Marking the Lebanese Army Day and in his address to graduating officers from the Military Academy on Saturday, President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, said:

Distinguished audience,
This Academy was supposed to bring us together once more, so that some of the best men would stand before us in its yard, waiting impatiently to repeat loudly “I swear to God Almighty”, while taking the oath of fully carrying out the duty of preserving the country’s flag and defending the nation.

Nevertheless, the health quarantine circumstances imposed by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic have unfortunately stood in the way.

Graduating officers,You have chosen to name your class after the Army’s Diamond Jubilee, in commemoration of the seventy-fifth Army Day, after your colleagues chose last year to commemorate the seventy-fifth Independence Day.

Yes, our independence and our army were born together, with a slight difference in time. They have accompanied each other and have lived sweet and bitter days. Throughout those years, the Army has tried, with all its power, to safeguard independence and protect it from all those lurking around it.

Seventy-five years have gone by, during which our Army has had glorious milestones and has scored impressive victories with limited capabilities, but it has also had some exhausting stops, has been worn out by the wars of the others on our land and against it, fragmented by internal wars, weakened by the force of the militias and subjected to all sorts of blackmail, but its allegiance to the nation has always been the cement that binds it back together, and its integrity has been the shield that protects it from derailing. Those harsh experiences have taught us that the Army is the heart of the country, and no body persists if its heart is struck. Therefore, the Army still represented hope for the Lebanese, and a safe fortress no matter how volatile the situation becomes.

Today, you are concluding a phase of your life during which you have received all sorts of training, teachings and martial arts, to defend your nation and your people, so that you can move to the application phase, the real military life. And as circumstances would have it, your beginning happens to coincide with tremendous challenges and difficulties that the nation, its people and its institutions are confronted with.

Indeed, Lebanon is waging today a war of another type, probably fiercer than military wars, because it affects every Lebanese in their very living, their lifetime savings, the future of their children, whereas the economic and financial situation is putting strains on everyone, sparing no one. In this war, the enemies of Lebanon are numerous:
The first enemy is the rampant corruption in the institutions and in many spirits. It is resisting fiercely but the steps towards its eradication are moving – although slowly – steadily.

The second enemy is every person who manipulates the livelihood of the citizens to accumulate profit.

The third enemy is every person who has contributed and contributes to undermining our national currency to hedge money.

The fourth enemy is every person who launches rumors to spread despair and the spirit of surrender, and who travels the globe, inciting against their nation and their own people, trying to withhold any assistance from them.

In addition, there is an invisible enemy in the shape of a virus that has attacked – and still does – the whole humanity, leaving behind victims and striking the world’s economy. Lebanon has had its share of this outbreak, we have had victims, our economic crisis has exacerbated, and here it is today, preventing us from gathering.

Triumphing in this war depends on us all, State and citizens alike. Each has their role, and if they carry it out properly, salvation will be possible. But there is absolutely no point in standing on the side, firing at every rescue attempt and scoring loud victories, especially among those who evaded responsibility in the middle of the crisis.

The reform measures that have started to be implemented to find out the reality of public finance, brake corruption, and take control of suspicious files to get ready for handling them properly and chasing down the corrupt, they shall not be confined to one institution, but rather spread towards all institutions. They shall as well contribute to restoring the confidence of the Lebanese in their State and in themselves, paving the way for the recovery of their confidence in Lebanon.

With the adoption of the tentative plan for the return of the Syrian displaced to their country which has mostly become safe and capable of taking them in, the State will have put forth a unified conception about the solution to this crisis, and we hope that the concerned States will be responsive in order to ensure the safe and decent return.

Graduating officers Soldiers, Israel is increasingly violating Resolution 1701, and its aggressions against Lebanon have multiplied, while underscoring our keenness to abide by this Resolution and solve the disputed topics under UN auspices. Yet, we are committed to defend ourselves, our land, our water and our sovereignty, with no complacency.

Your duty is to remain vigilant about the Lebanese sovereignty in the face of the Israeli covetousness, while keeping another vigilant eye on all borders and on the interior, in view of preventing terrorism from infiltrating back to us, because those who have ousted terrorists from our plains and mountains must not allow them to come back, disguised in another apparel and another name.

My fellow Lebanese, I am the son of this school. From it, I learned that surrender is prohibited; from it I learned to drill in the rock to open a road, I learned to walk between mines to save a wounded. The wounded today is the nation, and I promise you to keep walking between mines, and keep drilling in the rocks to open the road for its rescue; for sure, there is no room from surrender in my journey.

Fellow officers, The camo uniform has always been a factor of trust and reassurance for all the Lebanese. So be the example and the role model of military integrity, ethical treatment of peers and citizens, and allegiance to the nation and the nation alone.

God bless and protect you! Long Live Lebanon.


Source: National News Agency