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Bashir Gemayel: A Necessary Discussion Among Many Others

S

Souss

Well-Known Member
Almost a quarter century after his death, Bashir Gemayel remains one of the most controversial figures of the Lebanese war, if not the most controversial. Conversations about him still raise pulses many years after he violently left this world. Some consider him the Christians’ saviour, others only see a power-hungry criminal who didn’t hesitate to slaughter people based on religion.

Any discussion using this type of indecisive – albeit true – statement is bound to end up in a cacophony of yelling and insults (as they so often do), simply because there exists no widely accepted credible reference to tip the balance in favour of one side or the other. Bashir may have helped/saved Muslim families; he may also have killed “3al hawiyye”, or both. He may have been a strict applier of international law, or the worst war criminal ever. He probably was somewhere in between, but we are in no position to accurately assess that, and until we realize it we will keep having pointless arguments that lead to nowhere but further polarization. The judgment that matters, if it ever comes, will come from Lebanese institutions. In the meantime, for the sake of our discussion, let’s try to consider only information that is widely accepted as factual.

A few points that should be stressed before continuing: In order to seriously analyze events/situations, be it the Palestinian problem in Lebanon or the September 11th attacks or any other, we must look at the underlying causes that lead to that event in order to accurately explain it, and eventually propose possible solutions to it. For example, one cannot look at the September 11th attacks and consider them completely independent of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or of the soviet invasion of Afghanistan and American foreign policy at that time. Claims that “they attacked us out of nowhere” or “they attacked us because in their essence, they are evil and they hate our way of life” cannot be taken seriously.

Bashir Gemayel was against Palestinian presence in Lebanon and decided to fight it militarily, outside the realm of the Lebanese Army. But why were the Palestinians able to settle in Lebanon in the first place? Why was Jordan able to counter Palestinian presence when it became too intrusive (granted, using brutal repression) as opposed to the Lebanese? The widely accepted - perhaps overly obvious - answer is that the Lebanese were divided. Had the Palestinians not enjoyed significant local Lebanese support, it’s unlikely that they would have been able to create a state within a state like was the case.

So why on earth would a fraction of Lebanese side with foreigners against their own? Is it because they are evil in their essence? Far from it. One would be ignoring several factors, one of them being the reality of the Maronite (and more generally, Christian) kingdom that pre-war Lebanon was. The term “kingdom” is hardly an exaggeration. A simple look at the Constitution of the First Republic suffices for the objective reader to notice that the Maronite President had more prerogatives than today’s US President. From appointing all ministers including the Prime Minister without mandatory consultations, to dissolving Parliament, negotiating/ratifying treaties, proposing legislation, heading the executive branch, etc. One would also be ignoring the central government’s complete failure in providing development for peripheral areas, that still today lack basic infrastructure such as electricity lines and water pipes (Akkar for example). And how could we not take into account our proclaimed leaders’ - that we rank up there right next to God, without any exception - complete failure in making the right decisions that could have avoided war, and perhaps more importantly our stubborn persistence in keeping them our leaders? Leaders who looked to the outside for solutions when they should’ve looked to the inside, and who (consciously or not) made the situation worse instead of improving it because they lacked the vision, courage or desire to address the real causes: Political and social discrimination along sectarian lines.

The Palestinian face of Lebanese dividedness was the Cairo Accords. In 1968 Israel destroyed the Middle East Airlines fleet in response to the hijacking by the PFLP of an El Al airliner. What did leaders like Pierre Gemayel, Bashir’s own father, think would happen when they signed that pivotal and infamous agreement that allowed Palestinians to carry out raids on Israel from Lebanese soil, agreement that became one of the main drivers of the Israeli expedition all the way to Beirut 13 years later? Could the same school of thought and decision-making processes (without ignoring the differences between the father and the son) that brought us to the point of no-return, get us out of the ensuing tragic situation, let alone put us on the right path?

