Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech Marking the Day of the Wounded, March 18, 2021
Translated by Staff
Speech of Hezbollah’s Secretary General, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, marking the Day of the Wounded on 18-3-2021:
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.
Before I delve into tonight’s topics, I will start with some words of sympathy and then congratulations for several occasions.
Due to the spread of the coronavirus and some other diseases in recent weeks, we lost several of our dear brothers and sisters. They were fathers, mothers, and wives of martyrs as well as leaders in the resistance and Mujahideens. In particular we must mention His Eminence, dear brother Sheikh Abbas Harb (may God have mercy on him), and brother Hajj Ahmed Qamar (may God have mercy on him), both having assumed key responsibilities in our march since 1982.
We also lost two great brothers and dear supporters, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed Al-Zein, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Muslim Scholars (may God have mercy on him), and Professor Anis Al-Naqqash, Head of the Aman Network for Strategic Studies (may God have mercy on him).
It is my duty at the beginning of my speech to express my deepest condolences and feelings of sympathy to their honorable families, loved ones, relatives, and friends. Each of these great and dear brothers deserve a detailed eulogy and a special occasion in their memory that I hope to have soon.
I also wish to congratulate all of you on the occasion of the holy month of Sha’ban, which is the introduction to the great month of Ramadan, the month of God and the month of the hospitality of God Almighty. There are also dear and beloved occasions during this month, including the birth of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the Master of Martyrs, on the 3rd of Sha’ban, the birth of Abul Fadel Al-Abbass (PBUH)on the 4thof Shaaban, the birth of Imam Ali bin Al-Hussein Zayn Al-Abidin (PBUH) on the 5th of Sha’ban, the birth of Ali al-Akbar (PBUH) on the 11th of Sha’ban, and the birth of Imam al-Hujjah al-Mahdi, may God Almighty hasten his honorable return, on the 15th of Sha’ban.
We notice that the most important symbols of Karbala and Muharram were born during the month of Sha’ban. The eagerly desired hope for the oppressed, the vulnerable, and the tormented of this world was also born in the month of Sha’ban. Here lies the confirmation of the great connection between Karbala and the hope that is coming from the future.
The birthday of Abi Al-Fadl Al-Abbas (PBUH) is a day to honor our wounded brothers and sisters. We used to mark the occasion every year by holding a gathering with our wounded brothers and sisters and their families. But due to the health situation and the suspension of these gatherings, we’ll only say a few words out of respect for them and in recognition of their right. Hence, it was necessary to speak and hold this meeting tonight.
I will talk first about the occasion and then delve into the local situation, despite the importance of the developments in the region, including the “Israeli” threats and attacks and what is generally taking place in the region. However, due to the latest developments, the existing tensions, and the dangers gripping our country, I have to focus my speech tonight on the well-known local Lebanese situation.
1- The occasion
Abi Al-Fadl Al-Abbas (PBUH), the son of the Commander of the Faithful, was adopted as a symbol of the wounded even though he was more than that. But one of the main traits of this great man was adopted to as a symbol and an example.
Al-Abbas was badly wounded in Karbala. His right and left hands were severed. He lost his eyes – one by an arrow and the other because of dirt. His head was cracked, and his body endured many wounds. But Al-Abbas did not withdraw from the battle nor did he retreat and quit. He was patient and persevered until the last moment, the last breath, and the last drop of blood. Al-Abbas is a symbol of steadfastness, fortitude, generosity, and sacrifice. Al-Abbas is a symbol of altruism. We all know the story of drinking the water.
Al-Abbas, who possessed strong insight as described by the Imams, and his three younger brothers were offered by his maternal uncles before the start of the battle to withdraw to safety. They were not asked to join the army of Yazid to fight their brother Hussein (PBUH), but rather they were only asked to leave the battle, that is to say, to be neutral.
But Al-Abbas and his three brothers knew very well the reality of the battle. Here lies true insight, knowing the reality of the battle and the truth of the two fronts – the battle between righteousness and evil. In this type of battles, there is no place for neutrality. So, he made his decision to stay and fight until martyrdom. What do we mention when we visit Aba Al-Fadl Al-Abbas (PBUH) in the ziyarat? I took only two or three sentences to illuminate on this aspect. We say:
Peace be upon you, O righteous servant (of Allah).
I testify that you that you did jihad and was patient until death came to you.
In another ziyara, we say:
I testify to you of submission (to the will of God), honest acceptance as true, loyalty, and sincerity.
Somewhere else, we say:
I bear witness that you served Allah, His Messenger, and your brother sincerely.
You were the most excellent self-sacrificing brother.
In the same ziyarah, we say:
You were the most excellent steadfast fighter, protector, supporter, and brother who defended his brother, responded to the obedience to his Lord, and worked desirably for gaining the abundant reward, which others refused, and the nice tribute.
Hence, this is the figure that we take as our role model and symbol – loyalty, perseverance, patience, advice, selflessness, obedience, faithfulness, submission, response to the command of God, not desiring this world, attachment to the hereafter, and asceticism with the ruins that many aspired for in this world.
This is Al-Abbas (PBUH). Our wounded brothers and sisters have taken this great symbol as a role model during our long journey. We have been shouldering the responsibility since 1982 when this march was established. In our march, in Hezbollah, the wounded make up a very large segment, and the number of the wounded is much greater than the number of martyrs in this march. These wounded were patient, submitted, believed, were steadfast, were sincere, and were loyal. They never gave up on this march at all.
They continued to work as Al-Abbas (PBUH) did in various fields. I personally know some wounded people who were injured in battle.
