Since first appearing on our screens, twenty years ago, May Chidiac, has always been distinguished by her dazzling presence, her charming smile and her argumentative liveliness. These characteristics were repeatedly and poignantly invoked during the solidarity meeting held on Thursday, 29 th September, 2005 , at LBCI’s headquarters, to condemn the assassination attempt which May survived but suffered an amputated leg and arm.
Throughout this unprecedented rally, in terms of sheer numbers of participants and media coverage, carefully selected pictures and television footage were shown, with utmost sensitivity, in a bid to counter the horrifying pictures shown on Sunday September 25, 2005 , where May appeared injured, bloodied, and in pain on a hospital bed with her eyes staring into emptiness.
In The hall where journalists and media professionals sat, comments were made, some sarcastic, other more serious, on the security measures adopted by each individual in light of the latest bombing.
Explosions and targeted killing have become the latest Lebanese obsession, especially for those in the media. After the assassination of Samir Qasir and the latest attempt pn May Chidiac’s life, and other violence, the number of likely targets has dramatically increased to include individuals from different persuasions, with many fearing they might be next.
This is what Qasir’s murderers and those who tried to kill May, who is now being treated at Hotel Dieu hospital, wanted to achieve. Her family is currently living through tense moments wondering whether their daughter will comprehend last week’s events and accept that she has lost her arm and leg and that her life will never be the same.
Will May successfully overcome her ordeal and return to work with her usual elegance?
Many believe she will… Her possible return will represent a powerful response against those who tired to kill her.
In the meantime, however, how shall one respond to these assassination attempts? How are journalists and media professionals to respond other than to be cautious and concerned?
Undoubtedly, silence and evasion are not the answer. Neither are additional security precautions and daily inspections of vehicles to locate any explosive devices. Truly, what a sorry state of affairs!
In Lebanon , those who work in the media have lived through a tumultuous era where fear and false revelations were common. Some resisted while others were afraid and practices caution; many entered the fray and participated.
The moment of truth has arrived; we need to stop and analyze the situation with all honesty.
In order to avoid carefully selected slogans and expressions, words ought to narrate the pressures inflicted on the Lebanese media. Newspapers should devote large sections to expose the experiences their journalists and similarly with television channels .Let everyone announce what we have been repeatedly saying in private.
Such a courageous stance is needed for May to stop staring at emptiness and for Samir Qasir’s blood not to have been shed for nothing. Lest we forget the gruesome murder of Libyan journalist Dhaif al Ghazal and all other oppressed and assassinated journalists. Journalists in Lebanon and the rest of the Arab world should speak up and tell their stories never told before.