Sayyed Nasrallah’s Speech on May 4,2020 Tackling the Latest Developments
Translated by Staff, Hezbollah Media Relations
I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan. 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 Prophets, Abi al-Qassem Muhammad Bin Abdullah and his good and pure household and his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.
Peace and Allah's mercy and blessings be upon you all.
Today, I’d like to talk about three topics:
The first topic is related to the German decision. The second relates to the financial, economic, and monetary situation in the country. The third topic covers the general political situation in the country in a nutshell.
The first topic: the German decision
Of course, this decision was expected. It was preceded by decisions in some European countries that made a distinction between [Hezbollah’s] political and military wings, and eventually decided not to separate the two. It is also expected that other European countries will follow suit and make the same decision.
Our understanding of the German decision, what preceded it, and what is to come is an expression of this state and that country’s submission to the American will. One of the US State Department’s programs involves hunting down resistance movements and not only Hezbollah. But this was an attack just against Hezbollah. Otherwise, there would have been follow-up moves, targeting Palestinian resistance movements as well as resistance movements in the region, in Iraq, in Yemen, and in other places. They would aim to besiege them, condemn them, isolate them, fight them, starve them, drain their funding, and tarnish their image, etc. This is part of the American- “Israeli” war against the resistance movements in the region.
Simply put, this is America's war. It has a hegemonic project in the region. “Israel’s” project is to occupy and consolidate the occupation. The resistance movements are the ones standing in the way of the American hegemony project and the Zionist occupation project. So, they must be confronted, besieged, condemned, and distorted.
The German decision comes in this context. The Germans have so far not presented any evidence, charges of terrorism, or terrorist activities. For example, Hezbollah’s activities in Germany are banned. Where are these activities? Where are Hezbollah terrorist activities in Germany? Show us one file. There is none.
Hence, this is a political decision. It is an expression of German submission to the American will and appeasing “Israel”.
However, even now there is talk from the German interior minister that there are personal reasons behind this decision. There is competition for the leadership after the current chancellor steps down. This to us is indeed an honor because throughout history some used to offer the blood of the prophets and their sons to be closer to tyrants.
Today, if someone wants to get closer to America or “Israel” in return for their help, he offers to wage war on resistance movements, accuse them of terrorism, isolate and besiege them, and so forth.
What happened in Germany – the storming of some mosques and centers orchestrated by the German Interior Ministry – is condemned.
The Lebanese in Germany, especially those the Germans are treating as potential supporters of the resistance in Lebanon, are people that adhere to German laws. Their activities are public and clear. They have nothing hidden, and they practice activities within the law permitted in Germany.
There was no need for all these brutal practices just to present their credentials to the Americans and the “Israelis”. This is certainly a condemned act. In this context, there is a point that I would like to make clear. Whether it is with regards to Germany, Europe, or any other place in the world, for many years – and I spoke about this topic previously – we no longer rely on forming organizations in foreign countries, especially in Europe, America, and Latin America. This is because we estimated that due to our battle with the “Israeli” enemy and standing in the face of American hegemony and American control over the region, this would subject us to pressure and place us on the terror list. Hence, there was no need for us to form organizations.
When we say we have no organizations in Germany, we are one hundred percent honest. We have no organizations in France. We have no organizations in England. We really do not have organizations.
Let me give you another example. Many non-Lebanese there support the resistance. They love it and support it morally, politically, and in the media. Being with the resistance that is facing forces occupying one’s country is part of one’s humanity, morality, and patriotism. This is an honor for him and not something that one disavows.
They all have no organizational links with Hezbollah. And if they wanted to host their own activities, they have clubs, independent associations, and mosques they run and fund.
This is the reality of the situation. Every intelligence agency in the world has its own data. This is not correct and the relationship does not exist. And if there was a relationship, it ended many years ago. A long time ago, we realized that we do not want to subject our brothers, our dear friends, our loved ones, and our supporters abroad to danger, threat, or harm because of their organizational relationship with us. If there was an organizational relationship, it was terminated in the past. Everything that was built a long time ago was not based on an organizational relationship.
In any case, today I would like to send a message, first, to the Lebanese people in Germany and tell them that there is no need to worry because they are in harmony with themselves and abide by the law. Everything they are being accused of is slander, and they can confront it through legal means.
Second, the Lebanese government is tasked with protecting its citizens in Germany and elsewhere. It should demand a position and measures because this assault is unacceptable and should not be allowed to happen again.
