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Ashura 2019

 

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on the Silver Jubilee of the Islamic Association for Education and Teaching

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on the Silver Jubilee of the Islamic Association for Education and Teaching
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Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on the Silver Jubilee of the Islamic Association for Education and Teaching at the Sayyed al-Shohada Compound

19-10-2018

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our master and Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad and his good and pure household and all his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.

Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you all.

First of all, I congratulate all the brothers and sisters in this blessed institution, the Islamic Association for Education and Teaching – Al-Imam Al-Mahdi Schools. I congratulate the board of directors including its chairman and members, the administrative and teaching staff, all other employees as well as all students and graduates on this beautiful, pleasant and blessed occasion.

Twenty-five years have passed since the establishment of this institution with all these achievements, sacrifices, and positive results that we see before our eyes today.

I am honored to join you in this solemn celebration on this great occasion.

As usual, I divide the speech into two parts:

One part pertains to this occasion and the institution within the timeframe available.

And another part will address the overall situation because ultimately I am expected to tackle political developments.

There is no doubt that we are standing before great efforts, sacrifices and important bestowments that have been made since the establishment of this institution in 1993. I remember the beginnings. When we talk about the work, the effort, the results and the achievements along this path, I always say it is the outcome of a joint effort. We cannot sum-up the sacrifices, bestowments and achievements of several thousand brothers and sisters under one person or one title.

These are the fruits of your labor that you achieved working shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand.

Of course, in the beginning, we have to remember the beautiful and kind memory of a dear brother, a great teacher and a great scholar and Mujahid. Since the establishment of this institution, he was one of the founding fathers – a father and a great brother. In fact, he worked for this institution. He believed in it. He spent most of his life working for its best interests. He is Sheikh Mustafa Qasir may Allah Almighty have mercy on him. He spent the bulk of his life in this institution, knowing that he could have assumed greater responsibilities within Hezbollah. He could have been in more important, more powerful or more

influential positions. But his faith and hopes in this institution and in this project as well as our hopes made him spend all his time and life – until his last breath as he laid in his deathbed (may Allah have mercy on him) – in it. We are not talking about an entity isolated from the project and the goal.

We saw the report on the screen. Yesterday, I received a more detailed report than what was shown on the screen about the work of the association in various aspects. The dear brother Dr. Hussein sent it and I read it in full. Today when we look at the institution, I believe that after 25 years, we are looking at a significant quantitative development in the work of the Islamic Association for Education and Teaching.

The development is on all levels, including at the level of the intellectual and educational vision on which the clarity of the road and goals are based on. It is important to walk with on a clear path, to walk with guidance and not to be dim sighted: where does one want to reach, what is the path that one will take and what are the things one must do.

Under very difficult conditions that we have been experiencing over the past 25 years, including security, political and financial pressures, there has been a development at the level of vision, at the level of human, educational and administrative cadres, the competencies of these cadres, the development of the curricula and [development] at the level of the facilities and their numbers.

However, the number of establishments as well as the number of students and the number of graduates and the results during that period of time were significant. The results are very important.

From the start, my brothers and I decided to launch this project after thinking it through 1991 and 1992.  

In 1993, it was more developed and the brothers were determined that move forward. So the association was founded. To this day, the practical path and the achievements strengthen these convictions. In all sincerity I tell you that I believed and still do in this institution as the rest of my brothers. I strongly believe in it and I bet on it, its role and its position on this path. I also take pride in its achievements and successes. With your high enthusiasm, God willing, we will continue to record achievements and victories that we are proud of.

It is also clear that the effort exerted was great because the circumstances, as we have said, were difficult. Sometimes there is an institution that starts and moves in different areas under good security conditions and with assistance. You know that since 1993 there have always been incidents, developments, difficulties, challenges and dangers, both at the security and political levels, as well as various pressures and different challenges as I have just pointed out. This means that it required double the effort.

These results, which we are celebrating today after 25 years, are due to your blessing and your loyalty. It is first and foremost a blessing from God Almighty to you. It is also due to your loyalty, dedication, hard work, bright minds, and cooperation amongst you that we are where we are now. We certainly look forward to a promising future for this institution and its schools. We also look forward to further qualitative and quantitative developments at every level.

