ETIENNE SAKR (ABU ARZ) COMMANDER OF THE GUARDIANS OF CEDARS JEZZINE, LEBANON

The Lebanese people are following the political and military events in the KOSOVO region with great interest. Because of the similarities in the situations in KOSOVO and Lebanon, we want to make world opinion aware of the following:

1. The Free World has assembled all its political and military power to prevent the totalitarian regime in Yugoslavia from succeeding in its program of ethnic cleansing in KOSOVO. In sharp contrast, the world remained silent when the totalitarian regime of Syria brutally occupied Lebanon in 1990, wresting complete control of the government from the Lebanese. They maintain control to this very day.

2. The media has vividly described the atrocities committed by the Serbs against the Kosovars. There has been silence on the subject of the mass killings of Lebanese women, children and the elderly by the Syrian army. These actions have far exceeded the crimes committed in KOSOVO. In addition, Syria has imposed on the Lebanese a sophisticated program of torture and ethnic cleansing. This has resulted in the same mass exodus from villages, and the creation of a desperate refugee situation, that we are witnessing today in KOSOVO.

3. Does the Free World know that the long lasting Syrian occupation of Lebanon is serving to erase the Lebanese identity? The so-called Lebanese government is a puppet in Syria's hands, and independence and autonomy are things of the past.

4. Dose the Free World know that the Syrian invaders have transformed what was democratic Lebanon into a police state? Young Lebanese men and women have been arrested, tortured and imprisoned in Syrian prisons without any acknowledgement from the world human rights organizations.

5. Dose the Free World know that according to a government study more than two million Syrian workers migrated into Lebanon, taking away jobs from the Lebanese and creating a massive financial, economic, and demographic catastrophe for the country? Many industries and commercial institutions have been forced to close, causing unemployment crises and forcing Lebanese out of their country. At the same time, the Syrian occupiers feel free to loot and kill as they please.

6. Dose the Free World know that the terrorism and constant attacks by the extremist fundamentalists in the South, in JEZZINE and the southern border, are completely sponsored and supported by Syria, the great ally of Iran? These terror organizations have rein within Lebanon.

The question we are asking is whether or not the Free World knows these truths and is deliberately ignoring them, or is ignorant about them. Either scenario is catastrophic for Lebanon.

If the world is really interested in defending freedom and democracy for all people, then why is the free world silent about the horrible occupation of Lebanon?

We reconfirm to the so-called free world that we will continue our resistance against the Syrian domination even if we have to do it alone. We will not allow the memories of our martyrs, the sacrifices of our people, the orphans and the widow's tears to go to waste.

We will be victorious, and Lebanon will be victorious with us.

United States of America
ETIENNE SAKR (Abu ARZ)

April 2, 1999 Commander of the Guardians of the cedars