As soon as they’re treated, they return to the battlefields whether there was fighting or not. If they were capable of continuing to work militarily, they’d do that, but if they couldn’t perform military work, there are other fields, including educational, social, media, trade union. There are many open and public activities. That is why we see some of them on television. But they are mostly present in all work places, expressing their loyalty, sincerity, and steadfastness and continuing on the path. Even if they were unable to carry a weapon, we find them at the battle fronts talking to the fighters, and they have very high influence on the fighters.
This is the case of those wounded who fought, made sacrifices, and bore the burden of this confrontation as well as the many civilians who were injured in “Israeli” attacks and by “Israeli” agents during the occupation. There are also many wounded fighters and civilians who were injured in confrontations with the Takfiri groups or people who were wounded by car bombs that were sent to our cities and villages in recent years or even during the “Israeli” occupation to assassinate our cadres and mujahideen.
In any case, the insight of these wounded increase day after day, as is the case with the families of the martyrs and all resistance fighters, mujahideen, and supporters of this march. They gain awareness, understanding, and belief that the place where they fought and were wounded was the right place to be.
Regarding the “Israeli” topic, things are clear. On the subject of Takfiri terrorist groups, I will point out with the following reference and delve into the local situation.
Being at the cusp of the 10th anniversary of the global war on Syria, the truth about these militant takfiri terrorist groups as well as the identity of those protecting, supporting, and managing them is becoming clearer day after day. In addition to previous confessions and documents, there is evidence appearing day after day.
Now, people are preoccupied by the price of the dollar. But I hope that people in Lebanon and the region take into account what was leaked yesterday and shown via the media by the brothers in Sanaa, Yemen. This is living proof with audio; a US intelligence chief personally taking care of one of the well-known leaders of Al-Qaeda, who was imprisoned in Sanaa during the term of the former Yemeni president. He contacted the former Yemeni president and asked him to release this senior Al-Qaeda leader. Isn’t this a terrorist organization? Didn’t you [the Americans] burn the region – from Afghanistan to Iraq – to fight Al-Qaeda? Why then ask him [the former Yemeni president] to hand him [the Al-Qaeda leader] to his people? Of course, he released him, and within a certain period of time he carried out many operations. When they exhausted him, they got rid of him and killed him.
There are also new documents that have been published about the CIA's recruitment of those who were detained in US prisons in Iraq and how the so-called Islamic State was established in Iraq, and later the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL], and later on, the Islamic State. The CIA played a part in both recruiting and releasing these leaders from Iraqi prisons, and later in the formation of the Al-Nusra Front, an offshoot of ISIL. And now the CIA is playing a part in releasing Daesh members detained by the Qasd [militia east of the Euphrates towards Iraq to revive the work of Daesh there and to bring others to al-Tanf base at the Syrian-Jordanian border to push them towards Badiya to commit attacks you are hearing about on a daily basis there.
Hence, now we are not facing an Islamic group, a group that is searching for justice, prosperity, equality, participation, democracy, and elections. We are faced with armed takfiri terrorist organizations that are formed, managed, financed, supported, armed, and guided by the CIA that is also facilitating their movement in order to destroy armies, peoples, and societies as well as enable American hegemony over the region so that “Israel” becomes the hope and refuge and the crown jewel of the Middle East – the new and old project of successive US administrations.
I just wanted to mention this to say that these wounded, many of whom participated in this battle, were in fact participating to reaffirm that they are defending Syria and Lebanon, the resistance, Palestine, and the future of this region and nation, especially since some documents clearly state the goals of forming these groups during that period. These goals are still in place.
Anyway, on your day, dearly wounded brothers and sisters, to you and to your honorable families, especially to the mothers and wives, I congratulate you on this day, this occasion, and this birth.
2- Domestic issue
I would like to delve into the existing domestic issue. Lebanon is in the heart of a crisis, a real major national crisis, which is an economic, living, and financial crisis, and it is also a political crisis. You can say that it is a system crisis, a government crisis, a present, past, and future crisis.
We will try to talk about this existing reality and approach it, search for solutions, define the responsibilities, and define what is required of us. That is why I wrote down several point as is customary so that the explanation would be clear, God wiling.
1- When we want to approach our situations and address it, we must not forget to act reasonably, responsibly, and wisely while, at the same time, preserving the feelings of anger, pain, and discontent. We should refrain from actions that lead nowhere. Even though people are angry and in pain, they must not be unreasonable. We must think, understand, and act with reason as well as with a national, moral, religious, and human responsibility.
2- Accordingly, we must put a ceiling when we are talking about solutions or means of pressure. There are people who seem not to have set a ceiling. I urge that we put a ceiling, and I will tell you that we are committed to this ceiling until the end. It is not permissible for us to reach it in any way and under any circumstances.
What is the ceiling? Not to head towards a civil war and internal fighting. Let’s start from here. We are not frightening anyone. There are people who are working on a civil war in Lebanon. They caused a civil war in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. They tried to cause a civil war in Iran. Wherever they were, their project is to create a civil war. They failed to defeat the resistance in Lebanon so far, so they resort to this option. In the past few years, this option was present, and they worked to achieve it. However, it was thwarted. I don’t want to mention names or numbers in order not to provoke sensitivities. This project existed and still does. Regardless of the economic and dollar crisis, the absence of food stuff, the crisis of forming a government, and all the crises in the country that need solution, it is not permissible for anyone to push the country or allow anyone to drag the country into a civil war and internal fighting. Some people are wondering how can there be a civil war when we are the only ones that have weapons. No, this is a lie and a mistake. If we think badly, we say this a lie. If we think well, we say this suspicion.
