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    To a Hesitant Friend

    Severe political and sectarian classifications in Lebanon today divide us and put us before a number of evidences, which are sometimes lost in the heat of the moment or because of fiery speeches and smear campaigns. They are as follows:

    One: Since February 14, 2005, we have had two choices. The choices are, on the one hand, between civil peace and some semblance of an independent, stable albeit fragile state, and, on the other, destruction in an open regional battle with all kinds of overbidding that with time will become an internal struggle followed by complete devastation from which it will be difficult to rise again.

    Two: Due to the foreign alliances of each of the major Lebanese sectarian blocs, the choice we have is, on the one hand, that of political and economic ties that include most countries of the world and which would allow us relative neutrality and protection from the consequences of any clash in the region. On the other hand, we can choose political and military ties that link us (under the pretext of rejectionism or resistance) to two countries who merely supply us with weapons to fight with, so as to preserve their own interests and weapons and protect their regimes, pushing us toward our own destruction.

    Three: Since the start of the string of assassinations in our country, we have contemplated two possibilities; either facing the perpetrator and suffering more losses, until we force him to face justice under international law, or surrendering and giving in to his conditions that will not necessarily stop his crimes against us.

    Four: We must choose between the Lebanon we knew before 1975, the Lebanon of freedom and prosperity, notwithstanding the nepotism, corruption and tensions present then, and between post-1975 Lebanon, which is plagued by a string of catastrophes and bloody clashes.

    Five: We stand before two paths, one that even with its already-ugly sectarianism (and its inability to find a final solution to the divisions) can allow for diversity and fraternity. The second path adopts sectarianism and mixes religious and social matters as a means of forcing society to yield to sectarianism’s so-called supremacy.
    Six: We are before two scenes: The first includes a variety of parties with their different backgrounds and calculations, and the other is dominated by a party deriving its strength from its weapons and ideology and aiming to control the state’s foreign policy as well as the decision-making powers on security, war and peace.

    Facing these possibilities, can we hesitate in our choice?

    Facing these choices, is it enough to say neither party has a reform-minded cause and that both embrace sectarianism?
    Of course not.

    When the moment comes to choose what should be obvious, we must admit that we have chosen a rather necessary but limited and circumstantial option, and we reserve our right to question it and not grant it absolute power over all matters.
    We must emphasize also that our duty lies in establishing something more substantial, something we can strive for in the shape of a modern state to ensure justice and equality for all its citizens before the law, a state that is capable of saving us from choices we are facing today.

    Ziad MAJED
    NOW Lebanon

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