Standing Up to Killers

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By Hussain Abdul-Hussain
Thursday, June 14, 2007

A bomb in Beirut yesterday killed Walid Eido, a member of the Lebanese parliament, and his son, Khaled, one of the smartest, sweetest and most delightful friends I have ever had.

I should wait for the results of an investigation into the explosion to learn who killed Khaled and his dad. But I will not wait. I am tired of the murders in Lebanon. I accuse the Syrian regime, headed by President Bashar al-Assad, of killing Khaled. As a friend of the family, I want to press charges against Assad and his Syrian and Lebanese associates. Enough is enough with the Syrian regime and its Lebanese puppets.

Walid Eido was a member of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority. Before his untimely death, the majority bloc comprised 69 of the legislature's 128 members. Now, the majority's margin has been narrowed to five, and there is no reason to believe that Syria will not go after these people and kill them, one after another, until it forces the government to collapse.

For the past few months Eido had been the target of a demonizing campaign by Syria's foremost ally, Hezbollah. Similar Hezbollah campaigns against other anti-Syrian lawmakers preceded their assassinations.

Hezbollah has been a supportive partner to Syria, often thanking the Assad regime for what it has "offered" my country. In truth, Hezbollah has sold out Lebanon's national interests to the regional autocrats of Syria and Iran.

Hezbollah might not have started the streak of assassinations of anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians that began with the killing of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri in February 2005, but the militant group has certainly been complicit with the criminal Syrian regime.

Since Hariri's murder, we in Lebanon have seen the best of our politicians and journalists murdered, one after another.

Before Khaled's death, I had already lost one of my most inspirational friends, journalist Samir Kassir. He was murdered by a car bomb on June 2, 2005.

Gebran Tueni, who had been my boss at the Arabic daily An Nahar, was killed that December, also by a car bomb.

With each murder, we Lebanese have swallowed our anger and fought hard for an international tribunal, which the U.N. Security Council approved last month. We hoped the tribunal would deter the Syrian regime and its Lebanese puppets from further killings. Yet a murderer is a murderer, with or without a tribunal, and the killings don't stop.

As I write these words, I understand that I am risking my personal safety. Speaking out could jeopardize my security during visits home.

But I owe it to Samir, Gebran and now Khaled to write this. I want to tell the Syrian regime and its Lebanese cronies that the Lebanese are willing to fight for their freedom despite the heavy cost.

And while I'm at it, I have some words for our Syrian brethren living under the tyranny of the Damascus regime: Stand up for your rights and say no to dictatorship. Tyrants might kill some Lebanese politicians and throw other Syrian human rights activists in jail, but they cannot kill all of the Lebanese or imprison all Syrians.

We shall prevail. We shall prevail for Kamal Jumblatt, Rene Moawad, Rafiq Hariri, Samir Kassir, George Hawi, Gebran Tueni, Pierre Gemayel and all other Lebanese killed at the hands of the Assad regime. We shall stand up for the Syrian freedom lovers Anwar and Akram al-Bunni, Aref Dalila, Riad Seif, Mamoun Homsi and Kamal Labwani, among others, no matter how ruthless and ugly the Syrian dictatorship can get.

There will come a day when Lebanon is free and Syria democratic.

The writer, a media analyst, is a former reporter for the Daily Star of Lebanon.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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