Civil war, O brothers and Lebanese people, does not need precision missiles or missiles with a range of 200 and 300km. The civil war takes place with Kalashnikov machine guns, M16s, B7s, medium weapons, the DShK [Dushka], and anti-aircraft guns. All Lebanese possess all these. Let’s say most Lebanese own these. All people own weapons. There are weapons in all the villages and cities. To prove this, just take a look at funeral processions. We might be the least people who show weapons during funeral processions because we have taken measures that any of our brothers who fires a weapon, regardless of his jihadist history, will be expelled from Hezbollah. But take a look at other funeral processions. There are machine guns, medium weapons, and anti-aircraft guns. You do not need more weapons than this to cause a civil war, and some are pushing towards it.
I tell you while I am talking tonight and I have information that there are external parties and some internal parties that are pushing towards a civil war. They are always looking for fuel, oil, and gasoline [to ignite the civil war]. So far, the awareness of the Lebanese, their assumption of responsibility, their patience, and their discipline prevented that, but this possibility and this danger still exists.
In this context, many are saying that Hezbollah has a very big force, weapons, and capabilities. It should force the formation of the government using weapons. This is wrong. This will lead to a civil war and the destruction of the country. No one should think like that or call for it. We should not allow anyone to speak like this in the country – let us resort to weapons.
Let us say you have a home and a family, and there are some problems and some deficiencies. Would you burn your house down and kill your family because of some deficiencies that you could not solve? Or would you want to address these deficiencies? This means that you were not thinking reasonably, a lack of faith and moral, and no sense of responsibility.
This kind of talk only causes problems. I honestly tell you: We, Hezbollah, do not want to resort to arms in order to form a government or for the sake of solving an economic, living, development, or financial situation, or reforming the state, etc. When we talked about fighting corruption, we asked everybody not to talks to us about weapons. The fight against corruption has different tools. I stop here because we have many more things to talk about.
3- Why do I say that we, the Lebanese, need some calm? This is because we need to diagnose our crisis, our problem, and our disease so that we know how to address it. If we misdiagnose, we will address it in a wrong way. Wrong diagnosis leads to wrong treatment. Assuming reasons for the crisis, assuming wrong reasons for the crisis means that we will go to wrong treatments and treatments that will not lead to a result because we have not addressed the correct and real causes of the crisis. On the one hand, you approach the crisis because you are looking for a solution for the people. On the other hand, you want to use this crisis to weaken your political opponents, gain popularity, and outbid others. Your concern is not the real solution, which is to address the crisis.
There are two categories in Lebanon today. The first are those looking for the real reasons and informing the people without misleading them, without lies, fraud, deception, and distortion. The other category are those that put the reason in one place, which is not correct. This type are blaming all the consequences of the crisis on one place because they want to settle scores. They blame everything on the president, a certain sect, a certain political party, a certain group or organization. When they are holding a certain entity full responsibility of the crisis in the country, they are settling scores. They are not looking for solutions to the crisis.
We must belong to the first category. We are concerned with addressing this crisis, and this is our responsibility. This is our religious responsibility, which God will ask us about on the Day of Resurrection. It is our moral and human responsibility and our national responsibility towards our people.
Therefore, I would like to give a quick account in order to say that there are several causes for the crisis we are witnessing. If we addressed one cause and ignored the rest, we have not addressed anything. We are wasting time and laughing at each other. We must address all the causes in order to be able to address this crisis.
Let us have a quick reading regarding this topic since we previously talked about it in detail, in boring detail sometimes. Today, the economic, financial, and living situation as well as the debts in the country that accumulated $ 100 billion are all caused by several reasons. All these reasons individually and all together are true.
The reasons that I will mention are just a reminder. They are not the only reasons though. They are the ones that came to my mind today while jotting them down, including the economic and financial policies that were pursued – this has been adequately explained; hitting the productive sectors, especially the agricultural and industrial sectors; the bet on the political settlement in the region in the nineties; the policy of borrowing, loans, and interest; financial and administrative corruption and waste – hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions were looted and stolen; and the political and sectarian conflicts in the country – this was part and the cause of the political, economic, and living crisis. It always took us three, five, nine months, a year, two years to form a government, why? This because of political conflicts!
Regardless of who is right or not. I am only describing the situation! The “Israeli” wars on Lebanon are also among the reasons. These wars, from 1982 until 2006, caused destruction, martyrs, and wounded. They disrupted the economy and hit facilities. The “Israeli” occupation of parts of the south and the western Bekaa for decades and its consequences for Lebanon. This is also one of the reasons. Unfortunately, some people want to hold the resistance responsible for the consequences [of the occupation]?
Isn’t the one who occupied the country, destroyed it, bombed it, committed massacres in it, killed people, disrupted and occupied villages and cities, constantly threatened people, and prevented security and stability until it disrupted internal and external investments responsible? Isn’t the enemy responsible? The people who resisted, defended, and liberated are responsible for these economic consequences! This is insanity and injustice. Hence, the successive “Israeli” wars and the decades-long “Israeli” occupation of our land are also among the reasons.
Let us take the American project in the region recently. The wars that were carried out in the region from 2003 until today have affected Lebanon and the whole region economically, especially the global war that America launched against Syria. Day after day, this issue is becoming clearer. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other countries were employed in this war. It had repercussions on Lebanon. The borders were closed. The possibility of importing and exporting through the Syrian territory is not available because of the war in Syria. This affected us. What do we have left? Via the sea and air?
Also, virtually all economic relations between Lebanon and Syria were disrupted and froze. Millions of displaced Syrians fled to Lebanon, welcome to them. This event also had economic, financial, and living repercussions on the country and so on. Thus, this war had a great impact on the economic situation in Lebanon. There are also smuggling money from abroad during the past two years as well as freezing deposits in banks. Is Hezbollah responsible for these?
The Beirut Port explosion also had additional and very bad economic and financial effects – the worst was the human catastrophe because there were martyrs and wounded. Then, there is also the movement that occurred on October 17 and the tension that occurred in the country as well as the lack of confidence and fear that forced people to withdraw their money and suspend investments. Later, it became clear that many of these organizations were run by the US embassy.
