ASIA/LEBANON - Patriarch Raï's appeal to the Lebanese: if you really love your country, participate en masse in the elections

Monday, 2 May 2022 middle east   oriental churches   politics   elections   geopolitics   migrants   area crisis

Harissa (Agenzia Fides) - If the Lebanese really want to protect their right to self-determination and distance the future of the country from the groups that intend to cause the collapse of Lebanon and erase its historical identity, they must participate massively in the legislative elections on 16 of May. The appeal comes from Lebanese Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, who made these considerations on the relevance of the upcoming elections in his homily on Sunday, May 1, during the solemn Eucharistic liturgy presided over in the Shrine of Our Lady of Harissa. In his homily, the Patriarch explained that the majority of Lebanese want to live in "a free, democratic and neutral Lebanon", as provided for by the Constitutional Charter and the national historical identity itself. For this reason, all Lebanese are called upon to take advantage of their right to vote also "to tell the world which Lebanon they want", and to make it clear to world and regional powers that the Lebanese people reject any geopolitical plan aimed at expropriating or mortgage the independence of the Lebanese nation. In the immediate term, the Patriarch has recalled the urgency of safeguarding an orderly and peaceful development of the last weeks of the electoral campaign, after the various incidents that in recent weeks have disturbed the fragile social order. In particular, the recent sinking of a boat carrying Syrian migrants trying to leave the Land of Cedars - a tragedy that took place off the coast south of Tripoli and left dozens dead - has triggered protests against the Lebanese Navy, which the protesters accuse of having caused the sinking of the boat. The Patriarch has asked the government to launch "a transparent and neutral investigation to determine responsibility and put an end to all doubts and questions" that have arisen about the tragedy at sea. "We are going through a period full of incidents on the Lebanese, regional and international scene", the Patriarch pointed out, referring to the war in Ukraine, the clashes on the Esplanade of the Jerusalem Mosques, the Israeli incursions into Syria and the upsurge in tensions on the Lebanese-Israeli border. "This front needs to calm down - the Lebanese Cardinal said in particular - so that Lebanon, with international patronage, can resume negotiations for the demarcation of the maritime border with Israel, so that oil and gas can be extracted in a peaceful context". (GV) Agenzia Fides, 2/5/2022)

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