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By Ghassan Karam

I have to ask the readers of this space to be patient with this post. It appears that very few people have had access to the “offending” short article that has created the ire of president Suleiman and his entourage, starting from the Minister of Justice to the prosecutor general Mirza.

The case of the three individuals who attached their names to a critical analysis of the history and performance of president Suleiman is  nothing short of a blot on the image of the country but above all it is a violation of the natural rights of each and every person as expressed by UDHR and as enshrined by the Lebanese constitution. If these individuals are held guilty then I, and many others, also plead guilty to the same charges. To be candid, there is nothing that they have said that I would shun away from shouting from treetops. The emperor has no clothes, he is unconstitutionally elected, he pretends to have executive power and he has been totally ineffective both as president and as the head of LAF.

What is going on is of concern to each of us. If one of us is not free then freedom is meaningless. What we need to do is demonstrate our total and unequivocal rejection of the treatment of these individuals who have decided to exercise their most sacred right by speaking their mind. It is not enough to demand their release, what needs to be done is to abrogate this law in its entirety from the books in order to send a clear message that personal liberty and freedom of expression are not negotiable in a democracy. President Suleiman as well as each and every one in the cabinet and the Chamber of deputies works for us and we have the right and the duty to judge their actions and to hold them accountable.

I do not think that any reasonable person would have any reservations in regards to holding the principles of freedom of speech as arguably the most valuable of our rights. To do otherwise is to speak from both sides of our mouth, to be hypocritical just like the president who never misses an opportunity to regale his audience about Lebanon as a land of freedom and personal liberty when he decides to remain silent when these same freedoms are violated by the state that he heads instead of protecting these sacred ideas.

For a full unabridged version of the post that has attracted the ire of the Lebanese state go to:

http://forum.tayyar.org/1120024-post134.html

And for a superb open letter to the president go to Jean Aziz in Al Akhbar:

http://al-akhbar.com/node/195758

Another worthwhile open letter on the subject is to be found at Blogging Beirut:

http://www.bloggingbeirut.com/archives/1705-Dear-Mr.-President-Michel-Suleiman-of-the-Lebanese-Republic.html

We have a golden opportunity to send a strong message that we have had enough and that we are not going to take it anymore neither in this case of freedom of expression nor in the case of the proposed E-transactions law.

the above text has been posted to:   rationalrepublic.blogspot.com

To hear the above go to:  ramblings11.mypodcast.com

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