Following inter-Lebanese and Lebanese-Syrian dialogues, a number of Lebanese intellectuals and activists issued this document on the future they hope to see in Lebanon and Syria in light of the Syrian uprising and its goals. The document was also endorsed and signed by Syrian intellectuals and activists.
Hereunder is the document and the names of the signatories:

While it portends of a new future, the Syrian uprising is linked to questions and concerns pertaining to Syrian-Lebanese relations and to a vision we all yearn for and seek to achieve. The uprising commends our respect for the sacrifices offered by its sons and deserves all the support with which we can provide it. It promises to inaugurate an era in which human freedom and dignity replace violence and tyranny, one which we can reconsider all our relations and the issues pertaining to them with the spirit of free individuals and groups. It goes without saying that the intertwined affairs of the two countries and their imbricate histories and interests make this an even more pressing issue, knowing that it has already been addressed under different circumstances by the “Beirut-Damascus announcement – the Damascus-Beirut announcement.” Yet the complications characterizing these relations urgently call for renewing these efforts, especially since we are on the threshold of an era of transition, the early signs of which have been heralded by the uprising.
After all, the matter is about far more than solidarity between the Syrian and Lebanese peoples. The aim, naturally, is not to have one Lebanese point of view achieve victory over another. As far as Lebanon is concerned, this is about the long-term and thorough vision brought about by the Syrian uprising to those Lebanese who wish to have a better and more free future. With regard to Syria, this is about Syria’s vision of its own self and its future. Suffice it to say that the two countries have been ruled by the same regime for three decades. In Syria, this regime was direct; whereas it was indirect in Lebanon, where it commissioned the sectarian regime and exploited its poisoned returns.
Our aim drives us to propose what we perceive as general headlines for positive and peaceful relations between our two countries:
The Syrian uprising is a national uprising that is based, in great part, on the Syrian entity and the Syrian social and political environment following a long period of neglect and exploitation in order to secure the ruling regime’s stability on the domestic and foreign levels. This does not inevitably mean that Syria should isolate itself from its Arab and Levant environment (something that cannot be done), but rather that a new era in Syrian patriotism may well start soon and have repercussions in and on Lebanon. Syria will be busy for years to come with rebuilding what the current regime has ruined or what it may intentionally ruin when it falls apart. This means that we will have a different landscape in the Levant, and especially a certain dose of negative pressure or void in Lebanon, which had been filled by a more or less blatant Syrian presence. This goes without mentioning an even more painful and dangerous possibility, namely that the events in Syria may explode into domestic conflicts and regional/international interferences that cannot but exert a strong effect on Lebanon.
Accordingly, we anticipate all of this by showing an interest in Syrian affairs and standing by the Syrian people’s side in its struggle for a democratic and independent Syria. In short, our support for the Syrians’ liberation struggle is proportional to our support for an independent and unified Lebanon.
– The Syria of the future, which is expressed by the Syrian people’s uprising, does not perceive Lebanon as “torn part”, “weak sided” or a “bartering chip” used in regional and international struggles, or as an object of “tutelage” or subservience. The Lebanon of the future to which we all look forward does not look at Syria with superiority or racism, or with any kind of aggressiveness and fear.
– Genuinely “special” relations between Lebanon and Syria are, in reality, what normal, equal and balanced relations should be like between two states living in a common cultural space and sharing an intertwined economic life and deep-ranging social ties. These ties were harmed only by the same “tutelage” regime that imposed a dictatorship on Syria and hegemony over Lebanon.

– Syria’s definitive acknowledgement of Lebanon’s independence and the establishment of diplomatic relations may have been “forcibly obtained” against the Baath regime’s will. However, we believe that the consecration of this acknowledgement will be based on the Syrian people’s total conviction. In order to dissipate any illusion or misunderstanding, the two states will have to undertake a joint mission, i.e. the final demarcation of the border based on a joint will so as to remove all ambiguities. Unambiguous borders actually allow for the reassuring practice of mutual openness between the two sides and put an end to the policy of suspicion and caution.
Political and economic relations between a democratic Syria and Lebanon will not be easy given the various disparities in the two countries’ development. However, they will abide by a reasonable framework, as is the case with the problems we see between other democratic states. In contrast, the permanent tension between Syria and Lebanon stemmed from their contradictory systems of power and the major discrepancies in their view of the world.
– We believe that the establishment of a national state ruled by a democratic regime and the prevalence of the law is a Syrian-Lebanese ambition. The question in Syria is how to get rid of despotism without sinking into sectarianism; whereas in Lebanon, the question is the exact opposite. In both cases, the real question is how to build a developed democratic state. Of course, democracy is hardly fathomable without freedom of expression and of the media, which we are keen to promote in both countries away from intimidation or blackmail.
– Achieving the Syrian people’s ambitions to change and establish the state of freedom and justice and achieving the Lebanese people’s ambitions to establish a sovereign and independent state fuel the hope in the emergence of an Arab Levant where citizenship prospers, a place where no community dominates and no minority is wronged, where there is no persecution and discrimination by one national group against another … Such a pluralistic, culture-laden and resources-rich Levant would be capable of meeting the world on its own and rising up to the challenges of globalization, of joining in modernism and achieving development, prosperity and peace.

