|Monday, 18 September 2006|
July 30th 2006
The following is a presentation of the World Lebanese Cultural Union activities around the world. It serves as an historical document demonstrating the WLCU ability to mobilize and make a difference when Lebanon is subjected to foreign interventions and aggressions.
We applaud all our chapters for their prompt reaction in response to the painful events. We commend all our leaders for taking a unified and synchronized position towards these tragic developments. (Please see attachment – WLCU position on war). We apologize for not covering the activities of many chapters and it is only due to the lack of information or communication. We encourage all officers concerned to give us a feedback of their news in order to include it in the next updated version.
Anise Garabet George Abi Raad
World President World Secretary General
WLCU delegation in Lebanon
A WLCU delegation headed by World Secretary General George Abi Raad, visited the Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir in his summer residence in Diman last week upon his return from the USA. The delegation included WLCU officials from California, Antoine Hatem and Abdo ElKhoury, and Pierre Hage from Burkina Faso, Africa.
The delegation also met with the leader of the Lebanese Forces Dr Samir Geagea in Al Arz and former President Amine Gemayel in his office at As-Saifi, to whom they conveyed the WLCU position towards the ongoing war in Lebanon. They also discussed emigration issues and the WLCU relations with the Lebanese government.
The United States of America.
US Congress – Washington DC
(Please see attachment)
A WLCU delegation composed of Ibrahim Dagher, Regional Secretary General of Northern America, as well as Mara and Soumaya Hanna, headed to Capitol hill last Friday, to participate with other Lebanese American Organizations in a conference at the US Congress. The conference, organized by the American Lebanese Coalition (ALC), was attended by Congressmen Darell Issa, Congressman Charles Boustani and Deputy Ambassador Ms Sarah Tinsley Demarest representing John Bolton the US Ambassador to the UN. The participating organizations included:
The American Lebanese Alliance – member of the American Lebanese Coalition – Assembly for Lebanon – member of the American Lebanese Coalition – Lebanese Information Center – member of the American Lebanese Coalition- National Alliance of Lebanese Americans- March 14th Alliance in the US – World Lebanese Cultural Union – American Lebanon Coalition for a Sovereign Lebanon – American Lebanese Coordination Council – member of the American Lebanese Coalition – Lebanese For Lebanon Foundation – American Lebanese Christian Club of Cleveland.
RESOLUTIONS: The Organizations participating in this conference agreed on: 1. Calling on all internal and external parties involved in the conflict, directly or indirectly, to fully respect the sovereignty of Lebanon and abide by the rules of International law. 2. Demanding an immediate and complete cease-fire to allow the Lebanese Government and the international community’s efforts to solve the problems emanating from the latest conflagrations and their consequences, in a permanent manner. Such cease-fire is to be followed immediately by a concrete, comprehensive, and speedy process to restore Lebanese sovereignty and defend it against any foreign interference. 3. Opposing Hezbollah’s deplorable actions in engaging Israel in war activities while serving the agendas of Syria and Iran, and its continued determination to ignore Lebanon’s need to have legitimate armed forces, namely the Lebanese Army, and thus abide by the Taef Agreement and relevant UN resolutions. 4. Denouncing the Israeli aggression over Lebanon, and any deliberate targeting of civilians, infrastructure, relief activities, Lebanese Army barracks, and United Nations posts. 5. Deploring the civilian losses and mass displacement of civilians. 6. Expressing gratitude for the United States of America and all other friends of Lebanon for the support they have provided and continue to provide, to the Lebanese government and the Lebanese people. 7. Continuing the campaign in the United States aimed at helping alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people, and calling for a rapid recovery operation aided by the international community. 8. Asserting that the Lebanese Government is the exclusive legitimate party to negotiate on behalf of Lebanon, and to exclusively hold the decision of war and peace. Supporting the Lebanese Government’s efforts to extend its authority over the totality of the Lebanese territory, to control the Lebanese borders, and to disarm all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias according to the Taef Agreement and UNSCR 1559. 9. Calling for the establishment of an enabled multinational force under the auspices of the United Nations to work alongside the Lebanese Army in deploying along, and securing Lebanon’s borders with Syria and Israel. Furthermore, calling on the United Nations to assist Lebanon in the drawing and finalization of its international borders, and finding a permanent solution to the issue of the Shebaa Farms. 10. Stressing the need for a quick resolution concerning all Lebanese detainees in Syria and Israel. 11. Stressing the need to revert to the 1949 Armistice Agreement between Lebanon and Israel. 12. Reminding the international community that Lebanon has been victimized by all parties involved in this conflict directly or indirectly.
