An Open Country for Civil Resistance
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2006 Lebanon: An Open Country for Civil Resistance www.lebanonsolidarity.org
This is the first press release for the Campaign of Resistance, a coalition of over 200 Lebanese NGOs andcivic organizations. We, the people of Lebanon, call upon the local and international community to join a campaign of civil resistance to Israel’s war against our country and our people. We declare Lebanon an open country for civil resistance. The aim of this campaign is to provide relief for civilians in South Lebanon, live in solidarity with them, and work for the immediate return of internally displaced citizens to their homes in the South. If their homes are no longer standing, then the Lebanese government, United Nations, Red Cross, and others, should provide assistance to our citizens on their own land – not scattered across the entire country.
It is our hope that this campaign will not only provide a measure of justice to displaced and distressed Lebanese citizens, but will also contribute to an immediate ceasefire, and an end to the continuing destruction of Lebanon. The first Citizen’s Convoy will leave for South Lebanon on Saturday, August 12.
For interviews and more information, please contact:
Rasha Salti convois.citoyens.sud.liban _a t_ gmail.com
Huwaida Arraf huwaidaa _a t_ riseup.net
BEIRUT–On August 12, at 7 am, Lebanese from throughout the country and international supporters who have come to Lebanon to express solidarity will gather in Martyr’s Square in Beirut to form a civilian convoy to the south of Lebanon. Hundreds of Lebanese and international civilians will express their solidarity with the inhabitants of the heavily destroyed south who have been bravely withstanding the assault of the Israeli military. This campaign is endorsed by more than 200 Lebanese and international organizations. This growing coalition of national and international non-governmental organizations hereby launches a campaign of civil resistance for the purpose of challenging the cruel and ruthless use of massive military force by Israel, the regional superpower, upon the people of Lebanon.
August 12 marks the start of this Campaign of Resistance, declaring Lebanon an Open Country for Civil Resistance. August 12 also marks both the international day of protest against the Israeli aggression.
“In the face of Israel’s systematic killing of our people, the indiscriminate bombing of our towns, the scorching of our villages, and the attempted destruction of our civil infrastructure, we say No! In the face of the forced expulsion of a quarter of our population from their homes throughout Lebanon, and the complicity of governments and international bodies, we re-affirm the acts of civil resistance that began from the first day of the Israeli assault, and we stress and add the urgent need to act!,” said Rasha Salti, one of the organizers of this national event.
After August 12, the campaign will continue with a series of civil actions, leading to an August 19 civilian march to reclaim the South. “Working together, in solidarity, we will overcome the complacency, inaction, and complicity of the international community and we will deny Israel its goal of removing Lebanese from their land and destroying the fabric of our country,” explained Samah Idriss, writer and co-organizer of this campaign.
“An international civilian presence in Lebanon is not only an act of solidarity with the Lebanese people in the face of unparalleled Israeli aggression, it is an act of moral courage to defy the will of those who would seek to alienate the West from the rest and create a new Middle East out of the rubble and blood of the region,” said Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and campaign co-organizer. “After having witnessed the wholesale destruction of villages by Israel’s air force and navy and having visited the victims (so-called displaced) of Israel’s policy of cleansing Lebanese civilians from their homes,” continued Arraf, “it is imperative to go south and reach those who have stayed behind to resist by steadfastly remaining on their land.”
If you are in Lebanon and want to sign up and join the convoy, contact either: Rasha Salti email: convois.citoyens.sud.liban _a t_gmail.com
Rania Masri: rania.masri _a t_ balamand.edu.lb
This campaign is thus far endorsed by more than 200 organizations, including: The Arab NGOs Network for Development (ANND), International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Cultural Center for Southern Lebanon, Norwegian People’s Aid, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, Frontiers, Kafa, Nahwa al-Muwatiniya, Spring Hints, Hayya Bina, Lebanese Transparency Association, Amam05, Lebanese Center for Civic Education, Let’s Build Trust, CRTD-A, Solida, National Association for Vocational Training and Social Services, Lebanese Development Pioneers, Nadi Li Koul Alnas, and Lecorvaw.