watching what goes on. You can see no difference between the warring sides. One night London is bombed, the next, Berlin. One night people from this side are killed, the next, people from the other side. You can no longer understand who is right, and who is wrong, where does the Ideology stand and where does sin lie.” (1)

“On the other hand, if you resist evil differently, things follow a different course. Consider Gandhi, who resorted to Prayer and Fasting, who was jailed and was telling his people: “You will not use arms! The British will leave only with passive resistance”. And the miracle happened – the miracle of India that all the world marveled at! Five hundred million people gained their freedom almost without any bloodshed! Gandhi did that while carrying respect and love for his enemies and which led many of them to hold the same feelings for him. In fact, the most powerful bomb is love. Love is the only “bomb” that can destroy all Evil on Earth.“ (1)

“We come into this life, and while we know that this was not by chance, out of the blue, since everything is part of God’s Plan in which Love is the key element. When God created us He blew His Breath into us. The Breath of God is Love. Do we stop loving? Then we stop living! We cannot do without breath. Yet, if you love the one and not the other, it means that you love no one. We are told: ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’. Who am I to say: “This one is bad, I must not love him; that one is liar, what have I got to do with him?” Ah! No, my friend! Love is not like that. Doesn’t He have plenty of reasons not to love us? And yet... In spite of everything, He makes His sun rise on good and bad alike and sends His rain on the honest and the dishonest. So…?” (1)

“Love has no measure. It is infinite. We can love, and love not only our own beloved, but the rest of Mankind, no matter who they are, to what Nation or Creed they are born in and what they do and how they live”… God is Love and therefore ALL people on Earth are ONE.” (1)

“The little child does not know if the person who comes near it is rich or poor, young or old, good or bad, a relative or a stranger. It smiles and continues playing.” (1)

Dear Christian friends,

Christ is the King of Peace, of non violence, and Love. You have been given great talents. On the other hand, one gets dismayed by the way Christians behave; which is very far from the way Christ advised you to follow. Some of your Church Fathers said that you are called not to become Christians but Christs. (2) Yet, this is a life-long quest; you are’ “Christs” in the making until the hour of departure’. (1)

There is a big difference between being a Christ and being members of a denomination, a sect, or a tribe. ‘Fanaticism and love of Christ are incompatible. Be true Christians. Tolerate the others despite their faults for “Love endures everything”.’ (3) I heartily pray that you will behave in this Spirit; for as Christ told you not to fear those who kill the body but rather Him who can destroy the Spirit.

Dear Muslim friends,

The first verse of the Koran starts with “mercy” and your greeting is “peace is unto you”. You are also called in the Koran to be the best ‘umma’ (the community of believers). You are also now facing the great challenge of catching up with modern civilization. Historically, you succeeded in doing it without destroying other civilizations and you should strive to do it again. I heartily pray that you are up to these great challenges and to the ultimate challenge: of being a role model of mercy, peace and good moral and humane behavior while pursuing justice and your just causes. According to the Koran, God has honored the descendants of Adam and has created us from a man and a woman and made us tribes and nations so that you will know that the most acceptable for God are the most pious.

Dear Jewish friends,

Probably you see that there is a huge gap between you and the Arabs. Although, they are your neighbors, and sometimes at a distance of only a few meters away, yet you may feel that they are people who do not belong to your world, but to a different galaxy. This is probably how the British have looked at the East when Rudyard Kipling said:
East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.

Yet, (according to Mr. Avraham Burg a prominent figure in Israel) “the Jewish people did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programs or anti-missile missiles…We are supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed. It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements…. a state lacking justice.” (4)

Be like your God who repays good for evil. Your religious tradition also states that the whole human race originated from one man so that neither the righteous nor the wicked can plead hereditary influence as the deciding factor of their character. Remember that ‘kindness softens and opens up the heart, as oil opens a rusty lock.’(5)

