Patriarch Raï slams politicians and institutions over 'unacceptable situation' in Lebanon

Meeting the press in his summer residence, the cardinal attacks the leaders of the security forces and recalls the values ​​underlying the national agreement.  Taëf's agreement disregarded "in letter and in spirit".  Constitution and laws the "path to follow" in a period of strong tensions.  The danger of an escalation between Saudi Arabia and Iran.


Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A harsh attack on the top of the Internal Security Forces, an appeal to revive the national agreement of Taëf [which put an end to the wars in Lebanon from 1975 to 1990, ed] and to respect the constitutional principles.  Maronite patriarch Card Beshara Raï had strong words of criticism, during a meeting with a delegation from the Lebanese journalists' order led by its president Joseph Kossayfi.  The Cardinal said"Take  your hands off the security services and stop politicizing and confessionalizing justice".

For those present, reporters and personalities who attended the meeting held yesterday in the patriarchal  summer residence of Dimane, on the Lebanese mountain, the words of the Maronite primate were unexpected and, to a certain extent, surprising.  He wanted to launch the cry of anger and pain, in the hope of reawakening the consciences of the leaders of the nation and his people.

Today, the Cardinal warns, we run the risk of canceling that patrimony of coexistence, diversity and multiculturalism that has characterized the country since its foundation.  In this context he recalled the work of the Church and of the "seventeen" patriarchs predecessors in favor of the Lebanese "mosaic".  In particular he remembered the work of Elia Hoayek who "played a decisive role in the birth of the Great Lebanon in 1920".

However, according to the Cardinal today, instead of relaunching the ideal of trust and hope in the future, a great sense of anxiety seems to prevail in everyone.  "I am sad - he says - for those who have died for Lebanon, because today I have the impression that we have come back.  We can say that we have learned nothing "from the past.

The Land of the Cedars is famous for the Taëf agreement, achieved thanks to the mediation of the predecessor Nasrallah Sfeir, who privileged the compromise in a perspective of peace with respect to the continuation of the war.  Today, he warns, this founding pact is no longer applied, "neither in word nor in spirit".  "The problem - he continues - is that the authority does not decide.  Proof of this is the Qabr Chamoun incident (at the end of June two agents from the emigration minister's escort were killed, in ver shady circumstances), which paralyzes the government and is a source of political and institutional controversy.

 "The Constitution, the national pact, the laws are the path to follow" warns Card.  Rai.  "If we don't follow them  we fall into the precipice".  An even greater danger today, in a context of regional tensions triggered by political, economic and denominational rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran.

Finally, the cardinal appealed to the general director of security services (FSI) Imad Osman, who is believed to use "artfully constructed files" and endorse "torture" against prisoners in the institution's most hidden cells.  "The situation - the cardinal concludes - has become unacceptable, because we are moving further away from the concept of the State".  The accused, General Osman, responded to the accusations of the Maronite leader, who invited the patriarch to "meet the tortured prisoners" or the people "against whom the files were made" in person.