A new organization to serve Lebanon The Lebanese Organization to build peace and sustainable development

06/29/2022 - 06:37 AM

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Why This Organization?

Whoever knows Lebanon before 1975 can fully understand why this Organization is established.

Lebanon As The Democratic And Civilized World Knew It

  • Lebanon: the Switzerland of the Middle East

Writer Fayza Diab wrote an article published on August 24, 2018, in Al Majalla magazine, issued in London, in which she said: «There are many nicknames by which Lebanon is known. Many are the advantages that the country of 10,452 square kilometers enjoys. Despite its small area and many problems, Lebanon remained over the years and ages a lit beacon that was never extinguished by wars or disasters that ravage the country of the Cedars, shaken but never collapsed...»

Writer Diab is correct. Lebanon is also called Switzerland of the East. Lebanon enjoyed stability, economic prosperity, scientific progress, impartiality in international relations, and a superior banking system. It was characterized by its cultural openness, the diversity of languages, the distinctive presence of Western culture in its commercial, tourism, and educational concepts, its role as a civilized bridge between East and West, the increase of freedoms, and the plurality of media institutions, parties, and non-governmental organizations.

The country's extraordinary and rare mountainous nature is unique in the Middle Eastern region. It has a history of more than five thousand years, as it witnessed the passage of all the world's civilizations on its lands since the era of the Phoenicians, leaving many fingerprints on all its terrain that is considered a human heritage. These fingerprints are of great historical value and are as crucial as other greatest international heritage sites.

  • Lebanon: The Holy Land

Lebanon is considered a part of the holy lands. The Lord Christ, peace be upon him, walked to Tyre, and the cave in which he lived in Qana during his trips to that region is still standing, surrounded by many carvings left by the believers as a sign of his miracles. Lebanon is also characterized by religious openness. Several religious minorities resided in its mountains fleeing persecution or came to it as missionaries and took root among its residents. They established temples and institutions in Lebanon, such as churches, mosques, monasteries, and others. Among the churches is the Evangelical Church, which opened a school in the second half of the nineteenth century in a mountainous village called Ubay, located in a Druze residential area where the Tanukhi princes used to reside.

  • Lebanon: The home of the Semitic Phoenicians Canaanites

Lebanon is one of the oldest countries in the world. Historical and religious references indicated that its history and recorded name go back five thousand years. Its name was mentioned in the Ebla monuments in the middle of the third millennium BC. It is also mentioned 12 times in the Epic of Gilgamesh and 64 times in the Old Testament. It is the country of the cedar tree whose name is glorified in the Bible, as it is mentioned 103 times. It is home to the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities to date. The history of Beirut goes back more than 5000 years. The Romans called it the «Mother of Laws.» Beirut hosted the empire’s most prominent law school. There is the city of Byblos, the oldest trading city since 5000 BC, and the city of Sidon, which dates back to 4000 years ago, and was the headquarters of the purple industry. Then there is Tyre, to which the Bible refers by saying: «It is the inhabited by the sea, the famous city that was mighty in the sea. » There is the city of Tripoli, where the Crusaders built their largest fortresses in the early twelfth century.

 Lebanon's first inhabitants, the Phoenicians, invented the alphabet, which Herodotus said was the basis of the Greek language. The Phoenicians are the creator of the art of sailing. They established the concept of globalization through their trade with other peoples. Archeologists indicate that they were the first to reach the American continent. They also established residential colonies in different countries, which turned into prosperous cities, such as Carthage in Tunisia, and Cadiz in Spain. They introduced purple dye, glass, and wine.

 The inhabitants of ancient Lebanon, like all the inhabitants of the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, were Semitic Canaanites descended from Sam, son of Noah. For that, the "Mormons" book by Ross T. Christensen put forward the theory that the Molecans were «largely Phoenician in their ethnicity.» The people of Lebanon have established a variety of relationships with their surroundings. Historical and religious references speak about active interaction between the original inhabitants of Lebanon and the region's peoples. They established several settlements across the Mediterranean. But Lebanon was subjected throughout history to many setbacks by man and nature, such as invasions, earthquakes, wars, and migration.