I tell you that we are a movement whose paths, institutions, formations and programs, God willing, are moving forward. There will be more qualitative and quantitative developments despite the bets of the enemies, the sanctions and the various gambits that depend on us heading towards difficult circumstances. Where were we? Since our establishment as a resistance movement, we have been living in difficult and harsh conditions. On the contrary, I tell you in a decisive manner, we are better than ever on all levels whether political, security, psychological, spiritual, moral, financial, popular, social, local, and regional.

We are better than at any other time and we will be so, God willing, in our current situation despite all the difficulties that surround us. If we compare our numbers, equipment, money and potential with that of the eighties or the nineties or even in the last decade, our situation is better. It will remain, God willing, better.

Therefore, the perception is that we will move forward and we will not stay where we are. This should be reflected on all the institutions within the Islamic Association for Education and Teaching.

Through my reading of the report, it seems that we do not have a lot of things to say to the brothers and sisters in the institution. But there are some things that must be repeated and stressed upon for the sake of focus.

The first point: the emphasis on working with the spirit as noted in the educational document, which the management of the Islamic Association of Education and Teaching along with the institutions and educational units, participated in putting forward and recently approving at an internal level.

This is important because it gives us a unified vision through which we all adhere to the role entrusted to us. So we move as one integrated body towards one specific goal.

The second thing is the importance of what you started in recent years – the communication between the institutions. The most important thing is that we do not have a state of isolation. It is true that the institution’s work in general is mostly internal. It has 17 schools where the focus is on developing the teachers, the students, the curricula as well as tending to their logistical problems. All this preoccupation often leads to isolation or reclusion.

What I should emphasize on is the call to communication among all educational institutions in Lebanon within the Islamic and Christian mediums, regardless of any sectarian and political boundaries.  

Communication within the educational sector and among people working in the field of education can be a form of national immunity and social immunity, despite the existence of political differences, political rivalries or political disputes and conflicts in the country.

In any place, whatever the political conflict and the political differences in the country, they should not lead to sharp social divisions. Frameworks, institutions and segments of society must be keen on maintaining communication. The educational institutions are better equipped for this because of the nature of their tasks. The common causes also play a role. The common interests between the educational institutions in Lebanon, although they might have different and sometimes contradictory political affiliations, can also play a significant role.

This is a point I know the institution applied. The rest of the educational institutions also applied it. But today on this anniversary, I would like to emphasize the importance of this subject.

The third thing: It is clear from the report that there is a distinct effort being exerted in the field of education. I want to emphasize this point. Sometimes it is said that educating and teaching are the same. But by saying so, one is in fact compromising.

Priority must be for education and then teaching. That is how it should be according to our intellectual reference. When Allah Almighty speaks about some prophets (peace and blessings be upon them), especially when he speaks about the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), he says: “purifying them and teaching them”. He did not say: teaching them and purifying them. He put purifying the self first. In the current term, we mean education. He put educating people before teaching. What we aspire for is that someday schools educate before teaching and graduate people with qualities including humanity, morals, nationalism and faith that are required for his society, homeland, people, environment and nation.

I would like to emphasize this subject. We always spoke about how knowledge alone without education, discipline, purifying the self and people is a double-edged sword. It is like any two things. For example, money is a double-edged sword. The weapon, the rifle and the missile are also a double-edged sword. This weapon, rifle, plane, tank and missile are used to launch an aggression against people, occupying lands of others and violating their sanctities as in Palestine and more than one country in the world. They can be used for dominance and control. This same weapon can be used in defending the oppressed, the tortured and those whose land has been occupied. They can also be used to defend our people, land and resources.

The same weapon can be used for good and can be used for evil according to the intention and usage. Money is also the same. You use money to build schools, hospitals, health centers, roads and housing for people. You spend money on creating a true economic foundation in your country so that people can at least live decent lives. Or you can use money for inciting sedition and division and starting civil wars as well as destructive wars. It can be used to appease the enemies for power or a throne. The same applies to knowledge. It may be used in the service of humanity or in the elimination of humanity, in the service of justice and in the service of injustice.