These are Lebanese citizens who were unjustly assaulted without any evidence, information, and real reason. They were just assaulted to create hype in the media and to present their credentials to the Americans and the “Israelis”.
The Lebanese government with the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the forefront is tasked with addressing this issue. The state has to protect its citizens. We should not be asked to. When you speak with Hezbollah and ask it to protect Lebanese citizens in Germany and elsewhere, then we are heading towards a different climate. The state should shoulder this responsibility.
Thirdly, I would like to thank all the governments and foreign ministries in the world. Of course, there are very few, a few foreign ministries, movements, parties, factions, religious references, political ideologies, figures, and elites that condemned this decision and expressed their respect and solidarity with Hezbollah. I thank them very much.
The last point regarding this topic: as I said in the beginning, it was expected. Therefore, it will not affect our will, our resolve, our position, or our determination.
We will remain on the frontline in the face of the occupation, in defending our country, facing the “Israeli” and Zionist ambitions, facing the American hegemony project in our region, and extending a helping hand to all honorable resistance fighters. The Palestinian cause will remain our first and sacred cause. The only thing all these American and European measures can do is kill us, assassinate us, blow us up, and bomb us. All these were executed over the past decades, and we only grew more faithful, more determined, and more adamant and held onto this right, this duty, and this sacred cause.
Even psychological warfare is useless. On the contrary, this will only strengthen our commitment, determination, and perseverance to continue the path of resistance.
The second topic: the monetary, economic, and financial situation
I will talk about several points.
The first point: the general reform plan of the government
The current government prepared an almost comprehensive and broad plan. It agreed on it during a cabinet session following consultations with many parties, unions, and specialists. In any case, regardless of our evaluation or anyone’s evaluation – whether positive or negative – is a positive point. For the Lebanese government to draw up an inclusive plan in a short period of time despite being preoccupied with the coronavirus and its implications is a very positive and important point.
The plan is really a step in the right direction because the plan needs a vision, theory, or perception. Based on the plan, programs will be set, and measures adopted. This is a natural step. It is also a big and important step. People should see it on this basis. But this plan also needs a national immunization. The more national consensus there is, the stronger it gets. This will in turn allow the government, the Parliament, and the state institutions to record achievements soon.
In this context, we understood the invitation of His Excellency the Lebanese President, General Michel Aoun, to meet with the heads of the blocs or representatives of the parliamentary blocs in a few days in Baabda Palace to inform them about the plan, discuss it with them, and hear their opinions.
Of course, we will take part in this meeting. We have a very positive view regarding this meeting, and we invite all the parliamentary blocs, their representatives, and their leaders to participate in this meeting and to engage positively.
We even call on parties, political forces, parliamentary blocs, and specialized bodies including elites and experts to take part in broader discussions about the plan and add their notes. Ultimately, the government is responsible but it is very natural for it to listen to these remarks. And if there were any fundamental and important observations, the government’s responsibility is to discuss them. It might then make adjustments to its plan.
No one, not Prime Minister Hassan Diab or anyone in the government is claiming that this plan is set in stone. No. The government announced that this is its plan and called on everyone to discuss it as it has no problem discussing it.
Some might say that discussions should take place before approving the plan. Extensive discussions took place before the approval. However, there is no problem in engaging in discussions after the approval. I believe that the government is open to this methodology.
The plan is now in place. It, of course, needs follow-up. There are matters that need to be studied in detail in the Cabinet so that programs and mechanisms be put in place and executive decisions are taken. There are also matters that need laws - draft laws that must be presented to the parliament. In the parliament, there will be an opportunity for discussions since the deputies are responsible for approving bills proposed by the government for it to be able to implement its plan.
This plan can also be used as a basis for any discussion that might take place with any external party that wants to provide assistance to Lebanon or is asked to provide assistance. The plan, in our opinion, is a step, a framework, a concept, a vision that can be used as a starting point. It can be discussed and modified. What we are calling for is a positive outlook towards the plan and scientific discussions because the objective is to save the country.
We unanimously agree that the economic situation is difficult and very serious. Some people are talking about financial and economic collapse. Now, the government is proposing its rescue plan. Let us set our political differences, wrangling, accounts, and traps aside and take a detailed look at the matter. for example, if you take Lebanon with regards to the coronavirus crisis. The situation is relatively very good. Why?
