The Guardians of the Cedars issued the following communiqué:

We said in our previous statement that the upcoming presidential elections should not be held under the Syrian hegemony over Lebanon and through a Parliament that was spawned by that hegemony. The alternative would be a failure of the stated American objective for these elections to be free and democratic, a wish that would be no more than fodder for local media consumption. The coming era would be an extension of the present, that is, an extension of the Lebanese tragedy and a further deepening of the abyss of suffering, dismemberment, and annihilation.

The utter decay in which the Lebanese State finds itself today in all its facets because of corruption and corrupt individuals since the time of independence, in particular during the last two Taef regimes, should prompt the Lebanese to find a savior president of a mold that is very different from his predecessors and who is able to lift Lebanon out of the cycle of death and into the cycle of life for which it strives.

Therefore, and in order to confront the exceptional challenges ahead, Lebanon needs an exceptional, indeed an extraordinary, man with unique qualities, namely knowledge, heroism, and sanctity.

By knowledge we mean that this man has to have a vision for the future, a creative mind, capable of correcting the many standing abuses and deviations, and draw the outline of a new State on the bases of science, ambition, and dynamism. He must begin rebuilding public institutions and the administration on modern and novel foundations. He must be fully aware of the global nature of the crisis and its ramifications, and capable of diagnosing the ills and diseases and creatively elaborating solutions to them.

By heroism we mean that he must have the competence to face the challenges no matter how great, and be ready to make courageous decisions no matter how difficult. He must reach for the impossible, refuse to make concessions and reject diluted compromises over principles, ready to sacrifice himself for his country and its cause.

By sanctity, we mean that he must have top-notch ethics, untouchable by money and its appeal in this time of dogged competition for stealing, pilfering, and unlawful gains. He must be driven for the public good in a time of mad pursuit for narrow personal interests. He must have character among the vile miscreants and petty merchants around, and an unselfish altruist who lives in the soul and conscience of his people and his nation.

Some will say that we are asking for utopia or that this is wild imagination. But what this criticism misses is that the failure of rulers is primarily due to their intellectual paucity, and that great nations are made with big dreams, and great crises create opportunities for big transformations. After many barren years in its recent past, the Lebanese theater is today on standby to welcome the hero who will lead the rescue operation and the revival of Lebanon’s mission of civilization and its pioneering role among the nations.

These words are principally addressed to those who are crowding the lines for the presidency for power and prestige, and who fail to understand that the post of president in this historic time is a mission and not a pastime.

Lebanon , at your service,

Abu Arz,

02 April 2004