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Wind of Change Blows Over Lebanon

Monday, June 2, 2008
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Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyid Hassan Nassrallah

The following is the speech of the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, on the occasion of the 8th anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day, May 26, 2008, in southern Beirut, Lebanon.

First of all, great greetings to every pure spirit of the resistance and homeland martyrs, especially to the leader of resistance martyrs Seyyed Abbas al-Mousawi, the sheikh of the resistance martyrs Raghib Hareb and our dear brother whom we miss today leader Al-Hajj Imad Moughniyah.

I would like to welcome you to the 8th anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day. Your presence here today justifies your reality and identity and testifies once again that you are the most honorable, precious and the purest of people.

As God Almighty has said in his Glorious Book:

In the name of Allah, the most Merciful and Gracious,
Pharaoh had tyrannized on Earth, divided people into groups. He oppressed one group on behalf of the others, slaughtering its children, and ravishing its women. Indeed, he was among those corruptors.

The Pharaohs of our time are the USA and its right hand, Israel. Allah has promised:

We want to bestow upon those who were oppressed on Earth and make them precedents and successors; and we will consolidate their position on Earth to show what Pharaoh, Haman, along with their soldiers have been worried from.

God Almighty speaks the truth!

Brothers and sisters, today marks the day of resistance and the liberation of our homeland and nation coincides with the anniversary of the calamity and the loss of Palestine as well as the establishment of the extorter's existence.

It also coincides with the 30th anniversary of Israel's 1978 occupation of southern Lebanon and the establishment of the occupied territory, which was later expanded. This coincidence must provoke us to think twice, evaluate the situation and draw lessons and conclusions that will benefit Lebanon as well as the Muslim and Arab worlds.

Although this occasion has its own intellect, emotion, literature, rights and ethics, today I will not confine myself to introductions, as there is much to talk about.

Starting from Lebanon and its resistance… the latter has demonstrated two strategies, one of liberation and driving away occupiers, and the other of defending the homeland and people against any attack, invasion or threat.

This is the stratagem and vision of resistance: liberation and defense. These are also the clear and joint messages of the resistance in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon.

As a result of the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon and the occupation of a part of our land in 1978, the Security Council issued the Resolution 425. We submitted ourselves to the will of the international community and waited for its implementation. At the time, it was suggested that Lebanon was too weak to face Israel and it would therefore need a strategy of Arab unity.

The UNSC decision, however, was not implemented and an Arab strategy was never found. The international community and the Arab world took no action, and the will to confront was lost. It was at this time that the Imam and leader Seyyed Moussa al-Sadr proposed that the people of southern Lebanon put their trust in God Almighty and resist by any means possible.

What resulted from the false proposals of inaction? Israel weakened Lebanon and thought we were too weak to respond. This resulted in the great invasion of 1982 aiming to ultimately make Lebanon part of Israel.

As has been proven throughout history that a divided country can easily be conquered, such was the case of Lebanon at the time of the Israeli invasion in 1982 and so was the case of Palestine. The same applies to Iraq and shall apply to other countries as well. In the face of occupation, people are divided into various groups and categories:

Some remain neutral toward the occupation while some rule the country and have an extent of authority do not feel the impact of the occupation as the most important thing for them is to eat, drink and enjoy life. Another group are spies and mercenaries, cheap tools such as Antoine Lahid's army who despite being Lebanese committed shameful acts. Another group consists of the internally defeated elite who cooperate with the occupiers for their own benefits and theoretically believe they can minimize national casualties.

Also, is a group that tacitly defies the occupation but is not willing to endure hardships and pay for freedom with their blood. Finally, there is the group that believes it has an ethical, national, religious and humanitarian responsibility to liberate their fatherland from occupation. They are ready to pay the price whatever it may be. This is the group of resistance. This is the group that takes the necessary action.

This division is not exclusive to Lebanon; it is a natural, historical and social trend stemming from the loss of national unity.

