The 73rd Lebanese Independence Day was celebrated in UNIFIL headquarters with an event hosted by the Lebanese National Staff Union (NSU) last week. A choir and dancers from Cadmous College in Tyre performed to a large audience of military and civilian peacekeepers in UNIFIL’s marquee called the Rubb Hall in the UN Mission’s headquarters in Naqoura.
The talented Lebanese school children, who have lived for a full decade without knowing war in Lebanon, were a positive reminder to the peacekeepers of the importance of their mission here, and the audience cheered the performers.
“UNIFIL was founded in 1978 and to date it is still here striving to provide stability and security in the service of the peace cause in southern Lebanon,” said Youssef Sfeir, UNIFIL’s NSU Chairperson in his speech to the full auditorium. “UNIFIL’s success can be largely attributed to the hard work undertaken by our national, international and military colleagues since the inception of the mission and to date.”
Monita Yousief, a UNIFIL staff member, composed and performed a patriotic Independence Day song.
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Michael Beary also addressed the gathering. “Since 22 November 1943, Lebanon has, for 73 years, been a proud member of International Community, a founding member of the United Nations and an important interface on the Mediterranean between Europe and the Middle East with spiritual, intellectual, economic and family ties with both of those important spheres. The nation’s fathers could not have chosen a more symbolic representation for their nation than the cedar, an internationally recognized symbol, not only of Lebanon, but also of eternity and peace.”
On 22 November, UNIFIL’s chief and a company from the Mission also participated in the Lebanese Military Parade marking Independence Day in Beirut. UNIFIL troops marched with their Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) counterparts, a powerful symbol to the people of Lebanon of the close cooperation between UNIFIL and the LAF in the cause of peace.