|As his eminence appeared on Wednesday on al-Manar TV to refute rumors over his health condition, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah warned that there have been sides who seek sectarian sedition in Lebanon.
Sayyed Nasrallah said that there are clerics among the Sunni sect, who have been adopting an escalating rhetoric, wondering if “their incitement is based on realities or illusions.”
Hezbollah S.G.said that there is an armed campaign aimed to displace people who live in villages located in the Syrian border, stressing that these people have been defending themselves.
Sayyed Nasrallah also urged the government to convene in order to discuss the ranks and salaries system and to settle this issue.
“SOME SEEK SECTARIAN SEDITION AMONG MUSLIMS”
“There are sides that are driving sectarian strife, especially between Sunnites and Shiites, in an accelerated manner,” Sayyed Nasralla addressed his people on al-Manar TV
“There are MPs and clerics among the Sunni sect who have been adopting an escalating rhetoric,” his eminence said, wondering: “This incitement is based on realities or illusions?”
“If it’s based on realities let us sit together and talk about it in order to solve the problem. But is it is based on illusions, let us know who has been seeking sedition in our country.”
Sayyed Nasrallah also stressed that “we must not sit and simply watch who are seeking strife, and this needs wise people who intervene in a bid to reconcile between the sides who are at odds.”
Asking whether the residing in Sidon needs permission from one side or another, Syyed Nasrallah said: “we were engaged in Sidon’s liberation… and after the Israeli withdrawal from the city we have apartments, houses, mosques and complexes there since 20 or 25 years.”
“We didn’t have an office near a Mosque, however this mosque was built near the office,” Sayyed Nasrallah said referring to Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque.
Assir threatened last week that a Hezbollah office near his mosque should be evacuated by Hezbollah members. However Sayyed Nsrallah stressed that this office was established even before Bilal Bin Rabah Moasque was built.
“ORTHODOX PROPOSAL OR SINGLE DISTRICT WITH PROPRTIONAL SYSTEM”
His eminence said that this proposal is the most appropriate electoral law since it goes beyond the negative points of the Orthodox Gathering proposal.
He also said that “there are foreign and local powers that have been driving for delaying the elections.
Responding to claims that Hezbollah favors postponing elections, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed “it’s of Hezbollah’s interest to hold the elections on time.”
However, he said that some sides prefer to delay the elections, as they bet on the fall of the Syrian regime.
ARMED CAMPAIGN AGAINST LEBANESE BORDER VILLAGES
“These campaigns are aimed at displacing the people of these villages. These people hold weapons to defend themselves, and their land.”
In this context, Hezbollah S.G. said “it is their right to defend themselves,” but stressed that they should not attack any one.
Syrian armed opposition has occupied some Shiite villages in Syria, as it displaced its people whose some of them are now seeking shelter in the region of Bekaa and Hermel.”
ISSUES OF RANKS AND SALARIES, KIDNAPPING
Meanwhile, his eminence tackled the kidnapping Lebanon has been witnessing since weeks ago, considering this issue a dangerous one.
He called for a national cooperation to confront this phenomenon, stressing that the state, security body and the judicial authority should hold their responsibilities in this problem.
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!
Teachers and public workers have been on an open-ended strike since February 19 over delays to a salary scale hike first passed by cabinet more than 18 months ago. It awaits parliament’s approval.
Union Coordination Committee chief Hana Ghareeb delivered an impassioned speech declaring the 5,000-strong march the start of “the revolution of the hungry”, and threatened to call for a country-wide, general strike if the issue continues to be stalled.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati vowed last week to refer the salary plan to parliament on Monday, but did not deliver. An estimated $1.2 billion would be needed to finance the hike.
Minister of Economy and Trade Nicolas Nahas said Monday that funding the wage hike requires further study in order to balance budget and funding. The minister added that the cabinet will not take any step before studying its consequences on the economy.
Many of the protesters leveled their chants and banners at Nahas and other business leaders, such as Chamber of Commerce chief Mohammed Choucair, who are staunch opponents of the salary hikes.