Bashir reacted to a Palestinian fait accompli. Yes, he fought what clearly was unacceptable foreign intrusion. Perhaps he made right decisions in that context. But he failed to see that he should have tried to change that context by addressing the real causes, causes that stemmed from the deep injustice of the pre-war Lebanese political and social system. And assuming he wanted to change it, he failed to see that the path he chose – crushing Christian competitors first, and then crushing the other side with Israeli support – was the wrong one. It took Lebanon 15 years of bloody war to finally decide to reform that system, with the much-less-than-perfect Taef Agreement and all the problems associated with it.

To be able to move forward as a group, we must deal with our demons, so to speak. It is necessary to close the files of the war in order to mature as a nation. It is necessary to agree once and for all on many pending subjects, and Bashir Gemayel is one of them. Avoiding it under the pretext that “we don’t want to open wounds” or “we should put the past aside” means we are perpetuating a conflict in our minds that is at the source of our inability to move forward today.
 
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  • jiugiusti

    jiugiusti

    New Member
    To be able to move forward as a group, we must deal with our demons, so to speak. It is necessary to close the files of the war in order to mature as a nation. It is necessary to agree once and for all on many pending subjects, and Bashir Gemayel is one of them. Avoiding it under the pretext that “we don’t want to open wounds” or “we should put the past aside” means we are perpetuating a conflict in our minds that is at the source of our inability to move forward today.
    After looking at the lebanese now, do you really think that closing files will ever happen in their minds or in the minds of their leaders?
    I don't.
    Each has it own versions of what happened; for some it is facts; for others it is propaganda.
     
    S

    Souss

    Well-Known Member
    After looking at the lebanese now, do you really think that closing files will ever happen in their minds or in the minds of their leaders?
    I don't.
    Each has it own versions of what happened; for some it is facts; for others it is propaganda.
    It's not an easy task, and it's a necessary one. I'm sure in september 2004 you didnt think that 6 months later the Syrian army would be out of Lebanon.
    I'm not saying this exercise is the same as kicking a foreign army out, but just pointing out that what may seem impossible today may not be that far-fetched.

    With regard to people having different versions, that's why we should try to work only with events that are widelly accepted as factual.
     
    Motorcity

    Motorcity

    Well-Known Member
    Very Insightful as usual Souss!

    We all belong to this peace of land East of the Mediterranean bounded by Nakoura in the South & Naher El bared in the north, true!
    May be some of us were unvolenteringly joined into the "Greater" Lebanon, but thru most of the 20th century we all came to realize Lebanon as our destiny, after a long painful path!

    But before getting into the details of Power sharing, and Balanced development, we should stop by a very important point that should be acknowledged & declared by all parties:

    Lebanon is for all Lebanese!

    -The Mostly "Muslim" pan Arabs should stop thinking of Lebanon as a temporary settlement between different sects that is weakened by Arab Strength, awaiting the great Arab or Syrian Unity!
    -The mostly "Christian" Lebanese nationalists should stop thinking of Lebanon as a Gift of the Lord, exclusive to its establishers!!!


    Until these two acknowledge what Lebanon is, we are just playing the lost time!
     
    R

    Rainbow

    Active Member
    We have to accept political points of view of everybody (either they are Horas Arz or Baath),

    What should not accept however those who ordered killing of civilians on sectarian basis are (SABT ASWAB/ HARB JABAL/ DAMOUR/ KARANTINA, etc...)

    BG ordered SABT ASWAD, regardless his political ideas (WATAN KAWMI MASIHI or a UNIFIED LEBANON, with or against ISRAEL, etc...) AL SABT AL ASWAD like HARB AL JABAL, LIKE EHDEN massacre etc..., those are "notes eliminatoires", BG/ Jumblat/ Geagea, etc.. Who fall under this category of (Crimes contre l'humanite) are not controversial figures, they are simply criminals.