  • Lebanon: An open historical Museum

Lebanon’s geographical location, as a crossroads linking the three ancient continents, Asia, Europe, and Africa, caused it to be subject to several successive external controls. The ancient Egyptians ruled Lebanon (Hexus), followed by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs (starting with the Umayyads and then the Abbasids, the Mamluks, and the Ottomans), and the French mandate after the First World War. Lebanon of today started engaging in the world civilized democratic process with the establishment of Greater Lebanon with its current borders in 1920. It gained its independence in 1943 and transformed into a republic governed by a constitution based on a free liberal economic system and a parliamentary democratic system. The system preserves, at the same time, the advantage of the coexistence of different sects within the Lebanese society.

These successive events gave Lebanon rich historical wealth. Many archaeological sites in Lebanon preserve and contain many secrets of human development. They tell about social, instrumental, technical, agricultural, and genetic evolution. They also speak about the migrations of different peoples to and from Lebanon. Dozens of such archaeological sites have been discovered in the Bekaa Valley.

 In addition, about 80 archaeological monuments are left across all the governorates of Lebanon. The most prominent are the Roman castles in Baalbek and Tyre, the historic Byblos castle built by the Crusaders in 1204 and its historic harbor, and the remains of the wall that surrounded the Byblos in the middle ages. It is certain that had it not been for the wars in Lebanon throughout those years, more of these important historical monuments would have been discovered.

  • Lebanon: The once School of the Middle East

There is no doubt that these events affected the current Lebanese reality. It gave it a diverse cultural and civilizational character and turned it into a seat and a passage for many cultures from the Asian continent and overseas. The first printing press in the Middle East was established in the monastery of Saint Anthony of Qozhaya in 1585, and in 1610 the first book, the Book of Psalms, was published there. The Lebanese culture was characterized by its openness to western and eastern cultures, so the Lebanese educational system was open to many languages and knowledge. The private educational sector was active during all times. The Ain Waraka School was established in Ghosta in the Keserwan Al-Fotouh region in 1798. It is considered the mother of schools in the East. The Aintoura Schools followed it in 1834, then the Daoudia School in Abey in 1862, and the Evangelical School in Abey in 1864, which after two years turned into the first university in Lebanon, the Syrian Evangelical College (which was renamed later to American University of Beirut). Schools and universities increased in numbers rapidly until schools and universities pervaded Lebanon.

  • Lebanon: The seat for international businesses and international media platform

These events also gave Lebanon two distinct economic and political importance. On the one hand, Lebanon has become a headquarters for multinational companies, major international banks active in the region, and major international airlines that made Beirut airport a transit airport to Asia. The annual economic growth in the sixties was 4.9%. Agriculture grew annually by 6.3%, industry by 4.5%, and services by 4.8%. Gross domestic product was divided into 12% for agriculture, 33% for industry, and 55% for services. In 1960, the Lebanese gross domestic product amounted to 830 million US dollars, higher than Singapore's (700 million US dollars). Today, Lebanon’s output is $38.5 billion, compared to $210 billion for Singapore.

On the other hand, Lebanon has also turned into an international media platform. The «Akhbar Garden,» issued by Khalil al-Khoury in Beirut in early January 1858, was the mother of Arab newspapers and the first unofficial periodical in Arab land. It was followed by the newspaper «Nafeer Syria» in 1860, founded by the teacher Boutros Al-Bustani, which called for national unity following the sectarian events in 1860. In the meantime, the media outlets doubled, reaching 52 daily political publications and 42 weekly and monthly magazines.

 Lebanon also witnessed the birth of many parties due to its democracy. The first party present in Lebanon in 1800 was the Armenian Tashnaq Party. Then, the parties multiplied since the establishment of the state of Greater Lebanon in 1920, and in 2015 there were 166 parties.

Since its independence in 1943, Lebanon established more than seventy diplomatic missions in a large number of countries in the world and on all continents. Lebanon has contributed to establishing the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the Organization of French-speaking Countries (Francophone), the Non-Aligned Countries, and the GATT (Tariff and Trade Agreement). It is an observer member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and has permanent missions to the United Nations and some specialized international organizations. Lebanon was a member of the committee that wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the drafting committee for establishing the International Criminal Court in 1998. It has also hosted one of the world's UNESCO headquarters since the early fifties. Its representatives participated in the drafting of many agreements and resolutions regulating human relations between peoples.

Lebanon is a peace-loving country that participated in only one war after its independence, the war against Israel in 1948, which ended with the signing of an armistice agreement between the two sides in 1949, which is still valid to date. After that, Lebanon refrained from engaging in any military battles, even though Lebanese soil was the scene of the most horrific wars in the region over the past fifty years.

