The murder of Samir Kassir, a brilliant intellectual and fighter for freedom in an Arab world, which so much represses this value, plunged Lebanon into mourning. A participant in the “Beirut Spring,” Kassir paid little attention to actions of terror carried out by Syrian-Lebanese security services. His pen did not tremble, despite constant moral harassment, while most of the Lebanese political class acquiesced to orders of the Syrian “gauleiter.”
The reaction caused by the murder of Rafic Hariri last February 14 represented to him-and to the entire people-the hope that independence, freedom, democracy and a just state would be reestablished. He also dreamed of seeing Syrians rid of the Baas reign. All those who thought that Syria had withdrawn from Lebanon should reconsider their opinions. Syrian intelligence services are maintaining their presence in Lebanon and Lebanese administrations continue, replete with agents.
The salvation of Lebanon is incompatible with its archaic and contaminated regime. What is necessary is radical structural reform of the current system, since the regime rests on widespread corruption and a security apparatus, conceived and installed fifteen years ago by the president of the republic, and which operates under his authority as head of the army and later as president, who takes advantage of his membership in the Christian community. The time has arrived to eliminate this anomaly that consists of a system of communities not regulated through national representation, based on the merit of the elites nor by community ownership of citizens. We should create parties that surpass the framework of communities and that modernize political life. To do this, we must end the practice of Syrian money being invested in the political class, as well as that of Damascus’ collaborators. For this, we must constitute a just state and independent justice.
Before achieving these fundamental reforms, it would be convenient to pay attention to the most essential thing, that is to say, that the return to independence and democracy be not blocked by crimes and destabilization acts perpetrated by the intelligence services. It is therefore crucial that the informal “international directorate,” created around Paris, Washington, Riyadh and Cairo, and controlled by the General Secretary of the UN, continues to maintain close surveillance on the country of cedar.
Lebanon is a country under recovery, whose democratization could become an decisive encouragement for the countries of the region. It will be necessary that Samir Kassir be the last apostle of freedom, who is murdered. The East lacks intellectuals of his temper and bravery - conduits of modernity who dare to challenge the security apparatus. It is necessary to turn the page of terror, so that the Lebanese people may keep marching toward freedom and democracy, and to allow Syrians to move away from a totalitarian system tomorrow.

Le Figaro (France)
Circulation: 350 000 copies. Property of Socpresse (founded by Robert Hersant, it is owned today by planes manufacturer Serge Dassault). This is the reference journal of the French right.

Lebanon’s Difficult Recovery ,” by Antoine Basbous, Le Figaro, June 6, 2005.