I had blogged a while back about how the Syrian occupation of Lebanon can be considered at least as bad as the Israeli occupation of the South. I still stand by what I said. You can check that post here.
The latest regarding the Lebanese-Syrian relationship is the Syrian navy kidnapping three Lebanese fishermen (Arabic article) from the North after having their boat enter four nautical miles into Lebanon’s marine territory. Perhaps a mile can be considered as a sailing error. But four? Let’s not beat around the bush here. This was an obvious breach of Lebanese sovereignty. One of the fishermen, aged 16, has died. What is our government doing about this? Absolutely nothing.
This is but one part of a series of transgressions that the Syrian army and regime do on a daily basis in Lebanon. And yet we fail to act. Our voices are never heard when we speak against the Syrian breaches. They can kidnap our people, they can enter our land, our sea, terrorize villagers on the borders…. We do nothing. We sit around and watch TV and hope for the best.
Not let’s contrast/compare this with the Israeli scenario.
An Israeli boat enters four miles into Lebanon’s nautical territory, you’d be constantly bombarded about it in the news. An hour later, Lebanon would have had an official complaint filed in the UN. If that same boat had kidnapped three Lebanese fishermen, rockets would have been fired from the South on Israel. A war might have been started (it’s not like the 2006 war had a bigger apparent reason).
The only difference between Israel and Syria? Israel is an enemy state whilst Syria is not. The difference between what Israel and Syria do regarding Lebanon? Absolutely nothing.
“Activists,” as they like to call themselves, shout and protest against anything Israel-related in Lebanon. They have the right to, obviously, freedom of speech and all. I don’t think, however, they have the right to shove their views down everyone’s throats (especially when it comes to irrelevant matters that won’t change anything). I want to see what those “activists” will do regarding this latest Syrian breach. The answer is actually already known. It’s exactly what they have done regarding the previous transgressions: absolutely nothing.
A couple of months ago, in my anatomy lab at med school, one of the doctors told us a story. He told us about when he was in Med School at USJ and one of his professors was the late Dr. Fadi Serhal. They used to discuss politics with him. Amin Gemayel, the president back then, was going to sign the May 17 treaty. So they asked Mr. Serhal, who was an MP back then, about the situation. His reply was as follows:
“Lebanon is bound in the South by Israel. It’s bound everywhere else by Syria. If there was anything happening for the benefit of Lebanon, you should be more than certain that it will be disturbed by one of those two countries: either Israel or Syria or Israel and Syria working together.”
This was about thirty years ago. It still applies today. It’s also high time we see it as such.