Antelias, November 26 th , 2002
The “Media Observatory” of the World Catholic Press Union – Lebanon held its monthly meeting and discussed the following points:
1. The Union considers the initiative undertaken by one thousand journalists who signed a petition of solidarity with their colleagues in the MTV that had been closed, as an important event that should be encouraged and an incentive to continue striving for the adequate human and legal solution, while continuing to denounce the measures taken that led to the closure of the MTV and to a useless tragedy and a fatal error in the history of the Lebanese media.
The UCIP joins its voice to that of those people and urges the officials to bear the responsibility of their acts in front of the next generations. It also calls all medias and unions, especially the press and writers unions, not to allow any indulgence in defending the freedoms issue without which Lebanon has no sense. All this at a time when there is a national and civilizational need for diversity and cultural pluralism in order to rectify the bad image that the enemies of the Arab and Islamic East are trying to give to the people and governments there in order to prepare for attacking them.
2. The Union has denounced the aggression against our colleague Abbas Saleh who was kidnapped, imprisoned and subjected to beating and asked the concerned parties to stop the aggressors in order to preserve the life and dignity of the people who write and develop ideas.
3. The way the students manifestations on the Independence Day were faced leads again to many questions about how to describe the relationship between the Lebanese Youth and the authorities. Therefore, there is an urgent need to answer the following question: what are the reasons for hope that the officials are providing the people with? The oppression against students is a matter of great concern and does not show on the short term any will by the authorities to listen to the youth and their ambitions. Oppression can only lead at the end to more extremism and to blind rebellion in the hearts of the people. And this is not a result that would be appreciated by the rest of the wise people and peace lovers in Lebanon and in the Arab countries that are facing now the worst disfigurement campaigns.
4. What really adds to the concerns about freedoms and especially the freedom of belief and the right for life is the murder of the American citizen at a cultural and social center in Saida. The stranger and the more regrettable were the statements made by some spiritual and political leaders who seemed to justify such criminal acts although they are in complete contradiction with the values of the Lebanese, Christians and Muslims. Therefore, the Union urges the officials and the Lebanese people to struggle against the culture of violence well spread in our society and threatening it with dismemberment and showing it in the worst appearance of underdevelopment.
5. The statements we heard lately in the media about the renewal of the terms of isolationism that prevailed in the beginning of the war, asserts the absence of conditions for dialogue with some of those who pretend to represent the Lebanese people and to defend their rights, namely the right to physical safety and the safeguarding of human life.
The UCIP, denouncing this language of war hiding behind allegiance, reminds that the credibility of the dialogue people depends on their capacity to respect the other with opposing opinion, as a proof of their abandonment of the idea of eliminating the other; they should thus start abandoning the rejection idea and concretely insist on adopting a democratic peaceful and civilized language void of any terms of accusation of treason and threatening that must not be exchanged by the people of one nation, and even less by those who are in charge of guaranteeing the interests of the citizens and safeguarding their reputation and their life.
6. Finally, in answer to those who pretend to have a dialogue with the other, whose invitations do not exceed the scope of verbal speech, it worth mentioning the fact that one of the main conditions of dialogue is the acknowledgement of the other, the assumption of his/her existence and the acceptance of his/her different opinion, as well as giving him/her the freedom of decision and the will to undertake a dialogue in order to preserve the public interest within the framework of truth and justice, otherwise, the lack of any of those elements would unsurprisingly lead to the failure of any attempt for dialogue.