We know little about the circumstances surrounding the majority of present or past events, be they wars, treaties, detentions, assassinations, or states of concord and discord.
The reason being that the main actors do not tell the reality of the roles they played, either to protect their interests, out of fear for themselves and their loved ones, or to conceal a secret whose exposure poses a threat.
Whatever the reason may be, we have many versions of the same historical event; every narrative offers a new telling and a new perspective. This is not only the case with Arab and Muslim history, but with all human history.
Nevertheless, because there is more transparency in the West than elsewhere, narratives of history and reality are richer there.
At certain moments, perhaps when decades have passed, untold narratives become ripe to be told and revealed.
Today, we see the Lebanese political leader Walid Jumblatt give a historic testimony on the 2005 assassination of the late Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in the Hague.
A socialist statesman and pan-Arabist Druze leader, Jumblatt is characterized by his adaptability, and enjoys a profound sense of history and major events. At the start of his testimony, Jumblatt said he began a career in journalism working for the Lebanese An-Nahar newspaper before he was elected as the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) six weeks after his father Kamal was murdered in 1977.
When his father founded the PSP in 1949, Jumblatt said: “He [Kamal] aspired to alter the sectarian-based political system in Lebanon but the sectarian circumstances in Lebanon were stronger.” Walid admitted: “I have failed to achieve Kamal Jumblatt’s dream and due to the circumstances our party [role] has shrunk to a limited Druze-dominated space.”
“My relationship with the Syrian regime began forty days after it assassinated Kamal Jumblatt in 1977,” he said. “In front of the conspiracy that threatened Lebanon, I had to sign a political deal with those who assassinated my father,” he added.
He went on: “During my first meeting with Bashar Al-Assad, Ghazi Kanaan [Syria’s former intelligence chief in Lebanon] told me: ‘I would like you to know who the Assads are.’ I did not give much importance to his words which I remembered well in late 2005 when Kanaan was forced to commit suicide.”
Jumblatt’s familiarity with the Syrian regime was apparent as he emphasized “the liquidation of everyone who participated in the Hariri assassination operation.”
He said: “Were Rustom Ghazaleh [Syria’s last military intelligence chief for Lebanon] summoned to the court, he would provide evidence about the assassination of Hariri,” adding, “Hikmat Al-Shihabi [former Syrian army chief of staff] warned me several times of the danger of the Syrian regime.”
The Syrian security general Ghazaleh, who is accused of being involved in the Hariri assassination, was killed by the Syrian regime a few days ago. Over the past few days, there have been conflicting reports about the chief of the National Security Bureau Brig. Ali Mamluk being admitted to hospital in Damascus.
There are many in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and the Gulf who have historic testimonies to give. How many Jumblatts will it take to reveal the conspiracies in our region over the past half century?