Among the reasons is the gaps in our political system. We will get back to it later when we discuss the government file and the difficulty of dealing with these gaps because you are instantly told that you are going against the constitution and the system, etc.
For example, in the fight against corruption, the Loyalty bloc and other parliamentary blocs submitted proposals for laws, for example lifting immunities. This requires a constitutional amendment. However, this was forbidden and considered a red line! Lifting immunities from all sects and political parties does not affect the privileges of one sect at the expense of another and does not affect the essence of the system, never. Any constitutional amendment to raise immunities to expose the corrupt, punish them, and hold them accountable is forbidden because the constitution is sacred, and this is one of the problems of the system in Lebanon.
There are also the American pressure on Lebanon, especially recently, which are related to the dollar, bringing the dollar into the country and preventing the return of assets to Lebanon, preventing countries from providing assistance to Lebanon, and putting pressure on Lebanon or scaring Lebanon from choosing certain economic options. This is all the work of the Americans and are one of the key factors of the crisis we are going through.
This is a set of reasons, to which I can add other reasons. But each of these causes has a certain percentage of impact on this crisis.
Now, some people, who belong to the second category that are using the crisis for war and to settle scores, disagree with these reasons. They say that the cause of the crisis is Hezbollah’s weapons. The causes of the economic crisis in Lebanon is Hezbollah and its weapon. To them, the solution is for Hezbollah to hand over its weapons. Then, the economic, living, and political crisis in Lebanon will be solved. This is injustice, misleading, and fraudulent. What do Hezbollah’s weapons have to do with all the reasons we mentioned?
Well, you could say that you accomplished your duty and fought “Israel”, thus you are one of the causes [for the crisis]. Well, give us a percentage! Perhaps because you went to Syria and fought the takfiri groups that were targeting Lebanon and the whole region, you are partly responsible. It’s okay, let it be recorded as one of the reasons and give it a percentage. But when you hold a specific party responsible for the economic crisis, here I ask these people in particular, are we the ones who stole? Plundered? Are we the ones the were corrupt? Were we the ones that disrupted the agricultural and industrial sectors? Were we the ones that refused to cooperate with Syria? Were we the ones that closed the borders? Did we do all this to be held accountable? Were the ones that did the financial engineering? The banks? Were we the ones that borrowed and accumulated the interests? This is unacceptable. This is unfair! In any case, we go back to the group of causes and say yes, there are many and various reasons that have brought us to where we are now.
We have to address all of these causes or make plans that bypass all of these reasons in order to reach a solution. As long as these reasons exist, there is no solution. If waste and corruption remain, there will be no solution. If mismanagement remains, there will be no solution. If the lack of planning and working within short-, medium-, and long-term plans remain, there will be solution.
If we do not revive the agricultural, industrial, and productive sectors and become a productive state and people – not live on the aid that Lebanon is being blackmailed with and on the debts that accumulate on the country – there will be no solution. If there are gaps in our political system and we do not fill them, there will be no solution. The same goes to every point that we mentioned a while back.
4- In our approach of the solutions and the situation, there are two things that we should pay attention to. The first is despair. We must not despair and spread the spirit of despair among the Lebanese people because this is contrary to logic and being responsible. On the one hand, it is possible that many people approach the stage of despair because the situation is really very difficult. Let’s not hide behind our finger. The second is delusion. Let us not make people live in illusions that there are solutions in the horizon – after a month, year, two years, etc. This crisis is the result of tens of years. Some might say 30, 40, or 50 years. Others might even go far and say since the establishment of the Lebanese entity. There is no doubt that the situation we are dealing with is the product of decades. It cannot be addressed in a year or two. So no one should promise the people that withing a year or two, we will turn Lebanon into a paradise and will take you out of this crisis, etc.
Also, simplifying matters is part of spreading illusions. One way we simplify matters is by telling people that the solution lies in the formation of a government. Forming a government is the first step in a long path towards the solutions. When we talk about solutions, we need to take great, powerful, and very important steps that we have always spoken about in the past. These steps are related to the financial and economic policies, the policy of leverage and borrowing, dealing with the countries in the east and west, fighting corruption, setting up mechanisms to fight corruption, and criminal scrutiny.
Otherwise, I would like to tell you that if we agreed to these loans, there might be very difficult and hard decisions. These are loans, and there is no talk of aid. They are all loan except for a small part of aid in certain circumstances. How much interest will all these loans be?
If the administration, the working mechanisms, the obligations, the judiciary, accountability, and monitoring all remain the same, this means that a large part of these loans that will come will be stolen the same way it was stolen in the past. Much of this money will be wasted, and there will not be any breakthrough or solutions, except for some deceptive false phenomena. Our debts will only increase, the crisis will worsen, etc. Hence, we are in front of an integrated situation not just a purely financial, economic, and livelihood issue. There is an integrated situation. We need administrative and financial reform. We need to bridge some of the gaps in our political system, and we need plans to be able to face the next phase.
Here, we come to the issue of forming a government. There are great challenges facing the government, and from here I will return to talk about the formation of a government – after the resignation of the current government, stumbling in appointing the prime minister-designate, and the appointment of the latter. According to the French initiative, the formation of a government of non-partisan experts is important. Listen to me carefully.
We agreed and provided facilities. They talked to us and were told that a government of experts and not politicians was required. We agreed to it even though this was not our conviction. We agreed to non-partisan. While naming the candidates, we agreed to give and take names and consult. We agreed to a rotation in the ministries. I will repeat and say so that what I will say later would not be considered contradictory.
If the prime minister-designate headed to the President on Monday and agreed on a government, a government of technocrats and experts and not politicians, we are on agreement. That’s it.
