Syrian Elections in Lebanon- Refugees Racing to Elect Bashar Al-Assad

Monday 24 May 202111:06 am
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الانتخابات السورية في لبنان... النازحون يتسابقون إلى التجديد لبشّار الأسد

A dispute broke out in Lebanon’s Jounieh region yesterday afternoon between a number of Lebanese young men and Syrian voters. The voters had been passing through the area in a car rally carrying Syrian flags and pictures of President Bashar al-Assad as they were headed to Yarze to participate in the Syrian presidential elections. Yet another dispute took place in Sassine Square in the Ashrafieh district between a car carrying Syrian voters and those who objected to their passage due to them raising the Syrian flag.

Amidst tight security measures, buses carrying Syrians began heading to the embassy headquarters in Baabda as early as five in the early morning. On the way, voters called out chants and slogans loyal to the current Syrian president, the most notable of which was, “We sacrifice our souls and blood to you, O Bashar.” This came as a provocation for all those who oppose the Syrian regime, especially since election results have already been pre decided in favor of Bashar al-Assad.

“Fear does not fade across borders, and when Syrians have no place left to go, and are threatened with expulsion unless this regime is elected from the outside, they submit and elect”

According to the news that was being circulated, the young men who had severely beaten the voters belong to the Lebanese Forces party. Its president, Samir Geagea, had earlier issued a statement in which he addressed some main points related to the Syrian elections and voting from abroad, specifically in Lebanon. He said, “It appears that tens of thousands of the displaced Syrians in Lebanon are preparing to participate tomorrow in the tragic farce that is the Syrian presidential elections at the headquarters of the Syrian embassy in Hazmieh.” He went on to add, “The definition of a displaced person is clear and internationally recognized. It is a person who left his country due to a force majeure (compelling circumstances) and security risks that are preventing him from remaining in it. Therefore, we ask the President and the caretaker Prime Minister to give out the necessary instructions to the Ministries of Interior and Defense as well as all concerned departments in order to obtain the complete lists of the names of those who will vote for Assad tomorrow, and to ask them to leave Lebanon immediately and join the areas controlled by the Assad regime in Syria as long as they will vote for this regime and it does not represent any danger to them.”

After videos showing the pro-Assad chants by voters, the smashing of cars, and the altercation that followed spread on social media, opinions became divided in Lebanon between those who condemned the attacks and those who asked every Syrian refugee seeking to revive the criminal regime to return to Syria.

In a statement to Raseef22, journalist Eliana Badr said, “I do not justify any type of assault on others despite the apparent provocation that occurred by carrying pictures of a criminal who shouldn’t even be present or running for the presidential elections. I do not agree with the idea that the Syrians are forced to elect Bashar al-Assad. Here, there are a million and a half Syrians in Lebanon who did not go to the embassy to vote for him. All peoples and in all countries display pictures of their presidents and the flags of their countries, and of course I will not justify the assault that took place, but in specific areas, such an act will not be welcome.”

She also adds, “There are different types of occupation, and the Syrian regime is no different from the Israeli regime. It has occupied Lebanon since 1975 through its shameful practices. It is shameful that today, 10 years after the Syrian revolution and after all the lives that have been lost, to see individuals electing Bashar al-Assad. This act is shameful against humanity. I believe that changing the system is the duty of every person with principles. Therefore, it is unfair for Assad’s Syria to remain in power.”

She concludes, “Shame on the Syrians — in the name of all the blood that was spilled — to elect Bashar al-Assad.”

It is shameful that today, 10 years after the Syrian revolution and after all the lives that have been lost, to see individuals electing Bashar al-Assad

As for Firas al-Maasarani, a writer who sought refuge in Lebanon to escape the Bashar al-Assad regime, the author wrote on his Facebook page, “Forget the Lebanese political alignments regarding what happened today, but does it not really go without saying that what happened today was bound to happen to thugs and lowly people who have the nerve to go to elect the greatest criminal alive? And where? In a country like Lebanon, where the Syrian issue is a very sensitive one. What was done is very self-evident and should have happened at the hands of the Syrians themselves, not just the Lebanese. It is the right of every Syrian who has been displaced, arrested, or lost his home and family because of Bashar and his thugs, to strike and bully every single thug, not only in Lebanon, but throughout the world. This is not hatred, rather it is settling scores with an ‘eternal’ enemy. I very much agree that every Syrian in the world who elects Bashar today be returned [to his country], because he is safe, and no one will approach him. Let him stay in Syria and practice being a thug there as much as he wants. Because Syria — and I say this regretfully — must be turned into an official zoo for thugs, in which all the thugs and fanatics of the toxic regime are thrown out. I am talking about not only Syrian fanatics, but also every fanatic from wherever he may come from. It is shameful that after everything that happened to keep the loose thugs left out of their zoo.”

He told Raseef22, “If I were in the street with the young men, I would have beaten them up. Whoever wants to elect a criminal who displaced and killed us, must be beaten.”

If I were in the street with the young men, I would have beaten the Syrian refugees up. Whoever wants to elect a criminal who displaced and killed us, must be attacked.

On the other hand, a large number of activists — including those opposed to the Syrian regime — saw that no one has the right to attack the freedoms of individuals. They also see that those who elect Bashar al-Assad should not be hindered by those who elected Samir Geagea, and that this approach to dealing with issues justifies the assault of foreign countries on every Lebanese expatriate that wants to re-elect the current ruling system, as well justifies that he be taken back to Lebanon. In addition, Syrian citizens are being forced to elect Bashar al-Assad.

In a post on his Facebook page, Activist Charbel Khoury considered that there is no difference between those who attacked the voters and Bashar al-Assad. He told the Raseef22 site, “No one of his free and full will wants to elect Bashar al-Assad. These workers and refugees who are being threatened in various regions with their livelihoods and immediate security have no choice but to get on the bus and cast their votes. We had witnessed the acts of intimidation in the north and the Bekaa by the followers of Hezbollah and the allies of the Syrian regime, who had raised calls for electing through the loudspeakers in mosques.”

He concluded with, “Fear does not fade across the borders, and when Syrians have no place left to go, are threatened with expulsion unless this regime is elected from the outside, they submit and elect. There is great ignorance when it comes to dealing with these people. The Syrian individual is threatened from all sides — specifically in Lebanon, the country that is politically refractory. The Syrian individual is not free.”

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