    Al SABT AL ASWAD occurred because a Friday night of 1976, four Christians young men were killed (I still remember that night, I was in Beit Mery with my family and one of the killed was from Beit Mery (Roy Chaanine) and people were angry and agitated, many sources confirm that BG ordered “a la letter” to “kill 40 Muslims” as a revenge, the KATAEB ended up by killing 400 the day after (AL SABT AL ASWAD)

    So please we have to distinguish between Saints and Sinners…
     
    lady_forever

    lady_forever

    Active Member
    I always considered Bashir Gemayel as a great man who wanted to liberate Lebanon but unfortunately as always when some feel that a leader is a threat to their conspiracy they assassinate them...He wanted to liberate our country from palestenians and unite Lebanon all...God bless his soul he was a great loss to our country
     
    Inanna

    Inanna

    Well-Known Member
    I always considered Bashir Gemayel as a great man who wanted to liberate Lebanon but unfortunately as always when some feel that a leader is a threat to their conspiracy they assassinate them...He wanted to liberate our country from palestenians and unite Lebanon all...God bless his soul he was a great loss to our country
    same here! i believe he had a dream! and we can't know if he would've achieved it or not! he wanted to unite muslims and christians together! and he want to get the syrians and palestinians out!
    great men are very rare!
     
    coralie

    coralie

    Legendary Member
    Very Insightful as usual Souss!

    We all belong to this peace of land East of the Mediterranean bounded by Nakoura in the South & Naher El bared in the north, true!
    May be some of us were unvolenteringly joined into the "Greater" Lebanon, but thru most of the 20th century we all came to realize Lebanon as our destiny, after a long painful path!

    But before getting into the details of Power sharing, and Balanced development, we should stop by a very important point that should be acknowledged & declared by all parties:

    Lebanon is for all Lebanese!

    -The Mostly "Muslim" pan Arabs should stop thinking of Lebanon as a temporary settlement between different sects that is weakened by Arab Strength, awaiting the great Arab or Syrian Unity!
    -The mostly "Christian" Lebanese nationalists should stop thinking of Lebanon as a Gift of the Lord, exclusive to its establishers!!!



    Until these two acknowledge what Lebanon is, we are just playing the lost time!
    i Totaly agree with you motorcity !
    Bashir was and is no more ! back then they use to call him "al 7elem" the dream . nothing was left of this dream he died and did they respect his legacy ?? what is left of what Bashir promoted ??? nothing ......

    we can not deny the bloody past of this christian leader yet we cant deny his patriotisme and will to unite this nation ! i start to applaude Bashir when he started calling for this unity never before i was totaly against his military actions even if many will say it was a must for the survival of the christian comunity unfortunatly i dont see that this policy realy saved this comunity from a disaster !
    i only can remember Bashir in his last few months when he gathered around him all the lebanese when he defended fiercely the 10452 km2 the freedom and independence of Lebanon . and this is the only thing we should be keeping in our minds . Lebanon is for the Lebanese and they all should work to implement this truth forgeting about "al intima2 al 3arabi" or whatever they invent to keep this country divided !
    all the Lebanese should start backing their own cause before defending any other arab causes !
    Bashir had his mistakes if we deny it we will be falling again in the wrong doing the objectivity in our patriotic choices is a must ! some can say he was a mass murderer some a hero , he was both , he is no more , so lets use the positive things he did to go forward why we need to wake up the dead let them rest in peace ! we still have mass murderers living among us rulling like kings and above all dividing and spreading hatred among all the Lebanese let us take care of those and let us juge the living not the dead !
     
    JD06

    JD06

    Active Member
    i believe the christians wer in a very bad situation,, we could have eithr run or fought we decided to fight,, i thnk bachir made all the right moves,, if we didnt have people like abu arz and bachir i doubt thr would b any christians in leb right now

    i no alot of ppl are against wat i say but ths is wat i believe, tht if we hadnt been soo ruthless we wouldnt be here today, and we wouldnt be the only christian community in the middle east with some political say, my dad who used to fight with the goc in the war told me thy used to c ppl from sudan,egypt palestine syria,,all against the christians,, do u thnk if we didnt have bachir and abu arz we would still b here?????
     
    S

    saharr

    Active Member
    despite if u conseider him as a criminal or a struggeler, BG was a gr8 man, a gr8 leader, "charismatique" en premier lieu, if u love him or not u feel that u cant block ur ears when u hear a speech for him. i cant judge him cz we were in WAR time if we can call it so, and those who killed him didnt let us c him as only a political not militia man. once (since 5years) a friend told me that god created 2 men to save leb BG who was assassinated and GMA who was exhiled, i dont know if we can compare, but the true thing is that both of them r straight direct persons saying the truth no matter how the truth is hard, they were both a dream for many lebanese, one was eliminated with a sad crime, the second is still on its way to come true.
     
    jiugiusti

    jiugiusti

    New Member
    It's not an easy task, and it's a necessary one. I'm sure in september 2004 you didnt think that 6 months later the Syrian army would be out of Lebanon.
    I'm not saying this exercise is the same as kicking a foreign army out, but just pointing out that what may seem impossible today may not be that far-fetched.