Today, America and “Israel” are using knowledge, technology and scientific development to dominate, control, steal people’s money and their capabilities and humiliate people, governments and rulers. This is knowledge. Hence, this is the reason for the constant emphasis on the importance of educating before teaching.

Educational institutions always compete in achievements and results. When the Brevet or the Baccalaureate exams – since we are talking about high schools – are over, many media organizations are interested in writing reports about how it had a 100% success level or 98-99% and so on. For them to reach 100% or 99%, they adopt a set of procedures that might be harsh on students or the parents sometimes. They might also have negative and inappropriate psychological repercussions. But they say that they have a goal and I want to maintain it even if it has negative repercussions or side effects of this sort.

I call on these institutions not to only compete in knowledge and the results of the diplomas (I do not know how this subject can be addressed and set standards). Who are these schools graduating?

This student is the first in Lebanon and this one is the second and this is the third. This is good and excellent. But on the other hand, is this person who is graduating from our school well mannered? A modest person? An obliging person? A person ready to sacrifice? A believer? A person who wants good for others? Or is he an arrogant and boastful person, a selfish person, who only cares about his interest at the expense of the rights, dignity and the feelings of others?

We are giving this person a certificate recognizing his scholastic achievement. We should set standards. It should also be part of the competition. You are capable of dealing with this subject because one of the tasks of schools is making a man out of someone.

We went to school and we know. We continued studying in the Hawza [seminary], which are also schools. We know how influenced the students are by their teachers and their education. They are influenced a lot. I can claim by a large percentage that they are more influenced by the father and the mother. In the time we live in now, students see their teachers more than their parents, especially with the cell phones around. No one sees anyone, but at least in school the student is forced to turn off his phone and look at his teachers, listen to them and talk to them. I claim today that they see their teachers more than their parents. One’s personality is shaped during the age they come to you (kindergarten, primary, intermediate and secondary). His personality is not shaped in college. In university, he expresses his personality, his intellectual affiliation and political affiliation. That is why you see that universities are an arena for ??intellectual, political and partisan activities – should the space be opened for that. Personalities are not built in universities. They are built here in kindergarten, primary, intermediate and secondary. The greatest and most sacred task today is in your hands, which is the making of Man. What kind of Man are we presenting?

This is a point I wish to be studied and applied. Some institutions are working to build a competitive table because that is what we should compete for. It should be a positive competition. The same way we compete on who presents more successful and outstanding students for the society, we must compete to present the most well-mannered, respectable, honest, humble and helpful people to society as well. According to religious and Islamic understanding, society starts here.

Before fighting the oppressor, I should work on not having an oppressor. Before fighting corruption, I should work on not having a corruptor. Before punishing the thief, I should work on not having a thief. This is normal and correct to do it.

The last thing that is related to the institution and the occasion is education.

I would like to add to the subject of education and to point out once again that the teachers’ (brothers and sisters) interest is that the students pass at the end of the year, go to a higher grade and get their certificate or be superior regardless of the real level or achievement of the education they got.

Where is the precision? There is a big difference between memorization and understanding. I am saying this because I studied in schools and then in the Hawza. I tell you that there is a fundamental difference. In the Hawza, it is not important to memorize, but it is important to understand. It does not matter how much you memorize, but rather how well you understand an idea and how it blends in your heart and mind. Hence, it becomes part of your entity. When you memorize, you might forget later (one year, two, or three). You forget a topic and is never present. I see that a lot of students especially in some subjects, for example History, Geography, Civics, or Arabic Literature, they memorize. The student does excellent in the exam and takes his certificate. He might be a straight-A student. But after a year or two, everything will be done. He has forgotten what he memorized. But the person who understands and writes, the information will be instilled in his mind and will be present. It will become part of his personality.

