The Lebanese Kataeb party on Friday inaugurated the Independence Museum as part of this year's "Martyrs Day" celebration to mark the 44th anniversary of the start of Lebanon's 15-year civil war.
Former President Amine Gemayel on Friday said that the Independence Museum exhibits Lebanon's contemporary history and the heritage of the Kataeb party equally, saying that it serves as a place of testimony, remembrance and forewarning.
In a speech he delivered during the inauguration of the museum in Jounieh's Haret Sakher, Gemayel stressed that the venue testifies to Lebanon's cultural and political history; the history of a nation that has long struggled for democracy and freedom.
According to Gemayel, the museum is also a place of remembrance as it reminds of the essence of Lebanon's existence as a platform of dialogue, coexistence, culture and modernity.
The ex-president noted that the museum forewarns of the repercussions of disconnecting from the prestigious history show in it, adding that it also cautions against normalizing and surrendering to the current status quo.
"This is the Lebanon that we love and want; a country of endless ingenuity and ambition," he stressed.
By choosing to inaugurate the Independence Museum, Gemayel stated, the Kataeb party wants to introduce the youth to a past era of Lebanon's history and to remind those who lived it of the treasure "that we once had and are now fearing for it."
"The Kataeb party wants to bring to everyone's attention that it is shameful for the Lebanese, who had the privilege to struggle for freedom, democracy, sovereignty and independence, to fail now to exercise those values," he said, praising the Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel for his courage in swimming against the tide.
Gemayel deplored the absence of communication and solidarity between political forces, saying that they are all favoring their interests over the country's welfare and basing their work on spite, obstinacy and recklessness.
The former Kataeb leader also lamented the absence of dynamism in the country, wondering why Lebanon's historical role as an exemplary model of coexistence, pluralism and diversity is being diminished.
Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi, who took part in the inauguration and blessed the venue, stressed that establishing the museum at a close distance from the Maronite Patriarchate seat in Harissa encloses a significant importance.
"Hadn't it been for those martyrs, we wouldn't have been here today," he said. “They died so that we would live."
The patriarch stressed that the Kataeb party and Lebanon's independence are closely linked, noting the Kataeb party has been struggling for a free, independent and sovereign country since 1936.
Al-Rahi pointed out that the Kataeb has chosen to join the opposition ranks in defense of Lebanon's sovereignty and dignity, hailing all the party's martyrs who sacrificed their lives for this country, notably President Bachir Gemayel and Minister Pierre Gemayel.
The patriarch hailed the idea of establishing the museum, saying that it allows the new generations to get to know their history and to realize the meaning of their presence in this country.
"The existence of Lebanon holds a significance that must not be dropped into oblivion or wasted. This country carries a great message for both the East and West."
“Unfortunately, the truth has been forgotten because we are suffering from allegiances and affiliations to other countries. This is why the Kataeb did not hesitate to speak up even if this would be to its own detriment."