However, what I will say shortly does not cancel what I just said. It remains. But what I want to say is a matter of advice. It is a matter of advice for the prime minister-designate. This discussion took place between us at the beginning of the appointment, but we did not insist and instead accepted experts.
What I would like to say is the following: This government is required to accomplish great tasks and face great challenges. It must take great and very powerful steps, and there are things that need courage.
Let me give you a couple of quick examples. Why didn’t we [make deals with] China? The country needs investments, and the Chinese said they were ready. They were even ready to invest up to $12 billion. Tonight, I will be frank and transparent with you. Many Lebanese officials are afraid to deal with the Chinese. Who are they afraid of? The Americans, frankly. We all remember how Netanyahu was insulted a lot by the Americans, even though he is their “man,” because he opened up to China. He then quickly started withdrawing from projects. The former Iraqi prime minister also had contracts with China. People are afraid to make deals with China. Should we remain afraid?! In the coming days, Biden’s priority is the battle with China and the economic war with it. So, let's make deals with Russia. Let us see if Russian companies are ready to commit and revive oil refineries, provide workforce, and commit to projects, etc. People are afraid of dealing with Russia.
There is a problem of petroleum products in the country, petrol, diesel, fuel, and so on. The Iranians are prepared to sell us oil derivatives in Lebanese pounds. Can we do that? Let me tell you, frankly. One of the things that I was told is that according to Lebanon’s central bank, we cannot even buy from the Iranians in Lebanese pounds because the Americans will punish the bank and sanction it.
The Americans won’t allow us to make deals with China, Russia, Iran, or the East. The case is the same with Iraq. We are also forbidden to have dealings with Syria. Then, let the Americans help us – we do not want to help you. We want to subjugate you. We want you to commit to our conditions. We want you to be part of our battle and axis. The Americans don’t want Lebanon to be neutral. They want us to be part of the American-“Israeli” axis. Hence, this matter requires a capable government. This government should take into consideration the interests of our country. If it’s in the interest of our country to bring in Chinese companies, then it will do so. And if it is in the interest of our country to buy oil derivatives in Lebanese pounds, it will buy them, otherwise we will die of hunger in the country. They want to kill us from starvation, and we will not die of hunger. I repeat and say, and I will talk about this at the end of the speech.
There is a bet on the International Monetary Fund. The IMF wants to give loans. I asked and checked. There are no aid. Aid is only given in case of wars and other special circumstances. This means that the country will be in debt. The IMF does not want to lend us unless we are able to address and restructure. Hence, the government that will be formed might have to negotiate with the IMF. There are so far two points of view in the country. There is a pre-established point of view that agrees with the conditions of the IMF. There are some political forces that adopt this point of view and might be the majority in the next government. There is another point of view that wants to discuss these conditions – are they suitable for Lebanon or will they break and humiliate the country and deepen the crisis in it? There are things that can be accepted, and there are others that cannot be. Let me give you a few examples. The Lebanese people must have clarity regarding this matter. We must not be taken by slogans and settling scores.
If, for example, the IMF asked that subsidies on foodstuffs, medicine, and oil derivatives be lifted – it is working on this right now, and the country will basically reach this kind of option – will the Lebanese people be able to bear this? This will lead to an increase in the prices of foodstuffs, medicine, and oil derivatives, etc. Will they be able to bear it or not?
Secondly, the liberalization of the currency. In this case, the market becomes the one that controls the price of the currency. Hence, it becomes 10,000, 15,000, 20,000, 3,000, or 4,000. The price of the currency will be connected to the circumstances, the country, the market, the security and political situation, interference from outside and inside. Will the people be able to bear what they have experienced over the past few days? The IMF might say that there is a high number of employees in the public sector, including the army, the security forces, and state employees, and this number must be reduced. Perhaps, now I am anticipating matters. The government may reach a point where it must make such a decision. Will the people accept that thousands or tens of thousands of employees be thrown on the street? Regardless of whether we bear it or not or whether we are forced to bear it or not. Will the government of experts be able to take responsibility for such decisions? Will the government of experts be strong enough to face these challenges and convince the people? The previous government was techno-political. Look what happened on the streets when it increased the WhatsApp fee by a few cents. It had to resign.
I would like to advise to the prime minister-designate, and I am not backing down on what we previously agreed on. I’m saying this to gain more time, so that we do not form a government that falls after a month or two, a week or two. We do not know if we will be able to prevent people from taking to the street when you take measure where the people feel like they can’t even breath anymore. You need a strong government to stand by your side. You’ll be the only politician in the government. You say you want to block the ball of fire with your chest. May God bless you. But if you block this ball of fire on your own, you won’t be able to save the country. It will destroy you and the country because it is a big ball of fire. Everyone should block this ball of fire with you.
That is why tonight, regardless of all the discussions in the country, I say: Reconsider this issue, and I spoke last time about the government, the number of MPs, etc. Today, I am talking about the nature of the government, its essence, and its identity. Include the political forces to shoulder the responsibility with you. Form a political government, a techno-political government. If you can, do not allow anyone to escape responsibility and stand on the sidelines saying it is not their business. The ones who stand on the side and say it’s none of my busines but were responsible for years should be tried when they run away from responsibility. Let the political forces help and carry the decisions that the government will make. Let them convince their supporters of these decisions because, frankly, a government of experts, if not backed by the political forces, will not be able to save the country, make decisions, follow the course that you or anyone else has in mind.
