I couldn't help myself but cry with my Prime Minister Seniora, as he cried too.
As he addressed the emergency Arab Foreign Ministers meeting in Beirut, he choked on the words: "Our Arabness is not conditional. It is not by force, but a choice." (Ouroubatouna laysat mashroota. Innaha laysat bil irgham, la bal bil ikhtiyar)
Very powerful words and very true. How much did my country pay the price for standing by its Arab identity? I believe more than any other Arab country.
To be Arab, we housed the Palestinian Liberation Organization, when other Arab countries expelled them. To be Arab, we got invaded by Israel time and time again and our lands occupied by them for 22 years. To be Arab, we fought each other for 20 years in a bloody civil war. To be Arab, we lived years through Syrian intelligence domination. To be Arab, we housed the last bastion of resistance, Hizbullah, when Jordan, Egypt and Syria, bordering Israel, have never had a shot fired across their borders since 1974. To be Arab, we had to live through years after the Israeli withdrawal from the south not knowing whether the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese or Syrian. To be Arab, we were not given Arab support to send the Lebanese Army to the south. To be Arab, so many more issues were taboo to discuss and resolve.
For the first time, live before the whole world, PM Seniora said these words to the Arab Ministers. He choked, cried, wiped his tears and continued on. Some of the attendants looked embarassed and moved.
It's a choice, a choice we have made to stand by our Arab identity. And it's also a choice we've made to be pluralistic and democratic, a choice to be open and modern, a choice to be a message of coexistence for the whole world.
Israel is a democratic state, but not pluralistic; it's a state for the Jews. And Syria, our other neighbor, is an authoritarian state that subscribes to one creed, Assadist Baathism.
It is a difficult choice we the Lebanese have made: we want to be different; part of the Arab world, yet different, democratic, yet pluralistic. Lebanon: the house of many mansions, and the death toll rises....
Update: It turns out that the Arab Foreign Ministers meeting came up with something more than just a statement - a group of Foreign Ministers are heading to New York to work with Security Council members rallying support for the Lebanese government's seven-point plan that aims at reaching a comprehensive solution to all hostilities.
Update 2: The Lebanese government has ordered in those who served in the Lebanese Army the past 5 years. Is this the first step towards sending the Army to the south?
Update 3: News sources are saying that Syrian Foreign Minister Moallem did not agree with supporting the Arab Foreign Ministers meeting's official statement, which endorses the Lebanese government's 7-point plan and which stressed on ALL Lebanese people's resistance towards Israeli aggression, instead of just hailing Hizbullah's resistance. The 7-point plan includes a provision to turn in the Shebaa Farms to the UN until it's resolved whether it's Syrian or Lebanese territories.
To Moallem: What were you thinking? That you're coming to Lebanon so all could bow to your demands? So you could challenge the 7-point plan and keep some gambling cards up your sleeve?
I should just say that our PM Seniora was decent enough to repel the rumors in his press conference that you left early because you were disgruntled. It turns out that the rumors were true!
And yes the reserves called up will be heading to the south. May God be with them!
Update 4: Shiyyah was hit, a heavily populated area, in the evening, when everyone is huddled home. The footage of the carnage is scary. Rescuers are scrambling around the rubble to save who can be saved. 10 are reported dead and more than 30 wounded.
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."