    With regard to people having different versions, that's why we should try to work only with events that are widelly accepted as factual.
    Unfortunately, it is almost impossible task. (Besides, we did not 'kick' the syrian out. USA kicked the syrian out. See different versions for the same event).

    Now, how can we close files when in the latest election and after 30 years of war and post war, the lebanese voted again according to their feelings of love for this leader and with their feelings of hate for those leaders.

    Bachir Gemayel is a icon for most christian lebanese and a traitor for most muslims. This is something very very hard to change. We are not in the UK where the Queen and governement made a positive manipulative propaganda so that the british people accept Pamela Parker Bowles marriage to Prince Charles.

    And by the way, I salute HN for his wisdom (or good calcuation) not to get the muslim faith into an internal struggle. Very different than the christian leaders who care only for their own position.
     
    A

    Abraham

    Active Member
    Bachir Gemayel was a great Lebanese leader. During the early years of war, he had to defend christians against the Palestinians. The Lebanese war was as ugly as anyone can imagine. All sides committed massacres & war crimes (except for GMA). Some things could have been handled better by Bachir (Sabet el Aswad, Ihden, Safra). However, Bachir had a dream called 10452 (unlike some LF leader) and died for it. Bachir's dream was to build a strong, united, democratic Lebanon. I think we owe him a lot of respect as to not classify him as murderer.

    Cheers
     
    Mey

    Mey

    Well-Known Member
    I hope no one will feel offended, but I will ask some truly honest questions and want truly honest answers.

    I have never been able to understand the hypocrisy of some Lebanese when dealing with the issue of Bashir Gemayil.

    I truly and honestly want to understand, when they call Bashir a hero, a martyr, a legend, al 7elem, about whom are they talking ?

    What makes Bashir different than Samir Geagea ? Different than Walid Jumblat ? Different than Nabih Berri ? Different than Elie Hobeika ?

    They all had their agendas, they all were pawns of foriegn forces, they all slaughtered, ya3ne I do not understand how people come and lecture here about the greatness of Bashir.

    I truly and honestly do not understand why Samir Geagea's masssacres are called massacres while Bashir's massacres are called mistakes !

    I truly and honesly do not understand why the dealing of Jumblat with Syria is a treason whiile Bashir's with CIA and Mosad and Israel are "something he was forced to".

    I truly do not understand why when Bashir speaks about unity of Lebanese in his speeches, he is patriotic, while when Berri does that, he is just selling us words.

    Is it because you guys have not read enough ? Is it the effect of your parents ? Is it the effect of that you lived the war in a certain area where you saw him as your protector (and mind you he was your protector and other Lebanese's slaughterer).

    Why is it if we claim Jumblat as a hero, many would object because its an insult to all the Lebanese murdered by his forces, while we need to accept according to those people that Bashir is the dream ?

    Many questions about double standards, about how many of us Lebanese are biased in thier way of thinking. I always see people creating excuses for Bashir's massacres, excuses for his racism, excuses for his treason, excuses for his dealing with foriegn forces,

    Ya ret bta3to excuses for all the wralords hek killon biseero il 7ilim, w killon biseero abtal, w killon biseero saints w angels.
     
    drkalsaee

    drkalsaee

    Active Member
    I hope no one will feel offended, but I will ask some truly honest questions and want truly honest answers.

    I have never been able to understand the hypocrisy of some Lebanese when dealing with the issue of Bashir Gemayil.

    I truly and honestly want to understand, when they call Bashir a hero, a martyr, a legend, al 7elem, about whom are they talking ?

    What makes Bashir different than Samir Geagea ? Different than Walid Jumblat ? Different than Nabih Berri ? Different than Elie Hobeika ?