My dear friends
–whether you believe in God or not-

We humans have a lot of faults, sins and injustice. Hating the faults, sins and injustice is the healthy reaction, but carrying hatred for others because of that is not healthy. If a person is wounded, the wound normally heals well by itself. If later the site of the wound is touched by others, one does not scream from pain because the wound has healed properly. For your wounds to heal, and in order for you to overcome your fears and hatred, you need to nurture internally attitudes of humility, truth, and love. These are nurtured when you admit your mistakes, forgive, and give others a new chance. They are also nurtured when you transmit these values and morals to your children and not infections from your unhealed wound. Make sure not to ‘donate blood -if it is full of spiritual bacteria- for you will do more harm than good.’(5)

‘There is only one Freedom and there is only one Truth… There cannot be one freedom for that person and another for the other. For then we shall end up with compromises and lies. Unless you reach the point where you will feel that you and the other are ONE – any other- Black man of Africa, the Indian, the Chinese, the Muslim, the Jew, the Christian – unless you become conscious that we are all children of God, unless you feel like that, Truly –with a capital T, you are still a slave.’ (1)
No teaching is more effective than to love and be loved
St. John Chrysostom

Bassam Tabshouri
August 2006
Beirut, Lebanon

The author of this article has lived in Ras Beirut (West Beirut, Lebanon) throughout the past 30+ years of different conflicts and bloodshed. During certain phases of these “wars” some of his family members lost their houses; some were kidnapped, some left the country, and some of his friends were killed. Also, in September 2001 some of his friends miraculously made it out of the twin towers in New York. During the last round of fighting in Lebanon, friends of his lost their houses and some their relatives in South Lebanon and Southern Suburb of Beirut.

It is said that if the only tool you have is a hammer then every problem will look to you as a nail. Yet, there are different and more humane tools that can be used in Lebanon, the Middle East and in the world. ‘Writing articles can be as easy as throwing stones from the top of the Cathedral, but to put into practice what you preach is like carrying stones yourself to the top of the Cathedral.’ (6) As such this article also poses a great challenge to the author.

Orthodox nun Mother Gavrilia
St. Augustine
Orthodox monk Fr. Porphyrios
Mr. Avraham Burg, former Speaker of the Knesset and member of the Labor party
Orthodox monk Fr. Paisios
St. Seraphim of Sarov (Russian)
Amidst Political struggle, one would ask is it possible at a second thought to look at the war with divine human glasses?!

Even though such an endeavor could be unpopular, for people are mostly politically programmed, yet, we can no longer be truthful to our Christian testimony unless we make a distinction between what people are and what they think, what people are and what they do.

Sometimes, we are bound to disagree, we are bound to reject what others think or do, yet we cannot but love them.

Your article is a breath in the current of love for troubled society and for troubled hearts. Continue and may our Lord Bless you.

Father Thomas and Mother Mariam
Holy Trinity Family
August 2006
Douma, Lebanon
Dans la presse - extraits
Cinq ans après ...
L'article de Christian MERVILLE

