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Seeking revenge will only take Lebanon backwards

Calls for vengeance and for carrying out public executions deprive the state of its legitimacy

Nayla Tueni

Published: Updated:

Perhaps the statement which Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas made last week regarding the abducted soldiers and policemen was the most reasonable in these times of anger.

He said: “The kidnappers are exploiting the fact that we have a state and are working to drag us into becoming a gang, like them, but this will certainly not happen.”

He added: “The government’s and the Lebanese people’s response to these criminals will suit the gravity of what happened and it will be a political and a strategic response. It’s important for all political powers to unite under one stance because what’s required here is protecting the country. Meanwhile, terrorists want to tamper with the country’s security and are trying to export their crisis to us and to sew strife among us. Therefore, we must each perform our role so the ship reaches its safe harbor.”

Calls for vengeance and for carrying out public executions deprive the state of its legitimacy

Nayla Tueni

Derbas’ statement reminds me of Ghassan Tueni’s statements as he stood in front of the coffin of Gebran Tueni (whom we commemorate next Friday) and called for “burying grudges along with Gebran.” Ghassan’s statement did not signify weakness, fear or intimidation. He did not call for avenging the death and instead declared that justice should take its course. It is inevitable that justice will be achieved, no matter how long it takes. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon continues to perform its work though it’s been around ten years since former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was killed.

Calls for vengeance and for carrying out public executions deprive the state of its legitimacy and cause it to resemble the militias who ruled during the times of the civil war. These militias control Lebanon from outside our borders and lead the soldiers’ families to close roads and paralyze life in the capital and other areas because they desire to incite strife. There’s a foreign will manipulating us and the Syrian aspect of it is always prominent and obvious. This Syrian influence is either from the regime which has never hesitated to harm and destroy the state pillars of Lebanon or from the opposition which consists of several groups with several purposes, none of which include upholding a good neighbor policy toward Lebanon.

It’s true that those dealing with the ministerial crisis have not achieved much and may not achieve anything at all but it is important to maintain an official channel for resolving issues in order to protect whatever is left of the institutions’ and government’s prestige.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on December 10, 2014.

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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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