To those claiming that there is no national agreement regarding resistance in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq I would say that there is also no national agreement on neutrality, treachery, cooperation or carelessness. Every group decides on its own. This is also true in Lebanon.

As always, I advise nations under occupation not to wait for a national or public agreement on resistance, but to pick up weapons and fight for the liberation of their land, nation and prisoners of war and regain their dignity and glory. This cannot be achieved other than by weapons, giving blood and making great sacrifices.

The resistance and the Lebanese people are intertwined with one another. Whether Muslim or not and regardless of sect and political parties, we have given countless martyrs. Self-reliance, jihad, various operations and our male and female youths have brought the resistance so far. Both the Arab and Muslim worlds were duty-bound to offer help. Many, however, have refrained to take action. It was Syria and the Islamic Republic of Iran who actively supported us.

We first achieved victory from 1982 to 1985 and another historical victory was won on May 25, 2000: a magnificent victory for Lebanon, Arabs and the nation and an utter defeat for Israel that shattered its dream of expanding its territory from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Israel has been cut off from southern Lebanon and western Bikaa and the Zionists have suffered a shameful defeat without gains, guarantees or concessions. While the liberating strategy adopted by the resistance succeeded, the negotiation strategy beginning from Madrid was not even able to free an inch of our land.

The strategy of inaction has done nothing but strengthen our enemy and weaken our country. Subsequently, it was the librating strategy adopted by the resistance, which similarly brought success in 2000.

After the 1984 calamity, Palestinians hopelessly waited for Arab support and international intervention.

In Iraq, America has occupied the country under the banner of establishing a democracy. The truth is that the American occupation was aimed at monopolizing the country's resources. Their true objectives becoming more clear every day. How? After the invasion, similar to other occupied nations I mentioned before, Iraqis were divided into two relatively large groups.

One seeks a political process and the other prefers resistance, specifically an armed one. Based on our religious, ideological, intellectual, political experience as well as reality, we the Hezbollah are zealous toward resistance. Those supporting the political process have wasted a great deal of time and are today faced with an extremely difficult test, which is to determine the stance they will take now that America is attempting to impose a security deal on Iraqis, the finalization of which only requires the signatures of the Iraqi government and parliament.

Despite being aware of the friendships and coalitions, America is persuading an elected government and parliament legitimize its occupation and monopoly over Iraq and exert control over its security, politics, oil and other resources. At this particular point, the realities pertaining to US objectives have been exposed, and the supporters of the political process whether Sunni, Shiite, natives or nationalists are faced with a difficult test.

You claim that you have chosen the political process as deterrence against the occupiers and to eliminate casualties. The question is, will you forever hand Iraq over to the Americans, or will you make a decision befitting your religion, Islam, Arabs, nationalism, your ethics and morals?

Today, in the name of all who have gathered here today as well all free souls in the Arab and Muslim worlds, I call on Iraqis and their political and religious leaders to make a noble and historical decision that would prevent the ultimate fall of Iraq into the hands of the occupiers.

All resistance groups in Iraq, as those in Lebanon and Palestine, have defeated the occupiers on various occasions. Iraq must now adopt the liberating strategy of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance groups. This is the only way to return the wounded but affluent and strong Iraq to its people.

The Lebanese resistance has also adopted a defense strategy, which became known to the world in July 2006 when a few thousand men with the support of their nation confronted the greatest army (of course, in Israel's own opinion!) for several weeks.

We are not talking about a strategy written in books or taught at university but a well-implemented strategy that defeated an invader as the Zionists have conceded. The July war turned the tables, changed the balance and weakened war probabilities.

Indeed my brothers and sisters, it is your patience, nobility, encouragement and resistance along with the blood of our martyrs that fizzled out the Israeli war and attack on Lebanon and changed the odds of the war in the region.

The probability that America can wage war on Iran has been weakened. The same seems to apply to Syria as well. The lessons learned in Lebanon have truly been absorbed.

I would tell those who believe another war is likely in Lebanon that we are honorable people. We fought in the July war and should there be another war, we shall return to the battlefield!