So the point that I liked to strongly stress on tonight is reconsideration. You want to see President on Monday. From now until Monday, you can easily talk with the political forces and agree with them. Everyone must be ready. It is not up to our whims. You know what, the easiest thing for me to do now is to tell the Lebanese people and the whole world that given the circumstances, conditions, pressures, we do not want to take part in the government, directly or indirectly. We have nothing to do with the government, and we just sit on the side. We represent a big segment of the country. We are a big party. So when the government takes an unpopular decision, we will just not endorse it and tell the people that it is none of our business. Then, let everyone behave the way they see fit. What would become of the country? Do we want to escape responsibility or shoulder it? Do we want to settle scores and defend our parties and leaders or preserve our country and our people? How must we approach this matter? Even though we are in agreement with the formation of a government of experts. We do not have a problem, and I am not backing down on our previous commitments. But in my opinion, this government will not withstand. It will not be able to save the country and take the big, bold, and courageous decisions that the country needs. Form a political government, so let everyone come openly and bear the responsibility for the crisis and the impasse that the country is in. Everyone put shoulder to shoulder and cooperate in addressing this matter.
The second point: Also, in our opinion, the political forces or those represented by parliamentary blocs must hold a discussion regarding the options because if a government was formed and the options were not clear or protected, this means that we’ve done nothing. We’ve only swapped one government with another.
The third point regarding the solutions: A call on all political forces to employ it internal capabilities and its external relationships to provide help. Frankly, political leaders, organizations, and parties, as well as money tycoons, those who smuggle money, and those who are abroad should help their people, their parties, their sect, and their area. Help your constituency. There are people who do not have money. There are many people who had millions they smuggled outside. When you see that the country is heading towards collapse and famine, your responsibility is not to give the money to the state. The money that you will be spending on the elections a year and a half from now, spend it now.
If we have money, we must spend it on people and not hide it. Also, we must employ our relationships with merchants to help people. If we have relationships with institutions that are able to help people, we must employ them. If we have relationships with other states, let us benefit from them by helping save our people from the impasse instead of the political forces benefiting from these relations in settle scores with each other. Previously, I gave an example. Let me repeat it today and confirm it.
I repeat and confirm it today since we again have the fuel crisis, the gasoline crisis, and the diesel crisis. If they opted to lift support on subsidies or rationalize subsidies, this means that the prices of these materials will also rise in the market. In the past, I presented an offer. I said if Lebanon accepts, I will speak with the Iranians. I did not wait for Lebanon to accept. I spoke with Iranian officials. Oof course, I sent them messages and friends who came back to me with an answer. His Excellency the Iranian ambassador in Beirut expressed it on more than one occasion. I will repeat and say that we have a friend called Iran. Here you go, Lebanon! Oil derivatives, fuel, gasoline, and diesel, even gas if you have the possibility of transportation since there are technical problems transporting gas. Anything that has to do with this field, we can take 100%. You can buy it using the Lebanese lira, and you’ve got a lot of liras. If we bought oil derivatives in liras, how much dollars would we spare Lebanon? This will reflect on the price of the dollar. It will affect transportation, the institutions, the electricity, etc. We are prepared. Is there anything else we can do? We are ready for anything that has to do with medicine, foodstuff, etc. We are ready via the state and through the laws in force. Whoever has a relationship with any country in the world, with any Arab or foreign country, use it to help Lebanon. Do not sit and watch. This is the second or third point that I liked to stress on.
5- If the government formation process remains in a state of impasse and nothing happened on Monday and beyond, we have two solutions. To those who are asking Hezbollah to put pressure, what does put pressure mean? I said at the beginning that holding Hezbollah responsible for not forming a government because it did not put pressure is unacceptable. It is not that Hezbollah can put pressure but does not want to. It is not that it can do something but is not or does not want to. Hezbollah did what it could. What Hezbollah can do, it will do. But no one should hold us responsible. Do you want us to carry a machine gun at people and force them to accept so and so, regardless of who is right or not?!
In any case, if the crisis persists, we have two options: The first option is reactivating the work of the resigned government. There is no solution. We cannot leave the country. In the past two days, people took to the street, and some blocked roads. The dollar increased and reached 15,000 liras. Food stuff is running out, and supermarkets, cooperatives, and shops are closed. Leave the coronavirus aside. At one point, you feel that no one is responsible. His Excellency, the President, is telling you that these are my constitutional prerogatives, and he’s right. No one should hold him responsible. These are my constitutional privileges that the Taif Agreement left me with. I cannot do anything. This is the government’s job. Meanwhile, the government has resigned and has limited power. You go to the prime minister-designate, and he tells you that I am assigned to form the government, I am not the government. You go to the parliament, they tell you we have legislative authority. Hence, it is a country in which there is no one responsible. People are left to their fate, while the army and the security forces are made to face the people. This is the right description. Can we continue in this way? No.
The right thing to do is form a government. If a government was not formed, there are two things. The first is to reactivate the work of the resigned government. [Caretaker] Prime Minister Hassan Diab is a patriot and has to shoulder this responsibility without any conditions. You must not expect anything from anyone. Your national responsibility in the constitution and the law is the maximum margin available, even if there is jurisprudence. We do not want consensus, even if there is a constitutional jurisprudence that opens a margin for you to act. Your national, moral, and humanitarian responsibility, Your Excellency Prime Minister Hassan Diab, is to restore and bring together the government and assume responsibility, you and your government, this is first.
The second is to find a constitutional solution. We cannot continue to live in this country in this way. This is not because of the current situation. It is not because the President is President Aoun and the prime minister- designate is Prime Minister Saad Hariri. No. We have a problem with the constitution that has caused a problem in the country. The government is formed when the prime minister-designate and the president agree. So they did not agree. A month, two, three, four, five, six months, a year, a year and two month will pass. It’s open. I am not presenting a specific solution because some might get the idea of a time-based solution. There are parliamentary blocs that have submitted a constitutional amendment concerning this issue. But what I am saying is that we must search for an accurate constitutional solution, in which we take into account sectarian balances. Our brothers have a set of ideas that needs discussion, even here we need a discussion.
