Under the gaze of St. Maron and Patriarch Hoyek, By Bahjat Rizk.

Under the gaze of St. Maron and Patriarch Hoyek

Bahjat Rizk



Monday, February 9, Maronite’s of Lebanon celebrate St. Maroon, patronal national, and community feast day. We will always be, on that day without the Maronite President of the Republic because our Maronite leaders “of first ranking”, all exclusive candidates for the job, do not get along with each other. It is very sad to celebrate a symbolic official holiday when we failed to define a coherent whole collective line of action which aims to maintain balance, continuity and institutional stability in a multi-community countries.


This position of the Presidency of the Republic had been assigned by national consensus to the Maronite community to ensure its sustainable manner of recognition of its cultural and political rights.

The same concept of Lebanon was designed and carried by the patriarch Hoyek during the Peace Conference at Versailles in 1919 and responded to a need to create a space of conviviality and sharing of political power, which would ultimately benefit all Lebanese from all communities.


What would say today Saint Maron, a hermit monk and founder of the Catholic Christian community of the East? What would say today patriarch  Hoyek who fought there are almost a hundred years (1920) for this Ideal  Grand Lebanon, which it is undeniably in the name of all, the founding father?


February 9, 2015, forty years after the outbreak of  war (internal and regional) in Lebanon (April 13, 1975) and ninety-five years after the declaration of Greater Lebanon (1 September 1920), the current Maronite Patriarch celebrate St. Maron in Rome and the Maronite leaders will settle in Beirut, in the official rows, while the seat reserved for the President of the Republic will always shamelessly and hopelessly empty for almost nine months.


What about the ever-present spirit of these two nobles and venerable prelates who have worked peacefully for almost fifteen centuries apart to support, through prayer and reason, one faith, one people and a cultural and political project ?


Surviving in often hostile conditions and crossing fifteen centuries to arrive at that empty chair? Lebanon was the basis for a future project, a progressive project. The lack of wisdom, humility, scope and vision reduced this project, to a series of subjective and contradictory projections that serves personal interests. Of course, beyond the emotional, should be reached sooner or later, a rational debate, should urgently define identity objective and constant parameters, to compensate and create a dynamic of construction and not of segregation. The act of positive identification is a continuous process. But it would initially submit political action that accompanies and embodies a transcendent purpose, not a purely personal ambition, work over time and not for versatile and immediate emergencies.


Having more than 200 000 deaths, more than four decades, which survive in our memories and to be faced with almost paralyzed institutions that operate in minimum and artisanal way, renewing opportunistically and absurdly their own mandates…

 Create void, maintain the vacuum design, thinking that narcissistic self-promotion can fill it … As the world is shaken by identity conflicts, exacerbated by globalization, Lebanese politicians vie for bidding, fictional exploits and lessons to teach as part of action seems more and more limited and more difficult to define.

The Maronite community leaders and people should meditate on the occasion of the patronal feast on fate and destiny. Divided as they are, devoured of obsessions and locked speech, they can neither be secured to themselves or reach out to their national compatriots.

 Under the gaze of St. Maron and patriarch Hoyek who turn in their graves, the empty chair in the front row represents to the world, the failure, selfishness and the distressing lack of maturity.

Bahjat Rizk




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