One can state that after God Almighty a certain person made a major political, etc. All these are details. But the real and greatest reason is the cooperation of all Lebanese – the leaders, the government, the parliament, the political parties, the municipalities, the people, the trade unions, and the agriculture, industry, tourism, and services sectors.
When the whole country and all the people cooperated and there was a high percentage of commitment and positive spirit, we were able to reach this excellent outcome. We overcame the negative atmosphere that prevailed during the first few days. We all came together to address the coronavirus crisis from a humanitarian, moral, and national standpoint. The people stood together and faced the threat together. This outcome is a source of pride for Lebanon when it comes to the fight against the coronavirus. Can we do the same when addressing on the economic issue? Can we put our political differences aside and address the economic situation? Can we discuss this plan and adopt measures? This is what I am calling for in this point.
The second point concerning finances and economics relates to the International Monetary Fund. In principle, we are definitely not against Lebanon requesting cooperation or assistance from any party in the world – of course with the exception of those who are well-known to be the enemies of Lebanon. We have talked about this in the past, and I would just like to emphasize it. But there is one thing that is not acceptable: for us to surrender ourselves – with our eyes closed and handcuffed – to the IMF or any country in the world. We have said that this is absolutely rejected. Hence, there is no problem in principle. But surrendering is absolutely rejected.
Logically, the government wants to have a discussion. And what I understood is that after the plan was approved the government is going to the IMF. What I understood and known is that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance signed on assistance, discussions, and cooperation.
There is no problem in this. Of course, the plan or the cabinet’s decision did not give anyone a mandate to agree on anything with the IMF that the country will follow. This did not happen. On the contrary, there is an atmosphere of caution in the country that we support. The people should be careful. They must keep their eyes open and their voices loud. There is no problem in this issue.
Hence, following the discussions with the IMF, everything will be discussed again in the government. The conditions, the requirements, and the programs will be reviewed to see if it is in the interest of the country and the people or not.
All these need to be discussed. Therefore, we will not be lenient at all when it comes to handing the country to the IMF, this is our position. If there is such a thing, this of course needs to be addressed, and a position should be taken. Regarding this issue, the conditions, ideas, plans, and programs must be looked into. Eventually, there is an executive authority, leaders in the country, and political forces. If something needed the parliament, then it would be referred to the parliament. This issue should be addressed with great responsibility and caution.
The third point: I did not touch on this issue in this way previously. I will talk about it just once – it’s been almost a month since I talked about the political issue or about the current events – because during the past few weeks many things were said regarding two points. The first point is the banking sector, and the second is the subject of banking in general.
The issue of the banking sector and Hezbollah’s position: During the past few weeks, we heard a lot of talk in the media. We read a lot of articles and statements as well as random accusations from all sides. Since the accusation is directed specifically at Hezbollah, it is my duty to respond. For example, Hezbollah wants to destroy the banking sector. This is one example of the things being said. Of course, there were also many articles, positions, and statements.
Another example is Hezbollah wants to bring down the banking sector. Others said it wants revenge on the banking sector. Some said it wants to control the banking sector. Another said it wants to rob (the one who said this is of course immoral) the banking sector. In any case, this is nonsense and misinformation. This is the same – since I work with the military – as when someone wants to launch an attack. He spreads misinformation, engages in psychological warfare, and fire smoke bombs. He does all this to disguise his attack or sometimes to cover up his defenses.
There are people who know that the banking sector committed grave mistakes at the expense of the country – that is why here I not only want to defend, but defend and attack – so they fabricated these accusations, noise, and smoke bombs in order to mislead the public opinion in the country. They also wanted some officials and authorities in Lebanon to sympathize with them or some countries in the world to help them and defend them. They wanted to show that Hezbollah wanted to strike, destroy, bring down, or control the banking sector.
My comment on this topic is as follows: Frankly and honestly – this is and always will be the title of our march. The Commander of the Faithful (PBUH) says: "Truth is the best way". What saves a person is being honest when speaking to people – do not want to destroy, bring down, control (the use of the word ‘rob’ is immoral), or take revenge from the banking sector. Since the establishment of Hezbollah in 1980 until today, we have not come near the banking sector. We just came close to it recently from three different angles which I will speak about quickly.
