(AsiaNews/Agencies) - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bisharah Al Rahi used extremely
strong language to criticise Lebanese politicians during a tour of Latin
America. Speaking at a meeting with the Maronite community in Colombia, he said
it was unacceptable that "after six years of discussions and wasting time,"
they have not been able "to reach common ground over an electoral law." The
patriarch also raised the issue of poverty in the country, noting that one
third of the population survives because of US$ 8 billion in annual remittances
from relatives living abroad.
Al-Rahi replaced Card Nasrallah Sfeir, who promoted national unity during Syria's
occupation of Lebanon. Now that Syria is in crisis, al-Rahi spoke at the
meeting in Colombia about his strong concern over the evolution of the crisis
in Syria and its possible repercussions on Lebanon.
"We have always
demanded others not to meddle in our local affairs and it's not acceptable for
us to interfere in the conflict in Syria," a worried cardinal said.
The Maronite patriarch's
statement echoes rising tensions along the Lebanese-Syrian border.
Hizbollah, a Shia-based
party, is pro-Assad and has provided Damascus with men to fight the widespread
opposition. At the same time, a growing number of Lebanese Sunnis have joined
the fight against the Syrian regime.
In recent days,
fighting at al-Qusayr, near the Lebanese border saw the participation of
Lebanese Sunnis. Media reports indicate that Hizbollah lost about 20 fighters.
always been an example of Christian-Muslim social and political coexistence. However,
between 1975 and the 1990, the country was torn apart by a bloody civil war
between sectarian factions, fuelled by outside forces like Syria and Israel.
civil war spill over into Lebanon, it might reignite sectarian rivalry among the
most extremist groups in the country's various religious communities.