Advocates, political leaders and a Maronite Catholic bishop gathered on Zoom for a virtual seminar to express support for Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch, who came under pressure after calling for the Lebanese army to take control of the southern part of Lebanon, where Hezbollah is engaging in skirmishes with Israel.
Card Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch, also said Aug. 8 that the Lebanese Armed Forces should enforce a 2006 U.N. Security Council resolution that requires the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon. He said Lebanon does not wish to be involved in military actions that elicit destructive Israeli responses. Afterward, an image of the patriarch with a noose super-imposed on his neck circulated on social media.
Rai has “no political agenda,” Maronite Bishop A. Elias Zaidan of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles told those on the Aug. 12 Zoom call, sponsored by In Defense of Christians, a Washington-based nonprofit advocating for the protection and preservation of Christians and Christianity in the Middle East.
The cardinal’s remarks con-sistently are on behalf of the people of Lebanon, who are saying, “We want to eat. We want to survive,” Zaidan said.