Think Of That: May 2005

Think Of That

Some things to think about

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Location: Lebanon

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The General's Return

“Great People of Lebanon.”

That’s how he greeted the crowds flooding into the presidential palace in Baabda in 1989, and that’s how he started his speech on the 7th of May 2005 at Martyrs’ square. General Michel Aoun, an exceptional leader, has finally returned home to his beloved country after 15 years of exile in France. Greeted by a sea of supporters coming from all over Lebanon, waving Lebanese red and white flags and wearing orange-colored T-shirts, caps and scarfs, the color attributed to the Free Patriotic Movement. In 15 years, and in spite of the continuous persecution, the FPM has attracted more followers than any other movement or political party in Lebanon, surely due to the charismatic personality of its leader and his unyielding stance regarding the Syrian occupation. Unlike most politicians in Lebanon, the General is a man of principles; he never compromised and never gave up the fight, even when he was betrayed and exiled. He may be inflexible and a bit harsh but according to friends and foes, he’s as honest a man can be. Always faithful to the memory of the martyrs who died fighting for the freedom and independence of Lebanon, General Aoun has set his goals to free the government of corruption, politics of sectarianism and feudalism and make way for the third Republic where young people and Lebanese expatriates can be part of the decision-making process, like every other democratic country.