Entêtante, l’image imprègne encore notre rétine. C’est celle d’un quinquagénaire en coupe-vent, juché sur une montagne de gravats, un bras passé autour des épaules d’un capitaine du corps des pompiers de New York, l’autre bras tenant un porte-voix. Dans un instant, cet homme, le président des États-Unis, va s’adresser à la foule pour lui dire : « Je vous entends. Le reste du monde vous entend. Et bientôt, ceux qui ont abattu ces immeubles nous entendront. » C’était hier à New York, en un gris vendredi 14 septembre 2001. Pour longtemps encore, ce sera hier. Et ces minutes terribles marqueront pour longtemps la vie de la nation américaine, du monde. Quatre jours auparavant, à 8h46 heure locale, le vol 11 des American Airlines traversait d’un mur à l’autre la tour nord du World Trade Center, dix-sept minutes avant l’effondrement de la tour sud. Peu après, à Shanksville, en Pennsylvanie, un Boeing des United Airlines s’écrasait au sol, les pirates ayant raté leur opération, pendant qu’un commando s’attaquait à l’inviolable Pentagone.Cinq ans après, que reste-t-il de ces instants où tout a chancelé et menacé de s’effondrer, quand une certitude demeurait, confuse : désormais, plus rien ne sera comme avant ? En ce début de semaine, à la National Cathedral de Washington, le président a rappelé que l’objectif était de « débarrasser le monde de ce mal » (le terrorisme) parce que « même si le recul nous manque encore, notre responsabilité vis-à-vis de l’histoire est évidente ». Le vénérable Time a choisi, lui, de prendre un rendez-vous moins éloigné. Il a demandé à un universitaire, Niall Ferguson, de prévoir quel sera le jugement de la prochaine génération d’Américains. Le verdict est édifiant. Pouvait-il d’ailleurs en être autrement au vu du sombre tableau qui s’offre aux yeux ?Admettons pour commencer qu’il conviendrait charitablement de ne pas s’attarder sur le désastre de l’aventure irakienne. Les membres les plus éminents de l’Administration républicaine, Dick Cheney en tête, constatent depuis des mois que la menace d’une guerre civile dans ce pays est bien réelle, même si, prétendent-ils, on n’y est pas encore. Pourtant, la moyenne des victimes de voitures piégées et autres attentats est d’une centaine par jour. À quoi s’ajoute le fait qu’au sein de l’Alliance, les désaffections se sont multipliées ces dernières semaines ; Donald Rumsfeld éprouve des difficultés grandissantes à enrôler de nouveaux appelés ; enfin, l’appui de l’opinion publique se rapproche dangereusement de la cote jadis atteinte par des présidents aussi impopulaires que Richard Nixon et Jimmy Carter.Inutile de lorgner du côté de l’Afghanistan dans l’espoir d’y trouver quelque signe de réconfort. Les talibans reviennent en force au moment même où les effectifs militaires s’avèrent être nettement insuffisants dans un pays aussi vaste. Le malheureux Hamid Karzaï s’accroche aux chiffres d’une économie qui donne de timides signes de rétablissement grâce à ... la contrebande d’opium. Dans un Proche-Orient de tous les mirages, la révolution démocratique prônée par Condoleezza Rice s’éloigne un peu plus à mesure que l’on insiste sur son inéluctabilité, chacun des régimes concernés refusant d’endosser un habit confectionné aux USA. Enfin, dans la crise née du nucléaire iranien, on voit mal comment Washington pourrait éviter de perdre la face après s’être engagé dans ce qui ressemble fort à une impasse diplomatique. À moins de se lancer inconsidérément dans une guerre, encore une, aux imprévisibles conséquences.Que reste-t-il ? Ah oui, le problème palestinien qu’Israël s’emploie à tenter de régler avec force expéditions « punitives », tout comme il avait entrepris de mettre au pas le Hezbollah, avec le succès que l’on connaît. Il reste aussi le grand thème de la lutte contre ce monstre du Loch Ness qui s’appelle le terrorisme. Lequel, s’il est évoqué parfois – moins souvent que par le passé, tout de même, comme on n’aura pas manqué de l’observer – , c’est uniquement comme en une sorte de rituel qui ne trompe personne. Avec la sérénité du sage qui n’attend plus rien des autres – et certes pas le renouvellement de son mandat en janvier prochain –, Kofi Annan vient d’en faire la constatation : « Le monde n’est plus en sécurité. C’est pire qu’il y a cinq ans. »À cette différence près, Monsieur le Secrétaire général, que l’on a perdu un lustre en des gasconnades dont l’Amérique se serait volontiers passée. Et qui ont achevé de ternir un imperium qui n’a plus rien de romain.
(OJ, 12 septembre 2006)
Are we more secure and 5 years wiser?
By Michel Rocard
Commentary by Monday, September 11, 2006

