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An Appeal to Nabih Berri - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Please don’t be surprised …! Nabih Berri, President of the Lebanese National Assembly, has called upon the Arab League, international organizations, Arab and Muslim leaders, religious authorities and every sincere Muslim to intervene to protect Iraq’s Christians.

Berri didn’t stop there, he also urged the Arab League to launch an initiative and to hold a conference for Arab Awqaf Ministers [religious endowments] in Mosul, warning against attempts to target Christians and the disintegration of Iraq.

If this appeal came from a man like Nelson Mandela then we would have said, “here is a man who does as he says”, but for it to come from Mr. Berri is both perplexing and difficult to digest even by those who are politically savvy.

So how can Berri call for Iraq’s unity and the protection of one of its demographics, when this is the very thing he did not do on May 7, when the Iranian-backed Hezbollah together with Amal militias associated with Mr. Berri occupied Beirut?

If Mr. Berri is warning against foreign designs amid at dividing Iraq, then he should name them clearly! Is he referring to the Americans? If that’s the case then the question that should be asked is: did the Americans arm Hezbollah fighters and Amal forces during the Beirut coup? Did Washington give the green light for Beirut’s occupation; historically its second occupation after Israel’s occupation of the Lebanese capitol?

The protection of Christians in Iraq and in the rest of the Arab world – as well as the protection of all communities – is a prerequisite by all those devoted to the unity and sovereignty of Arab states from foreign encroachments. But, does Mr. Berri share this belief?

If this is Berri’s belief, then how can he explain his earlier statements justifying the right of resistance fighters to receive foreign aid? How can he explain the change in his convictions just a few weeks later, while he pleads for the protections of Christians and the unity of Iraq? Nabih Berri wants to be perceived as the protector of Christians, but his efforts have backfired.

Mr. Berri and his Amal militia men have been instrumental in dividing Lebanon and targeting one of its demographics, which jeopardizes Lebanon’s unity and in the process threatens an Arab country to satisfy foreign interests. Therefore, we cannot be convinced by his fear for Iraq’s Christians.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, the protection if Christians in Iraq as well as all minorities in every country and the protection of every citizen regardless of their creed or doctrine is everyone’s duty. However, for this to happen, politicians must stop trading with the lives of human beings, regardless of identity or religion.

The first step towards this prevention is to refrain from using our homelands as an arena for foreign intervention, whether for religious reasons or other gains. This applies to Beirut as much as it applies to Baghdad. However, it seems that Mr. Berri does not recognize the prevailing concern in the Arab world, particularly amongst the moderates, which is not to turn Iraq into another Lebanon, and not vice versa.

When Mr. Berri preaches about protecting the unity of an Arab country and the protection of one its minorities, we hope that he upholds the same convictions for Lebanon.

Otherwise, he would be proving the poet right who said:

O you man who teaches others, start with yourself.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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