An Appeal to Engage

Dr. Clovis Maksoud
Director, Center for the Global South
American University, Washington, DC

Lebanon, for a month now, has been the victim of a devastating aggression by Israel akin to the ruthless ethnic cleansing conducted under Milosevic in the Balkans. The unprecedented aggression on Lebanonís social fabric and the destruction of the countryís infrastructure have caused hundreds of death, and have resulted in the tearing of thousands of families and the displacement of over one million Lebanese, mostly women and children. The indiscriminate pain inflicted by Israel reflects the lack of any ethical and moral inhibitions.

What is equally shocking is the Bush administrationís unconditional support of Israel ?s bloody enterprise. The United States administration, which claimed to be a friend of Lebanon, has shown that in this case, it has lost its moral compass by encouraging Israel to act with impunity and by continuing to oppose a much-needed, credible and immediate cease-fire. 

All Lebanese Americans and the entire Arab and Muslim American communities must through their dynamic involvement in the political system organize and mobilize themselves to make it politically costly for those political figures that have blinded themselves to the suffering of the Lebanese and Palestinian people. It is important for the constituency of Americans of conscience to re-inject into US policies the moral values that have shaped the greatness of America. It is no secret that the neo-conservatives? distorted influence inside the Bush administration have caused unprecedented anger in those who held the US a beacon of hope.

It is incumbent upon all Lebanese Americans and the Arab and Muslim American communities in association with mainstream Americans who are decent and genuine advocate of human rights to restore the primacy of what made the US the anchor of human decency.

Let us hope that todayís tragedies in Lebanon will remind the American people that Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese Arab American. His writings did not herald doom but celebrated the prophet of hope and rebirth. Let us all work together to reintroduce the humanity of Lebanon into the collective consciousness of Americans.