Dr. Best, Himmler’s right hand man in the Gestapo, once said, “As long as the police carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally.” That mindset allowed for 400 political murders in the Weimar Republic between 1923 and 1932.
The ghost of our late prime minister confronts us with political murder at the heart of our national dream. He forces on us the appalling questions: Of what is our constitution made? What is our citizenship, and more, our lives, worth? What is the future of a democracy where leaders can be assassinated under conspicuously suspicious circumstances while the machinery of legal action scarcely trembles? How many politically disguised murders will occur before they are exposed for what they are?
On repression, Huey Long once said, “It will come in the name of your security – they call it ‘National Security,’ it will come with the mass media manipulating a clever concentration camp of the mind. The superstate will provide you tranquility above the truth, the superstate will make you believe you are living in the best of all possible worlds, and in order to do so will rewrite history as it sees fit.” George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth warned us, “Who controls the past, controls the future.”
What took place on February 14 was a coup d’etat. Its most direct and tragic result – and the subsequent terror bombings aimed at our retail outlets and industrial zones –was a reversal of Hariri’s commitment to economic prosperity and a declaration of war, because war is big business, worth billions a year. Our prime minister was murdered by a conspiracy to protect a state of war and all the conveniences and excesses that come with it. It was a public execution of the free entrepreneurial spirit that was slowly achieving supremacy over the business of war.
In reality, however, it is the business of peace that is keeping us afloat. Riad Salameh arguably the last of Hariri’s economic musketeers to still hold public office, watched as the coffers filled with the rewards of prosperity. Today, he is using these hard-earned savings – won on the field of economic recovery – to fight the forces of aggression.
But the worst of all crimes is when a government murders truth. If it can murder truth, it can murder freedom. If it can murder freedom, it can murder our own sons if they should dare to fight for freedom. There are still enough Lebanese left in this country to make it continue to be Lebanon. We can still fight authoritarianism, and when we do that we are not being un-Lebanese; we are being Lebanese. We are sticking our necks out and that has to be done, because truth does not come into being automatically. Individual men and women have to work and fight to make it happen. As long as our government continues to be like that, as long as such forces can get away with these actions, then this is no longer the country in which we were born.
Inspired by the closing statement of public prosecutor, Jim Garrison’s investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1967 to 1969.