“We’re with the Union Coordination Committee, against the Committee of Thieves,” said one placard held by a protester in a Guy Fawkes mask, in an apparent reference to economic committees against the salary revisions.
Meanwhile, activists accused TV media outlets of under-reporting Wednesday’s march, devoting larger chunks of air time to factional issues, soap operas and Pope Benedict’s farewell ceremony in the Vatican.
“I think politics is nothing compared to someone demanding their right to live, and to live with dignity,” one protester, a student at Notre Dame University, told Al-Akhbar.
“Teachers raised us. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have gotten where we have in life, we wouldn’t have gone to universities. If we don’t stand by their side, who will?”
Teachers and public workers marched in droves from the popular inner-city neighborhood of Barbir to the prime minister’s office (the Serail) in central Beirut. They hailed from all parts of Lebanon to say, “We are fed up.”
The protest is considered to be the largest economic protest since the end of the country’s civil war (1975-1990).”We need laws that protect our rights. We are fed up. I have been teaching for thirty years. I have a family and children in universities. How can I live?” said one woman who teaches at Beirut’s International College, considered one of the country’s most prestigious schools.
Starting salaries in schools range between $500 and $800, and go up to around $1,300 for those with several decades of experience.
“I made this poster, these are all symbols that I just made up,” said one artist and teacher at a private school in Aintoura. He was carrying a yellow poster with pseudo-heiroglyphics that alluded to a famous Arabic swear word (see photo).
“I wrote in the only language that they understand. They keep promising and lying. We should have done that a long time ago, but we just kept postponing it for the sake of our students. But we reached a point where it is intolerable, and now we’re here today.”
[Reporting by Sandra al-Hadi and Ahmad Nassar]
|The Syndicate Coordination Committee in Lebanon organized a protest Wednesday that headed towards the Grand Serail in Down Town Beirut and demanded that a new salary scale be referred to the Lebanese parliament.
The protest took off from the Barbir region to the Grand Serail, as participants raised banners saying: “We will not end the open strike until the salary scale is referred to the Parliament without any delay or neglect.”
Another banner said “fund the salary scale from wasted money and corruption…”
For his part, Head of the SCC Hanna Gharib said that “our movement today is not the climax, but a direct indication that they must understand well.”
Gharib added: “This movement is the beginning of the starved people’s uprising in Lebanon,” and called for “referring the salary scale in accordance to the agreement.”
He warned of manipulating with teachers’ rights, saying: “Respect your signatures and act responsibly so that Lebanon would have officials up to the Lebanese people’s standards”.
There are no backward steps in Bahrain. All sacrifices are possible in exchange of freedom, equality, and democracy the Bahraini people are rising to achieve. The island’s uprising has been two-years old, yet it becomes more popular than its very first day on February 14, 2011.
Q: When concerns were raised about dialogue and its seriousness, Bahrainis inaugurated the third year of their revolution sacrificing three martyrs. Where does the dialogue stand after those events?
Sheikh Salman: It is true that the ongoing dialogue might not be fruitful because the regime does not take it seriously till the moment, and what we see is a kind of political maneuver and evasiveness. As for our way to deal with it, we will be much aware and alerted. Political administration will take local and foreign situations into consideration to prevent authorities’ tricks from showing the opposition rejecting the solutions that come up via serious dialogues.
We, as opposition political forces, are serious to transform any opportunity for negotiation and dialogue into a real exit from the crisis in Bahrain. However, sacrificing martyrs and the increasing number of victims of the official violence assert the regime’s unseriousness regarding dialogue. Indicators show what is opposite to the chances of the dialogue success, as well as to the end of the crisis via solutions that are convincing for the people and meet their expectations.
Democratic national opposition forces are looking forward to a permanent and inclusive political solution which achieves equality, justice, and democracy among citizens rather than being nominal and fragile agreements.
