Expo 2020 and Tripoli’s own exhibition

Statements and condemnations are no longer enough because the raging fire in Tripoli will expand to burn the entire country

Nayla Tueni
Nayla Tueni
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In a speech marking the United Arab Emirates’ 42nd National Day, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan announced an extra 20 billion dirhams ($5.5 billion) of spending on development projects and launched a new scheme to build 10,000 houses for UAE citizen.

This year’s celebrations are the most joyous throughout the UAE’s history as they come five days after Dubai won the historical achievement of winning the right to host the 2020 World Expo.

Meanwhile, the International Fair of Tripoli in Lebanon is witnessing a national humanitarian massacre that generally targets Lebanese citizens and particularly Tripoli’s citizens. The country is being dragged into civil war for no substantial reason. This is happening to confirm that Lebanon’s fate is linked to that of the Assad regime. Instead of hosting international exhibitions, the Tripoli Fair is hosting political fairs and funerals and turning into a hotbed for outlaws.

The dispute in Tripoli is on the Syrian situation as people there are divided between regime supporters and opponents. This dispute transformed into armed fighting among the sons of the city. Those who became fighters have never thought about their future or they might have felt that they have no future or that they have nothing to lose. Frustration, contempt for life and desperation have dire consequences.

Statements and condemnations are no longer enough because the raging fire in Tripoli will expand to burn the entire country. No one will be safe

Nayla Tueni

Perhaps exploiting these poor people, using them as fuel for politicians’ and foreign policies’ fire, arming them and tempting them with insignificant amounts of money is what turned them into a fire that burns whoever approaches it.

Statements and condemnations are no longer enough because the raging fire in Tripoli will expand to burn the entire country. No one will be safe.

Meanwhile, near Tripoli, the Balamand Monastery commemorates late Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim - the great man who led the Church of Antioch during Lebanon’s civil war and who always called for consensual speeches and construction plans that envision the future.

While recalling Hazim, Patriarch John X said on Sunday: “In 1988, and during the peak of Lebanon’s bitter events, he [Hazim] launched the project to establish the Balamand University. Back then, he was asked if he thought the circumstances were suitable to establish universities and academies. His response was: ‘if their fate is to destroy, then our fate is to build and stay.’ This is what really summarizes out current situation in the entire Levant. All these scenes of destruction and death will not root us Christians out from our land because the Antioch’s Christians’ land is their entity. Our church bells, which have for long rang, will always ring with vigor and their sound of brotherhood and love will be heard to the ends of the earth. The church bells of Antioch have always spread love and brotherhood. The difficulties of the past and the present have never silenced these bells.”

I hope Tripoli and other cities take lessons from the late patriarch’s biography and from the current patriarch’s will power. I hope these patriarchs’ faith help to create will power towards a better life.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on Dec. 3, 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

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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