Two Nations, Together

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

By David Hale

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon

How does celebrating an anniversary two weeks early show you the links and values that Americans and Lebanese share?

For Americans, July 4th is a time for celebration – the anniversary of when the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence stating that America was no longer a colony, but a nation. We celebrate at home and abroad, remembering the sacrifices made to ensure freedom and reflecting on how to uphold our values.

This year is the seventh time that I celebrated America’s independence here, with so many Lebanese friends and colleagues. It not only made me think about the American experience, but also about the values that bind America and Lebanon together. Among these are the defense of personal liberties and freedoms of expression, press, and religion; a desire for representative and accountable government; mutual respect and coexistence across diverse faiths; belief in the benefits of a free market and entrepreneurial spirit; openness to the world around us; and an interest in investing in education.

With that value of mutual respect in mind, we held our commemoration in June, to accommodate those who will observe Ramadan in July.

Living as neighbors with those who are different from us in some way, and respecting and accommodating those differences, is not the only similarity between Americans and Lebanese. My years in Lebanon have shown me – the people have shown me – many areas where U.S. and Lebanese ideals, goals and dreams intersect.

Parents, whether in Bellevue or Baalbek, Tripoli or Tallahassee, want a good education for their children. And both of our societies recognize that investment in education is an investment in a positive future for our countries. The roots of American institutions of learning in Lebanon are deep, going back to the 1835 founding of the American School for Girls, which would become the Lebanese American University. And those roots are wide, with American schools established in Nabatiyeh in the south and Tripoli in the north. The United States Government has helped many of these schools with assistance and scholarships, and we are proud to support a variety of education programs here, to support Lebanon’s youth and families.

But our educational links are not just about governments working together. They also showcase how private Americans and Lebanese choose to come together to ensure open debate, discussion, and exchange of ideas on these campuses. Generation after generation of Americans and Lebanese has been transformed by these experiences.

Trade is another strong link between us and has also helped transform people and places in both countries. Merchant ships from Boston, Massachusetts stopped in Beirut’s harbor in the eighteenth century, even before the United States’ independence. More recently, an American company cleaned up the Normandy landfill near that same harbor -- one of the first contracts awarded to an American firm at the end of Lebanon’s civil war. What was once a reminder of turmoil is now a place of celebration, such as our own national day reception last night at Biel. The American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce in Lebanon is one of our strongest partners here as we work together to attract investment, expand trade, and build ever stronger economic relations to our mutual benefit. Last night, many American companies operating in Lebanon joined me in hosting our Independence Day reception.

Military and security ties also connect us. We have seen success in our cooperation as the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Internal Security Forces gain greater means to protect Lebanon’s people, borders and territory, and work to keep the country stable and at peace in ways that are accountable to all Lebanese. Since 2005, we have invested more than one billion dollars in these institutions.

Success does come with sacrifice. I recently toured the museum in Roumieh dedicated to the brave officers and soldiers of Lebanon’s Ranger Regiment who sacrificed their lives fighting for Lebanon – a moving reminder of the turmoil this country has endured and also of the strength of a united people. The United States will continue to work with Lebanon and its people to ensure that strength and lessen the sorrow.

While we in the United States traditionally celebrate our independence in July, these ideals are with us all year long and can, and should, be remembered and lived each day. Our countries’ mutual values and common goals drive our relationships – both private and governmental – and link Lebanon and the U.S. I look forward to continuing and deepening that relationship, every day of the year.

Comments 12
Default-user-icon Georges E. Fares (Guest) 18 June 2014, 03:51

Our Ambassadeur Mr. David Hale
It is with lot of honor and enthusiasm that I read your article about two nations together celebrating 4th of July. Your emphasis on targeting the development of Lebanon encouraged me to write to you. I am also from Lebanese origins and I believe that this developing country has very big potentials for both of our countries USA and Lebanon. It is true that is in limbo for the time being but Lebanon, although its political instability is a very promising market and its citizens are very mature consumers.I won’t use up more of your time. I will just express my strong desire to see the continuous efforts the U.S. Embassy participation in rebuilding Lebanon.
I hope this letter has not caused you any inconvenience. Being a Lebanese American, I always dare to dream big and achieve bigger.
Thank you for your time and best wishes for your post at the U.S. American Embassy in Lebanon.
Georges E. Farés