The first angle: Our first close contact with the banking sector was when the US sanctions were imposed, and the banks were asked to close the accounts of Hezbollah, Hezbollah officials, or institutions affiliated with Hezbollah. Nevertheless, we were understanding. We understood that these banks will not be able to withstand American pressure since they are not jihadist and do not work on the path of Allah Almighty. There are people who sacrificed their children for the sake of the homeland, but the majority of the banking sector is not like them. We were understanding. But we criticized them and told them not to be kingly more than a king or not to be American more than the Americans because they were not being just. They were asked to close 10 accounts, and they closed 200. They were asked to close the accounts of five institutions, but they closed the accounts of 50 institutions. This was an aggression. And the banks are still carrying on with this aggression and oppression.
We raised our voice and told them that we understand that you want to abide by America’s list. But what we do not understand is that you are being Americans more than the Americans themselves. You are being aggressive more than the aggressors. This is the first angel. And we are still asking the banking sector about this injustice.
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you.” All those whose accounts were closed and were asked to take their deposits – in any case, they are not many – were lucky seeing what is happening today unfortunately with regard to issue of deposits.
The second angle relates to the performance of the banks with people’s deposits. They stopped giving the people their money and humiliated them. This, of course, necessitated that we raise our voices like many others in the country in the face of the banking sector. If someone accused the banking sector of betraying trust when banks are not returning people's deposits and instead humiliating them, does this mean that this person is destroying the sector, taking revenge against it, and seizing it!? Or is that person voicing the opinions of small depositors, at the very least when speaking about one million and seven hundred thousand accounts. Let us assume that some have a recurring account, so we are speaking about more than a million people.
So, when we speak on their behalf and call for their rights, are we attacking the banking sector or defending the people unjustly attacked by the banking sector? This is the second angle.
The third angle: When we hear that we are facing a very severe financial, monetary, and economic crisis, even at the time of the previous government, we raised this issue in the Cabinet and demanded that the banks and the banking sector help the government. It has money. We told them this, and I repeat and say that you are the biggest beneficiaries of the financial, monetary, and economic policies from 1993 until today. You have made tens of billions of dollars in profit, and you have not yet taken any step to help your country and its economy. How do they understand? Just as I last spoke, $ 6 million were given from auxiliary banks to the Lebanese government to combat the coronavirus. Isn't that shameful?
Well, these are the three angles. Until now, we are still demanding from them the first topic – do not be more Americans than Americans. Regarding the second topic, these deposits are the people’s rights, and you have been entrusted with them. Hence, you must look for mechanisms and formulas in order to give the people their rights back with their dignity. The third topic is that you are concerned in lending a hand to assist the Lebanese state willingly. This is better for you and more honorable for you.
Otherwise, there are other ideas on the table that can be adopted. For instance, the state can, at one moment, deduct some money. We are not talking about some depositors and some people who have worked in trade and made profit from their hard work in Africa and abroad or those who worked in trade, economy, agriculture, and industry in Lebanon.
No. We are precisely talking about the people sitting around, taking money from the depositors and lending it to the government, and profiting with huge sums of money. This practice is legally and religiously questionable. I don't want to talk about it now. But this door should remain open.
These are the three angles we approached the banking sector from. As for us wanting to control and manage the banking sector, we are not even mixed up in that world. We do not want this and are not thinking about it. We always tell you we are an Islamic movement, and we are religious people. For us, the banking sector, including usury and interests, is a world filled with religious complications. That is why we avoid it and take precautions when dealing with it.
In the past years, we established a television channel, a radio station, and institutions, but we did not establish a bank. Because there are religious problems in the management of banks, and these are among the dilemmas that exist today in the Islamic world. So, if Hezbollah does not establish a bank, it controls them?! Running banks and the banking sector is completely unthinkable.
On the other hand, we care about the interests of the country. And we realize that if Hezbollah wants to lay its hand on the banking sector – this is not a possibility at all – it would not be in the interest of the Lebanese economy, commerce, agriculture, tourism, etc. Because we are fighting a battle with the American hegemony and the occupation, and this has ramifications. Therefore, regarding this topic, all talk about us controlling the banking sector, taking revenge, destroying, or robbing it is all nonsense, ridiculous, and baseless.
Yes, we are hurt and upset with this sector – at the very least in the three angles that I talked about. These are rightful positions. These are the Lebanese people’s rights. And I believe that if you conducted a poll in Lebanon, you would find that the overwhelming majority supports this position. Therefore, some of the profiteers and those getting paid from the banks should not talk nonsense regarding this matter. They should not treat people unjustly and wrong them. They should be realistic and stand with the people, the vulnerable, the oppressed, and those whose rights have been stolen from them.
