Article from the secular Lebanese daily newspaper Al-Akhbar
Above: Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Rai prays as H.E. Michel Suleiman President of Lebanon, Walid Jumblatt veteran Druze politician and leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, and Ms. Alice Chabtini Minister for the Displaced participate in laying a commemorative stone.
"Hundreds gathered in a Mount Lebanon village Tuesday for a ceremony marking reconciliation between Druze and Christians whose relations where battered during the 1975-1990 civil war.
Christian residents, who at the time of the war overwhelmingly backed the fascist-styled Lebanese Forces militia, fled the Chouf town of Brih after losing out to Druze fighters two decades ago.
But Saturday's ceremony was meant the bury the hatchet between the two as Christians reportedly began to return to their homes in the mixed Maronite - Druze village, located about 23 kilometers southeast of Beirut.
President Michel Sleiman, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai and leader of the so-called Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblatt attended the ceremony." Original here
Remembering the violent martyrdom of
Maronite Catholic Bishop Albert Khreish in 1988.
On April 26th, 1988 gunmen kidnapped Bishop Albert Khreish from his home north of Beirut in the port town of Junieh. The body of the bishop was recovered some days later on Sunday May 1st in nearby Ghazir. The police at the time said the 53 year old bishop was shot 30 times and that his face was slashed. The kidnap and discovery of the body were in an area secured and under the control of the then Lebanese Forces mentioned in the above article, this far right militia was noted for the backing it received from Israel. Monsignor Albert Khreish was opposed to the Lebanese Forces Militia. His sister was married to the elder brother of Nayef Hawatmeh then leader of Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
In a 2012 article in Al-Akhbar titled “Geagea and the Maronite Church: A Battle for Patriarchy” the newspaper recounts detail of the Bishop Khreish murder.
“Khreish was politically opposed to the LF [Lebanese Forces]. He was convinced that the Vatican rejected the then close ties between the Christians and Israel and abhorred the atrocities committed by the LF.
The “Khreish phenomenon” posed a threat because the Monsignor combined his words with action. He refused Geagea's slogan, “the [Christian] command is mine,” and continued to teach about public freedoms at the Faculty of Law in Jal el-Dib, an LF stronghold. He formed the "Clerical University Action,” which sought to draw Christian youth away from weapons and drugs. He also insisted that the LF return Church properties, acquired during the civil war, to the Church.
Apart from his political and civic work, Khreish proved himself inside the Patriarchate by being a spiritual guide to the Ghazir clergy and a judge in the Maronite Court. Amidst all of this engagement – some of his relatives say because of this engagement – Khreish was killed in an LF secured quarter, in front of our Lady of Harissa, near Bkirki.”
In 1988 the then commander of the Lebanese Forces Militia was the Maronite, Samir Geagea, today he leads the political successor to this militia the similarly named Lebanese Forces Party. During the current conflict in neighbouring Syria Samir Geagea has been a vocal supporter of the “opposition” and notwithstanding a body of evidence to prove that the armed opposition in Syria were and are heavily involved in sectarian violence including attacks on Christians, he still, as recently as December 2013 called for Lebanon’s Christians to support the revolutionaries in Syria saying “we as Christians cannot be but with the Syrian revolution.”
On the day of the current reconciliation between Druze and Christian in the village of Brih the veteran Druze political leader Walid Jumblatt was in attendance. He is a politician renowned for his political dexterity. In an ironic twist this Druze leader and the leader of the Lebanese Forces held similar views on the Syrian conflict. As recently as March 2013 Walid Jumblatt voiced support for al-Qaeda in Syria, notwithstanding how venerable the Druze community were in Syria to sectarian attacks by elements like the Jabhat al Nusra, the official al-Qaeda in Syria. The veteran leader has since modified his position.