In Lebanon's Baabda palace, there are words of gold

Nayla Tueni

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May God prolong the life of Patriarch Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir who, during political tension and mobilization, rejected rebels marching towards the Baabda presidential palace to topple Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.

Sfeir always wanted to protect the status of the presidency from any harm and wanted to prevent such an act from becoming a precedent in which people can end up relying on whenever they see fit.

This is how the major post of the Christians was maintained after it was emptied of its real authority upon the sponsorship of Syria, which knows well that values of freedom are stronger than tutelage. These values are deep-rooted and await the right moment to swoop down on injustice and slavery.

Although the Syrian army withdrew from Lebanon, tutelage has not exactly ended as certain Lebanese parties are trying hard - more than before - to subjugate the presidency to all sorts of conditions. These people seek to control or infiltrate security institutions and accuse whoever doesn't take this path of collaboration.

The Baabda palace does not need anyone to take care of it and its occupant deserves to be honored because he accepted to be president and refused to extend his term.

Nayla Tueni

We've recently heard a speech that's first of its kind in the history of Lebanese politics and in which the president was insulted by Hezbollah. "With all due respect to the status of the presidency and what it represents, the latest speech [the president delivered] makes us think that during the days left of the presidency, the Baabda palace needs specialized care as its occupant can no longer distinguish between gold and wood."

The real question here must be directed to Hezbollah. Can it distinguish between gold and wood, between submitting to state institutions and defying them, between respecting the principle of not interfering in other countries' affairs and getting involved in the Syrian struggle; between helping security forces and fighting some of them and submitting to judicial rulings and not handing over crime suspects?

Following all this, how come the president is being questioned and held accountable for calling to commit to the constitution and law and to implement the decisions of the national-dialogue sessions and the Baabda declaration? Do they want the president to be a puppet who others direct any way they want? Do they want to turn him into a tool that submits to pressure, threats and intimidation so others can achieve their aims?

The Baabda palace does not need anyone to take care of it and its occupant deserves to be honored because he accepted to be president and refused to extend his term. Some have insulted him by linking his stances to his decision not to extend his term because they know well that his election was not upon their orders but upon an international or a foreign agreement. The current cabinet was also formed upon international or foreign agreement.

The same goes for some parties' involvement in the wars of others, and the same will go if they ever decide to withdraw from these wars.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on March 5, 2014.


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.

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