Thursday, October 19, 2017

No, Habib Chartouni is not a hero

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Today, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar called Habib Chartouni, president Bachir Gemayel’s murderer, a hero. It's not only an insult to the families of the 32 people he killed along with the president-elect. It’s a total disrespect for the Lebanese state institutions.

On September 14, 1982, Habib Chartouni didn’t only kill a man, a charismatic leader beloved by his people. He didn’t only kill the dream of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese. He murdered the president of Lebanon. By branding him a hero, Al-Akhbar shows its complete disregard – and disrespect – for the Lebanese state institutions. The very institutions the daily claims to defend.

Besides, sneaking into a building, setting off a bomb, killing dozens of people then running away doesn't exactly qualify as heroic. Cowardly would be a more fitting word. And if Chartouni was such a hero, why is he hiding in Syria? If he had an ounce of heroism, he would have showed up at his trial, faced his accusers, stood tall and defended his case.

But he didn’t, did he?

Al-Akhabar says Bachir Gemayel’s election was only possible because of the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon. So they call him a collaborator. Thus, branding his killer a hero. Strangely, they don’t seem to have the same issue with Elias Hraoui or Emile Lahoud, whose election were forced down our throats by the Syrian occupation forces.

They say Bachir collided with Israel. Of course he did. When your very existence is threatened, when your enemies use two foreign armies, the Palestinian and the Syrian, to attack you, bomb you, kill your neighbors and your loved ones, and ultimately attempt to take over your country, when there's no one else to turn to, you seek the devil’s help to survive. It's self-preservation.

To Habib Chartouni’s fans, I strongly recommend they listen very carefully to what Bachir Gemayel said right after his election (videos below), and understand who did their champion murder.

Awkwardly enough, Al-Akhbar anti-zionist rhetoric doesn’t seem to have much consistency. For example: I didn’t see them complain about the Israeli warplanes flying over the Baabda presidential palace along with the Syrian’s Sukhoï on October 13, 1990. They didn’t brand Hafez el-Assad a collaborator. Nor Hraoui. Nor Lahoud. Nor the militias that took part in the October 13 invasion. They had a great opportunity to do so a few days ago. But they didn’t. Why?

Maybe because one of these invading militias was the SSNP (the Syrian Social Nationalist Party). A militia, Habib Chartouni, their beloved hero in hiding, is a member of.

© Claude El Khal, 2017