October 27, 2009
Every time former Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares is honored, many people feel they are honored with him. Honoring him is honoring Lebanon the message and the nation to which every Lebanese citizen aspire.
This fact is repeated today with the announcement made by the Crisis Group, an independent, non-aligned governmental institution represented in the five continents, which aims at contributing to the settlement of international crises and dilemmas. It had announced that it will hold her annual dinner at Waldorf Astoria Hotel tomorrow Wednesday, October 28 in New York to honor three world personalities: Former US Presidents Bill Clinton and senior George Bush, and Mr. Fares.
Honoring Fares from Lebanon at this important international gathering is viewed by many people as being an honoring for Lebanon and the Lebanese people altogether since the man has grouped in his person, both the human being and the distinguished statesman, and the great philanthropist who carried out vital developmental and humanitarian projects that encompassed various Lebanese areas.
The awarded, who is honored for his honesty and good intentions, was behind the honoring events held for many world leaders when he hosted presidents and ministers who delivered conferences at Tufts University which he holds under his auspices.
Fares represented the support for thousands of male and female young students who were aspiring for education in Lebanon and everywhere. He offered them support to overcome, with a great will, the difficulties, paving their way to creativity while feeling they are strong with their education, culture, and humanity.
This is what Issam Fares managed to push forward in the conscience of many people, mainly the young who aspired for a better future and whom Fares encouraged to show attachment to their homeland and never to leave him, giving priority to the language of reason, dialogue, and positivity he always called for.
Issam Fares deservedly received decorations, medals, honorary doctorates, and tokens of appreciation, presented to him by senior secular and spiritual leaders representing the entire international community. Many are those who have evoked the virtues of Fares, his donations, his patriotic stances, and his love for his country and for his area Akkar on which God poured his blessings. Many titles were given to this man wherever he was, carrying Lebanon in his heart and mind. He deservedly raised Lebanon’s name in the world.
The activities carried out by his foundations and institutions in Lebanon, in various Lebanese areas without any discrimination, is a conclusive proof about his attachment to his country. Fares had preferred to be physically absent from the country, showing engagement to positive non-alignment, staying on equal distance with all parties, giving advises and guiding towards the right way that would serve Lebanon, overcoming trivialities.
Everybody unanimously recognizes Issam Fares donations and contributions, from the North to the South, from the mountain to the coast.
During the ceremony when the cornerstone was laid down for Issam Fares Institute for Technology in Baino, Akkar, Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim was quoted as saying, ‘I ask God to open our eyes so we can see philanthropy in this life. Had we eyes, we would have seen the countless and incalculable works carried out by Issam Fares. Wherever you go, you hear ‘These are the fingerprints of Abou Michel (Michel’s Father, in a reference to his son Michel). The deeds carried out by Issam Fares need folders and newspapers to be cited and enumerated. His works are blessed; he always acts without talking’.
It is worth to cite also Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir’s latest speech during the inauguration of the Patriarchal Park in Diman as being the most conclusive evidence that this man has been elevated to the highest rank of contribution and service. Patriarch Sfeir was quoted as saying, ‘There is no need to say that we owe all appreciation and respect to His Excellency Issam Fares. We ask God Almight to keep him in good health and to guide his path’.
Praising the pioneer developmental role played by Issam Fares institutions to translate into deeds his willingness for building and construction, the Patriarch Sfeir called upon generalizing these initiatives to contribute in Lebanon’s recovery and to curb the migration of its citizens. ‘What Lebanon mostly needs at this stage of its history is the solidarity of its citizens over the developmental projects and social recovery in order to promote national solidarity. The bet for this recovery is on Issam Fares and people like him; this philanthropist who gave his nation without expecting any return’.
In a clear vision, the choices of Issam Fares are being determined and the course of action as well. It is the vision that accompanies Lebanon’s civilized message. ‘‘We build Lebanon with creativity and innovation, not with ignorance and lingering. We build Lebanon by spreading the culture of love, respect and peace, not by provoking aggression, hatred and fanaticism’, he stated.
Fares had always called upon the international community not to spare any effort for the sake of Lebanon and not to remain prisoners of their own stances or of stances imposed on them. Maneuvers, prevarication, and deception have one place: the Dustbin of History, and History is not merciful.
Fares had declared, ‘Let us realize with seriousness and responsibility that God gave us a nation that is the Pearl of the Orient, and we should learn how to preserve it. I am still betting on the honest Lebanese will, on the creative Lebanese mind, on every Lebanese who proved his presence and capacity above every soil and under every sky. I bet and I will not lose my bet that Lebanon will persevere in its endogenous capacities. I hope Lebanon will be better immunized, consolidated by unity, filled with love, and to be a torch for freedom and democracy.’