Beirut: Christian leaders stand with protesters, for the "rebirth" of the Lebanese people

The Lebanese religious leaders, with the exception of the Shiites, support the reasons for the protest. Government merit of having approved the budget on time recognized, but "clientelism, theft and corruption" still rampant. The invitation to maintain the "purity" of the popular movement and avoid violence. Muftì: "dangerous" turning point for the country.


Beirut (AsiaNews) - The religious leaders of Lebanon, with the only (notable) exception of the leaders of the Shiite community, have expressed support for the citizens protesting on the streets  since last October 17 to demonstrate against corruption and bad governance.

Christian leaders, Catholics, Orthodox and Evangelicals, met yesterday in Bkerké at the headquarters of the Maronite patriarchate. "We understand your cry," they said in a note and "we support your demands" because "what you have achieved is more than a revolt, it is the rebirth of the Lebanese homeland".

Patriarchal sources, reported by L’Orient-Le Jour (LOJ), stress that the final document sought to mediate between the reasons for the popular, extraordinary and exemplary protest, and the work of the government. Which, the religious leaders explain, had at least "the merit" of approving the budget within the constitutional terms, something that had not happened for 20 years.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri has shown good faith, trying to promote reforms, despite having lost a lot of credit with the population. However, critical issues remain, including an administration undermined by "clientelism, theft and corruption". "The revolt - continues the note - is a formidable lesson in civilization" and a "formidable indictment against unemployment and poverty".

Yesterday the Lebanese president Michel Aoun called the Maronite patriarch Beshara Raï and thanked him for a balanced statement, which does justice to the events. Inside there are three "appeals", which are also a support for the protests.

The first is addressed to authorities and the head of state inviting them to take stock of "the magnitude and gravity of the events", which "are not a passing phenomenon" and charging them with initiating the "necessary consultations" to "satisfy the popular demands".

In the second part, the forces that animated the revolt are invited to "preserve the purity of the movement and its peaceful soul". In this regard, respect for "freedom of movement" is essential and to maintain "a normality of life", so that "public opinion remains on their side".

Finally, Christian religious leaders address the international community to continue to support "the first democracy" in the Middle East and the first process of partnership between Christians and Muslims in the aftermath of the First World War.

Christian leaders strongly attack the political class, which has failed to grasp the "pain" of a suffering people in time. "On the contrary - they warn – the political class has pursued detours and corruption, until the final explosion ". The reforms promoted in the last few hours by the prime minister and the executive are positive but late and must result in a “concrete application" in everyday life.

Among the critical voices there is also that of the mufti of the Abdellatif Republic Deriane, who invites the State and the institutions to respond to the "just claims" of the protesters. Lebanon, explains the Sunni leader in a statement, is experiencing "a dangerous turn" that must be tackled in a serious way because it concerns "the economic and financial system" threatening the lives of citizens. The Druze leader Naïm Hassan echoes this, saying that no one has the right to "overlook or underestimate the voice of the people" at such a critical time in the nation's history.

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