The primary sessions of those meetings are still discussing those points without reaching any agreement due to the official partner’s inflexibility.
Q: You paid several visits recently to Egypt and Russia, how do you evaluate such visits, and how do they benefit solving the Bahraini issue? Did you notice sympathy and understanding to the Bahraini popular demands?
Sheikh Salman: It is normal for the opposition, in applying its strategy, to communicate with various countries, explain its viewpoint and present its vision in solving the Bahraini issue to meet the people’s expectations. This is not considered an intervention in our local affairs; and the regime is paying very big amounts to gain support. The regime also employs several companies of public relations on which it spent more than 26 million Bahraini Dinars only in 2012.
The national democratic opposition is working to communicate with different international sides effective in the Bahraini arena.
Q: Some would say that any solution for the Bahraini crisis is linked to the developments in Syria. How precise this view is? Do you believe that any solution in the country needs an international sponsorship?
Sheikh Salman: The two issues are not related. We don’t know if any international party has linked the issues to each other. It is untrue that our revolution and its success entirely rely on a regional factor, especially the Syrian one. We advise the regime not to wait for the people in Bahrain to recede their demands for a regional or international factor.
Yet, the causes of the Arab nation are interrelated, but not in the way mentioned in your question. Formerly, some linked Gadhafi’s toppling or his victory to the issue in Bahrain, yet what we witnessed was the opposite. Yes, the freedom of a group of people motivates other suffering peoples and gives them hope.
Q: In its speech, the Bahraini opposition always discriminates between a strict wing in the royal family and another moderate one. Till the moment, the protesters weren’t treated but strictly. Then where is that moderate wing? Why was it excluded from the political scene? Will it lead the scene soon instead of the strict one?
Sheikh Salman: The strict wing is the one shedding blood increasingly and causing more and more troubles. It kills, releases its civil militias to commit crimes, burns, attacks banks and stores. It also invents bombs and cells in an attempt to show that popular parties are behind all the violations and attacks it is committing. This aims at hindering any chance for dialogue, although it is not serious, as well as discouraging the chance to meet. In fact, it refuses approaching dialogue or discussing solutions.
The strict wing that devotes dictatorship does not accept the presence of any reform demander. It excludes every who demands democracy. Some wants to end the crisis from inside the regime by any mean. However, others refuse the very thought to meet with the opposition.
As for the moderate parties in the regime, they hold the responsibility of neutrality or surrendering to the strict wing. Most of the Bahranis consider them partners of the strict wing in oppressing people. What they say about reforms is only to be marketed to the international community.
Q: Within the escalation of the crisis in Bahrain, the Bahrani street has been divided between the associations that called for reforms in the regime, and other movements that called for toppling the regime. Do you see that division is not in favor of the opposition?
Sheikh Salman: The state we are seeking, which the Bahrani people moved to achieve on February 14, 2011, is a state that respects people. The revolution in Bahrain came up with legal humanitarian demands that had been achieved in many civilized nations more than two and half centuries ago, and in other countries decades ago.
The demand of opposition is reforming the regime rather than toppling it. It is the opposition represented by associations as well as national figures and symbols under many titles since February 14. Reforming the regime and working to transform it into a democratic one achieve the fixed constitutional principle “people are the source of all authorities.”
The regime tried to legally adapt the demands of some opposition to topple the regime via claiming that they did form a group that called for toppling the regime. However, everybody knows that they were calling for peaceful demands. Their demands do not give a legal excuse to detain them. For this reason, Mr. Bassyouni’s report and other international institutions considered them opinion prisoners. And it is illegal to detain any person for expressing his opinion, as well as torturing him. The prisoners asserted that they were exposed to torturing. Bassyouni’s report asserted after a medical examiner examined them that they were exposed to torturing.
They were tried because of their opposing viewpoints. The freedom of expression is mentioned in the international charters and agreements. Nothing limits this freedom since it neither did use violence nor did promote hatred. As for the viewpoint toward the staying or the departure of the regime, toward its development or opposing its policies, this belongs to the freedom of expression. We defend this freedom even if we didn’t agree with any political viewpoint of any other partner.