We must not be obsessed with getting the certificate and excelling. We must be obsessed with achieving knowledge. It is important for this generation that we teach to understand everything reasonably, with awareness and with knowledge. Even if they wanted to discuss something, we should let them. We should encourage students to discuss. They should not be receptors only. If they were only receptors, their understanding can be shaken.

Even at this age, we should discuss with them. This stage is where convictions and the intellectual bases and main elements of the human personality are built. What is important is that we have real scholars, not just people who memorize. Later on they will express themselves in college and the major he chooses. Our society should not be a receptor at all levels, including education and intellect. It should continue its intellectual and educational development in the world. We can be productive. We must be productive. We must move on to the production stage. But we cannot be productive on an intellectual and an educational level if we only memorized. We must have real scholars in all the fields and all specialties. This is built from the beginning and cannot be done only in the university. It is done from the beginning.

Your responsibility is great. Your responsibility in making Man is important, serious and great. You can do it, God willing. We commend you not only in the successes that have to do with the certificates and excellence so far but also in the generations that you have presented and which we have seen in our path, in society, along the fronts, in the barricades and at sites whether it be at the jihadi level or social or public service. We must continue with this and focus on it. God willing, you can accomplish this great, sensitive and difficult mission.

I end this part about the educational and scholastic subject. We and those of you at the Islamic Association for Education and Teaching, and all educational institutions today face a challenge, brothers and sisters. I am following up. The brothers bring me updates. Today in many places you can see that there is a push towards atheism, for example. You ask him why are you heading in this direction. He tells you, I disbelieve in Islam.

During these six or seven years, there is evidence of this kind, why? Because when I look at the Arab and Islamic world, I find nothing but illiteracy and backwardness. What is the relation between the two? 

Even though all the heavenly religions stressed on this matter, but I want to talk about the extent of the emphasis. I personally do not think that there is a religion, message or civilization in history that emphasized on the subject of knowledge more than Islam. You read it all in the Quran. You read about the scholars and knowledge {those who were given knowledge}, etc. They are also found in the Prophet’s hadith and sira. Seek Knowledge from the cradle to the grave. This is a well-known proverb which means you have to teach a person from infancy. He will continue to read, learn, listen and study until he is in his deathbed. This exists.

There is an example, the battle of Badr. It is unprecedented in history. I do not think anything like it happened afterwards. At that time, the Prophet and his companions were desperately in need of money. You know that Quraish has confiscated their money, homes and everything they possessed in Mecca. When the Prophet captured the prisoners in Bader, who were Quraish atheist and worshippers of idols, he did not ask for a ransom [Fidya] in exchange for the prisoners. Among the prisoners were educated people. Since the society was illiterate, the Prophet told them that each prisoner should teach ten Muslim men to read and write in exchange for his freedom. Read history. Has any leader done what the Prophet did? He did not take gold or silver. He did not ask for money. He asked for knowledge. Of course, this is a historic lesson. There was always emphasis on seeking knowledge. While the West was immersed in darkness, illiteracy and ignorance – where scientists were punished, lynched in the gallows and killed – the Golden Ages were in this region. No one should hold Islam responsible for the illiteracy, ignorance and backwardness existing today in the Arab and Islamic worlds. We all know who is responsible. He tells you that I renounced Islam because when I look at the Arab and Islamic world and our people, I find nothing but poverty, hunger, sickness, unemployment and destitution. My brother, what is the relationship of Islam with these issues, knowing that Islam as a religion – at the level of the book and the Sunna – addressed all these details. It spoke about Zakat, Sadaqah Wajibah [charity which is binding in nature], Sadaqah Mustahabb, great attention to the poor, the orphans and the needy as well as the traveler. There is something huge at the level of religious and Islamic legislation. If they were practiced, there would not be a poor person, a needy, or a person in debt. The problem is not with Islam. The problem is in us. Also the image that is being shown now in the ugliest and harshest form, including the barbaric image, dismembering, beheading, taking out livers and burning bodies. What do these have to do with Islam? My sisters and brothers, look at Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Do not mutilate. Mutilation is dismembering or disfiguring the body of a person, dead or alive, by cutting it and then burning it. The Messenger says: Do not even mutilate the rapacious dog. That is you should not mutilate the dog that attacks people. If you kill him, do not mutilate it. Do not cut it. If there are people these days who mutilate bodies using saws and swords, what is Islam’s relation to this?

