Just a Bachir Gemayel Speech from 1979

This is Bachir Gemayel

I recently started reading a book by Rani Geha, which has the speeches late Lebanese president Bashir Gemayel between 1979 and 1982, titled: “Words from Bashir.”

With the little time I have with Med School and all, my advancement with the book has been rather slow. But it’s still an eye-opening experience to see such speeches on paper and how true they reflect on Lebanese society and politics today.

In February 1979 and in a speech in front of a crowd in Jal El Dib, the main points Bachir Gemayel made are as follows:

1) There is a need for a radical change to move the Lebanese state from one that is subservient to Syria and Palestine to one that only answers to its own people.

2) We need a Lebanon where the foreign ministry is the foreign ministry of Lebanon, not a spokesperson for Syria or Palestine or any other nation.

3) The institutions in Lebanon need to be the property of the Lebanese citizen.

4) Lebanon is too small to be divided: one part for the Syrians, one part for the Palestinians and one tiny part for the Lebanese.

5) Those who want to grant the Palestinians a country, let them grant that country from their own share not from Lebanon’s share.

6) Let the West appease the Arabs as long as the Arabs produce oil. The West is losing its values and, as such, we cannot rely on it for support anymore.

7) Syrian entities in Lebanese uniforms, using Lebanese weapons, are not to be accepted as part of the country we want to live in.

8) In 1958, the Arabs had Abdel Nasser. Today (1979) they have Hafez Al Assad. The school of thought shared by these two men can bring nothing but a catastrophe.

9) From 1943 to 1975, we were ruled by a school of thought that never believed Lebanon to have a cause or anything to fight for. We were governed by a school of thought that supposed we should unconditionally align ourselves with whichever Arab nation proved to be the strongest, in a way to keep our heads, while internally we were ruled by apparatuses and typewriters. We were ruled my moral submission.

10) Many Lebanese do not have the faith and self-confidence that they have can change things on the ground, creating a de-facto situation that many nations around the globe take use of.

The fact that these 10 points are still as true today as they were in 1979 is not a reflection on our society but it’s a reflection on our region. The school of thought shared by Abdel Nassar and Assad is still alive and kicking today, actively patroned by their descendants. We even have a statue for one of them on Beirut’s sea promenade. There is constant talk about nationalizing the Palestinians in Lebanon, giving them a piece of a country they are not entitled to. There is constant talk about taking out Syrian intelligence and arms from inside Lebanon.

And it all stays as such… talks. Why? Because at the end of the day, there’s simply so much that a Lebanese can do in going against the current of what the big nations want. But you know what, for what it’s worth, and looking at the circumstances we’re living in, we’re not doing very bad for ourselves. 

Until then, long live the memory of a president whose words resonate true 33 years later.

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16 thoughts on “Just a Bachir Gemayel Speech from 1979

  1. Yes, long live the memory of the man who started the trend of killing in identity with the infamous ring highway slaughter. Long kive the memory of a man whocame to power on the back of am israeli invasion and israeli tanks, long live the man who spawned the likes of samir geagea and other criminal warlords

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    • Long live men like nabih berri and parties like hezbollah eho answered to the syrians and advocated and supported the syrian occupation of lebanon and all the atrocities they commited on our soil as you can see this goes both ways but atleast israel didnt think lebanon was a district in its country like hafez al assad did

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  2. Hi Elie,

    Bashir’s words hold true because they make sense. “Exceptional sense” in Lebanon but “Common Sense” in any rational country.

    I believe that it is a matter of perspective, and that perspective derives from where we eventually decide to stand:

    Do we stand in acceptance of the current mediocrity around us & succumb to fatalistic wanna be failures? or do we wait for another savior with “beautiful” words?

    Bashir did make me dream… So did others…

    But “dreaming” and “waiting” is what our society need to stop doing, and putting our act together by our votes, voices and lobby is what we should start doing, each at his own… and I hope that is contagious…

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      • Hi Elie,

        That was a fast reply:)

        True, chief, I saw that, but does this allocate our action to the sayer? I think not.

        I think the need to move on from where we are today, would have been the same whether Bashir had said it or not. (or had any other politician said it or not to that matter)…

        And where we need to move to, is probably covered by the other 9 points, which again does not, at least in my opinion and with all due respect, place him or any other at a better place on my scale, even for having said it 33 years earlier or today.

        So having said something so or not, remains great. Us making the cross over is even better. I’d rather give credit to the rightfulness in each and every one of us 🙂

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        • This is a slower reply :p

          No, I don’t think Bachir Gemayel saying those things makes him the only reference in case those things turned out to be true (for reference, they are). I think what my whole point behind this post was to say that, regardless of who’s the name behind the aforementioned 10 points, these 10 points are as valid today as they were 33 years ago. The fact that Bachir Gemayel said them is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

          And yeah, hopefully somehow we can move on to achieve what the 10 points said. It is, in my opinion, the only way for us to advance as a country.

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  3. With all due respect, some of it does not still stand today. The PLO’s authority in Lebanon has greatly diminished, reduced to mere neighborhood gangs.

    I think today we are facing a larger threat than Syrians and Palestinians. It is the threat of the Americans and Iranians, whose international goals do not include a peaceful Lebanon. The American-Iranian conflict has only been so tangible here in Lebanon: Lives have been lost, homes have been wrecked, all to serve the purposes of each party’s agenda.

    The reason Bashir Gemayel made no mention of this is, (and many will be offended by this):

    1. On one hand, Iran was emerging from a revolution. It wasn’t all that powerful back then.
    2. On the other hand, Bashir was Israel’s man in Lebanon. Let’s not deny that Israel brought him to presidency.

    As others, I’m not the biggest fan of Bashir Gemayel, and I do respect that he wanted to kick out certain parties which were, seeking their own interests, deteriorating Lebanon, even if he left out certain other parties. But yes, most of what he said still stands today, and there’s even more. He didn’t make mention of sectarian and religious differences, though they do still stand and have been a large factor of civil unrest (just for the sake of example)

    We don’t only need to rid Lebanon of Palestinians, Syrians, Israelis, Americans, Iranians, etc. We need to also rid Lebanon of our dependence on these countries and our dependence on religious figures.

    Sorry if this offends anyone.

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  4. Pingback: Just a Bachir Gemayel Speech from 1979 – My Life As A Seminarian

  5. Pour le Président Martyr Cheïkh Bachir Gemayel.
    Une Flamme s’est éteinte…..
    Mais il nous reste ce que son coeur a semé d’amour et de Bonté.
    Repose en Paix.

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