Why Did Lebanon Slip Into The Arena Of Wars?

 Despite everything said in the above introduction, Lebanon has become an arena for wars in the region from 1968 to date. The Lebanese became victims of the Palestinian mini-war against Israel, which led to internal conflict among its residents and culminated in a fight described by some as a civil war. Lebanon became a battlefield for the war between Israel and other Arab countries, mainly Syria, and a paradise for terrorist activities against nationals from other countries. Lebanon became a major country where indirect war during the cold war era between the two blocks: The US and The Soviet Union blocks, took place. Those wars resulted in incalculable damages, killing thousands, wounding tens of thousands, displacing more than two-thirds of the people, and destroying hundreds of villages, cities, and official and nonofficial institutions. Hundreds of citizens of all ages and sex disappeared. Factions committed crimes against humanity on daily bases. More than a third of its population immigrated.

Recent wars in the region added to the multiple suffering of its people, as almost two million displaced people and refugees poured into its land. Corruptions and bad governance turned Lebanon into a failing state. The government dominated by warlords declared its inability to pay its debts. Poverty prevailed, and the once-wealthy Lebanese were condemned to live without hopes.

How could These Wars Happen? Why would Lebanese who proved high skills in every country they inhibited allow them in their own country?

This is a question that our Organization would like to put forward for discussion among experts.

However, The Lebanese people, who have been resilient living all the misfortunes that have befallen Lebanon, have not given up and insist on returning to the fold of civilized society. Lebanese launched a massive revolution on October 17, 2019. Unfortunately, the international community failed them. Lebanon needs the world community to support the people's inspiration to bring back their sovereignty and pave the way for genuine democratic elections. Tremendous efforts on the part of its people are wasted, and the hopes to restore peace in the country are withering. Lebanese wants to regain their country's normal relations within the framework of international law, internationally and regionally, and enable Lebanon to build peace and achieve sustainable development.

The Lebanese Organization for Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development (LOPSD) was created to help bring Lebanese inspirations true, and enable the international community to help Lebanon. LOPSD is an Organization that aims to work for peace building in Lebanon.

What Is the Idea of Peace-building?

Building peace in countries such as Lebanon, which suffered from wars, has been a major topic in the discussions of the United Nations Security Council since the end of the Cold War in 1990. The United Nations Security Council held a historic summit in 1992, after the end of the civil war, which was similar to the Versailles Summit and the Yalta Summit in 1945, on the eve of the end of the Second World War. The United Nations Security Council asked the Secretary-General of the United Nations to summarize his vision for the principles to be adopted by the international community to ensure international peace and security in the world.

Indeed, the Secretary-General executed this demand. The Secretary-General presented several guiding principles that included the concept of Post Conflict Peacebuilding to help countries that suffered internal wars and needed help, such as Lebanon, to restore peace, and rebuild their national system. Projects in this regard should align with existing developments undertaken by the international community since 1990, including the need to enable these countries to achieve sustainable growth. The Secretary-General considered that post-war peace-building is a necessary principle to maintain international peace and security.

In 1995, The UN formed an open working group for all UN members to discuss this issue. The primary elements of this principle were possible to identify. However, distinct reasons and circumstances that led to those wars, made it impossible to reach an agreement on a single text. Therefore, this issue remains, until now, on the agenda of the Security Council.

A report from the World Bank revealed that countries emerging from conflicts are facing extraordinary development and security challenges as they move towards economic recovery. Most of these countries experienced increased growth after the end of the war. Foreign aid helps it make the most of the peace dividend, especially to promote growth. Good governance is also closely related to growth. However, it has been observed that in post-violent war societies, aid has failed to influence the situation. Civil wars, the most common type of violent, large-scale, prolonged, and brutal conflict, continue to harm societies even after they have ended. It is unclear what types of assistance and the nature of the aid are needed to promote peace and development, nor is it clear what policies should prioritize. Case studies are required to understand better the relationship between social security guarantees and economic stability.

The World Bank report emphasized that the impact of United Nations missions did not necessarily lead to economic growth. Indeed, the efforts made to rebuild peace in Lebanon so far have not led to the intended results.

The Security Council decided in 2005 to establish the Peacebuilding Commission, as an intergovernmental advisory body, with a permanent organizing committee responsible for developing its rules of procedure and defining its working methods. During the subsequent years, the Security Council urged all countries, United Nations organizations, and its specialized agencies to provide more ideas that would improve coordination between relevant actors, to achieve a beneficial result in the post-conflict peace-building process.