Thumb cedar 18 June 2014, 07:04

Is this his way if saying he is really bored and wants to leave? Lol

Thumb cedar 18 June 2014, 07:05

Of saying *^

Thumb chrisrushlau 18 June 2014, 19:45

He is saying that it is unfortunate that Lebanese law makes it illegal to be a Shiite, hence the Taef Accord's awared of half of Parliament to the thirty percent who are nominally Christian and effectively disenfranchising the actual Shiite Majority (the last general election gave 55% of the vote to the Shiite-heavy March 8 coaltion but only 45% of seats, vice versa for March 14). But there is nothing he can do about it because Israel has a very similiar legal system. This makes him sick unto death.
He wanted to do a shorter letter: "Racism unites us in a suicide pact", but his assistant overruled him.

Thumb Machia 18 June 2014, 09:27

Beautiful words from David Hale. Most Lebanese admire the US for its entrepreneurial spirit, its laws and its freedoms.
It is because we love the US, that we are urging it to put real pressure on the Israeli government to stop its occupation of Arab territories.
A just peace will be a great fuel to every secular democrat in the region. More importantly it is the best weapon against terrorism and extremism.
Hawkish pro-Israelis have had great influence on US policies in the region since 9/11, exacerbating the loss of hope in the Middle East.
The US has to force Israel into a just peace. The Arabs have been ready to sign for quite some time now. Independent and wise peace seeking Israelis are also ready.
But the culture that killed Yitshak Rabin has gotten hold of Israeli politics and is not letting go.
The US has a great responsibility to step up and close this chapter because it is still the most powerful nation on earth. And because justice is in its DNA.

Missing un520 18 June 2014, 12:43

Southern and his friends should try another approach towards building a future for Lebanons kids. The old medicine of threats, military actions and religious indoctrination did not work. What works might well be a strategy of non-violence. Taking a step back and look for improvements from the other side. Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza. Those moves should have been answered with disarming and decreasing the level of threats. That in turn would be both an motivation and pressure for Israel to take more steps. We know there are some hawkish Iraeli politicians who doesnt want to give up anything of occupied lands, but a peaceful neighbour answering poisitive moves with positive moves would silence them. (cont)

Missing un520 18 June 2014, 12:44

I believe that the ordinary Israelis wants peace like the ordinary Lebanese. Those people combined would force the Nathanyahus and the Nasrallahs from their tower of powers and replace them with sensible, unselfish and visionary leaders that could make the whole region into a prosperous one.

Thumb FlameCatcher 18 June 2014, 14:48

@Southern : explain and demonstrate how Hezbollah forced Israel to leave. You are a damn liar. I don't remember seeing them running away scared shitless of the resistance.

In fact, it was a planned evacuation of the south because they had all the time in the world to set up their fences. You're an idiot to believe otherwise. There is no such thing as the Liberation of the South. Only a fairytale !

You know who was forced to leave after a 30 year occupation of Lebanon ? SYRIA and Bashar ! This is the real liberation of Lebanon from foreign occupation. Israel is simply a planned evacuation or abandonment of the south. Nothing to boast about you terrorist loving sheep !

Thumb FlameCatcher 18 June 2014, 18:16

@Southern : "why you are stuck with Iran and what Iran says"

Hezbollah is the one "stuck with Iran and what Iran says". Hezbollah takes weapons, money and orders from Iran and Iran alone.

If Hezbollah was listening to what "Lebanon says", it would not be fighting in Syria and would no longer have weapons.

70% of the population do not want Hezbollah weapons. Face it ! This is the results of the last elections where 45% of the people did not vote for anyone and half the 55% of people who voted voted for Hezbollah.

Thumb FlameCatcher 18 June 2014, 20:16

@southern, don't assume : 45% said no to M8 and M14. None want Hezbollah weapons. Only sheep want Hezbollah weapons !

Thumb thepatriot 18 June 2014, 14:37

LOL southy...

Default-user-icon mazen (Guest) 18 June 2014, 15:23

By far better than the boring and hollow speeches our politicians recite every day over and over again. A very nice gesture to share with his Lebanese hosts.