Let us take a look at the defense strategy adopted by Gazans. In the Gaza Strip, Israel faces an asymmetric war. Certainly, it is neither Israeli ethics nor Arab public opinion nor any other Arab or international stance for that matter that has prevented Israel from invading the Strip.

Israel has received the green light from the Pharaoh of our time, George Bush. Israel is lost and has no escape. If its confrontation against the starving and besieged Strip is in vain. Despite the absence of international support and the lack of military, economic and financial balance between the two sides, the defense strategy has proven its effectiveness in Lebanon and Palestine.

The outgoing Pharaoh of our time, George Bush (God willing), visited Palestine and turned a blind eye to the country's calamity and criticized all resistance movements in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine and the nations that support them.

He promised Zionists that Israel would celebrate its 120th anniversary. Bush has mistaken. He shall be frustrated when he sees Israel's extinction. He has also promised the defeat of Hezbollah and all resistance movements. To Bush and Condoleezza Rice who dream of defeating Hezbollah, I say as long as Hezbollah is righteous and depends on God and has the support of such honorable people, it is you who will be defeated.

On the 8th anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day, I call on all Arab nations and governments, including the Lebanese, to devise a defense strategy based on the current regional balance of power. We have always had a national defense strategy, but today we need one for liberation.

We still must liberate Kafer Shoubah hills and Sheba farms. We need a defense strategy to repel any attack and one of liberation to free our prisoners of war. I need to say, however, that you can rest assured because it is our promise to you to liberate the prisoners of war. This is God's will but will be executed by our hands. I promise you that we will soon bring Samir and his brothers home.

On May 25, 2000, I told a gathering in Bent Jbeil that we offer our victory to Lebanon and Palestine. I told them that we had fulfilled our duty and that God's acceptance is all we hope for. We did not want gratitude or rewards. We did not seek power and authority. We liberated the land and left the security, judiciary, social and economic responsibilities to the Lebanese authorities. Have we not already said that we are not after security or managerial authority? Have our actions contradicted our word? Never!

We have not judged any spies. We handed them over to the judiciary. We have no military presence in the liberated land. We called on the government to assume this role instead.

All we requested was more attention to be paid to the development of southern villages where confrontations occurred and in deprived villages, such as Baalbek Al-Hermil and Akkar.

What have you done in the past 8 years? You who have been demanding more authority! Has anyone prevented you from fulfilling your duty in the deprived villages and the freed land?! The Lebanese know but I want Arabs harken and understand that the presence of authorities only exist when taxes are collected and police officers arrive. Citizens do not receive the services and care they require.

To those who claim that the French and Vietnamese resistance groups handed over their weapons to the authorities, I say that there are some resistance groups which have taken or demanded authority after victory.

We, however, won in 2000 and did not ask for authority. We did not ask for the Lebanese political hierarchy or the Taef Convention to be modified. We did not ask for political or administrative power. We did not seek to monopolize power. We only asked that the people be cared for, their social and economical problems be solved and their dignity to be restored.

Today, I renew this request. We do want authority or a monopoly of control. We do not seek to rule nor impose our ideology on Lebanon. We believe a country with such religious diversity cannot be governed without the participation and unity of all its groups. That is what we insist on.

Many media outlets have attempted to distort the truth. They mistakenly think that Hezbollah is ashamed of its relations with the Wilayat Al-Faqih (Just Jurisprudent). Never! I declare here and now as I have done on numerous occasions before that I am proud of being among the supporters of the Just Jurisprudent, who is fair, knowledgeable, courageous, truthful and sincere. He has told us that Lebanon is a country of diversity and that it is our duty to save it.

We were accused of preparing a coup to change the power and bring Syria back to Lebanon, just like what happened during the July war when America was preparing the grounds for the birth of a new Middle East. Now we are accused of fighting for the interests of Iran in its nuclear case.