But for the sake of the future, we must find a constitutional legal solution to the dilemma of not being able to form a government within months. it might even take them a year or two, and they still won’t be able to form a government. I am not blaming anyone of being the one responsible. Both might be at fault or either one might be. I do not want to go into this detail now. The constitutional right is with them both. The President can disagree because there is no national balance, there is no so-and-so, and there is exclusion. The prime minister-designate may not accept because there is a third guarantor and a sensitive ministry. We must listen to both arguments and the debate in the country. Both are right at some point. But there is a country with no government. we must find a solution, a national solution, for this issue. I repeat and say that this solution must preserve the sectarian balance. Are there any draft ideas? Yes, there are draft ideas that need to be discussed, but we must be allowed to scrutinize it.
I will talk about points 6 and 7 quickly since both are important. Then, I will conclude by talking about Hezbollah.
6- Regarding the spike in the rate of the dollar, everyone knows. The people have information on how the dollar rate is spiking in the country. There is no time for me to explain the issue. The governor of Lebanon’s central bank bears a great responsibility in maintaining the price of the Lebanese Lira. Your powers, capabilities, and relationships enable you to prevent this unacceptable, incomprehensible, and rejected spike of the dollar rate. You could’ve done something in the past period and days regarding this matter, but you didn’t. Now you are able to do something about it, and you know you can. I know you can do something about it, and there are people, who are talking to you and to us, know that you can something about it. It is your responsibility not to let the dollar rate spike even if there was no government, and you can do this because what is happening is not logical and subjective. What is happening is manipulation, greed, and conspiracies. You can address this matter.
At the time of the resigned government, a big debate regarding the sacking of the governor of the central bank and appointing a new one took place. At the time, it was said, and we listened to people we trust and respect, that if the governor of the central bank was sacked, the dollar would go up to 10,000 and 15,000 liras. Today, it’s 10,000 and 15,000 liras. This is your responsibility. The only reason you kept your post is to protect the national currency and prevent the spike of the currency in this way. If you do not fulfill your responsibilities that you are truly capable of, it does not make sense for you to remain with this responsibility? And if you really can’t solve this, explain to the people and convince them using logic and evidence so that we know where the problem is? Let the people cooperate in facing this this dangerous confrontation. The situation that people lived in during these past days were unbearable. People have been patient and endured, and the consequences still remain. Therefore, please bear your responsibility in this regard. As a result of some positive atmosphere, he collected the dollar from banks, exchange offices, and brokers. I do not want to delve into detail. But this wave has slowed down, but it may return and start within days. Your responsibility is to bring down the dollar and not let it spike. It is your responsibility.
7- Based on the aforementioned, the people want to protest. It is their natural right to protest. There are ways to protest. We can demonstrate, organize sit-ins, or strike. But there is a way we wish the Lebanese people not adopt. It is not all the Lebanese people who are adopting this way. If we added the number of the people who blocked the roads during the past few days, how many are there? Do these represent the Lebanese people? Make a poll and ask the Lebanese people if this is their idea of protesting?
Blocking roads does not serve this objective. It does not help in solving this crisis. On the contrary, it deepens it because you are blocking the road in front of the employees, the workers, the daily worker, the farmer, and those who are transporting their commodities or agricultural products from one place to another.
You, the one blocking roads, you are starving people and increasing poverty in the country. In addition, you are killing people. You saw how people were killed and wounded. You are putting the country on the edge of a civil war. You, the one blocking roads, what you’re doing is suspicious. Tonight, I want to explain to them, whoever blocks roads is engaging in suspicious business. He might be putting the country on the edge of internal strife. We always ask the people to be patient. I ask them again to be patient, especially on some roads. Be patient and endure. We must address this matter. I will tell you how. But I would like to tell those blocking roads: You are putting the country at the cusp of internal strife. You are driving people towards bloodshed. You are humiliating people on the roads, and this humiliation is unacceptable and untenable. It must not continue, and we must find a solution for this. And you, the ones blocking roads, are only escalating the social and living crisis. By doing so, you are being part of a battle that you do not know what goals it is serving.
Therefore, I tell all the young people and everyone blocking roads that this does not serve the goal. Blocking roads does not feed the hungry, make the poor rich, and does not secure job opportunity for anyone. If you think that you are pressuring the politicians, you are wrong. Now, I spoke a bit harsh because severe harm has been done. People blocking roads cannot imagine the extent of the harm they’ve done. Three or four young men – in some areas they say there are 50 or 100 people, but in most places three or four young men – block the roads. They park a truck and take the keys with them. The army then comes and looks at the truck. Meanwhile, there is a queue of cars extending 10 km behind the truck waiting on both sides of the road during the coronavirus pandemic. What logic, religion, morals, humanity, politics, patriotism accepts this?
I want to tell the people who are blocking roads that during all the past period I have been calling on people to be patient and deal with this matter wisely. Now, I also call on them to be patient. However, I am one of the people who has run out of patience. You must find a solution to this issue.
We still insist that the solution must be, first, for the people to take the initiative not to block the roads. Secondly, it is the duty of the Lebanese army and the security forces to open the roads. I know that there is pressure from foreign embassies on the Lebanese army. Basically, the Lebanese army must not shoot at demonstrators. In the past 40 years, it hasn’t fired at demonstrators except at us. The army must not open fire at protesters or people on strike. I am not telling the arm y to open fire at the people blocking roads. But it is the duty of the army to get rid of those blocking roads. When embassies say that you have to let people blocking roads to continue what they are doing, we must understand that this is an external conspiracy, and those people are serving an external conspiracy that wants to burn down the country. It is the responsibility of the army and security forces to prevent this.