Even if he spent morning and evening saying: Ashhadu an la ilaha illa'llah wa ashahadu ana Muhammad Rasoulullah (I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshipped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.) 1400 years ago, Muhammad the messenger of Allah said do not mutilate the rapacious dog. What is the relation of this to Islam? There is utmost respect for the dead in our religion. There is sanctity for the dead person, let alone the living. The responsibility falls on everyone – those who are committed to Islam and those who are not Muslims.

Instead of being spent on education, caring for the poor and needy, building schools and hospitals and creating job opportunities, unfortunately, hundreds of billions of dollars in the Arab and Islamic world are spent on useless wars and destroying societies in the service of “Israel”. Hundreds of billions of dollars are being paid to appease the American and Western masters to get a throne or to stay in power. Those are the ones that people should denounce. They should not renounce religion and the prophets. They renounce God Almighty and they become atheists. Therefore, our responsibility is not only making Man but also defending God’s prophets, Mousa, Isa, and Muhammad, and defending the heavenly religions and the heavenly messages, especially Islam. We should especially defend Islam’s Prophet. There is severe targeting. These ugly and wrong practices are being exploited to commit abuses. The first step in defense is by explaining and clarifying. It is the responsibility if each one of us today, every person, every brother, sister, gentleman, lady, man and woman. Everyone is required to explain, clarify and defend because the battle today is a battle of public opinion. It is a battle of convictions. Extensive psychological warfare is being designed, programed and practiced in this battle. The second way in defense is presenting a different model. Being a civilized, well-mannered and kind person who believe and sacrifices is the most important response to what is happening and what has been taking place in the region in the past few years.

I will speak about the political side of things in three quick parts.

The first part: the entire region is awaiting the outcome – since I am talking to you, I do not know the updates – of what is happening in the Gaza Strip. There is an atmosphere of grave danger and challenges. There is also a great deal of alertness on both sides. There is an “Israeli” escalation in tone, in the battlefield, in preparations, in the measures and in the threats made against the Palestinians. On the other hand, there is Palestinian determination and insistence on continuing the marches of return until the goals are met despite the martyrs, the wounded and the sacrifices these marches are giving every Friday. The operations room of the Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza as well as all the Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza announced a decisive stance which is not to fall back and the preparedness to confront the challenge. Where do all these lead? This is what we should expect and follow during these hours and days. The Palestinians in Gaza have no other choice but to resist, to be steadfast and confront. The “Israeli” enemy gives them two options: either fighting or starving to death due to the blockade. The Palestinians made their choices in the Gaza Strip. They refused to starve to death. They want to resist. Resisting does not necessarily mean that they are going to die. Some might fall martyrs, but they might be able to impose their options and break the siege imposed on them. They might impose their conditions on this world. In any case, the events that will unfold in the Gaza Strip in the coming hours and days are very important for both Gaza and the region because they can have serious and grave implications.

The second part is the important event that became the top story during the past few days in the world. It is disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in Turkey. Trump is saying that it appears – it is perhaps almost conclusive and certain because no one is working on another hypothesis – that the man was abducted in the consulate, tortured then killed. There is also the theory of dismembering him with a saw. This subject is being amplified by the media and by public opinion. This is a very vast subject in the United States. It coincided with the midterm elections, becoming a point of dispute between the Democrats and the Republicans. It was also material for the media and for Trump. Even the West, including France, Britain, the UK and the Netherlands that did not speak-up during the first week, started talking. This is a vast subject. I do not want to talk about this subject and its implications, repercussions and background or evaluate it. I only liked to stop at it and issue a call. You know that the conflict in the region is being mainly spearheaded by the US-Saudi axis. The project taking place in the region especially the one related to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain is a Saudi-American project. The rest were employed in this project whether they were countries, governments, groups, organizations or parties. Despite the big conflict in the region as well as the great pain the Saudi regime and rulers caused us, especially with regard to the war on Yemen as well as what is happening in the region, Hezbollah and the axis of resistance in general tried to adopt a position of an observer since the start until today. Although we could have taken full advantage of this incident in the intellectual, political, cultural, emotional and rhetorical conflict between the two axes for many reasons, yet we will not use this subject to launch an attack and start a humanitarian, moral, intellectual and a political debate.

