Resistance and Liberation Day has its origins in the May 2000 liberation of Southern Lebanon by Hizbullah from a brutal 22 year Israeli occupation. The first time the Israeli war machine fled, defeated. Its a historic victory from which all who aspire to be free can learn.
Friends of Lebanon must be commended for organising the celebration of this seminal day by this event. On 24th May 2008, around 250 people crammed in to the Old Cinema at the University of Westminster to mark Liberation Day and watch the UK premiere of Carol Mansour's documentary "A Summer Not to Forget" which shows graphically the human cost of the Israeli war on Lebanon. Featured below are all the speeches from the day (most in streaming video as well as downloadable audio).
Friends of Lebanon 2nd Annual Resistance and Liberation Day Event
Brenda Heard, founder of Friends of Lebanon
Brenda Heard, founder of Friends of Lebanon.
Brenda Heard introduced 'Friends of Lebanon' and spoke of the concept of 'resistance' and what it means to different people.
Baroness Emma Nicholson, member of the House of Lords (lib-dem) and Member of the European Parliament.
Emma Nicholson has a good history of supporting humanitarian causes in the region. She has championed the cause of the Marsh Arabs who were facing extermination at Saddams hands, though it was wrong to use them to justify an invasion of Iraq. She has visited Iran to discover for her self Iran's democratic process and institutions set up to defend the rights of its minorities and she has reported on these at a time when it would have been so easy to keep quiet as Europe falls in line behind the US in demonising Iran in preparation for a possible attack on Iran. As a result she has been targeted by the MKO (an Iranian terrorist organisation / cult opposed to the Islamic Republic, once armed by Saddam and now supported by the neocons). Following the July 2006 war on Lebanon she visited Lebanon and condemned the EU's "deplorable silence and inaction in the face of a ’slaughter of the innocents’". It was unfortunate then that her speech here on Liberation Day was rather disappointing. For example, forgetting the EUs betrayal of Lebanon she claimed that the EU was supporting Lebanon in her hour of need!
"A Summer Not to Forget" - a documentary by Carol Mansour.
A Summer Not to Forget
Carol Mansour Lebanese/Palestinian filmmaker, director of "A Summer Not to Forget" - a documentary of the July 2006 war on Lebanon.
This film was an opportunity for me to find my voice and to resist as a non-partisan Lebanese citizen. I made it as a tool to learn from, and not repeat our mistakes as a collective global community.
For full details of the film, including how to buy it, please visit www.fwdprod.com.
Dr Abdul Rahman Bizri, Mayor of Saida (Sidon) in Lebanon
Hizbullah had to resort to arms to protect the arms of the Resistance
Dr Abdul Rahman Bizri, Mayor of Saida (Sidon) in Lebanon. Regarding Liberation Day:
The first act of our future President, General Suleiman, will be to restore the holiday on the day of liberation of the south of Lebanon. Its unfortunate that the Prime Minister Siniora government did not think it worth while to have a liberation day in Lebanon.. maybe they don't think that liberation from israeli occupation is important..
On the media portrayal of the current problems in Lebanon as sectarian:
If you look at the international media, many want us to think that there was some sort of a sectarian struggle in Lebanon. Many want to express the conflict in sectarian terms, which means that its a Sunni verses a Shia issue. Well this is definitely not true. And as a good example of that - well I'm a Muslim and I'm a Sunni and I am the Mayor of one of the largest Sunni cities and I'm here really to speak on behalf of the Resistance. The Resistance is for all Lebanese and the issue is never really a sectarian issue, and was never a sectarian issue. Its simply an argument between two different political points of view. One political point of view, which the so-called current majority in parliament holds - they believe that Lebanon should be part of what we call the package of the new Middle-East that is now being promoted by the americans and the so-called moderate Arabs. Others in Lebanon believe that the only way for Lebanon to become again a leading country in the Middle-East and the Arab world is to regain back its pride, and the only way we can have our pride and have our sovereignty, and be sovereign and be masters of our own fate is by dropping the saying that the strengths of Lebanon's lies in its weakness. Its definitely not true, the strength of Lebanon lies in its resistance and the ability of its people to live together.
In his discussion of the history of the resistance to Israel he mentions the Islamic Revolution:
Very important factor was the Iranian Revolution, when the Iranian Revolution succeeded and Iran became an Islamic country. In the past when the pan-Arab attitude wanted to consider Jerusalem and Palestine as a pan-Arab issue, the response from many Arab regimes was - no this is an Islamic issue, its not a pan-Arab issue. When Iran came in to the arena again, became part of this formula, the Iranians said that Jerusalem is also very important for us, and when the Iranians want to give Jerusalem a religious magnitude many of the Arab countries said - no forget about it, its not an Islamic issue, its an Arab issue!