On this fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by Al-Qaeda, we should take the opportunity to assess the results of the response by the US and the international community. The attacks and the response to them have obviously brought about a sea change in international relations, but it would be difficult to argue that further atrocities have become less likely as a result. Why are we no more secure than we were five years ago?
Within a week of the attacks, President George W. Bush declared a "war on terror." The metaphor of war has the singular advantage that it clearly and strongly evokes the intensity of the counterattack that was called for. Moreover, the metaphor of war constitutes an implicit appeal to intense mobilization, not only by a country that comes under attack, but also by its friends and allies.
Naturally, no one questions America's right to defend itself. The legitimacy of a violent counterattack has never been in doubt. But the war metaphor also
carries inevitable connotations that, when applied to terrorism, are misleading and counterproductive.
Whenever war is invoked, it implies a fight against nations, peoples, or states. It implies that whole territories and the populations living there are to be considered hostile. War implies armies and command structures that can be recognized, if not clearly known; in any case, war entails a military confrontation with an identifiable adversary.
On all of these points, the concept of war, to paraphrase US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is not helpful. Even if the scale of the September 11 attack was of such a dimension that only the American army seemed able to face the challenge, in technical terms dealing with a threat that is extra-national rather than international is a matter of police techniques, not military tactics.
The negative consequences of this mistaken vision very quickly became apparent. It is now widely known that the US government, perhaps partly unconsciously, embraced a deeply distorted image of Al-Qaeda that portrayed it as a hierarchical organization with a seamless command structure - the prototype of a foe that the American army could attack and destroy.
But Al-Qaeda - the word means "the base" or "the camp," that is, nothing more or less than a point of gathering and training - is more like a blurred sphere of influence, comprising individuals and small local cells that act on their own initiative and cooperate very rarely, and only for large-scale operations. It has not been proved that the attacks in London, Madrid, or Bali in the years since the September 11 plot, or the attack on America's warship, the USS Cole, in 2000, reflected the existence of a "center" that coordinated the operations or gave orders to carry them out.
It is also wrong to conflate Islamic terrorism with that of the Basque ETA, Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, or the Irish Republican Army. Whereas these groups have a territorial base and are preoccupied with national aims, Islamic terrorism appears to be the work of a very small number of individuals who seek to avenge the centuries-long "humiliation" of the Muslim world, brought about by colonization, absence of economic development, and political weakness. The goal of Islamic terrorists is nothing less than the destruction of the "hegemonic" Western world, despite most Muslim nations' desire to live in peace within the international community and to cooperate in crafting effective development strategies.
The only viable strategy for confronting the threat of Islamic terrorism was, and continues to be, a search for agreement among Muslims, and among the leaders of Muslim nations, on the forms of mutual cooperation, including police cooperation, that are needed to isolate, weaken, or destroy the militants in their midst. This is a long and difficult enterprise, but there remains no alternative.
Instead, the war metaphor continues to define the US response and that of several of America's allies. The attraction of this metaphor may be attributable to the excessive trust that Americans place not only in their army, which is understandable, but in force in general, which is much less understandable in the case of an intelligent people. Whatever the case, casting the fight against terrorism as a war has led American policymakers to multiply violent military operations that have absolutely no chance of winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world. Quite the contrary.
Afghanistan was the only case where a military response was understandable: Its government had, after all, given Al-Qaeda a temporary territorial home. But to implicate Iraq, which had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or the September 11 attacks, was a huge mistake, one that has strengthened Islamic extremists and has probably helped them recruit terrorists. Moreover, the US response has strengthened Israel's belief in the effectiveness of military methods, leading to the recent war in Lebanon and the ongoing invasion of Gaza.