However, it is clear that this issue is only getting bigger and it is clear that the Trump administration is cornered. It is indeed cornered. The Saudi rulers are in an unenviable position and a very difficult position. They are in a real international crisis. They might be diplomatically and politically boycotted. It might also lead to a form of economic boycott and sanctions. One should follow this subject. Later, the time will come when its implications will be revealed. But what is important is how this file will end, its results and its repercussions. It is certain that today in Saudi they are meeting and thinking of what to do. The story of undisciplined and rogue elements won’t cut it. During the past two weeks, I have heard jokes about this incident that required someone to issue statements or respond. For the sake of humor, I tell you that I saw in some Arabic satellite channels Saudi commentators and other people saying a lot of laughable things. Some Saudis on television accused Hezbollah of going into the Saudi consulate in Turkey and killing Jamal Khashoggi. The presenter, who I do not think is our supporter, told the Saudi man: tell me something believable. What are you saying about the Counsel? Were you breached to this extent? They got to your Counsel, the security apparatus, the police, the army, the forensics, the guards and the cameras then entered the consulate. He told him: Yes, it is Iran. There is another man who accused Iran, Hezbollah and President Bashar al-Asad. His proof was that they abducted a Syrian lieutenant colonel who defected from Turkey and brought him to Syria. His argument is that if they can abduct a lieutenant colonel they can enter the consulate and carry out this great operation to cause division between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, between Saudi Arabia and the US and between Saudi Arabia and the world.

In any case, so as not to waste our time, for the sake of humor I just wanted to mention some absurdities. The subject is over. See what you are to do.  Who are you going to blame and punish. All these are being discussed. It is certain that they are at some place discussing what they will do. I want to take advantage of this occasion and tell the rulers and officials in Saudi Arabia: now is the right time to take a bold stance and stop the war on Yemen. When a senior journalist close to the royal family wrote that: we are working on thirty procedures and working to mend relations with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas and to become friends again, we all know, even the Americans who are being threatened by this know, that this talk is nonsense. No one within the regime in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia dares to think like this or take such steps. Those rulers are concerned on how to pick themselves up. The most important step they can take is to stop the war on Yemen, announce a ceasefire along all the fronts and allow the Yemenis to go into political solution and a national reconciliation. Why? The Saudi rulers should know that the international cover for their military campaign has started to crumble, especially after this [Khashoggi] incident. The kingdom's image in the world has not been worse throughout the past 100 years. You cannot continue a war with this image. With the world by your side, you could not achieve results in this war and could not triumph in this war. Your losses in this war at the moral, human, economy, military and humanitarian levels were very huge. Now is the right time for Saudi Arabia or the rulers in Saudi Arabia to take a great historic, humanitarian, moral and political step. Let them declare a cessation of war even if it was unilateral because then the other side will stop. The other side has been purely on the defensive from the start. Stop the war on Yemen and let the Yemenis launch dialogue with the United Nations or anyone in the world that would sponsor the dialogue. Yemen will head to peace. And see how you will solve the problem. Continuing with this approach, this hardheadedness, this path and this manner will definitely lead to doom. The world is no longer able to bear such a behavior. I just liked to stress on this point in this occasion. I do not want to delve further into details regarding this subject.

The last part is the matter of the government in Lebanon. Regarding the issue of the government in Lebanon, there are two parts. The first part is related to form and the other is related to content.