Even when it comes to the governance of the central bank of Lebanon and the talk about Hezbollah to control the governor, this is ridiculous and mockery. It is also baseless. We do not think like this, and this is not in the interest of the country. The proof is that when discussions take place, it is clear that there is a sectarian structure –in the sense some posts are headed by Shiites, others by Sunnis, Druze, Catholics, and Orthodox. Is it like this in our country?
They call us the Shiite duo. Hence, I can just ask Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri as a favor to sell me the post of the first deputy of Lebanon’s central bank – who should be Shiite. We do not do this. We have never done this. We did not even think in this way.
We also do not agree on something as a Shiite couple and demand it in the government. We did not work like this with regard to the governance of the central bank. Yes, we do have remarks, and we talk about them in the cabinet and outside. But accusing of wanting to control the banks and take over the governance of Lebanon’s central bank is baseless.
The fourth point is related to the currency exchange, money changers, and the price of the dollar. I will also talk about this once and for the last time because this matter does not deserve more than this.
- Hezbollah does not have any banking activity. Hezbollah has large institutions. But we do not sell or buy dollars to and from the market, the people, etc. If we have some money that we want to exchange, we exchange it, meaning we are customers at the money changers. We have no banking activities. We did not assign any of our institutions or companies to practice this activity. We also did not assign any Hezbollah member to be a money changer. Yes, the same way Hezbollah has doctors, engineers, and traders supporting it, there might also money changers supporting it. I so not know. I am not denying it. It is his natural right to practice a personal activity similar to that of a merchant, a doctor, or an engineer.
- To all the money changers, I always call on them – now, I am calling on them because we have not spoken about this matter in the media – to abide by the law and the ceiling drawn by the state and not to break the law in any way. In addition to the aforementioned, we recommend that they abide by the religious controls, especially the religious people who fear God and are keen on their Hereafter. This world [banking] is full of dangers that might lead to usury, which is one of the Kabaer [major sins] in Islam.
- People should be careful and not to be part of the game of raising the price of the dollar at the expense of people and their society. They should not to be greedy as some traders usually become greedy. These are general recommendations that we emphasize on.
- We never covered for anyone. We do not protect anyone who breaks the law. What is being said on this topic is nonsense. Today anyone on social media says whatever they want. What was recently said about the government asking Hezbollah to hand in some influential money changers, and the party refused, causing a big problem between Hezbollah and the government – is baseless. I heard about this from social media. No one even asked us. No one asked us or anyone else. If the state considers a money changer violating the law, it will either arrest him, shut down his office, or withdraws the license from him. And this is what is happening. We do not cover and did not cover anyone.
- There are some absurd accusations. I apologize for wasting your time and mine with some trivialities. They ask why the central bank does not lower the dollar to help a little with the dollar exchange rate. The accusation is absurd. They say that the Americans fear that if the fresh dollar was brought to the market, Hezbollah would smuggle it to Iran and Syria. We do not collect dollars and neither do we export them to Syria or Iran. Go check with the money changers and the banks. The governor of Lebanon’s central bank knows that we are bringing dollar into the country. We do not take dollars out of the country. I do not want to talk more about this point. This accusation is nonsense and baseless. In any case, the only purpose for all this talk – about the money exchange, collecting dollars and taking it to Syria and Iran, and accusing Hezbollah of doing so – is just to hold Hezbollah responsible for the increase in the price of the dollar. Meanwhile, Hezbollah does not bear any responsibility. On the contrary, our positive role in this field can be seen as a one of the contributing factors for the dollar exchange rate not rising dramatically. This is with regards to money exchange issue.
The fifth point related to the financial and the economic topic is the high prices [of goods]. Some people are saying that this issue has to do with the price of the dollar and its rise. For we cannot address it without addressing the price of the dollar. This is partly true. This must be addressed. And the state is responsible for finding a solution for the rise in the price of the dollar through the intervention of the central bank – how much it can intervene through procedures with money changers, etc. This is the government’s job, not mine. However, the hike in prices has other causes. Monopoly is one of the causes. You have merchants hiding goods and monopolizing them. There is a more insolent form. You might enter a supermarket. There are goods, but the merchant might refuse to sell you. On what basis and right you are refusing to sell him? In any case, monopoly and greed of some merchants who are taking advantage of these conditions to profit more are one of the reasons.
