Victory/Defeat Rally Highlights
1. It is estimated that more than 800,000 (AP) took part in the victory/defeat rally in the southern suburb of Beirut.
2. A number of participants had walked the distance from south Lebanon on foot, accompanied by ambulances.
3. Also present were members and supporters of other parties and movements, among them Haraket Amal, SSNP, Marada, LFPM, Lebanese Communist Party, Haraket Sha’ab, Independent Nasserite Movement, and others. Many other parties (such as the Armenian Tashnag party) had sent representatives. Absent were Walid beik’s (see Nasrallah’s speech point #10 below), Sheikh Sa’ad Hariri’s, and warlord Samir Jea’jea’s supporters.
4. Also present were many local and regional figures, more than 450 media agencies from around the world, as well as a number of non-Lebanese Arab supporters who had come to Lebanon especially for the rally.
5. Families and relatives of killed fighters were allocated a special seating area, and they mostly wore red caps and held portraits of their loved ones who died on the battlefield.
6. Quite a number of people had sown 4 flags into one: HezbAllah, Amal, LFPM, and Lebanese flags. Reflective of the popular mood, and perhaps even indicative of the possible strategic/electoral alliance in the coming elections.
7. Popular support of LFPM has soared within the ranks of HezbAllah members and supporters.
8. Seating was available for most but not all participants, given that the reality far exceeded expectations. Many could not even make it to the area, given the heavy traffic and the unavailability of any parking space.
Nasrallah’s speech was defiant, angry, but also reasonable and controlled. Some highlights from the speech:
1. Some in the government had hidden wishes for an Israeli victory, and often made under-the-table assurances. Whatever assurances and promises were/are made remain between the two parties and is none of the business of the resistance or the people.
2. HezbAllah will not disarm, it has at its disposal more than 20,000 rockets (with emphasis on more than), and it is stronger than at any time before.
3. A few sarcastic comments about UNIFIL: a) the contributing countries have not even mentioned that they are sending their troops to defend Lebanon and the Lebanese. They are ashamed of you, my brothers and sisters!; b) instead, they emphasize Israel’s right to exist and defend itself (reference to Merkel); c) Nevertheless, I welcome UNIFIL. Some want to see UNIFIL as a tool to restore the balance between internal forces. But I tell UNIFIL that they should stick to their mission, which is to support the Lebanese Army rather than spy on HezbAllah; d) they think that by patrolling our coastline and controlling our borders they are doing something, good, let them do it! They are doing it to fool their people and save Israel’s face, nothing more!
4. The army is unable to defend the Lebanese and the sources of their livelihood. This has nothing to do with the loyalty of the army, but with the political decision-making. Today the army is in the south, and the Israelis come in and go out as they wish, often kidnapping and assaulting civilians. Will the government turn the army into a violations counter? We will not be patient for long if the government fails to practice its duty to protect citizens.
5. We have so far avoided violating 1701, as any violation on our part will bring the world to its feet, while at the same time Israel continues its daily violations. This does not mean, however, that we will be patient indefinitely.
6. Some sides insist that this war, which Arab rulers said was the sixth Arab war and the Zionists said was the first war in Israel’s history, was for the sake of Iran’s nuclear file or Syria’s attempts to halt an international court, but it is a shame to say such a thing, even though we are proud of our ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria. We, who have sacrificed with our blood and loved ones…
7. Some are worried that the Sheba’a farms and Kfar Shouba hills case will be abandoned, but I assure you, we will liberate every inch of Lebanese land, including the ones that the Israelis are routinely occupying (as of the ceasefire). The Americans were at one point “willing” to give back Sheba’a farms, but then they backed away because they said they refused to hand it over to HezbAllah. Here he adopted a very sarcastic tone, and continued, I tell them, hand it over to whoever you want, just hand it over! He clearly was making fun of the U.S administration’s claims that the reason it did not press Israel to hand back the farms was HezbAllah.
8. This government should step down because it is unable to perform its duties and new election laws should be in place, so that everyone would feel that they are represented fairly, rather than feel that they have become followers of another group. When I call for a unity government I do not call for eliminating anyone, but let us all protect, build, and defend.
9. The disagreements are of a political rather than sectarian nature, and the proof is that there are people from all sects who support us, and there are also Shi’ites who disagree with us, and we welcome that, because it proves that the conflict is political and not sectarian, and there is no danger of civil strife.
10. A few days ago a za’im (elite leader) from the February 14 forces (referring to Walid beik aka Walid Junblatt) made a statement, in which he said that supporters of HezbAllah are brainless. This is unacceptable. I cannot accept such a thing and I, Hassan Nasrrallah, will not be silent when the people of the resistance are insulted in this manner. He has to apologize, yes apologize! Neither my father was a beik, nor I, and nor will my son!
11. We will not let anyone dishonour us in return for building houses that were destroyed for our honour!
You can call this rally whatever you want, but if this is a defeat, I don’t know what a victory would look like.