How to Save the Entity and the Individual
The entire world is struggling to cope with the repercussions of the crises of migration, asylum and displacement. Each crisis has its own causes and implications on the socio-economic, security and legal levels. However, the main discussions focus on how to protect the national identity of the host countries and grant the return of migrants, refugees and displaced persons to their countries of origin-preserve their own national identity and avoid tensions on the common interests between the displaced and the native citizens.
The common interests, in my opinion, refer not only to the natural resources that provide a decent living, but also to the sound management of pluralism which is facing an entity quagmire because of the consequences of migration, asylum and displacement. Therefore, we are experiencing more crises of identity than crises of resources and interests. Based on the above, here is Lebanon, after the 1948 Nakba and the resultant bloody violent confrontations to protect its sovereignty as well as to redirect the Palestinian resistance toward the real enemy. We dealt with this issue boldly in the reconciliation meeting at the Kata’eb party headquarters on April 15, 2008. In this meeting held on April 13 anniversary, were with us those involved in the war, including the Palestine Liberation Organization and leaders from the Lebanese National Movement.
Now, and after all the serious efforts the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee has exerted since its establishment in 2005 to restore the Lebanese-Palestinian memory, we were surprised to hear about what has been called the “Deal of the Century”, which Washington and others are working on; Anticipating, the spectre of a possible liquidation of the Palestinian cause, and once again the fear of imposing a settlement for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The adoption by the Israeli Knesset of the “National Jewish Law for Israel” may be an expression of the continued attempts to abort the right of return for those who are deprived of their human and national rights.
What is Lebanon’s reaction to all the re-marketed solutions at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people as well as the sovereignty of Lebanon?
In addition to the continuing plight of Palestinian refugees emerged the crisis of the displaced Syrians who were forced to escape the war since 2011. Lebanon has failed to manage and organize the arrival and presence of these people, to the extent that they were dispersed all over the Lebanese host communities, making their situation uncontrollable. Lebanon was torn between mechanisms of return for these people and the channel of negotiation for this return. Russia had launched in a serious, if incomplete, initiative a debate on the operational arrangement for the return of displaced persons to Syria, while Lebanon remained divided and did not succeed in achieving a unified policy on managing the displacement crisis and the requirements for this return.
So, what would the Lebanese do to face this crisis while the promoting process of federalization projects and the demographic and sectarian-confessional division progresses in Syria, an issue which might lead to some settlement at the expense of the rights of the Syrian people as well as the sovereignty of Lebanon? These two supposed entitlements place Lebanon under historical liability and in face of a sensitive challenge and a determination to struggle for the achievement of justice. We have always sided with the Palestinian cause, the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of its refugees to return. We have always rejected injustice in Syria as well as terrorism and called for the cessation of the war and respect for the Syrian people’s freedom and democracy choices. Our position is uncompromising when it comes to the right of the displaced to return to Syria to safeguard their pluralistic social fabric and the national identity of their people.
However, this clear vision of these entitlements, which are theoretically in the custody of the Lebanese state, is still a slogan lacking a cohesive Lebanese strategy to achieve a national movement, as well as to launch a dynamic impact of this movement at the regional and international levels. Lebanese diplomacy is failing, and most likely, from what we are witnessing, has chosen populism instead of constructive wisdom.
The Arab world is an ally and friend to Lebanon. The international community is an ally and friend to Lebanon. These two alliances and friendships cannot bear fruit if we confront them sometimes, and accuse them arbitrary at other times, or generally with failure and lack of vision.
Effective diplomacy is only achieved by understanding the conditional elements of the current historical moment and the preventive preparedness for this or that scenario. It does not only debate options presented by one or the other but seeks to propose its own options based on the Lebanese, Arab and international reality, and on the national security requirements of Lebanon and its supreme national interest. What is worrying us is that the Lebanese state is lagging behind the conditional elements of the current historical moment founded on the awareness of the danger of what could be offered in the form of intimidation or temptation to abort the right of return of Palestinian refugees on the one hand, or to impede the return of the displaced to Syria on the other.
What is equally worrying is that the Lebanese state is distracted with secondary issues that cannot stand in the face of existential dangers threatening Lebanon in its pluralism, as well as the rights of refugees and displaced persons to return. Furthermore, there is no effort to mobilize national capabilities toward an agreement on a unified national road map that would save the country.
In our concern over the absence of the Lebanese government in localizing an effective diplomatic act, is there no horizon in the distance?
Without a doubt, submission and neglect kill the open horizon hypothesis. But the painful experiences that we have been through in Lebanon, have bred in us a determination to struggle for the protection of Lebanon, as a cause and message of civilization as described by Pope John Paul II.
These same experiences confirm that the horizon is not blocked if we practice sound governance in at least the cases of refugees and displaced persons. This requires a national effort- call up to –develop common areas in which engagement in the establishment of public policy structures will succeed rather than slide into the whirlpools of conflict over quotas on the remnants of the country.
The common areas could be established by such clear programs as those carried in the past by the Lebanese Front and the National Movement. We have come together and learned lessons from the mistakes of these programs, placing Lebanon above all considerations, and we have agreed to avoid these mistakes for the preservation of the Lebanese people. When the common areas in the case of Palestinian refugees and of displaced Syrians are established in a way that would mean a victorious return for both , approaching the League of Arab States and the Security Council becomes imperative, as well as the mobilization of the international support group -, based on Lebanese files specifying what Lebanon wants for itself from friends and allies instead of waiting paralyzed for the implementation of suspicious agendas.
Reconciling both nation and human will help us to avoid these dangers. All we need is a positive neutrality for Lebanon, a free, independent, sovereign, democratic and influential Lebanon. A Lebanon that rejects desecration.