In the form: what has been spoken of these days and is found in the Arab and the Gulf media in particular and is in the Lebanese media. It appears to be coming out from one room. In the form, there are misconceptions that are being spoken of including the formation of the government and the positive impulse in forming the government. I wanted to mention some examples because they are being spoken about in the newspaper and by the media. For example, linking Lebanon to Iraq. If things go well in Iraq, where a parliament speaker, a president and a prime minister are elected, then the government will be formed quickly because the situation in Iraq is the same as our situation. There is a one-month deadline there. Here, the deadline is open-ended. Some said the situation in Lebanon is becoming positive and things are moving positively because things went well in Iraq due to the Iran-US understanding. No. For your information, the people who wrote this do not know anything. What happened in Iraq was not an Iranian-American understanding. What happened in Iraq was due to the will of the true and nationalist Iraqis and the failure and the defeat of the US policy in Iraq. The Americans did not want the current parliament speaker or the president who was elected or the prime minister. They wanted another president, parliament speaker and prime minister.

It was a political defeat for the Americans in Iraq. In the Arab world, they are talking about a political defeat for Saudi Arabia. We do not want to put more on Saudi Arabia. What we have just said is enough. Maybe the people would return to their sane minds regarding Yemen. Thus, what took place in Iraq has nothing to do with an Iranian-US understanding for us to say this will reflect on Lebanon.

Secondly, Iran does not interfere in the Lebanese government affairs. We have said this twenty times since the beginning of the mandate of the prime minister-designate until today. Iran does not interfere for us to say that there are signs of Iranian understanding in the region. What kind of politics do those people understand? Things are at the least heading towards a major economic, political and media confrontation. In a few days and weeks, harsh sanctions will be imposed. There will be an attempt to decrease oil exports to zero. And you are talking about rapprochement and understanding! I always try to be very polite. But allow men to say this: those who say or write this are stupid. They are either stupid or they know the truth and are trying to portray an incorrect and false image.

In the past few days – two or three days ago – it is being said that the Iranian guardianship in Lebanon has permitted the formation of the government. There are claims that I sat with His Excellency Minister Gebran Basil and told him: it is enough. The government should be formed. You have to offer concessions. Everyone should offer concessions. You have from now until I don’t know, before the US sanctions on Iran enter into force. This meeting never happened. This conversation never took place. We do not impose our will on the Free Patriotic Movement, on the PM-designate or on any of the political forces. Whether the government is formed before or after the sanctions is a Lebanese affair. Iran has nothing to do with it. However, there is always a constant attempt to hold Iran or us responsible for delaying or obstructing the formation of the government. Now, they say that we are participating in speeding up the process of forming the government. But they say it as an accusation and not in a positive context. That is, you obstructed the formation of the government and now you are allowing and speeding it up because of the upcoming sanctions on Iran. They are not related.

There is also an attempt today to portray that Hezbollah is forming the government and distributing the numbers and portfolios. Now, everyone is focusing on the portfolios. Go to Hezbollah and talk to them. This is also untrue, wrong and baseless. We do not interfere in this matter. I will talk about the content in a bit. What might we interfere in? We do not interfere in this matter. That is, we are the ones who form the government and distribute the portfolios and the quota. This is incorrect. This debate is mainly between the president and the PM-designate as well as some political forces. Of course we are in the picture and are following up. We have some remarks and opinions. This is true. But we do not have the dossier. We are not the ones who divide and distribute. Hence, we are not the one concerned with the formation and the outcome of this formation.

