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Michel Samaha, a stranger in his homeland

Nayla Tueni

Published: Updated:

Lebanese ex-minister Michel Samaha, who was recently released from jail, is a murderer who betrayed his country and people to serve the criminal Syrian regime. Releasing him before serving his full sentence of four and a half years does not exonerate him or restore his dignity. His statement that he will return to politics is just arrogance, which he has always been known for. He cannot do so because he now has a criminal record.

As such, the Syrian regime and Samaha’s domestic allies no longer need him. Take the case of Fayez Karam, the former Lebanese army officer, politician and Free Patriotic Movement member who was convicted of passing information to Israel. Following his release from prison, Karam was excluded from politics and his movement’s leader no longer received him.

Unwelcome

Samaha has no place in Lebanon, let alone in politics. He has no place in Ashrafieh - the area where he lives, and where Bashir Gemayel, Gebran Tueni and other Lebanese martyrs were born - unless he stays home and does not speak with his neighbors. People in Ashrafieh are ashamed to shake his hand, and his neighbors hope he leaves. They also fear his criminality.

A priest sprinkled holy water in his house to expel evil spirits, without expelling Samaha himself. Politically, he has no place in the Christian community as most of its politicians are moral and patriotic in their public affairs.

Whether Samaha returns to jail or not, he has become a prisoner of his thoughts, criminality and betrayal. He is a prisoner of his own people, neighborhood and homeland. If some figures want to defend him, let them buy him an apartment closer to them. Defending him and insulting critics of the decision to release him is nothing more than useless politicking.

This article was first published in an-Nahar on Jan. 18, 2016.
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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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