    They all had their agendas, they all were pawns of foriegn forces, they all slaughtered, ya3ne I do not understand how people come and lecture here about the greatness of Bashir.

    I truly and honestly do not understand why Samir Geagea's masssacres are called massacres while Bashir's massacres are called mistakes !

    I truly and honesly do not understand why the dealing of Jumblat with Syria is a treason whiile Bashir's with CIA and Mosad and Israel are "something he was forced to".

    I truly do not understand why when Bashir speaks about unity of Lebanese in his speeches, he is patriotic, while when Berri does that, he is just selling us words.

    Is it because you guys have not read enough ? Is it the effect of your parents ? Is it the effect of that you lived the war in a certain area where you saw him as your protector (and mind you he was your protector and other Lebanese's slaughterer).

    Why is it if we claim Jumblat as a hero, many would object because its an insult to all the Lebanese murdered by his forces, while we need to accept according to those people that Bashir is the dream ?

    Many questions about double standards, about how many of us Lebanese are biased in thier way of thinking. I always see people creating excuses for Bashir's massacres, excuses for his racism, excuses for his treason, excuses for his dealing with foriegn forces,

    Ya ret bta3to excuses for all the wralords hek killon biseero il 7ilim, w killon biseero abtal, w killon biseero saints w angels.

    Bravo 3laik man, that's the true hypocrisy that we see nowadays. People look at a person as a hero when it suits them and when it doesn't he's a murderer, liar, thief, traitor etc..

    oh and i'ld like to like you all to an old post by Mey:

    http://www.lfpm.org/forum/showpost.php?p=180112

    Oh and if we wanna reverse the hypocrisy, let's see why was Hezbollah created? Wasn't it in retaliation to the Israeli occupation? And we all know who allowed the Israelis to come into Lebanon. You can say that Bashir was against Israelis killing innocent Lebanese, even Muslims, but I wonder how smart was he to think that Israelis gave a damn who they killed in our beloved country be it Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian and that includes militants, women, children etc...

    Cheers.
     
    Arze

    Arze

    Legendary Member
    I hope no one will feel offended, but I will ask some truly honest questions and want truly honest answers.

    I have never been able to understand the hypocrisy of some Lebanese when dealing with the issue of Bashir Gemayil.

    I truly and honestly want to understand, when they call Bashir a hero, a martyr, a legend, al 7elem, about whom are they talking ?

    What makes Bashir different than Samir Geagea ? Different than Walid Jumblat ? Different than Nabih Berri ? Different than Elie Hobeika ?

    They all had their agendas, they all were pawns of foriegn forces, they all slaughtered, ya3ne I do not understand how people come and lecture here about the greatness of Bashir.

    I truly and honestly do not understand why Samir Geagea's masssacres are called massacres while Bashir's massacres are called mistakes !

    I truly and honesly do not understand why the dealing of Jumblat with Syria is a treason whiile Bashir's with CIA and Mosad and Israel are "something he was forced to".

    I truly do not understand why when Bashir speaks about unity of Lebanese in his speeches, he is patriotic, while when Berri does that, he is just selling us words.

    Is it because you guys have not read enough ? Is it the effect of your parents ? Is it the effect of that you lived the war in a certain area where you saw him as your protector (and mind you he was your protector and other Lebanese's slaughterer).

    Why is it if we claim Jumblat as a hero, many would object because its an insult to all the Lebanese murdered by his forces, while we need to accept according to those people that Bashir is the dream ?

    Many questions about double standards, about how many of us Lebanese are biased in thier way of thinking. I always see people creating excuses for Bashir's massacres, excuses for his racism, excuses for his treason, excuses for his dealing with foriegn forces,

    Ya ret bta3to excuses for all the wralords hek killon biseero il 7ilim, w killon biseero abtal, w killon biseero saints w angels.
    I tottaly agree with you Mey....

