“Dialogue today has become an urgent necessity and the path of salvation,” deemed the Lebanese President Michel Aoun in his inaugural speech at the “Mediterranean Dialogue 2017” Conference, which convened in the Italian city of Rome this afternoon.
“This Conference is held under the headline, ‘Dialogue of the Mediterranean’, in acknowledgement and recognition that dialogue has become an urgent necessity and a way of salvation from all that our world is floundering over today, especially terrorism which knows no limits or boundaries. For this reason, I chose to speak about terrorism, its real causes and remedies,” Aoun said in his opening speech.
“Terrorism, in terms of being a systematic violence by armed groups to change reality or to impose new equations that are often worse than existing ones, is not innovative and has been recognized by the world in various epochs and in many ways. Perhaps the terrorism that strikes our world today is the most dangerous because it is the most widespread and using the most recent weapons,” the President added.
“Several factors combine to allow for the emergence of terrorism, the first being an arbitrary regime, a fake democracy or a declared dictatorship, in which the citizen has no room for expression or the possibility of changing power through democratic methods. It is based on poverty, need and ignorance, then on an extremist and fanatic ideology that drives instincts, kills reason, paralyzes logic and provides false solutions that facilitate adaptation. Then a state exploits all of this and finances and supports it, generating a new terrorism under a new name, which it uses to achieve its interests by striking other countries, their economy, security and stability, not minding the sufferings that may be inflicted on their peoples. This is the typical equation for terrorist organizations,” Aoun explained.
“But, the equation says that these machines of destruction could get out of hand, and this is exactly what happened with the current terrorism. It started its criminal activity in some Arab countries, which were hit by the so-called “spring”, only to expand and spread to the depths of Europe, hitting Paris, London, Brussels, Madrid, Nice, Munich and the United States. Today there is a danger and a serious threat between sleeping cells and solitary wolves, and no one knows where or how it will hit, nor how far it would go or how it will end,” the President went on.
“In order for the world not to remain prey to deadly extremism, it is necessary to lay the foundations for a dual solution: an immediate elimination of the current status quo, and dealing with the issue from its roots to prevent future recurrence. If immediate treatment is to repel terrorism militarily, deter it by force, dry up the sources of funding it feeds on and prevent it from being supplied with new elements, still radical treatment remains the most important, because it prevents its re-establishment by eliminating the justification for its existence,” advised Aoun.
“Terrorist thought is totalitarian, contradicting the right to differ and permitting the killing of the other, even calling for it, and implementing it. Thus, the development of democratic values, which respect the human right to liberty, freedom of belief, expression and opinion, and allow for religious and ethnic uniqueness, is the sole means towards intellectual confrontation with the ideology of terrorism,” the President underscored.
“Undoubtedly, the modernization of education and teaching democratic values, in addition to development, combating poverty, creating employment opportunities and the emancipation of women, combined, serve to keep up with the gradual transition of backward regimes that constitute the appropriate environments for the growth of terrorism and extremism towards full democracy and acceptance of differences between human beings,” Aoun reassuredly added.
“Lebanon is a pluralistic society, combining both Christians and Muslims in all their sects, living together, sharing many customs, values and social and political life. They may sometimes embark on a wave of political divisions, but such divisions no longer transcend politics, with national unity being the rooftop. This is what prompted Pope John Paul II to say about Lebanon: “It is more than a country; it is a message!” Aoun proudly expressed.
The President indicated that this was precisely the reason that led him to nominate Lebanon at the United Nations as a “permanent center for dialogue between different civilizations, religions and races”.
“This is also what prompted me to stand before you today. I believe that the Mediterranean civilization is best suited to embrace this dialogue through the historical and cultural ties that unite its people, and it is most concerned with the dialogue between civilizations and religions to eliminate the terrorism and violence that are sweeping the world,” President Aoun stressed in conclusion.