As a result of a meeting held jointly with INLET, The American Lebanese Engineering Society, MIT students, the Lebanese Forces in New England and other Lebanese organizations, WLCU Boston chapter decided to support a fund raising initiative, according to its President David Abi Chaker, establishing a direct link to the International Red Cross for people to donate funds, among other steps namely:
1- Humanitarian Aid to Lebanon
On July 19th Boston chapter issued a statement reflecting the WLCU position and activities. (Please see attachment)
A invitation for a mass prayer in support of Lebanon is called for by Boston chapter on Sunday August 3rd at our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon church.
New Jersey chapter:
Ms Mara Hanna of New Jersey chapter called for the creation of an Emergency Fund via the
The WLCU State Council of California in coordination with the March 14th Movement has participated in a demonstration in front of the federal building, on Sunday July30th, to support the cause of Lebanon and to call for the enforcement of the 1559 Resolution.
The World Lebanese Cultural Union in conjunction with other Lebanese organizations in San Francisco hosted a Donation Day for Lebanon on Saturday July 29th to promote and organize the financial donation efforts for the victims of Lebanon.
A 45 minutes meeting took place with the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Monti Solberg in his office in Vancouver. The WLCU delegation was composed of Mr John Bader, President of the WLCU BC Council, Dr Nick Kahwaji, Deputy Secretary General, Mrs Jamal Zarifeh, President of the WLCU affiliated “Lebanese Canadian Society”, Carlo Rahal, member of the WLCU “Finance and Economics Committee” and Helene Murr. The delegation conveyed the WLCU position vis-à-vis the war in Lebanon.
Mr Bader was interviewed by the National TV CBC, Local TV CTV. He was also on the air for a whole hour discussion and Q&A conducted by CKNW radio “news only” and one of the most important political stations in Canada. He also gave an interview to the local newspaper “The Leaders”.
Interviews were also obtained from Dr Kahwaji by CKNW, among multiple interviews with National CBC French TV, CBC English TV, local CTV, National French CBC radio, Radio Canada, Vancouver Sun Newspaper and L’Express Du Pacific Newspaper .
A message of condolence was conveyed through the media and by an official letter to the Canadian Lebanese Al-Akhras family whose members fell victims of the Israeli shelling in South Lebanon.
Victoria -BC Chapter sent $10,000.00 to Caritas of the Bekaa valley through “Foyer De L’amitie” in Zahle. WLCU VP of North America, Mr Georges Murr, held a meeting with Victoria MP Denize Savoie. He has been interviewed once by the local TV station Channel 6 news, three times by Channel “A” TV, National CBC English radio, CFAX Radio of Victoria, and “Victoria Times Colonist” magazine.
Montreal – Quebec:
Dr Alain Ayache, VP of the World Council of Youth, had 25 interviews on TV stations, radio stations and major newspapers and magazines in Quebec. Beside the political and economic aspects, Dr Ayache addressed the evacuation process for Canadian Citizens in Lebanon.
Besides, Dr Ayache commented on the Canadian policy with regards to this conflict as well as the strategy deployed by Israel and hizbollah. He also analyzed the current and future economy of Lebanon as well as the humanitarian crisis:http://www.argent.canoe.com/
The Confederation of the Lebanese Brazilian clubs, has written to Kofi Anan , The Secretary General of The United, demanding a quick solution to the current tragic war through full implementation of all the Security Council Resolutions concerning Lebanon, specifically the 1559.
