President Aoun to MECC Delegation: “Peace on Paper is Useless if People Have No Faith in it”
Aoun: “Lebanon Would Never Survive with Half a Million Palestinian Refugees and 1.6 million Syrian Refugees”
“Lebanon would never survive with half a million Palestinian refugees and 1.6 million Syrian refugees because its demography will completely change”, said the Lebanese President General Michel Aoun during a meeting held on May 9-2019 at the presidential palace, with a large group of MECC Delegates and Partners at the conclusion of their annual meeting hosted at the Dhour Choueir Evangelical Center-Ain El Qassis, from the 7th to the 9th of May. The Delegation which was presided by MECC Secretary General Dr. Souraya Bechealany included Representatives from Egypt, the Holy Land, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Germany, Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United States.
President Aoun emphasized his constant pursuit to strengthen the Christian presence in the East, backing the efforts of MECC in the same direction. Aoun stressed that “even if governments establish peace among themselves, war can be renewed among people”. He considered “peace on paper to be useless if people have no faith in it, pointing out that “Israel has built a wall around Jerusalem and at the border, because it believes that it protects it”. “Historically, the walls around Jerusalem have been built six times, and each time they have fallen”, the President said.
Aoun called on the MECC to help the Lebanese government resolve the Syrians refugees’ issue “by persuading Western countries to accept the refugees return to their countries as soon as possible, after Lebanon’s population density has reached 600 people per square kilometer, which is usually an urban density not a country density”. President Aoun pointed out that “Israel has declared that the Palestinian refugees would remain where they are” and warned against the negative effects of the economic, security and educational presence of refugees on Lebanon, which he can no longer afford”.
Furthermore, President Aoun declared that “the problem is complicated in relation to Lebanon and the Arab countries because of the US decision to annex Jerusalem to Israel, and to declare Israel a Jewish state, a national homeland for the Jews, which decision we consider racist”. “Over time, Israel has expelled Christians and Muslims, thus greatly threatening peace,” he added.
As for the Christian presence in the East, President Aoun pointed out that although Christians had become a minority in the East, they lived in peace in the past. However, “With the invasion of terrorism, they have become the least minority, and this is very unfortunate.”
The President of the Lebanese Republic informed the delegation about his efforts with the United Nations to establish the “Human Academy for Encounter and Dialogue” in Lebanon, a global center for dialogue between religions, ethnicities and civilizations. “Lebanon is qualified to play this role because the cultures of the entire world emerged from the East, and later we contributed in sharing knowledge from east to west in an era when the East was of greater civilization than the west, and then we shared western civilization back from the west to the east,” he said. Lebanon is not just a crossing point to the east, it is the mind of the East and the heart of the West”, He added.
Dr. Souraya Bechealany made a speech, saying that the delegation which includes bishops, priests, monks and laymen, came to support MECC’s plans and projects and to come out with a global compact for church policies that would affect local and international decisions, in view of preaching human values and protecting human dignity and freedoms in the region and the world.
Bechealany called on the Lebanese public security to facilitate visas for visitors coming from the Holy Land and Syria, especially those who will participate in the MECC General Assembly in the summer of 2020. She declared that this assembly will ponder on ” the future and mission of Christians in the region, and their coexistence with the Muslims and all the other communities of the region.” The Secretary General hoped that Lebanon would remain a sanctuary and a center where cultures, civilizations and religions meet.