John 12/24: “Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
On September 14, 1982, on the same day that Lebanon was celebrating the Day of the Holy Cross, its President-elect, Sheik Bachir Gemayel, passed away into the hands of the Almighty God after carrying the cross of the country to heaven. He was not even 34 years old, but what he achieved for the freedom and dignity of Lebanon places him among the great men who left a stamp of glory on the history of Lebanon.
Bachir, the hero, dreamt of a sovereign, free and independent Lebanon, and his dream became the objective of all free-minded Lebanese men and women. And even as the hands of evil and hatred took him away through a cowardly assassination plot (14/09/82), his dream lives on in the fiber of our people and their conscience for as long as the Cedars of Lebanon tower over the country from their peaks.
Today we remember Bachir in our prayers. We also remember his fallen comrades who gave so much for our beloved country, and we learn from their sacrifice many a lesson. On this sad day, our hopes are renewed, our determination is re-energized, and our commitment to the cause is re-confirmed.
Bachir’s bright star was high in the skies of Lebanon and with it the hopes of the Lebanese people. But the joy was killed and the hopes dashed when his star fell from the skies, a martyr to his noble ambitions aiming at building a strong Lebanon, confirmed in its sovereignty and independence.
Bachir believed that “the one Lebanon is the Lebanon of the 10,452 km2, that the Lebanese must win back completely so that it belongs to its sons and daughters in all their communities, creeds, and beliefs”. But even as he departed, what he believed in remains in the hearts and minds of all the Lebanese people.
Bachir was raised on the cross of Lebanon on the day we remember the Cross. He was killed in a political act at the intersection of the interests of nations, individuals, and terrorist groups that feared for their own egotistical interests should a unified, free and sovereign Lebanon rise from its ashes. Bachir established the framework and then was unjustly taken from us too soon.
Those same regimes of evil, Syria and Iran, and groups and factions like the terrorists, Hezbollah, continue today to hold the Lebanese people and their country hostage to their greed, hatred, and savage schemes. They have mastered the art of subservience and bowing at the doorstep of the forces of occupation. They are shepherds of doom who have reneged on every pledge they made and abandoned their flock.
They are factions whose job is to drive wedges between the free people of the Land of the Cedars, assassinating their aspirations and hopes in deed, thought, decision and execution. They assassinate Lebanon every morning and every hour of their waking day, killing its sovereignty, its free decision-making, its democracy and culture.
Bachir’s venomous assassination still lingers to this day in all its ugliness, its corruption and its neglect. It still lingers in its displacement and emigration, Dhimmitude, apostasy, with economic, social, financial, political, security and patriotic decline.
It still lingers with the rule of personal over national interests. It still lingers with the dismemberment of the political parties; the politicization of the judiciary; the truncation of sovereignty with the imposition of foreign interference, and the abandonment of human, religious and ethical values.
Bachir’s dream is here to stay and will never disappear, because it is the dream of a people who want a dignified life, a dream that calls upon unity, sovereignty and peace.
We are today together to remember the martyrdom of Bachir and his 22 comrades, lifting our eyes and hearts in the midst of danger and trouble to the redeemer of suffering humanity, Jesus-Christ, who said “And if I were to rise above the earth, I shall take with me everyone” (John12/32). We ask Him for light, faith, strength, and hope to continue our march forward and lift ourselves, our homeland, and our people to victory, to peace, to righteousness, to freedom and to all that is good in this world. For Bachir is alive in our beings and in our minds.
Sheik Bachir, Lebanon’s elected president who was assassinated before assuming his presidential responsibilities was and still is the patriotic blessed yeast that was brewed and produced solid foundations of freedom, sovereignty and independence, as well as perseverance and hope in all Lebanese minds and hearts.
Terrorists and powers of evil could not destroy the dream that Bachir left for us. Even the gates of hell shall not be able to shake our deeply-rooted faith in peace, love and democracy. Bachir is the grain of wheat and the yeast. Bachir’s dream is alive and glowing. As expressed in Galatians 5/9: “A little yeast grows through the whole lump”.