The WLCU affiliated Confederation also supported the assignment of a Multi-National Force in Lebanon simultaneous with the Lebanese army deployment in southern Lebanon, in a meeting with MP Ricardo Azar, head of the Brazilian parliamentarians of Lebanese origin. MP Azar conveyed the delegation’s position to the Foreign Ministry. It is noted that Brazilian parliamentarians of Lebanese origin account for 10% of the parliament’s members.
The Confederation is to meet next week with Brazil’s Foreign Minister Guido Mantega to formulate a common position vis-à-vis the ongoing crisis.
Spanish America & the Caribbean
The Mexican Lebanese community organized a huge demonstration in support of the Lebanese Government, calling for the implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1559. The march originated near the United Nations office building and ended at the Lebanese Embassy.
Former WLCU World President, Sr Bechara Bechara, gave an interview to Roberto O’Ferol of “Tele Formula-Cable Digital 176”
President of WLCU Mexico National Council, Sr Alejandro Curi was interviewed by Dr Alfredo Khalifeh on “Radio Formula” and another interview conducted by Sr Elias Adem on “Canal 40”.
The “Youth Organization of Lebanese descent in Chile – JOL” has called for a VELATÓN on Friday the 21st of July at the Casa Lebanesa, (please see attachment) intended to be an evening of peace for the innocents fallen in Lebanon.
In a message signed by Macarena Kadis and Paulina Sauma, JOL has denounced “the violence on both sides, the hezbolla militias and the Israelis”. “This is not a war“, the letter stated, “it is an action by a militia supported by foreign countries against an army loaded with men and technologies directing attacks against civil infrastructures, as well as roads, bridges and airports. We appeal to the conscience of thousands of citizens of Lebanese origin in the world and all the people who are aware of this massacre and disproportionate attacks, to support an immediate action towards the complete fulfillment of Resolution 1559 approved by the Security Council in its 5028 celebrated session the 2nd of September of the 2004 which aims to reaffirm the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the political independence of Lebanon under a unique and exclusive authority of the Lebanese government. It also requests that all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon and all Lebanese and non Lebanese militias to dissolve and disarm“.
A message has been received from Sr Alberto Chaker, Regional Secretary General for Spanish America, praising the “Youth Organization of Lebanese descent in Chile” for its fundraising event: ”We stand with our Lebanese brothers and all the friends of Lebanon who expressed their solidarity with the Lebanese people. Congratulations on your work and may God bless you”.
It has been reported that the WLCU of Argentina is following closely and with great thoroughness and preoccupation the situation in Lebanon. The WLCU National Council held a meeting with S.E.R. the Apostolic representative in the Argentina Republic Monsignor Adriano Bernardini, urging the intervention of His Holiness Pope Benedicto XVI for a complete cease-fire and a lasting peace. A letter addressed to the Pope was handed to Monsignor Bernardini, (Please see attachment). The letter signed by Sr Ramon Maron Curi, WLCU Argentina National Council President and Sr Antonio Arida, Secretary of International Relations stated that “the Argentina Lebanese Cultural Union , a nongovernmental organization which represents the Lebanese Diaspora, appeals to your Holiness in regards of the escalating violence in Lebanon. Lebanon is a holy land where Jesus Christ preached to the apostles. It is a peaceful nation and an example of coexistence where eighteen religious coexist harmoniously. In May of 1997 all its towns, without distinctions, received with great joy his Holiness John Paul II, who proclaimed to the world that “Lebanon is more than a country, it is a Message”. This small and defenseless country, once again is victim of regional conflicts, as a result of which it is being brutally attacked by one of the most powerful Armed Forces of the world, and in the abscence of any international intervention, numerous civilians are dying and the country is being destroyed right at the beginning of the tourism season, during which more than six million people were anticipated to visit. We thank your continuous calls for peace and dialogue as we request your important intervention, to obtain a complete and definitive cease-fire, and the peace deserved by all nations”.
