Seeking justice in a beleaguered Lebanon
We don’t want punishment for the sake of achieving vengeance but for the sake of burying grudges
Perhaps the worst statement the Lebanese people heard this week was the government’s call to take measures to protect its military personnel. This call was tantamount to an implicit confession that the army is in danger and that the environment surrounding it in some areas is no longer friendly. Although opposing statements are numerous and they are mainly friendly, what matters is seeking the truth and not working to embellish reality. The army’s task is defending the country from its enemies inside and outside the country. It doesn’t require a political or a governmental cover to carry out its defensive tasks and it doesn’t need to be adopted by a sect or a religion. They army does not need to outbid over others in its love for the country. It must defend itself and the country, open fire on any assaulter and strike those who murder its soldiers with an iron fist. Talk of supporting the army is not enough. Everyone wants the army to implement “security plans” in the areas of “others” but when these plans are to be implemented in a closed security or political area, the entire rhetoric towards the army changes. The army must not be dealt with in a manner requiring care and sympathy because this makes it lose its credibility, capability and readiness. Its strength comes from within, away from the arena of politics. It comes from its discipline, performance, neutrality and commitment to national affairs and not from the calculations linked to posts and statuses.
We don’t want punishment for the sake of achieving vengeance but for the sake of burying grudgesNayla Tueni
Meanwhile on Saturday, we heard positive statements by Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouq during a memorial service in honor of Wissam al-Hassan, head of the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces. The most important of what he said is: “The time of punishment will come. The investigation is on the verge of unveiling the truth [behind] the crime.” We’ve been waiting for such punishment for years as ever since the assassination attempt against MP Marwan Hamadeh, we’ve had hope that the perpetrators of such crimes - who haven’t been arrested until this very day - would be punished. We’ve also waited with great hope for the results of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which according to has taken very long to finalize its work and which was continuously doubted. However we also look forward towards the work of Lebanese security apparatuses who must unveil some sort of truth or leads that at least identify the perpetrators so they are not accused of incapability or of collusion with the criminals.
The security forces’ seriousness begins with detaining those who are abducting Lebanese citizens, particularly in the Beqaa valley. Security forces’ apparatuses know these kidnappers’ names and addresses. These abductors move around freely abducting and blackmailing people, negotiating and receiving money but security apparatuses are not working to arrest them.
We don’t want punishment for the sake of achieving vengeance but for the sake of burying grudges and grudges are only buried via justice. Criminals must not walk freely in front of their victims and move on to committing new crimes without any deterrence. Arresting the murderers of Wissam al-Hassan will open the door of justice and restore hope in state and security institutions and apparatuses whose popularity is decreasing by the day.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on October 20, 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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