Another reason is the absences or the lack of some materials in the market. When supply decreases and demand increases, prices will rise naturally. Also not following up on setting fixed prices and holding those who don’t set fixed prices accountable. Hence, there are many reasons, and these are some. We demand the government bear its responsibility regarding this matter. you have to address it in an exceptional manner. No one should shift responsibility on the other. However, the responsibility does not only fall on the Ministry of Economy because it obviously cannot bear the burden. Whether it is doing its job or not is another topic. But it is clear that burden is greater than the Ministry of Economy can bear. For instance, in combating the coronavirus, the greatest burden falls on the Ministry of Health. But the Ministry of Health is not the only one combating the coronavirus. The whole government is combating the coronavirus.
I call on the whole government to fight the high prices. You must develop an emergency plan to combat the high prices. Regarding this matter, we cannot wait for the plan to be complete, the parliament, the measures, and negotiations with the IMF. It will be too late if we wait for them. No. there is something big that can be done in this context – confronting monopoly and raiding warehouses. The security services definitely have information. They can gather information about the monopolists collecting goods from the market and force cooperatives to sell the goods within the regulations. Now it is the right of the merchant to sell you a certain quantity of a product to avoid losing it from the market quickly. But it is not his right to refuse selling you while the quantities are available.
Providing commodities to the market through some facilities or intervention helps the government. Controlling, monitoring, and following up are also important.
The Ministry of Economy might say that it does not have enough people. There are three proposals:
- There are thousands of employees staying home and receiving salaries. The ministry should call them. How many employees does the Ministry of Economy need? 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000? Call them and give them a crash course. Then, let them go and monitor.
- Getting assistance from the municipalities
- Do you want more than that? Volunteering. There are Lebanese youth, college students, and many young people who are ready to volunteer. One of the elements of the Ministry of Health’s successful plan is that it opened the door to volunteering. Therefore, there are many men and women doctors and nurses that are part of the battle against the coronavirus, and they are volunteers. They may not be receiving any financial aid in return from the Ministry of Health. The door to volunteering is open.
We are also ready. Hezbollah announced its readiness. How many do you need? 1000, 2000, 10,000, 20000? We are ready to provide volunteers, and you have thousands of employees.
The government and the Ministry of Economy have no reason not to be serious in fixing the prices in all the Lebanese areas. We are not talking about one specific area. This problem is in all the Lebanese areas. This is the responsibility of the government.
As for the rest of us, we have to advise and address merchants to fear God and make sure that there is no greed. There are honest and loyal merchants trying to secure commodities in the market. They are trying to provide reasonable prices because one of the reasons is the reticence of others. They might say that this is not profitable.
No, I call on merchants to try to provide affordable commodities. We are only expressing wishes and directives and speaking humanely and morally. However, the government has the power to set measures.
Thus, this file should be followed up with seriousness. It has become unbearable. The rich might not feel hunger or be affected by the hike in prices. They might not feel the difficulty and severity of this crisis. But all the people and the whole country is suffering from it. Hence, it should have absolute priority in the work of the government, the officials, and the concerned ministries.
The last point related to the financial and economic topic has to do with the anti-corruption file.
Two years ago, in May during the parliamentary election season, we announced Hezbollah’s new and developed step or direction in the fight against corruption. We formed an anti-corruption file. We appointed an official and a group of brothers for this file. We also put in place internal mechanisms to work on this file. Despite all the difficulties during the past two years – the delay in the formation of the government, problems due to the absence of laws, the judicial and political situation, and the conflicts in the country.
Many things that have been done in this context, and we will continue because we consider this to be a fundamental, sensitive, and very fateful battle for the country, its reality, its present, and its future.
But I will leave the details of what has been done in the past two years, the ideas that were presented, the steps that were implemented, and the results that were achieved to the brother Mr. Hassan Fadlallah, who is responsible for the file, to talk about them in full transparency and clarity. It will be either on Thursday or Friday. God willing, he will hold a press conference and present numbers, documents, data, and details – useful and not boring – from the past two years. This is our responsibility, and it is the right of the people to know from us after two years. And they always ask us about the progress of this file? God willing, all this will be presented in a press conference soon.
The third topic: the general situation in the country
There are three points that I will also briefly address regarding this topic.
