Re: President`s Speech at the 69th UN General Assembly Summit
The attention of the Office of the Shia National Imam has been drawn to His Excellency the president of the Republic of Ghana John Dramani Mahama`s speech, on the occasion of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York dated 25th September, 2014.
One requires no exceptional intelligence to perceive that the President`s address has to its credit a good many solid and impressive achievements as far as the conduct of International Relations is concerned, simply because it touched on almost all the critical issues bordering the international system.
However, in his address on terrorism, the report (paragraph 22) cites the President to have attributed Hezbollah as one of the terrorist’s organizations when he made the following statements: “The proliferation of technology has made even the most remote areas of the continent accessible with a single phone call or keystroke. What this does is facilitate the communication within terrorist cells and between terrorist organizations. It would now be far too simplistic, not to mention myopic, for a nation to believe that they are just dealing with any one terrorist organization, such as Boko Haram, A1-Shabaab, Ansar al Dine, AI-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, ISIS and the Khorasan group. Because of the assistance and cooperation that exists between them, they have in fact become several tentacles of a single organism. So, too, must we come together as one cohesive body, united in our battle to defend our freedoms and values. We, too, must communicate within and between ourselves; we must cooperate, lend assistance and resources to fight and conquer this common threat”.
As the president of the Republic of Ghana, chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and by far the proficient mouth-piece of the Sub-region, much as we commend the president for raising the awareness about the global threat of terrorism and other significant challenges that have also assumed global dimension, and the need for a collective national, regional and continental approach that takes into account all the different elements required in fighting this phenomenon.
We, however, strongly reject the inclusion of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In our response to paragraph 22 of the president`s address, the office of the Shia National Imam, Ghana stresses that the inclusion of Hezbollah as one of the terrorist cells was a bit much misplaced.
The Office hereby uses this medium to draw his Excellency`s attention on the “moral and physical damage” caused the group and its peace-loving sympathizers in the Democratic Republic of Ghana and beyond.
Such characterization can only stem from Zionist elements and their cronies whose tendencies are to divert world public opinion away from realities, create hatred, dissension, and sow seeds of discord, spread venoms of blasphemy and sectarianism among Muslims.
The office has no qualms with the address but just a portion of it which could be used as a propaganda tool by the evil hands of arrogance and Zionist agents to mar the reputation of a religious and socio- political organization that has a huge democratic representation in the Lebanese Parliament and carries developmental and humanitarian projects in the region and beyond.
Hezbollah, which denotes the party of Allah, is a powerful socio-political and resistance movement, with 27 seat representation in the Lebanese parliament (Assemblee Nationale), with its member (Nabih Berri)as the speaker. Its main core value is armed resistance against the illegal occupation of Palestine which has the support of reputable world leaders like Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Hugo Charvez, Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro, Jerry John Rawlings including his Excellency himself.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted: Hezbollah organizes an extensive social development programme and runs hospitals, news services, and educational facilities. Hezbollah currently operates at least four hospitals, twelve clinics, twelve schools and several agricultural centers that provide farmers with technical assistance and training in the Middle East.
It also has an environmental department and an extensive social assistance program. One of its established institutions, Jihad Al Binna's Reconstruction Campaign, is responsible for numerous economic and infrastructure development projects in Lebanon.
It has been implementing a multifaceted strategy against militancy, insurgency and terrorism that includes poverty alleviation, economic development, education and social reforms. To include such an organization among the terrorists groups is definitively misplaced.
Although Hezbollah has a strong military wing said to be powerful than the Lebanese army, its main purpose is to complement the efforts of the Lebanese army and HAMAS against the illegal Israeli Occupation of Palestine and Lebanon. As a result, Hezbollah has been the target of bomb attacks and kidnappings.
For instance, in the 1985 Beirut car bombing, Hezbollah`s former leader Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah was targeted, but the assassination attempt failed. On July 28, 1989, Israeli commandos kidnapped Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, the then leader of Hezbollah. This action led to the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 638, which condemned all hostage takings by all sides.
In 1992, Israeli helicopters attacked a motorcade in southern Lebanon, killing the Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi, his wife, son, and four others. On February 12, 2008, Imad Mughnieh was killed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria.
On December 3, 2013, senior military commander Hassan al-Laqis was shot outside his home, in Beirut. It is a clear manifestation of the of the fact that the group is rather a victim of terrorists’ attacks.
In its response to terrorism, Hezbollah is one of the groups to have condemned the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA. It is among the first to view the ISIS-ISIL as the biggest threat to humanity, irrespective of their religion and nationalities. It is also the first to join the fight against ISIS before the false –flag operation by the US led coalition.
The reason why the Office`s reply is inevitable is that as Chairman of ECOWAS, the President`s comments may go a long way to incite other geopolitical zones against the Shiite organization. We wish to crave the President`s indulgence to compare what is happening in Syria now to what took place before.
Obviously as a result of its military efforts, the scope and impact of ISIS`s abduction, decapitation, bombings and desecrations of Christian and Muslim tombs and other related terrorists operations have been significantly reduced and efforts are underway to restore full normalcy to the most affected parts of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and the region as a whole.
Former UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan in June, 2000 defended his meeting with Hezbollah chieftain Sayyid Hassan Nasrullah and stated categorically, that "Hezbollah has been, and is, a player in the south of Lebanon," in front of the then Israeli leader Ehud Barak.
The Lebanese President Michel Suleiman(a Catholic Christian) and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora (a Sunni Muslim), the Shiite fraternity in Ghana and the world, see Hezbollah as a political movement and a social service provider as much as it has a military wing aimed at resisting injustice from Zionists apartheid and enjoys the right to "liberate occupied lands.
In its quest to raise the awareness of persecutions against Arab Christians, the Christian Middle Eastern leaders, organized a summit('The In Defense of Christians summit') on September 2014 at the White House in Washington, that featured several vocal Middle Eastern Christian leaders like Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, Orthodox Church Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Antioch Church patriarch Gregory III Laham, who unanimously defended the role of Hezbollah in defense of the Syrian and Lebanese Christian communities who face suffering and hardship from ISIS for professing their religious beliefs.
In November 2013, the Federal High Court of Nigeria chaired by Adeniyi Adetokunbo Ademola cleared three Hezbollah members of terror charges and unequivocally stated “Hezbollah is not an international terrorists organization in Nigeria and therefore membership is not criminal”.
According to Michel Samaha, a Christian and Lebanon's former minister of information, Hezbollah is seen as a legitimate resistance organization that has defended its land against an Israeli occupying force and has consistently stood up to the Israeli army.
Describing the group as terrorist is not only completely misplaced but undermines the very Islamic principles it has promised to uphold.
We, therefore, ask the president to tone down his rhetoric against the Lebanese socio-political organization. We put it on record that Hezbollah cannot be associated with any terrorists’ organization. It was time to get real and to realize that Hezbollah can never be equated with al-qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS etc.
We state in conclusion that the President wrongfully accused and equated Hezbollah with terrorists groups who eat human flesh, behead Muslims and Christians, abduct women and children, bomb mosques, churches, and the grave yards of Prophet Muhammad`s companions in the name of Islamic state and caliphate.
The President may not be all-knowing or infallible, but we think it was unfortunate. As a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, the president`s remarks showed that he has not understood the reality of the Islamic Resistance group Hezbollah.
While wishing the President well in his efforts to strengthen the economy and consolidate the `better Ghana Agenda` we denounce the remarks and express confidence that the president would as a matter of urgency retract the remark and render an unqualified apology.
Seidu Anas Sandow
Office of the Shia National Imam, Ghana