Rights & Concerns of the Lebanese Armenian Community must be Honored
By Elias Bejjani - LCCC Chairman

September 11/06

The LCCC (Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council) strongly denounces the Lebanese Government's unjust refusal to call off the Turkish Army's participation in the UN Peacekeeping forces (UNIFIL) mandated by the UN Security Council to deploy in South Lebanon in the aftermath of the devastating 34-day long Israeli-Hezbollah war. The denied request was made officially by Lebanon's Armenian community in all its denominational, political and social sectors and representatives. The same appeal was made to the UN General Secretary, Mr. Kofi Annan.

The government's refusal of the request is not merely a harsh response of indifference and an act of condescendence in dealing with one of Lebanon's basic eighteen communities that make up the multicultural and multiethnic Lebanese society, but it is in fact a blatant infringement on a central article of the Lebanese constitution that states: "No authority violating the common co-existence character shall be legitimate".

Alienating the Armenian community, ignoring its genuine concerns and keeping a blind eye on its painful history hinders Lebanon's national unity, indicates plainly and sadly that the Saniora government is ruling with the same oppressive strategies of marginalization and discrimination inflicted by the Baathist Syrian regime on numerous Lebanese communities during Syria's 29-year long horrible occupation that came to an end 16 months ago.

The Lebanese Armenian's community cry for justice is well understood and well supported by the majority of the Lebanese people. This well-respected community does not believe that the Turks should be allowed under any given circumstances to be a part in any peacekeeping mission before their state admits publicly the genocidal massacres the Turkish Ottoman rulers committed in 1915 against the Armenian people. 1.5 million Armenians were brutally murdered in cold blood by the Ottoman Turkish Army in 1915 and many territories of their country were confiscated and still are.

This is besides the fact that the Turkish Army is not qualified to play a neutral role between the parties involved in the current conflict unfolding on the Lebanese soil. The Turkish Parliament has made the participation of its troops in UNFIL conditional on not taking part in any assignment aiming to disarm Hezbollah.

Meanwhile the Lebanese people did not yet forget the hardships, oppression, starvation, displacement, torture and humiliation committed by the Ottomans during their 400 years of bloody and criminal occupation of Lebanon and neighboring countries that ended with World War I.

The LCCC appeals to both the Lebanese Government and the United Nations to call off immediately the participation of the Turkish Army in the peacekeeping mission of UNIFIL in Lebanon, and to block any other UN similar task involving the Turks before the Turkish Government publicly and officially admits the Genocide Massacres the Ottomans committed in 1915 against the Armenian people and accepts all ethical, moral and legal responsibilities.

The LCCC affirms the fact that any marginalization of any of Lebanon's eighteen distinct cultural, ethnic and religious communities is in effect a flagrant infringement on the Lebanese constitution, the principle of shared living, consensual democracy, national unity and the UN Human Rights Charter .  

We salute the Lebanese Armenian community in its longing for justice and fully support its legitimate request submitted for both the Lebanese government and the UN.

*Elias Bejjani
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)
E.Mail phoenicia@hotmail.com

 LCCC Web Site http://www.10452lccc.com
CLHRF Website http://www.clhrf.com

*The lccc is a Federal umbrella for the following nonprofit municipal, provincial and federal Canadian registered groups:
Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation,  (CLHRF),  Canadian Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement (FPM-Canada), Phoenician Club of Mississauga (PCOM),/Canadian Phoenician Community Services Club (CPCSC),Canadian Lebanese Christian Heritage Club (CLCHC),World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU)-Canadian Chapter.