The chaos of deadly weapons

The photos of women and men in Al-Qaa as they carried light weapons to defend themselves have stirred public uproar

Nayla Tueni

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The photos of women and men in al-Qaa as they carried light weapons to defend themselves against terrorists who invaded their town and carried out suicide bombings there have stirred public uproar. This unjustified reaction angers me. It is as if such scenes are strange in Lebanon, or as if al-Qaa residents specifically are prohibited from carrying weapons.

On Sunday, two people were killed by celebratory gunfire following the announcement of the baccalaureate exam results. Last week, two others were also killed by celebratory gunfire. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has prohibited shooting during his TV appearances, and has threatened party members with suspension if they open fire when he delivers speeches.

Convoys of officials and envoys are full of weapons that are used to threaten passers-by if they do not make way for the high-ranking official they are transporting.

Last week, gunmen attacked an Internal Security Forces patrol that was transferring a prisoner, and freed him. In Beirut’s southern suburb, members of a Lebanese tribe attacked a Hezbollah checkpoint after they refused to obey the orders of the men in charge of the checkpoint, who were also armed (security forces are well aware of that).

Lebanon is full of arms that are not controlled by the state’s legitimate forces

Nayla Tueni


Meanwhile, some MPs claim there is no “self-security” in the capital’s southern suburb. What about the Beqaa tribes that, when addressing disagreements or fighting over how to divide shares, resort to shooting and launching missiles? Lebanon is full of arms that are not controlled by the state’s legitimate forces. No one has been able to control them yet, and we all know they are being smuggled between Lebanon and Syria.

Knowing all this, is it acceptable to accuse al-Qaa residents of arming, and of seeking “self-security,” when they have not reached the extent of possessing missiles and explosive belts - as is the case with others - and only possess old rifles that may be useless when confronting terrorism?

Instead of making cheap statements, bullying them and overlooking what others are doing, there should be respect for and solidarity with the town’s residents.

This article was first published in an-Nahar on July 04, 2016.
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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