– We perceive a democratic Syria and a free Lebanon as a natural support for the Palestinian people’s ambitions to establish their own independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. This would also provide support for the causes of justice all over the world. If the Syrians and the Lebanese enjoy the freedom of self-determination, this would be a strong blow to Israel’s expansionist and arrogant policies, regarding which the world has remained silent partly because of the rotten state of the Arab world and the absence of a positive political model around Israel.

– In a display of solidarity, the two countries support their respective demands to recover their occupied territories the way their respective peoples deem fit.
– Taking relations between the two countries to the maximum based on democracy and joint interests and characteristics does not contravene with their respective acknowledgement to follow the economic system approved by their respective peoples. Nevertheless, we believe that neither the policy of open doors without any constraints nor that of closed doors with no way in are appropriate for sustainable economic development and for the special care that should be given to the most deprived classes and the poorest regions in the two countries.

– We believe that every act of racism against a Syrian worker in Lebanon is a crime against Lebanon and the Lebanese people before even being a crime against Syria and the Syrian people. Such a crime should be denounced and its perpetrators held legally accountable. In addition, it is necessary to draft modern laws regulating the movement and work and guarantees inherent to this aspect of relations. We are confident that a democratic Syria will be more mindful of its citizens’ dignity and of providing them with social and legal protection both in Syria and abroad.
– In our opinion, bilateral relations will not be restored to their former warmth as we want them to be without liberating the remaining Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons.

On this occasion, it is necessary to warn against extremely harmful Lebanese positions that have recently been expressed and that ignore the Syrian uprising, labeling it as a passing or distant event. By handing over displaced Syrians to the Syrian regime’s security services, some of those who expressed such stances committed a blatant crime and clearly challenged human laws, customs and rights.
What was said and done by these people is far more than shortsightedness regarding the uprising; rather, it denotes that they view the future of our two countries as an extension of a vicious past shaped by the whims of hegemony and the emotions resulting from helpless fear. This goes without mentioning the unethical voices, which supported the Syrian regime one way or another by claiming that it is part of the “rejectionism” and “resistance” line or by citing fears regarding minorities. In reality, the issue of minorities and their future in the Levant is far greater than the frivolous manner with which some parties are addressing it. This holds true knowing that those calling for “an alliance of minorities” in the two countries offer nothing but enmity toward the religious majority in the region and may bring about a “majority alliance,” which may then carry the seeds of sectarian tyranny.
The Syrian uprising is writing the history of our two countries and peoples today. There is no justification for being absent, noncommittal or biased at this junction of our lives and the lives of those of future generations.
The Syrians’ freedom does not resolve the Lebanese people’s problems, but their enslavement is an additional source of complication and rottenness for Lebanon’s problems.
Lebanese signatories
Ahmad Ali al-Zein, Edmond Rabbat, Antoine Haddad, Imane Hmeidan, Bernard Khoury, Bashar Haidar, Bashir Hilal, Paul Shawul, Tamam Mroue, Jad Gharib, Jad Yatim, Jabbour Doueihy, Hazem al-Amin, Hazem Saghiyeh, Hussam Itani, Hassane al-Zein, Hassan Daoud, Hassan Mneimneh (Washington), Hanin Ghaddar, Dalal al-Bizri, Diana Moqalled, Rouba Kabbara, Rana Eid, Rayan Majed, Rim al-Jundi, Ziad Majed, Saad Kiwan, Saoud al-Mawla, Sanaa al-Jak, Souheil al-Qash, Shadha Charafeddine, Sabah Zouein, Talal Khoury, Tony Shakar, Abdo Wazen, Akl al-Awit, Ali al-Amin, Omar Harqous, Fadi Toufeily, Karim Mroue, Loqman Slim, Malek Mroue, Marlene Nasr, Moahmmad Abu Samra, Mohammad Soueid, Marwan Abi Samra, Mona Fayyad, Mirvat Abu Khalil, May Abi Samra, Michel Hajji-Georgiou, Nadia al-Sheikh, Najwa Barakat, Nadim Shehadeh, Nadim Machlawi, Hani Fahas, Hoda Barakat, Wissam Saade, Yahya Jaber, Youssef Bazzi, Samir Frangieh, Minah Al-Solh, Hareth Sleiman, Ayman Mhanna.
Syrian signatories
Osama Mohammad, Akram Katrib, Amira Abu al-Hesen, Imane Chaker, Badrkhan Ali, Borhan Ghalioun, Basma Qadmani, Bakr Sadqi, Hazem Nahar, Hussam al-Qatlabi, Hussein al-Sheikh, Khaled Hajj Bakri, Khalaf Ali al-Khalaf, Razan Zeitouna, Rustom Mahmoud, Samar Yazbeck, Sadek Jala al-Adhem, Saleh Diab, Sobhi Hadidi, Aref Jabo, Abdel Baset Sida, Ali Jazo, Ali Kanaan, Ammar Qorbi, Omar Koush, Ghalia Qabbani, Farouk Mardam Bey, Faraj Birqdar, Fahed al-Masri, Louai Hussein, Mohammad al-Hajj Saleh, Mohammad al-Abdullah, Mohammad Darious, Mohammad Ma’moun al-Homsi, Najib Georges Awad, Wahib Merhi, Yassin al-Hajj Saleh.

Advertisements