The first point: I wish that the parliamentary blocs, the political forces, the people, and all the popular groups give the government some time. In the past two weeks, you and I heard people saying that they have given the government 100 days and the deadline is over. O brother, a 100-day deadline for a country that is facing difficulties, challenges, corruption, complications, conflicts and devastation. What kind of government can perform such a miracle! This is not reasonable. And now is the time – if not for cooperation – then for neutrality, if you want to call it that. Give this government a chance. It has completed a plan and confronted the coronavirus. It is trying to do something. It wants to negotiate and take measures. Give it a chance. Give it time. This request goes to all the political forces. And I believe that even the climate that was created in the past week or two due to the movement of the US ambassador in the country in addition to some positions may have left a certain impression in the country.
There are people who considered that we are now heading towards a new political battle, and the battle to overthrow the government has begun. However, the statements we heard from a number of political leaders in the country so far in addition to our information say otherwise – that the climate is not like this; meaning this is not what was proposed or what was raised in the media as well as in some newspaper articles and interviews is very exaggerated.
I believe that the climate among the political forces in general is one that says we should give [the government] time and a chance. We hope that this is the direction, for it to be given an opportunity. If there is a possibility for cooperation, it is even better. But if there is no possibility for cooperation, then at the very least it should be given the opportunity, and people should be patient with each other to see if this government will be able to do something or not.
The second point - also regarding the general atmosphere in the country: The Hezbollah and the Amal movement issue. It is always the same thing, whenever a small incident occurs – there might be a specific matter in which there is no disagreement between us and the leadership of the Amal movement, the brother Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, or the brothers in Amal’s leadership – we find someone assuming that there is a disagreement between us. Then people believe it and fight each other on social media.
In fact, the leadership of Hezbollah is very sensitive to this type of issue, especially our relationship with our brothers in the Amal movement. We and our allies are very sensitive when it comes to this relationship. I mean we are sensitive in the positive sense, keen, and careful. Personally, the brothers now that I have high sensitivity when it comes to this matter. We have strong, solid, and excellent relationships, and we are in a constant and daily contact. Every day we contact, consult, speak, and discuss matters with each other.
I do not want to add to the Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s speech several days ago regarding the relationship between Hezbollah and the Amal movement. I endorse the Parliament Speaker’s full text. It was an accurate expression of this relationship.
There are people abroad – I mean at the international level – in the region, and in Lebanon who made it their sole concern, mission, and goal to search for any means to sow discord between Hezbollah and the Amal movement. Free, this will not happen. I tell them, this will not happen. Do not bother yourselves with this. You should despair. You are just hassling yourselves for no reason. This will not happen.
The public must help us. People should not take to social media and throw words around and fight each other. In any case, this is one of the disadvantages of social media. And in the media, you see Hezbollah and Amal officials treat each other with respect, politeness, and responsibly. But on social media, its chaotic.
Our supporters, who we know so well, are often not involved. Our brothers in the Amal movement know whether their supporters are involved or not. I don’t want to evaluate the latter, but focus on us. Some people assume that they are among our supporters. Sometimes they harm us like in previous incidents.
Our supporters must bear responsibility. They must understand what Speaker Nabih Berri said – that the relationship between Hezbollah and the Amal movement is in the interest of the two parties and a national interest. It is also in the interest of the resistance and the country. Those who are toying with this file do not care about these interests. They approach it from different standpoint and I do not want to delve into their evaluation.
Of course, this does not mean that we cannot disagree about a specific situation or vision. Our supporters must learn and should get used to this. For years now, we have been speaking about this matter with the brothers in the Amal movement or with the rest of our allies because we used to be afflicted and still are with situations similar to previous cases. This does not mean that we must be 100% in agreement. However, the points we disagree on, we discuss them and consult each other.
I will give you an example and joke a little since we are nearing the end. In the last parliamentary session, a group of deputies submitted a draft law related to organizing cannabis farming. The proposal was discussed by the committees and was sent to the general authority. From the beginning of the discussions, Hezbollah and the Amal movement debated the matter – in principle the topic is researchable, but let us see what the benefits are.
Hence, we discussed the feasibility. The brothers in the Amal movement took their time. We took our time. They reached a conviction that there are benefits. Our brothers, the engineers and the companies we consulted, and the studies abroad stated that there is no feasibility in cultivating cannabis or Hashish for medicinal purposes. On the contrary, burdens might arise on the state. In any case, we discussed it and did not reach a result. So, what. Should we agree on everything?! No. There are matters where they have their opinions and we have ours.