 The United Nations, however, has not been able to use its mechanism for deterring hostilities and preventing wars as stipulated in its Charter. Thirty years since the end of the Cold War, and about twenty-five years since the adoption of the principles presented by the Secretary-General, including post-conflict peace-building, the world is still stunned by continuing wars. Some wars inherited from the Cold War are ongoing, such as the war in Lebanon. New wars, more terrible than the previous ones, were born. The Arab countries neighboring Lebanon were subject to civil wars, bloodshed, and frightful criminal acts, which reached the state of genocide. Despite all this, the United Nations did not move to stop it. Why? The militia groups that emerged during wars still possess weapons, equipment, money, strength, and technological expertise, exceeding the capabilities and power of the official armies of the countries in which they operate. These militia groups owned the decision of war and peace in those countries, attacked other countries, and turned the country in which they resided into a battlefield. How did that happen? Where is the United Nations in all of this? Is it sufficient to say that these militias are part of a civil conflict?

The nature of the war and the wars on Lebanon’s land varied, but they did not end. Lebanon is still exposed to new battles and suffers from a lack of security and the world's divided political stands. Lebanese are still scattered. Local militias still control war and peace decisions. These militias do not respect state law. These militias adopt a strategy and an ideology drawn from their relationships with foreign governments. As long as these militias receive foreign support, they would not care about international peace and security resulting from their activities nor about Security Council resolutions related to them. Those militias were able to seize power in the country and divide the national wealth among them. Some of them confess that they receive funding, support, armament, and training from the army of a foreign country. Despite this, the United Nations was not able to end this reality. The UN issued several resolutions addressing these militias but failed to implement them. So why? How can the Lebanese and the United Nations rebuild peace in Lebanon in light of this reality? Then, how is such a situation described in international law? Are the concerned foreign governments supporting this militia subject to the crime of aggression?

The Coordinator of Humanitarian Aid in Lebanon, responsible for coordinating post-conflict peace-building programs in Lebanon, said that Lebanon is a wealthy country because it enjoys great human wealth. Why have the UN programs not succeeded so far in saving Lebanon?

The Lebanese Organization for Peace-building and Sustainable Development (LOPSD) was created to answer these questions and bring forward a national program that could serve the international community to help Lebanon.

 Of course, what concerns the Organization is its scientific duty, in addition to serving peace in Lebanon and national unity. We, citizens, have lived through events in Lebanon since their beginnings, and we must reveal them honestly, as we have known and experienced, not only in the spirit of the researcher but also with the zeal of the concerned citizen. By focusing on the causes and results, and suggesting solutions, the founders of the Organization assume that they serve not only the Lebanese national interest but also the UN-relevant discussions.

Our Vision

We want to enable the Lebanese people to live in peace and achieve prosperity by restoring and strengthening their homeland's sovereignty and national unity and establishing a rational government capable of activating Lebanon's role as a neutral country serving humanity, as a center for dialogue among civilizations, and as a bridge for cultural exchange between the West and the East.

Our Mission

 The Organization aims to promote a culture of peace among the Lebanese and to enable them to rebuild peace in their country after more than fifty years of conflict. It also works to give Lebanon its proper status as a neutral and peaceful country by strengthening confidence in the principles of the United Nations and cooperating with trustworthy organizations and individuals, both locally and internationally, to advance these principles in the service of humanity.

Our Program Of Work

 The Organization works to achieve the following objectives:

1.  Contributing to the provision of appropriate scientific research to assist specialized international organizations and local and international humanitarian organizations in preparing "peace-building” programs. For this purpose, the Organization works to hold technical conferences in which the Lebanese, who have experience and qualifications, participate.

 2.  Prepare a database of the names of Lebanese experts and specialists in Lebanon and abroad in all sectors that could serve «peace-building» programs and submits them to governmental and non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations system.

 3.  Cooperate with specialized international agencies and experts to organize specialized sectoral educational courses for university students, workers, community leaders, and local non-governmental organizations to explain the relevant developments and principles established by the international community and other programs according to the request or may be necessary at the time.

 4.  Works to build a culture of peace among the Lebanese youth to develop the concept of citizenship, taking into consideration the right of all Lebanese, for freedom of belief and their cultural practices, if they do not conflict with the laws in force. For this purpose, the Organization plans to organize meetings and programs for youth between regions and holds social activities in national public events that contribute to strengthening national unity and culture of citizenship.