Powerless, the international community does nothing. The rigidity and brutality of America's behavior - resulting in many times more civilian deaths than occurred on September 11 - have blocked any useful intervention by countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, or the United Arab Emirates. Likewise, the appeal of war has ruled out the prospect of serious negotiations between Israel, Syria, and Lebanon. By attacking one Muslim country after another, the US and its allies have created the impression that Islam itself is the enemy, leading inexorably to the "clash of civilizations" that America says it wants to avoid.
But America's strategy has failed. Force cannot accomplish everything. The international community must say clearly that Islam is not our enemy and that terrorism must be fought in other ways. Muslim political leaders, for their part, should declare just as openly that terrorism is not their choice. If both sides can stifle their murderous deviances, the hope of cultural and political reconciliation will be reborn.
Michel Rocard, former prime minister of France and leader of the Socialist Party, is a member of the European Parliament.
THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in cooperation with Project
Religions - Le Vatican contraint de faire une mise au point sur le discours de Benoît XVI
Les propos du pape sur l’islam suscitent des remous dans le monde musulman
Les réflexions du pape Benoît XVI sur l’islam pendant son voyage en Allemagne ont suscité des remous hier dans le monde musulman, contraignant le Vatican à faire une mise au point sur le sens des propos du chef de l’Église catholique.À peine rentré de Bavière, où il accompagnait le pape, le directeur de la salle de presse du Saint-Siège, le père Federico Lombardi, a déclaré hier soir dans un communiqué que Benoît XVI n’avait « pas eu l’intention de se livrer à une étude approfondie du jihad et de la pensée musulmane sur la question, et encore moins d’offenser la sensibilité des croyants musulmans ». Le Vatican a ainsi cherché à calmer le jeu alors que des représentants musulmans de plusieurs pays avaient interprété les propos du pape comme un jugement négatif porté sur l’islam. Le pape, théologien réputé, qui s’exprimait mardi devant un parterre d’universitaires et de chercheurs à l’université de Ratisbonne, a cité un universitaire selon lequel « pour la doctrine musulmane, Dieu est absolument transcendant. Sa volonté n’est liée à aucune de nos catégories, pas même à celle de la raison ». Ces propos ont été interprétés comme un jugement négatif du souverain pontife envers l’islam. Au Koweït, le secrétaire général du parti islamiste Oumma (Nation islamique), Hakem al-Mutairi, a appelé tous les pays musulmans à rappeler leurs ambassadeurs auprès du Vatican « jusqu’à ce que le pape présente des excuses pour le tort porté au Prophète et à l’islam ».En Turquie, le directeur du département des affaires religieuses auprès du gouvernement, Ali Bardakoglu, a déclaré ne voir « aucun intérêt pour le monde musulman à la visite en Turquie d’une personne ayant de telles convictions pour l’islam et son prophète ». Benoît XVI est attendu en Turquie du 28 au 30 novembre à l’invitation des autorités politiques et du patriarcat orthodoxe. Plusieurs représentants des partis islamistes pakistanais ont jugé les propos du pape « malheureux », « regrettables », voire « irresponsables ».Au Vatican, le cardinal Paul Poupard, président du Conseil pontifical pour la culture, a mis en garde contre une « instrumentalisation » du discours du pape. Le prêtre missionnaire Justo Balda Lacunza, recteur de l’Institut pontifical d’études arabes et islamiques, a souligné que le pape avait « exprimé la vision catholique de la foi et posé des questions à l’islam ». « Le problème, a estimé le père Lacunza, c’est que la foi musulmane est aujourd’hui prise en otage par les politiques. » « Il faut avoir le courage d’affronter la réalité. Il y a actuellement dans le monde musulman un problème de la violence au nom de la religion », a relevé le religieux, soulignant que « ce sont des musulmans eux-mêmes qui le disent ». Dans la soirée, le communiqué du porte-parole du Vatican soulignait que l’intention du pape est de « cultiver une attitude de respect et de dialogue envers les autres religions et cultures et évidemment également envers l’islam » (OJ, 15 septembre 2006).


frencheagle said...

le 11 sept 2001, on s etait tous senti américain, la douleur qui s exprimait, le liban la connaissait par sa guerre civile, par les voitures piégées ou chaque semaine 100 morts étaient à déplorer

mais depuis, la politique injuste de bush, les guerres etc... les 100 000 morts en irak ne peuvent pas etre justifiés par cet attentat

Anonymous said...

Bonjour Pamela,

J'ai publié intégralement ce texte concernant « la Souvenance » sur mon blogue.

Bonne chance !


Katia said...

Nos prieres sont avec vous, chere Pamela. Rien et personne ne peut remplir le vide que laisse une personne aimee et cherie. Courage.