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April Fools’ Day Alliance - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Lebanese were surprised by their newspapers on April 1 that published news and pictures of a meeting between Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and the Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Damascus as part of a series of comments, apologies, explanations and interviews by Jumblatt to say sorry for the transgressions and hurtful insults he made against Syria and its president. This visit comes in the framework of what is being called the road to reconciliation with Damascus, and improving ties between the two countries and some political parties.

Of course, this new positive atmosphere and healthy and effective political climate could only be achieved by a collective effort made by Syria and the rational [figures] in Lebanon, and all of this is backed by the balanced approach of Saudi foreign policy, which sees that the Arab public good requires looking further beyond individual and emotional attitudes. But, in order to make things right, there must be a general reformist approach in a number of directions. The offense that was caused was not caused by Syria and its leaders alone; people affiliated to the opposition or the resistance (whichever is appropriate) also caused offense to important Arab figures, which did not please the Saudis, Egyptians or Jordanians, especially the offense caused by Wiam Wahhab, some Hezbollah MPs, the Amal Movement, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and the Baath Party in Lebanon. This offense still stands and no apologies have been made for it and as a result people are yet to get over these verbal attacks.

These verbal attacks that took place should be rejected outright and not only by one party. Though the resistance has men and honorable heroes, it also has troublemakers and they are in urgent need to learn manners and to be shown the right path. It is ironic that the Lebanese woke up to Jumblatt’s new activity on April Fools’ Day. In order for the people and the world not to feel that what was happening was only an April Fools’ Day trick rather than a complete methodical change and a return to wisdom and rationality, there must be reform in words and actions on everybody’s part. The worst that came out of some mouthpieces – whether they were representing certain partisan symbols or [bias] media personalities – was the abuse and insults against important figures in Arab politics, which is something immoral and absolutely unacceptable. Today, Wiab Wahhab is preparing to go to Baabda Palace to apologize to the head of the Lebanese republic Michel Sleiman after he rebuked and criticized him harshly and called for his resignation. This is also a step on the right path to “teaching manners” and making things rights. But yet again, this issue must be a general move and not a selective one.

The offence that was caused to Saudi Arabia and its leadership, Egypt and its leadership, and Jordan and its leadership still exists, and to make things right again whoever carried out this disgraceful and offensive act needs to publicly apologize. Lebanon is in desperate need of gaining the world’s respect in order to take steps towards reconciliation and this will not come about without certain politicians first respecting themselves!

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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