 5.  The Organization seeks to provide all possible assistance through cooperation with the competent authorities to restore Lebanon to its active role in serving the cultural, commercial, and economic relations between the region's countries and the rest of the friendly countries in the world.

6.  Cooperate with the organs of the United Nations and work following its objectives and principles. It is provided that the above-mentioned items are applied following the laws and regulations in force and after the approval of the competent official authorities.

Our mission in the context of peace-building aims to formulate ideas and programs that lead to the protection of Lebanon's national sovereignty and the sanctity of the national territory based on the relevant United Nations resolutions. In addition, our mission is to guarantee a sense of safety for all minorities in the country.

Our mission aims at sustainable development in Lebanon. Sustainable development requires establishing good governance and national systems that achieve justice and independence of the judiciary, guarantee human rights, respect the environmental system, and protect public freedoms. Such goals cannot be achieved without establishing the financial and economic procedures in a way that prevents corruption, combats tax evasion, and increases Lebanon’s involvement in the international economic movement.

Our mission means establishing programs that guarantee the citizen's social and political rights without discrimination. It also ensures the elimination of deprivation for all social groups and sets balanced development for all regions. All this is through the preparation of an integrated program in cooperation between Lebanese experts (residents and expatriates) and international experts and following the findings of the United Nations in its various international conferences since 1990.

Our mission means establishing programs that guarantee citizens' social and political rights without discrimination. It also ensures the elimination of deprivation for all social groups and sets balanced development for all regions. All this is through the preparation of an integrated program in cooperation between Lebanese experts (residents and expatriates) and international experts and following the findings of the United Nations in its various international conferences since 1990.

Why Now?

Former Foreign Minister Dr. Elie Salem says in his memoirs: «The accurate objective writing (and research) requires a certain distance of time and a neutral position for the writer so that he knows the truth from all sides. » We have found it very useful to conduct studies and research that help determine the priorities that may be granted to the types of assistance and policies provided to Lebanon within the peace-building framework.

 We interacted with the World Bank report, so we established this Organization (the Lebanese Organization for Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development) in the hope of contributing to defining the types of assistance and the nature of the aid that increase growth and meet the conditions of national security, as well as good policies that should be given priority, relying on the opinions of Lebanese citizens whom can identify their issues and problems, and suggest solutions that fit this goal. All programs aimed at building peace in a particular country must emanate from within it but in harmony with the general principles endorsed by the international community in the service of peace, development, progress, and prosperity.

The founders of this Organization hope that this Organization will turn into a model for countries that have suffered or are suffering from wars. While we adhere to the Constitution of Lebanon under the Taif Agreement as a starting point for our activities, we are working to confirm Lebanon’s position as an active and committed member of the Charter of the League of Arab States and also as a founding and active member of the United Nations.

Lebanon is the civilized bridge between East and West, and it ought to be helped to rebuild peace in it to serve its role as a model for dialogue among civilizations, which contributes to strengthening international peace and security. Lebanon now needs international support and the strengthening of the principles of justice as a system that advances peace, harmony, and cooperation among its people and between Lebanese and their neighbors and the rest of the world.

 Minister Salem wrote in his memoirs (p. 77) that Mrs. Margaret Thatcher asked him the following questions during a meeting between them on December 8, 1982: "The conflict in your country, to what extent is it considered a civil conflict? To what extent is it considered a regional conflict? And to what extent is it International? Who are the groups fighting in Lebanon? Why did Lebanon collapse in this way? Was it possible to prevent that collapse? Does your crisis have an end? Can our contribution help in resolving the crisis? If we participate, we must succeed. What is the probability of success? Mrs. Thatcher said when she listened to Minister Salem, «Your story seems to be a long one, but you had a functioning democracy, and you were enjoying stability and freedom. I want with all my heart to help you restore your freedom and stability. I swear to God. You face enormous problems.» That was in 1982. But all the developments later did not change the fact that Lebanon still suffers from wars and conflicts.

 This presentation clarifies the cultural depth of the Lebanese people and confirms that we will work to understand the facts that formed the causes of the wars that Lebanon suffered. We wish we could respond to such questions raised by Mrs. Thatcher, which are firmly rooted in the mind of every international official and researcher interested in international relations, and achieve an integrated program for building peace and sustainable development.

 

 

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