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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-26-2005, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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THE END OF AN ERA

IT’S THE END OF AN ERA.
HISTORY WAS MADE TODAY BY THE LAST SYRIAN SOLDIER LEAVING LEBANESE SOIL AFTER 29 YEARS OF VIRTUAL OCCUPATION.


Some history: Syrian troops (around 40,000 soldiers) entered Lebanon in 1976 on the demand of the Christian community to help them with their war of ousting the PLO. During the years to come, Syria played a positive role in trying to establish peace. They lost 12,000 soldiers, mostly during the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982. They also played a key role in ending the civil war. However, at that time, they were responsible for the assassination of many key Lebanese politicians including 2 Lebanese presidents. After the end of the civil war, Syria put in place puppets to govern Lebanon. They encouraged and sponsored political and economical corruption and meddled with the democratic process to their advantage.

On February 14, 2005, a terrorist bombing claimed the life of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. He was the most prominent Lebanese figure in the world. He was an exceptional person who utilized all his resources, wealth and networking in favor of his country. Whenever Lebanon needed him, he used to get on his private plane and travel around the world trying to help. He invested his billions in Lebanon to ensure investors that it was safe to do so because he believed in his country. After seeing Hariri risking his billions in Lebanon, many investors followed. His mansion door was open weekly to all Lebanese asking for help and he never turned them down.

The assassination sparked wide-spread anger and outrage translated into a mass funeral for Hariri with over a million attendants. Never has Lebanon seen more than 30% of its population on the streets. This outrage was swiftly transformed into an anti-Syrian sentiment since Syria was blamed for the assassination. A week after, another protest forced the pro-Syrian government to resign. March 14th marked the peak of these protests where more than 1.5 million Lebanese protested against the Syrian presence. This forced the Syrian government to declare the 30th of April as the deadline for the withdrawal. These protests were called the Cedar revolution and the Lebanese Spring.

The assassination united most Lebanese towards their demand for total freedom. However the major Shiite parties (like Hizbollah) were exceptions. They went into Syria’s defense which made them loose their unanimous and nation-wide support. Their support was restricted to the Shiite community.

On April 18th, the former economy minister Bassel Fleihan, an economics genius and a Yale and Columbia graduate, died after suffering from 90% body wounds as a result of the bomb. He was a close friend to Hariri and was sitting next to him at the time of the assassination.

Today, April 26, 2005 will be a date to remember. A feeling of relief is widely felt across the country, although some fear from Syrian intelligence undercover personnel being still present in Lebanon.

Now there is an interim government of Najib Mikati (a Harvard graduate tycoon) is in place. Parliamentary elections are expected to be held on May 29th and the opposition is expected to gain a majority of the seats. After that, Hariri’s sister Bahiya is expected to be elected as Prime Minister. She will be the first female in the Middle East to govern a country. The Hariri family elected Rafic Hariri’s son Saad to continue the legacy of his father. Saad has already met with French President Chirac (a close family friend), and the US V.P Dick Cheney who offered his condolences to Saad in Texas two days ago.

When I started the topic “My Prime Minister Assassinated�, I had no idea that such historic events were going to unfold in such short time. If you had asked me 2 months ago about the Syrian withdrawal, I would have said that it will take years or maybe decades to occur. It happened today. I will remember these 2 months for as long as I live and will pass this experience to my children.

3 DATES TO REMEMBER:
FEBRUARY 14, 2005: HARIRI’S ASSASSINATION.
MARCH 14, 2005: THE CEDAR REVOLUTION.
APRIL 26, 2005: SYRIAN WITHDRAWAL.


Today marked the INDEPENDENCE 05, the slogan you saw in the protests.

Now for the events in pictures (some are old photos, others are new).



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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-26-2005, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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RE: THE END OF AN ERA

THE ASSASSINATION
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-26-2005, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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RE: THE END OF AN ERA

THE FUNERAL
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-26-2005, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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RE: THE END OF AN ERA

PROTESTS / EVENTS
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-26-2005, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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RE: THE END OF AN ERA

THE LAST WITHDRAWAL
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-26-2005, 10:43 PM
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RE: THE END OF AN ERA

How awesome the power of the masses unified in purpose and resolve. May peaceful self determination be your ambition and reward. Good luck to you my Lebanese friends.

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-27-2005, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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RE: THE END OF AN ERA

Many thanks to you azimuth.[;)]

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-27-2005, 11:57 PM
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RE: THE END OF AN ERA

now, this is how you bring democracy to any people.. from the inside... i wish all of you the best of luck and thanks for sharing silverarrow and others.. have been checking out your posts... very inspiring



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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-29-2005, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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RE: THE END OF AN ERA

Thanks mzsmbs
I agree with you, democracy has a better chance of flourishing, succeeding and surviving with time when it comes from the inside. This way it gets accepted by the people because they worked for it.

I’ll continue to share all the upcoming events. Yesterday, all the major Pro-Syrian security chiefs resigned, and new neutral ones were appointed.

On May 7th, Beirut is welcoming the General Michel Aoun, the Army chief/Prime Minister in 1990 who was put in exile in Paris after the Syrian army invaded the presidential palace and kicked him out. He has been calling for the Syrian withdrawal ever since. He got very popular, especially with the Christian community. Around 300,000 Lebanese are expected to come within this month to Lebanon mainly from France and the US to greet him. So this will be very interesting to watch.

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-01-2005, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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RE: THE END OF AN ERA

Today, a UN inspecting team verified that the Syrian intelligence withdrawal has taken place from the building just beside my house. It’s the first time I see such a team, it reminded me of the WMD UN inspection team.
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