The Lebanese Kataeb party on Saturday commemorated the "Martyrs Day" and inaugurated the Independence Museum to mark the 44th anniversary of the beginning of the Lebanese resistance which was formed to defend the country against the malicious scheme to alter Lebanon's identity during the 15-year Civil War which broke out in 1975.
Kataeb officials, partisans and supporters, as well as scores of political, social and religious figureheads gathered at Platea to pay tribute to the 6000 martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country's sake.
Speaking at the event, Independence Museum manager, Joy Homsy, hoped that the exhibition venue would lay the foundations for a real inter-Lebanese reconciliation and dialogue, adding that it serves as a call for local factions to launch discussions on a unified history book that would recognize everyone's sacrifices and include the different viewpoints in the country.
“Amid the absence of a unified history book in Lebanon, the Independence Museum is aimed at filling the gap marring the process of establishing a united people,” he stated.
Homsy explained that the inaugurated museum has been expanded because it wasn't easy to restrict the history of the Kataeb party to a 1,000-square-meter surface.
“It took us six years to work on an exhibition venue that displays the history of a 6000-year-old entity which 6000 Kataeb martyrs had died for,” Homsy noted.
“More than 10,000 photographs, 20,000 documents and hundreds of hours of video footage are at display. What is displayed at the museum is only a small part of what we managed to obtain."
“We salute the 6000 martyrs, the injured and those who are still detained in Syrian prisons for boosting our faith, determination and resilience. Hadn't it been for them, we wouldn't have been still here today,” he affirmed.
The son of missing Kataeb official, Boutros Khawand, expressed distress over the unknown fate of thousands of people who went missing during the civil war, calling on state officials to end this ordeal.
“It's impossible for us to forget those who died so that we could live. Many are still abducted so that we could stay in our homeland,” Khawand said in a speech at the event.
“We are still waiting for thousands of people who are detained in Syrian prisons to be returned,” he stated. “A hero who was abducted in front of his house is still waiting to be freed. He refused to yield to threats and chose to stay in his country; he chose to lose his personal freedom so that the nation's freedom would prevail."
“26 years after his abduction, struggle is still the only choice that we want."
“Despite the hard times we have been going through, we refuse to surrender, yield or remain silent about our right,” he assured.
“The Syrian regime is still refusing to claim responsibility for this file, but we believe that the truth will eventually be uncovered."
Khawand blasted Lebanese officials and people who are still convinced of the Syrian regime's lie that there are no Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons.
“How could they keep mum about their compatriots' ordeal?”
“How can we believe in a free and sovereign country while thousands of Lebanese are still detained in Syrian jails?”
“How can we carry on with our lives while the people who brought us to life are suffering in the world's most horrific prisons where all human rights are violated?”
“Free our kin before helping them freeing their lands; bring us back our fathers, brothers and sons,” Khawand demanded.
“It is true that the war has ended, but those detainees are still part of an ongoing battle,” he noted.
“For us to believe in a free and sovereign Lebanon, the State ought to defend this case. Do not let us down! We haven't given up, so you don't drop our case into oblivion,” he concluded.
For his part, Kataeb veteran member, Salim Reaidy, hailed the party's steadfastness and unwavering resilience 83 years after its foundation, defending the great role that the Kataeb has played throughout Lebanon's history.
“Throughout its struggle, the Kataeb party has always had Lebanon's existence at the heart of its national concerns. It has always been the party of all social classes away from casteism. It has always served as a platform for the encounter of generations,” he said during the event.
“Righteousness is wherever the Kataeb party is,” Reaidy affirmed.
“Hadn't it been for the Kataeb, the 1958 Revolution would have turned into a win-loss situation,” he emphasized.
“Hadn't it been for the Kataeb, the 1975 war would have yielded an alternative nation for the Palestinians,” he added.
“The Kataeb party is the one that changed the local, regional and international equations,” Reaidy stressed.
For his part, Kataeb leader's top adviser, Fouad Abu Nader, outlined that Lebanon's birth in 1920 resulted from the continuous resistance of the ancestors, saying that the gates of hell opened after some had feared their resolute aspiration to freedom.
“The 1975 scheme consisted in eliminating the Kataeb Party in order to control all of Lebanon, but everyone forgot that we admire freedom to the point of martyrdom,” he said.
“Hadn't the Kataeb party stood firm in 1975, Lebanon's history would have taken a completely different course,” he added, calling on the youth to carry on the struggle initiated by their ancestors.