By our conduct after the retreat of the un-authoritative government's decisions and during the Doha talks, we have proven such accusations baseless. Unlike some figures in the opposition who suggested an increase in their demands, Hezbollah did not upraise its requests. We went to Doha to rescue Lebanon from sectarian strife and a confrontation between resistance groups and the army, and from the Pharaoh and Haman of our time.

While we have been the target of unjust accusations, propaganda and attacks, we have not demanded any political gains. I do not see any need to discuss this matter anymore now, as this experience should be enough for those accusing us of aspiring for authority and a monopoly, to end their debate.

My brothers and sisters, I call on you today, as I did in Bint Jbeil and Al-Dahiya, for a true and national cooperation based on which no one cancels, drops, or wins over others, an opportunity for all Lebanese to establish a government ruled by their representatives who are honestly elected. I call for providing the Lebanese with a chance to work together without having an ear to outside whisperers.

A few days ago, the Saudi Ministerial Council demanded amendments to some constitutional laws to guarantee the Arab identity of Lebanon. I have not discussed this with my brothers in the party, but I would like to declare that I myself, one of the supporters of the Just Jurisprudent demand such modifications that will preserve Lebanon's Arab identity and prevent foreign interference in our country. I would like them to touch the issue of American and Western meddling in Lebanon. All of our friends know well that we are not dictated to, and that we are the decision makers in the field, in the Doha talks and in the opposition.

My brothers and sisters, the events of the past have left me with two options. I can either explain what happened before and after the decisions were made or I can postpone this discussion until a later time.

I have revealed some information during the conference held on Thursday May 8, 2008. However, today I prefer not to disturb you on the Resistance and Liberation Day, the day of agreement and the election of your new President. I will postpone this discussion and shall not expose the ambiguities of certain affairs and the unjust accusations leveled against the resistance.

Both sides have sustained critical wounds. We can choose either to keep the old wounds open or to treat them and let them heal. With the interests of Lebanon in mind, I suggest we all learn lessons and avoid claims of having won. I prefer discussing this matter when the time is ripe for logic. Let us open a new chapter in the history of Lebanon as of May 25, 2008.

My brothers and sisters, in light of the latest developments I would like to mention the following points:

First of all, I would like to thank on your behalf of all who have helped in achieving the recent agreement. I would like to thank our Arab brothers, the ministerial committee, the Arab League and its Secretary General, the Qatari leadership and nation, the brotherly countries of Syria and the Islamic Republic in Iran and, of course, the Lebanese themselves.

Secondly, I would like to reinstate on Hezbollah's behalf that we have accepted an article that says no party will use weapons to gain political momentum. However, the weapons of the resistance are aimed at the enemy, and will be used to liberate the land, free the prisoners of war and to help defend Lebanon and not to achieve any political gains.

The state's weapons, including that of the army and domestic forces, are to defend our homeland, to protect our citizens and their rights and to maintain security across the country. It is not permissible to use the resistance weapons for political gains and the same applies to the state's weapons. They are not permissible to be used to face political opponents or for projects that may weaken Lebanon against the enemy or to confront the resistance.

The weapons of the resistance and the state are to be used for the objectives they are set out for.

Thirdly, the election law we agreed on is better than the one in 2000 as it respects adequate representation of all Lebanese factions. It should be considered a compromise between all those who want to resolve the crises in Lebanon in hopes that the Lebanese will later on discuss a modern election law.

The election law is an introductory step toward establishing a government and restoring the authority of the state and its institutions.

Making accusations is not the way. Whoever is against offering Lebanon a fair and modern representative law should live on a farm. This is a compromise in hopes that Lebanon may achieve a better agreement.

Fourth, the election of Major General Michael Suleiman has revived the hope of a new Lebanon. His oath speech that we heard yesterday was brimming with the spirit of the accord and the promise of a new era. This is what Lebanon needs: accord, partnership, cooperation and distancing itself from monopoly.

Fifth, a national government is not a victory for the opposition over the authority. It is a victory for Lebanon, the nation, coexistence, and the state mission for this country, which cannot be achieved, continue and last unless there is accord, cooperation and solidarity.