This is in the form. We come to the content. If we assume that there is no external interference but an external permission to form a government, at least to me personally this subject is not clear. The information is contradictory in this matter. There is someone outside saying ‘Do not form the government and take your time.’ I want to be fair with my enemies and my opponents. Those who are saying that ‘no one is telling my party not to form the government’, if it was not Iran or Syria, who are telling you, is it the Americans? Let us assume that France told the other party to quickly form the government, then the Americans or the Saudis are supposedly the ones telling them not to form the government. Why would they want to say no?  What are they waiting for and what are their calculations? This subject lacks clarity. The information in this matter is contradictory. Therefore, I am one of the people who frankly cannot tell the Lebanese that the obstacle in forming the government is from outside or not. I am one of the people who have no clarity in this matter and have contradictory information. But it is clear that the complication in internal, regardless of the external green light or the external red light. Talking about sizes and rights. There is a problem with the internal subject. There is much of what happened in the past few months regarding the subject of composition. There are some comments over what was said. But we always avoid being part of this argument. Let us assume that there is no external problem and that things are related to internal affairs, I will give a hint of hope. I always say that there is nothing new. A while ago, I said that nothing is showing. But now, no. It is clear that there is great deal of optimism, an important degree of positivity and important developments in the cabinet formation process. But we do not advise anyone to set timeframes and say: 48 hours from now, three days from now, one week from now, ten days from now or one month from now. This is wrong. Some obstacles and issues might arise all of a sudden. Some people might think that there are some stances or demands, which were not really serious ones. And when we reach the last 15 minutes of forming the government, we will abandon these demands. This is a mistake in estimation for the team, which was mainly engaged in forming the government. I believe today that there is major and significant progress in the cabinet formation process but matters related to portfolios and names are still pending. Everyone is awaiting answers. I do not want to talk about this detail and we're concerned with this last part. That is this duo, Hezbollah and the Amal movement, are mainly concerned with this last part.

 

I will not go into details because we have a problem with the way the formation was approached during the past few months, the approach that is related to the media. Some matters were discussed in the media and the ceiling was raised, resulting in challenges. The whole thing turned into a challenge and was related to dignities. This complicated matters. Ever since this slogan: ‘Seek help for success or victory of your needs by being quiet.’ was first raised in the country, we abided by it. But a lot of people did not abide by it. When you do not abide by it and resort to the media, you put yourself and the whole country in a difficult situation. Today in this address, I do not want to raise the ceiling or place conditions. I do not want to say what are our demands, especially in the final stage of the process of forming a government. We will not be dragged into debates. Some people write articles these days about whether Hezbollah will abandon its allies. I do not want to engage in debates because I do not want to embarrass anyone. We are people in the government who want to eat grapes and not kill the caretaker. The battle to form a government should not be a battle of “people wanting to break each other’s head”. The government should be formed because the country needs a government. Lebanon needs it economically, financially, socially and politically as well as at the security level. The focus should be on this and not settling scores or highlighting the parties’ sizes at the expense of the country and the homeland.

I will not say anything more than: Yes, today things got very serious. We are all following the last hours or days in order to avoid unsolvable obstacles that risk taking us back by a few weeks and months. I am in favor of presenting a realistic picture with the officials, including our own. Because raising the degree of optimism and saying that in the coming 48 hours the government will be formed and when 48 hours pass and the government was not formed, this will cause frustration and has repercussions on the economic and financial situations. This is wrong. Let us be realistic. Yes, there are positive developments. But the main obstacle remains, which must be addressed. The obstacle is that since the beginning, there was a failure to agree on unified standards for the formation process. There were political forces that did not agree on one standard. Frankly, there had a different opinion. Even when talking about a unified standard, there were disagreements. What is the unified standard? Is it going to be the number of deputies or the results of the parliamentary elections? That is for every three deputies one minister or is it for every four deputies one minister or is it for every five deputies one minister? Which is it? Is it about the number of deputies, the blocs, the parties or the political forces? There was a disagreement on a unified standard. This was the main problem that made obstacle in delaying the formation of the government.

We all pray to Allah Almighty to help the officials. Of course, everyone is required to cooperate and to show modesty. Our modest duo has been modest in its demands since day one. Frankly, it is enough that I give a sign that I agree or we agree to the standards for the formation process. This applies to our allies, too.

We do not want to violate the standards for our allies.  But it is important that are standards. When there are standards, we will insist that these standards apply to our allies. Now, I do not want to say more because this has to do with the job. We are required to work on it calmly and reach an outcome.

Once again, I congratulate the management, the cadres and the students of the Islamic Association for Education and Teaching – Al-Mahdi Schools (peace be upon him) on this occasion. God willing, you will mark the fiftieth, seventy-fifth, the hundredth and one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary until the emergence of Imam Mahdi.

Many happy returns. Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you.

Source: Hezbollah Media Relations, Translated by website team

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