The Guardians of the Cedars issued the following communiqué:
Now that the storm of elections has come and gone and the candidates' babble has diminished, one may make a few observations on those elections regardless of the ledger of winners and losers that came out of the ballot boxes.
The general impression with the Lebanese people is that the elections had one positive feature but many negative ones. On the positive, the elections proved to the world that the Lebanese people are first and foremost thirsty for freedom and that they are able to decide on their future by themselves and without outside tutelage. They also showed that Syria is not a factor of stability as the prevailing opinion among Western decision-makers had been for three decades, and that the rhetoric about a return to “civil war” was mere scare tactics used by Syria to maintain its justification for staying in Lebanon the longest time possible.
Of the many negatives, however, the first is that the electoral law in force has brought to parliament MPs that do not represent their voters' will, but rather the will of the electoral lists leaders, which defeats the basic premise of representation that is at the core of the democratic process. Furthermore, it renders those representatives accountable only to the list leaders as though they were “Dhimmis” in the service of those leaders. Second, discourse between competing candidates has sunk to its lowest level, with the vilest brand of slander, insults and defamation never seen before in Lebanese elections, which created disgust and aversion among the Lebanese people. Third, most candidates resorted to cheap sectarian incitment to win over votes, which puts a stain on the pure spirit of the Independence Uprising and the historic march of March 14, and saps at the core foundations of the Lebanese nation. Fourth, the influence of money was heavily used in buying the votes of poor voters, transforming people into a commodity to be bought and sold during election seasons every 4 years.
If the international community has praised those elections for their fairness, it should be aware that they were fair only in form and not in fact.
As to the assassination of George Hawi, it only points to the fact that Syria is bent on seeking vengeance from those who contributed to evicting it from Lebanon, and in particular those who were Syria's allies for many years, who benefited enormously from its presence, and who ultimately turned against it. If this is any indication, then the list of potential assassinations is very long and the series of executions is likely to continue until the international community takes strict and deterrent measures against the Syrian regime, especially since the Lebanese State has amply demonstrated its failure and impotence.
The sad comedy here is that there are those who continue to this day to call for privileged relations with Syria...It is so sad as to be laughable.
Lebanon, at your service
June 24, 2005