There has been some pleasant talk at the Christian conferences held over the past days and weeks. All discussions covered topics beyond Lebanon’s borders to study the situation of the Christians in the Middle East. However, many questions are raised about these conferences considering their underpinning and their goals.
The initiatives are positive on their own, as the idle situation at this stage may be seen as indicative of a sense of helplessness, desperation and inefficiency of the Christians of the Levant and their transformation into refugees or immigrants. This impression doesn’t reflect their true role and the essence of their community, whether this was acknowledged by the others or not.
But all that yelling and the attempt to prove their authenticity and the stability within their community implied that the Christians are begging for recognition from the Muslims, or from a faction of Muslims, to be able to face another faction that is refusing to recognize them. This campaign shouldn’t remain limited to being a Lebanese movement supported by the representatives of helpless Arab regimes, but it should expand to a larger, global, level.
Those displaced during the Lebanese war have not yet returned to their homelandNayla Tueni
To me, this warrants a few questions about these conferences and forums.
The first question: Why are there many conferences and forums if the Christians are fear they are in imminent danger, and why don’t they unify themselves around their stated goals?
Also, why are these conferences only attended by the forces of the March 8th movement and the supporters of the Syrian Regime, and why do they attempt to tell the world that the Christians cannot remain safe except under the Syrian regime? Why is the fate of the region’s Christians being linked to any regime?
Furthermore, why are the representatives of deposed governments invited to these conferences, while the representatives of the opposition forces aren’t invited? Put aside the illogical and ridiculous accusation of defending the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and similar organizations, as all the Christians have the same worries and concerns about their presence, even if we disagree over the ideal path to reach the common goals.
Undoubtedly, all of these conferences will not fulfill their goals if they are limited to mere rhetoric, shows and meetings in luxurious hotels, without turning words into institutionalized initiatives that support the Christians of the region. They also need to put an end to migration and displacement. Those displaced during the Lebanese war have not yet returned to their homeland and the lines of defense that were present until the nineteenth century are all gone. Furthermore, the existing institutions don’t seem to be serious in implementing new defense lines, or they lack the vision to do so.
The conferences and forums have led to many announcements and many words. when will we see some action?
This article was first published in al-Nahar on Nov. 4, 2013.
Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni