The Killing of NewTV (Al Jadeed) Cameraman Ali Shaaban: Can We Talk about Syria’s Transgressions in Lebanon Now?

Assad’s army fired into Lebanon yesterday, killing NewTV cameraman Ali Shaaban. And even though similar transgressions happened many times before, this is the first time that the public has grasped how bad Syria is breaching Lebanon’s sovereignty by it killing our people without us doing anything.

It happened back in January when the Syrian navy kidnapped three fishermen from Lebanese waters in the North and killing one of them. But we didn’t do anything then. Will our government act now? I don’t think so.

What’s sad is that the death of Ali Shaaban was preceded by many warning signs from the Syrian side via the many transgressions they committed. But we didn’t act. The death of this young reporter could have been averted had our government adopted a stance to begin with regarding the killing of Lebanese people by Assad’s forces. Will they speak out now? I don’t think.

Ali Shaaban's sister, weeping him

And here, I stop to ask the same question I asked when those fishermen were kidnaped: What if it had been Israel?

Can we talk about Syria’s insults to our land, water and people now or is it still a taboo topic? Can we consider the Assad regime as an enemy for killing our people or does Lebanon only have one enemy?

When NewTV is speaking out against Assad’s army, you know it has hit the fan. Rest in peace Ali Shaaban, rest in peace every single Lebanese who was killed by the Assad regime. Here’s hoping there will come a day where that regime answers to killing you.

2 thoughts on “The Killing of NewTV (Al Jadeed) Cameraman Ali Shaaban: Can We Talk about Syria’s Transgressions in Lebanon Now?

  1. First of all Rest in Peace Ali Shaaban.

    I believe a government which does not (try to) protect its citizens and doesn’t condemn other countries when they murder its innocent citizens has lost all credibility and legitimacy.

    From my point of view, it’s a problem that many Lebanese groups consider Israel the enemy and Syria a friend. While in fact both countries have caused damage to Lebanon, both tried to impose their wishes upon Lebanon and both have a history of violating Lebanese territory for various reasons.
    It is highly disturbing that certain political groups support a foreign regime over protection of its own journalists and civilians, and believe an apocalyptic war against the “enemy” is more important than efficient governance.

    This phenomen has several examples in history, especially in the aftermath of WW2. For example, the bulk of the Polish resistance fighters were anti-Communist. Yet despite their huge efforts against the German army the Soviet “liberators” found it necessary to murder and persecute Polish resistance fighters after the war. Worst of all, local Polish Communists spearheaded this “inquisition” against their own countrymen.
    For decades those who fought and died for their country were murdered and censored because they didn’t agree politically with the new “liberators”. History had to be rewritten and only the Communists were allowed to have their share of glory and resistance.

    Many Lebanese groups act like Communists: power hungry lapdogs, supporting foreign politics instead of national prosperity. On the positive side, in the end neither the Nazis nor the Communists won, and their puppets went along with them in the dark pages of history.

    Justice will prevail eventually. I strongly believe every courageous and righteous human step – no matter how small – brings us closer to justice in the world. It came to late for this journalist. For some reason we have to be patient…


    • Sadly enough, our government has been turning a blind eye towards Syria since the start of the uprising. We don’t even have a proper stance regarding Syria, which is very expected.
      But the least the government can do is to condemn the killings of its people. It hasn’t done so in any of the instances where the Syria army violated Lebanon.
      You know I agree with you regarding the whole idea that Lebanon cannot be considered to have just one enemy. It’s difficult for people to imagine Syria as an enemy state because they believe we have more in common with them – the distinction needs to be made between people and regime. As long as Syria is governed by the Assad regime, then it should be Lebanon’s enemy, until such transgressions are resolved and the nature of the relation between both countries is established.
      We’re taught during our school days, there’s basically a whole chapter for it in a course, about the “exquisite Syrian-Lebanese relation.” The chapter goes on and on about how both countries need each other and are supportive towards each other. It’s basically bullsh*t. But it shows how far-rooted Syria is in Lebanon and sadly, you can’t uproot that easily. What’s sadder is that no one is doing anything about it. Those who tried were faced with a coup and they lost the government they rightfully got via elections. Until 2013, I guess.

      Also, great example Daniel. Your comments are always much appreciated and a great read. I hope the same conclusion for the historical story you told applies to the Lebanese situation. History has a knack for repeating itself. Here’s hoping this is the case here as well.



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