Remarks by Walid Maalouf
Spokesman, The Metrolina Phoenician Club

The Kiwanis Club
Belmont, North Carolina

Wednesday, April 22, 1987 

It is an honor to address the distinguished members of the Kiwanis Club today. Thank you for inviting me to be your luncheon speaker. Speaking about Lebanon is always a challenge. Since 1975, Lebanon has been facing a tragedy, the land being a playground for foreign forces and illegal aliens. There are more than twenty five thousand Syrian troops occupying seventy five percent of the Lebanese territory, interfering in Lebanon's internal affaires.

Massacres and car bombs are taking place in every corner of the country, and Iranian fundamentalists are trying to change the democratic government of Lebanon to a confessional one with the help of Hazballah. Palestinians are undermining the Lebanese government efforts in trying to get control of the west Beirut areas, threatening the sovereignty of Lebanon and her people. It is a fallacy to carry on a meaningful dialogue among the Lebanese factions when the majority of the communities are occupied and terrorized by an external force that is neither objective nor interested in a purely Lebanese solution to the conflict.

The Christian Muslim coexistence in Lebanon has given it a special look. Lebanon is the last and eternal place for all the Lebanese. Lebanon the nation - this is what the Lebanese need. And from the small geographical area where legitimacy and democracy still exist, we shall move with the help of all the Lebanese who believe in Lebanon as a pluralistic society to regain Lebanon as a free, united, independent, sovereign state.

The Lebanese have been taking every opportunity to pull themselves out of this Mideast problem. They have witnessed, thus far, more than 2396 ceasefires, 1326 plans of security, and 3612 projects for peace and 650 committees of dialogue. And, yet, the war is still going on. But we are resilient people. We are refusing to die from the inside. I believe that the solution should come from the outside - I mean the Lebanese immigrants abroad - especially the Lebanese Americans who have the power and the means of help more than anybody else.

We will not despair. We shall continue to hope, persevere, and work until Lebanon's sovereignty is regained and its spirit is renewed, and until the Lebanese people are once again dignified, free and happy.

Thank you and now I am happy to entertain any questions you might have.