    I wish one day all the Lebanese ppl close that page and forget about it... because opening the old books,, will open 10000 wound,,,, Because a hero for me is a criminal for the others... and vis verca,,,
     
    S

    saharr

    Active Member
    mey ur post is gr8, im not defending BG, but like it or not many people liked him the same they like jumblat SG, EH and many others, this is called democracy, every one has his reasons the same as u have ur reasons for loving GMA (i guess), the same i find GMA a dream, others find someone else representing their dreams
     
    LebArmenian

    LebArmenian

    Well-Known Member
    Mey , bashir is a hero because he resisted against the Palestinians and the Syrians , the enemies of Lebanon , that makes him different then samir geagea .

    Bashirs plan was the unity of Lebanon , he always called for that and he always dreamed about peace and wanted peace .and was against foreign intervention in Lebanon thats why he was assassinated , ( just a reminder , he got killed after refusing the israeli deal ( few days after )
     
    A

    Abraham

    Active Member
    Everybody is entitled to his/her own belief. Bachir was not perfect, he made big mistakes. He dealt with Israel since the alternative was to get on the ship and leave (thanks to our American and Arab friends). War crimes were committed by all sides not only him. No one claims that Bachir was a saint.
    However, he was a very patriotic man (not too many current leaders can claim that especially the ones that burnt Lebanese flags and massacred army officers).
    After someone dies, we don't only remember their negatives. That's the point I was trying to make.


    Cheers
     
    Flamenguita

    Flamenguita

    Active Member
    Bashir Gemayel was a dream shattered in 1982, a continuous suffering remained from all the hope we build on him when we , even young, saw him speak on TV about the great futur he tried to make for Lebanon. " 10452 km2 Lebnen"... Hope and Pray GMA will be able to continue the path that Bashir traced by his blood along with all the victims of the Lebanese war...
     
    AliArz

    AliArz

    Active Member
    Bg = Ya, Jan...

    I hope no one will feel offended, but I will ask some truly honest questions and want truly honest answers.

    I have never been able to understand the hypocrisy of some Lebanese when dealing with the issue of Bashir Gemayil.

    I truly and honestly want to understand, when they call Bashir a hero, a martyr, a legend, al 7elem, about whom are they talking ?

    What makes Bashir different than Samir Geagea ? Different than Walid Jumblat ? Different than Nabih Berri ? Different than Elie Hobeika ?

    They all had their agendas, they all were pawns of foriegn forces, they all slaughtered, ya3ne I do not understand how people come and lecture here about the greatness of Bashir.

    I truly and honestly do not understand why Samir Geagea's masssacres are called massacres while Bashir's massacres are called mistakes !

    I truly and honesly do not understand why the dealing of Jumblat with Syria is a treason whiile Bashir's with CIA and Mosad and Israel are "something he was forced to".

    I truly do not understand why when Bashir speaks about unity of Lebanese in his speeches, he is patriotic, while when Berri does that, he is just selling us words.

    Is it because you guys have not read enough ? Is it the effect of your parents ? Is it the effect of that you lived the war in a certain area where you saw him as your protector (and mind you he was your protector and other Lebanese's slaughterer).

    Why is it if we claim Jumblat as a hero, many would object because its an insult to all the Lebanese murdered by his forces, while we need to accept according to those people that Bashir is the dream ?

    Many questions about double standards, about how many of us Lebanese are biased in thier way of thinking. I always see people creating excuses for Bashir's massacres, excuses for his racism, excuses for his treason, excuses for his dealing with foriegn forces,

    Ya ret bta3to excuses for all the wralords hek killon biseero il 7ilim, w killon biseero abtal, w killon biseero saints w angels.
    Mehyar,

    You have a point, I agree.

    But I put him on the same level as the other leaders in the region more then on the same level as the other Lebanese officials...

    For example, wether we like it or not, Yasser Arafat will always be seen as a Palestinian "symbol" to the eyes of many Palestinians....

    Abdul Nasser will always be seen as a "hero" for Egypt...

    I think Bashir was in their level...he was the Lebanese version of them...

    Just like them, he killed many people from the same religion as his and from another religion as his...

    He mocked many people, from his own community to the other communities...

    Everything they did, he did them.

    Odd enough, their crimes are bigger then his.

    If many people support Arafat and Abdul Nasser, including among the Lebanese Muslims, then I do not see why a Bashir Gemayel should not be tolerated.

    Even at that, people will not see him for this.

    Hope all is well,

    Ali Arz
     
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