Q: People are not satisfied with the preformance of the political associations in Bahrain. What is the reason in your opinion. Is it in the authorities’ treatment or in stopping the protests as opposing groups?
However, it proposes a vision, finally the people can decide about all such critical decisions to give legitimacy to any political solution or an exit to the crisis through the referndum that the opposition is insisting on and demanding continuously.
The opposition movement is lucky to be supported by popular presence that found its visions and movements clear and in one direction. The protests, led by some opposition groups through peaceful protests and strikes among other ways, is one of the most distinguished movements in Bahrain to assert the demands. This is along with the peaceful protests and movements in all the Bahrani regions and squares. The most recent and significant is the February 15, 2013 protest that represented a hard digit in this continuous popular movement which third of the Bahrani population attended.
Q: Days ago, some called the opposition to rephrase a new speech which paves the way toward settlement. However, they excluded any historical settlement to the crisis, besides talking about a settlement that is divided into stages. What is your comment on this opinion? Would the opposition speech be rephrased?
Sheikh Salman: In every political solution, opposition groups assert and insist on making the people’s decision decisive with respect to any settlement, negotiation, or dialogue. The people’s decision is the one that gives legitimacy for any exit or political solution. Otherwise, it could never acquire legitimacy because people are the source of authorities and the source of legitimacy.
The opposition insists on this, asserts it, commits to it, and demand it because it considers it the protector of any misleading to the national demands it is calling for. The history of the Bahrani regime is full of maneuvers and misleading the demands. The request today is not to repeat this scenario. It would be achieved by a popular guarantee in which the Bahrani people decide about any solution or an exit to the crisis.
The solution starts from the equal citizenship between the Bahranis themselves. This achieves the requested democratic shift by most of the Bahranis. It must be a strong and inclusive agreement that won’t allow the return of a security square after a year or ten years. Bahrain needs long-term inclusive stability which allow it to engage in the challenge of inclusive economic and social development.
Sheikh Salman: “Peoples are stronger than tyrants,” and regimes can never defeat peoples. The authority has no choice but responding to the demands of people. The security choice and muzzling attempts won’t stop the popular demands. The will of peoples will always be victorious. We didn’t hear about a group of people who was defeated, neither did people ask demands without achieving them. Thus, the national demands raised in Bahrain are dues people must achieve. They are demands that are not different from the normal style all other peoples are living.
This is what the commemoration of the second anniversary of the Bahrani uprising revealed. The number of participants in the peaceful protests and movements increased in comparison with the 2011 anniversary. This indicates that the people do not know retreat, surrendering is not on their schedule. They are ready to sacrifice more in compensation of real freedom, equality, and democracy.
Translated by Zeinab Abdallah
“Creating discord and division in the Muslim Ummah is one of the obvious and planned objectives of the Zionists and other arrogant [powers],” Ayatollah Khamenei told the visiting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday.
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to the opposition and hostilities towards the development of relations between Iran and Pakistan, saying both sides must decisively move past such oppositions.
“We firmly believe that economic, infrastructural, political, social and security bonds between the two countries should be strengthened,” the Leader added.
The Leader also voiced Iran’s readiness to supply energy to Pakistan.
“In this region, the Islamic Republic is the only country with a secure source of energy and we are ready to meet Pakistan’s need in this regard,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader described the under-construction Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline as a good example of cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad.
Ayatollah Khamenei said “sectarian strife” in Pakistan is a “dangerous foreign microbe,” adding, “Sectarian killings in Pakistan are really regretful and this issue should be decisively dealt with to prevent it from disturbing Pakistan’s national unity.”
For his part, Zardari said, “We firmly believe in the expansion of bilateral relations.”
“The efforts made by international and regional players to prevent strength in Iran-Pakistan relations have failed because nations have learnt how to act in the face of enemies of Islam,” said the Pakistani president.
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