On the Resistance and its methods to victory:
When you fight a superior force, the only way to get some leverage is by resorting to unconventional means ie guerrilla style warfare. Neutralizing the effect of more abundant equipment and significantly advanced weapons needs better human commitment - this can only be achieved by believing in the righteousness and justfulness of our cause. In the case of the Lebanese Resistance, mainly Hizbullah, the first encounters with the occupying army were martyr type operations. However with time Hizbullah was able to mount very well planned and perfectly executed operations. And in fact the last few years before the liberation of the south of Lebanon, the casualty numbers definitely (showed) that the occupying soldiers were losing much more than the mujahedeen of Hizbullah. As a result the israeli casualties were much higher, and ultimately the occupying army and their collaborators were forced to withdraw and flee from the country, and this is what we are celebrating today.
On the arms of Hizbullah and the current crisis in Lebanon:
They say why Hizbullah - a Shia group has arms, why not the Sunnis have arms, why not the Christians have arms? First of all Hizbullah arms were only targeted against Israel. Hizbullah is the only armed group in Lebanon that was never involved up until recently in any internal problems. Why did Hizbullah use its arms recently? I will tell you. In modern warfare the most important thing is not the front, its the command and control centre. And its not a secret that in 2006 even before declaring the seization of hostilities, the command for the last rocket launched by Hizbullah was given directly from the commander in chief then. And this was really the reason why, among many other reasons, why Hizbullah did not lose the war and in fact won this confrontation. Because they kept their command and control centre, and when the current Lebanese government tried to interfere with the command and control of Hizbullah arms this was some sort of a declaration of war on the arms of Hizbullah, and this is why Hizbullah had to resort to arms to protect the arms of the Resistance.
We have Arab leaders seeking to divide people on the basis of Sunni versus Shia.. if they succeed you will face another hundred years like the hundred years through which you have just passed!
George Galloway Respect MP
The Arab League had met that day - this corpse called the Arab League had had electricity coursed through it so that it could get to its feet to have an emergency meeting about the presence of a few hundred Lebanese gunmen on the streets of Lebanon whilst they can say and do nothing about the one million gunmen occupying Palestine for 60 years! Are Hizbullah expected to lay down their arms when the Arab camp is in such a powerless condition that it can meet to discuss gunman in Hambra Street but not gunman surrounding Al-Aqsa from which the Prophet ascended to heaven?
On divide and rule:
Everywhere I go in the Arab world I hear the chatter from those who wish to divide the Arabs and the Muslims even more than they are already divided. We are told that there is an Iranian, Syrian, Shiite, Hizbullah conspiracy against the Arab world. Well there is a conspiracy in the Arab world alright, but its an American Israeli conspiracy. And I appeal on this platform as i do on all platforms to the Sunni Muslims of the Arab world not to be fooled again by those who wish to throw sand in their eyes, to divide them from other Muslims, from other Arabs on the basis of confession, this in an Arab world already hopelessly divided to the point of mediocrity and impetus by the mini-states.. I don't know what the outcome of this campaign will be, I hope that it fails, but if it succeeds you will face another hundred years like the hundred years through which you have just passed and everyone should know it.
"[Deportation at the airport] We saw the injured [Turkish] men going through.. a lot had a leg cut out of their trousers or an arm cut out of their top. It had been cut out to treat their wounds.. they were covered in blood, blood that had been there for three days, and some of them had wounds that were still bleeding.. What upset me most was seeing the dozen men, one after another, hobbling across the terminal, with a bandaged foot. I couldn't ask them why so many of them had a bandaged foot, I couldn't ask them what had happened, because if they spoke or if any of us spoke to them the Israelis beat the injured person.. We later found out that they had these injuries on the tops of their feet from when the troops came down from the helicopter on the Mavi Marmara, and they came down firing - they had been shot from above. Some of the men that were killed were shot at close range - head and chest, but a dozen of the men who were shot, among 59 people who were shot, they were shot at the tops of their feet - the bullets were coming down.. They weren't given a wheelchair or a pair of crutches, and if any of the other passengers stood up and tried to offer [help].. that person was dragged away and smacked by these Israelis. The Israeli soldiers sat on the floor, laughed and sniggered and made every one of these Turkish men hobble and hop all the way across, some 200 metres, everyone of them, one by one, made to do that purely for the sick amusement of the Israeli soldiers."