I declared that the purpose of the strike in Riyagh Al-Soleh and Martyrs Square is to have a national government. I knew that it would take time. At the time, I announced that 'as I usually promise a victory, I promise another one again', but I did not mean it would be a victory of one group over another for I believe that Lebanon's victory can only be achieved with a national government.

When we achieved this in the Doha talks, I declared the victory not to be one of a certain group over another but a victory for Lebanon itself, as was the victory on May 25, 2000 and the victory in 2006.

We are going to have a new cabinet, and as I have promised, other members of the opposition group will participate even on behalf of Hezbollah. This is Lebanon, the land of affluence and prosperity. We are going to have the opposition well presented in this cabinet in the hope that we will have a serious and responsible cabinet that will resolve the problems of the Lebanese.

Sixth, I will honestly call on the movement and the beloved of the martyred premier Rafik al-Hariri in the hope of benefiting from his great experiences, thoughts and strategies concerning Lebanon. His great mind enabled him to harmonize between reconstructing Lebanon, state matters and the resistance. Lebanon had two options: with its lands occupied, its sovereignty seized and its dignity trampled upon by Israel it could have become either like Hong Kong or similar to the glory of the East, Hanoi.

With the mentality of the premier and because of the martyred Rafik al-Hariri, the resistance is sure that Hong Kong and Hanoi are not the models to be followed, but rather we must set our own model.

We can prove that we are a country of construction, economy, cooperation, and production along with a resistance that does not seek to undermine the government's authority but seeks to share the state's responsibility in liberating and defending the land.

That was the coexistence style between the resistance and the premier and Martyr Rafik al-Hariri. Those who have been loyal to the inheritance of Rafik al-Hariri, have to follow this model.

We are not calling for a dual, triple or quartet coalition, we are not calling for monopolizing power on behalf of any sect, position, authority, or institution, but rather for the mass cooperation of all political groups with the government.

I ask God to have a nice and calm summer. Let us work together. Two scenarios exist: the American hot summer and the nice and calm Lebanese summer. Let us fulfill our dreams instead of that of our enemy. I promise you along with all our beloved in the Arab and Muslim worlds that we will do our best to overcome all hostilities, sensitivities, and to heal all our wounds. Let us work hand in hand to construct and protect Lebanon.

I would like to thank those who have helped us along the way. I would like to thank the Sunni leadership in Lebanon and the Arab and Muslim worlds. I would like to thank the religious, political and intellectual leaders whose courageous stances defused the American plot aimed at propagating any conflict in the world as a sectarian strife.

I would like to thank the national Druze leadership, the sons of Marouf, the resistant men, sheikhs, leaders, politicians, journalists and parties for their stance which clearly showed the events happening were not a Druze-Shia strife.

I would like to thank the Christian leadership for revealing the reality of the political conflict and showing it was far from a sectarian one. May God have mercy on the souls of all our martyrs.

It has been said that Hezbollah is not disclosing the number of its martyrs in the recent events. There have been 14 Hezbollah martyrs, two martyrs of Lebanese (Saraya) Brigades for Fighting Occupation, a number of martyrs from the Amal Movement, a few from the Syrian National and Social Party, and still a few others from the Lebanese Democratic Party.

To resolve any remaining ambiguities, the martyrs are Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians and Druze. We are proud of all of them. We are sorry for the victims which have fallen on the other side but it was a battle with fire. We will discuss this matter at a later time. What softens the issue is that the recent bloodshed has pushed Lebanon to the end of a dark and long tunnel. Without this blood, Lebanon would have been dragged to a point where no government could have been established. We owe everything to these martyrs who have saved Lebanon and opened a new chapter in its history.

We are grateful, have respect and extend our hand of cooperation to build a Lebanon that is strong, valuable, fair and well-protected... a Lebanon that is as strong as its mountains, and as everlasting as its cedars.

Source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=58320&sectionid=3510302

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