Tonight’s final point is regarding Hezbollah. I will say a few words.
8- Regarding Hezbollah, there is something that I answered during the whole speech and there is something that is usually raised. I will speak spontaneously about something they are talking about on social media – "You get paid in dollars."
The first thing people must know when talking about Hezbollah and its members – the men and women, the environment and the supporters, those who have responsibilities and activities, the formations, organizations, institutions – is that 80% of them do not receive salaries. The largest part of Hezbollah's military force is called Ta’abia [the mobilization]. The mobilization forces are volunteers. They pay from pockets to go to training camps. Recently, they have been paying from their pocket to go to the battle fronts. They do not receive salaries. There is a large part of Hezbollah, men and women as well as young men and young women, who are volunteers. They work for Hezbollah after their regular working hours, and sometimes they pay from their pocket. Like everyone else, they were affected. These people do not get paid from Hezbollah neither in dollars or Lebanese Lira.
Even those who receive a salary, a large part of them were paid in Lebanese pounds and not dollars, especially those working in institutions. Of course, their salaries were better than those who were getting paid in dollars at that time. Their salaries were better and suited the market and the institutions. But when the dollar rose, of course, they too were affected. These people still get paid in Lebanese pounds, and they represent a big part of the people who get paid from Hezbollah. Yes, there is a certain segment that were paid in dollars and still are. This is the first aspect to clarify. This is the first aspect that I wanted to clarify.
Let us talk about this segment that gets paid in dollars. Aa year and a half ago or two years ago, people used to make fun of their salaries. If one of them wanted to get married, some people wouldn’t accept them to marry their daughters – he might not be able to pay rent, buy furniture, etc. For tens of years when people had high salaries and were able to marry, open homes, and had no debts, they were living in hardship. Now, as a result of something outside their control, the dollar increased. Even if everything became more expensive in the country, they are trying to pay off some of their debts and solve some of their problems. Now, if there is one person here or there who had a little more than he needed, these are exceptional and limited cases. I know our brothers and sisters. I have lists. I know how much debt and the nature of the debt of each person. They are debts that concern their living conditions and are not luxury debts. They are debts for medicine, food, drinking, home, schools, hospitals, etc. However, since the beginning of the crisis, many of these brothers, with internal direction, and we did not talk about this issue in the media, initiated and donated parts of their salaries. They started permanently helping their families, relatives, surroundings, friends, and people one within their surroundings.
In any case, I want to address this segment – we will issue an internal circular. But this way guarantees that it the message will reach everyone. Of course, the internal circular will reach everyone. For our brothers who are included in the segment that still gets paid in dollars – this salary that they used to make fun of and tell us you are going to the frontlines and to Syria for $400 or $500. I call on the brothers and sisters to adopt monthly, until further notice, one of the two methods or both methods. The first is for everyone to prioritize his relatives, father, mother, children, siblings. As much as you can, help them from your salary. And second, help the neighbors. Of course, you will be rewarded for this twice because you are doing tow things. You are helping, and at the same time, you are keeping ties of kinship [Silat Rahim] and taking care of your neighbors.
The second is we decided to establish an internal fund for all of our brothers and sisters who get their salaries in dollars. They can donate part of their salary they find appropriate to this fund to cover the needs of the needy and poor families. This fund will be prepared by the administrative and financial authorities in the party. This money will be given to a big group of families. This is something that concerns our brothers. Of course, anything that we can do, we will do and will continue doing – providing some facilities, lowering prices, etc. I don’t want to talk about this now because this needs detailed explanation. It is also not yet the stage where we talk about this in the media. But regarding this issue, we will do everything we can.
Sometimes, I watch on television or from the things the brothers send me from social media that a certain person from this village is saying: Sayyed, we are hungry. You promised us. Here, I am not talking about the addressing big problems that needs a government and state, reform, investment money and plans. I am telling the sector leader, when you see someone saying that from your village, city, or neighborhood, contact him and make sure that he is sincere. Because there are people who claim to be hungry and turn out to be among the richest. They are accumulating money and hiding it.
Unfortunately, these people are hurting the poor and the needy. There are many cases that have been exposed on social media. In any case, make sure if this person or this family is in need, then help them. When you cannot help them, tell me. The lines of communication between us is open. We will not abandon anyone. Those we can help, of course, we will be on their side and help them.
But people should lessen their jokes. Someone sent me – I don’t know if it’s true or an act – that a person owns a $20k or $25k car with the gasoline signal pointing to zero. “Sayyed we do not have money to buy fuel, buy us some.” The price of your car is $20,000. I don’t have a car with this price tag, as a personal possession. Now is not the time for jokes or bullying. There is real suffering and serious pain. There is some banter or some fraud that hurts the needy and the poor. God willing, our real battle today is this battle. We will fight it with all our effort and energy.
In conclusion, we still insist that this situation must be dealt with through the state and its institutions and within legal norms. I said it once and still insist that this is the correct and natural path. However, for people not to despair and live in illusions, if such a time should come, and God forbid such a time should come, we definitely do not abandon our responsibilities. We have options, great and important options. But when conducting these options through the state and the institutions and according to the law is not available, at that time when the country is facing real hunger and facing real collapse, we will resort to this kind of options. What are these options? I will not talk about them now because it is not a time for a debates. Now the real path is for us to form a state and a government, to carry out the required reforms, lay down the required plans, and cooperate to save our people and country from loss, collapse, and destruction that some abroad are pushing for with some inside, unfortunately, are in harmony with.
Again, on the birthday of Abu Al-Fadl Al-Abbas, the master of sacrifice, loyalty, insight, submission, and trustworthiness, to every wounded, many happy return. May you have many more days like this, and May God bless you with health, wellness, patience, steadfastness, safety and good ending.
Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you.