In the parliamentary committees, all the deputies except a few second Amal’s opinion – even our allies, friends, and opponents. All the parliamentary blocs supported the project. All of them agreed. We and some deputies opposed. It happens. And the draft law was passed in the parliament. It will then be followed up.
Some people wanted to exploit this matter to show that there is division and disagreement between Hezbollah and the Amal movement. Why?
When it comes to implementing the project, if it was beneficial, we won’t be upset. We will be happy because the people of the Bekaa, the North, and areas where cannabis can be planted will benefit. And if there was no benefit from it, then you can say: you see, it was useless. This is because an institution and an administration would have been set up for this project, and now they are rendered useless. There is nothing engraved in stone. Neither the laws nor the plans are engraved in stone. This will be addressed later. We should be calm.
I want to tell you that there was another interest which was not intended, but it came as a result. It was reported that Parliament in Lebanon legalized the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. It was circulated as regular news in the foreign press and the Arab press, especially in the Gulf.
But you know, had we agreed and voted for this law, the headline in some newspapers in Lebanon, in the Gulf, in Europe, and in America would have been: Hezbollah legalizes hashish cultivation in Lebanon or Hezbollah legalizes drug cultivation in Lebanon. It would not even be called cannabis, but rather drugs and hashish. Articles would have been written that Hezbollah is facing financial difficulties due to sanctions and the blockade, and it wants to solve its problem. So, it took the bill to Parliament to legalize cultivating hashish, plant it in the Bekaa, and sell it. Wouldn’t this have happened? This would have happened.
Of course, we did not discuss the issue from this angle. I am saying that it came as a result. We were discussing whether going ahead with the project was beneficial or not.
Regarding other resources, the same way we disagreed in the past, we – the leaderships of the Amal movement and Hezbollah – might disagree in the future. But be confident, even when we disagree, we would have calmly discussed and consulted each other logically. If we agreed and reached a decision together, then we reached an outcome. But if we do not reach an outcome, we organize the dispute. Difference of opinions does not spoil amity. We must always preserve this atmosphere, and we are devoted to it. I do not want to say more than this because we have exhausted the topic and spoken about it many times before.
The last point: It is known that there are tensions in certain places between political forces. I do not want to mention names. Now some people are taking the easy way out and holding Hezbollah responsible. Two political parties, two blocs, or two leaderships have disagreements with each other. What does this have to do with Hezbollah? Hezbollah is responsible; if Hezbollah does not want; if Hezbollah does not support…
First of all, we do not pit one side against the other. What is being said in the country about changing the face of Lebanon and the system is all talk, and those saying this know that the situation is not like this. It is a matter of political struggle over power, influence, and who gets what. No one should make it out to be about changing civilization, culture, the constitution, or the system. The ceiling is known.
We have nothing to do with this issue. We are not pitting one party against another. On the contrary, we are eager, especially during this stage, not to have tensions and problems in the country. We are eager to have cooperation, positivity, and people talking to each other, open with each other, and reaching out to one another in order to save our country. Not only to save it from the coronavirus but also from the financial and economic calamity that Lebanon is overwhelmed with as it is braces for even worse threats.
We call for calm in the bilateral relations between the political forces. We do not have anything to do with the tension, do not stand behind it, and do not support it. I would like to add here that if we could do anything, we are ready. Some people think that we are capable of doing something. We may not be able to.
But I would like to say in the month of Ramadan – the month of mercy, communication, connection, love, cooperation, and fraternity – that we are ready to help solve tensions and worries between political forces or areas. We are certainly ready to offer any help from our position as a friend or ally. We are also prepared to help our opponents who we have mutual respect and relationship. We are eager and ready to contribute to easing tensions in any place.
The message that I want to deliver at the end of the day is that the country needs calm, cooperation, and to be given an opportunity in order for us to overcome the situation. I do not want to rush to conclusions, but I do not know the outside world’s capacity in helping the country. Many people said that there are certain countries which could have helped Lebanon but did not do so because of so and so. However, it seems that some countries will now face financial and economic crises and will need help due to the coronavirus as well as the plummeting of oil prices and its effect on this sector.
Therefore, we may not be able to count a lot on the outside. There are many things we can do at home. However, we will definitely not be able to do them if conflicts, contradictions, ambushes, and political traps persist. It needs cooperation, calm, outstretched hands, and open minds.
Good luck. May God give you wellness. Peace and Allah's mercy and blessings be upon you.