Another letter was sent to UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, (Please see attachment),
asking the United Nations to help “this small and defenseless country, the victim of regional conflicts, as a result of which its territory is being used by third parties as a battlefield“. The letter calls for “an immediate, complete and lasting Cease-fire, humanitarian attendance, the deployment of a multinational force, full implementation of Resolution 1559, freeing the hostages held by the militias and the imprisoned Lebaneses in Israel, the restitution of Chebaa farms to Lebanon, the immediate dismantling and disarmament of the existing militias, the empowerment of the Lebanese army so that it can control all the Lebanese territories and finally economic aid for the reconstruction efforts“.
A message from Mr Ken Hanna , immediate former President of WLCU Johannesburg chapter and President of “Cedars of Lebanon Custodians – South Africa”, stated that “The whole world, and indeed the Lebanese world has been sadly shattered. What are we doing in South Africa. Like all of us our hands are tied, but nevertheless if every Lebanese throughout the world just did one positive thing for our beloved Lebanon every day, then in the final assessment Lebanon will be able to achieve its vision and indeed its sacred mission in the World“.
(Please see attachment for South Africa July activities)
Every WLCU chapter in Europe is involved in fundraising activities to help Lebanon and meetings with officials demanding a final settlement and solution to the crisis.
In conjunction with the 14th March movement – UK, a “Fundraising Day” is being planned for the 1st of August 06 by the WLCU. The event will be dedicated to Lebanon and the Lebanese Red Cross.
The WLCU-France has been coordinating with the March 14th group by participating in various meetings:
The first meeting was held on July 15th at Trocadero Place of the Human Rights. Hezbollah was accused during that meeting of initiating the hostilities.
Roger Hani, WLCU Regional Secretary General in Europe, was interviewed on French TV stations like TFI, LCI and BFMTV in addition to Radio Europe 1 and Radio TSF.
Hizbollah was accused during the interviews for provoking the situation causing the destruction of Lebanon while the UN was trying in vain to implement the Resolution 1559.
On Radio Europe 1 during which the Foreign Department Secretary of Israel intervened by phone, Mr Hani reminded the audience that we cannot accept the destruction of Lebanon and the killing of civilians had Israel decided to disarm Hezbollah.
A successful “Day for Lebanon” was organized on the 20th of July in Paris.
A productive visit took place to the Foreign Affairs department in Paris.
Mr Hani coordinated with MR Said Yazbeck, the Geographical Regional President for Europe, to contact all the Lebanese parties in Europe and to inform all the WLCU officers to do so.
Australia & New Zealand
An appeal by Mr tony Yacoub, Regional Chairman of Australia & New Zealand, calling for financial aid to the Red Cross to help the relief efforts. (Please see attachment).
Mr Antoine Ghanem, President of Queensland State Council and Chairman of the WLCU Culure and Heritage Committee, has held several meetings with Australian Government officials which included the Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, the Shadow Minister Kevin Rudd and the “Multi Cultural Affairs Department“. The talks concentrated on stopping the disproportionate bombardments of Lebanon, supporting a lasting cease-fire, accelerating the humanitarian relief efforts, enforcing the UNSCR 1559 and working towards a solution to the Shebaa farms and the detainees in Israeli and Syrian Jails under the umbrella of the United Nations. Meanwhile, Chairman Ghanem was interviewed by ABC Radio and TV channels 2,7,9 & 10 and the local Courrier Mail newspaper.
ALA of NSW – Sydney
A report was provided by WLCU World VP Michel Doueihi on the humanitarian activities in New South Wales as the ALA was involved in promoting aid and relief to the displaced in Lebanon through the Red Cross and Caritas.
The unanimous political view in NSW is a cease-fire simultaneous with restoring the Lebanese sovereignty, a full support to the Lebanese government to negotiate with the international concerned parties to implement the UN resolution 1559, condemning the intervention of Iran and Syria in the Lebanese affairs and the excessive bombardments of Israel.