Note: this piece is a translation of Eye on the East’s previous post “Lebanon: ‘Naming and Shaming’ as a Duty.” The below Arabic version was published in the March 1-6 2014 issue of Zahle weekly Al Rawaby.
يتعذر علي ان اتذكر عدد المرات التي سمعت فيها المقولة السائدة في لبنان “دون ذكر الاسماء” عبارة قصدها تجهيل الفاعل والتعامي عن قول الحقيقة ورفض تسمية الاشياء باسمائها, فنشعر بالاسى لغياب الوضوح و الشفافية في كيفية عمل النظام اللبناني.
عندما تكون الوقائع مدعومة بدلائل قوية, بعيدة عن الاعيب صبيانية غايتها تشوية سمعة الغير, يصير التشهير واجبا لا مجرد فضول و حشرية. عبارة “التسمية و التشهير” تعني المساواة امام القانون. تعني الاضاءة على الحقيقة, تعني الشفافية و المحاسبة. و في لبنان؟ السنا بحاجة للاضاءة في اي وقت و على كافة المجالات: الاقتصادية, المالية, الاجتماعية, السياسية, الانمائية ,الطائفية ,القضائية وحتى الزراعية,التربوية والبيئية؟
لبلوغ هذه الغاية يسجل الوزير السابق شربل نحاس تحركا مهماً جداً. ما بدا – و يستمر- معركة دفاع عن حقوق مستخدمي شركة “سبيينس” قد اصبح معركة اعتماد نظرية “التسمية و التشهير”. لقد آمن نحاس و مؤيدوه بانه عندما تكون الادلة و البراهين واضحة فان الاخذ بمبدأ “”التسمية و التشهير” يغدو واجبا و ان الاختباء وراء الصمت هو موقف خاطئ يقارب الجريمة (لمزيد من الاطلاع على مقاربة نحاس لهذا الشأن, يمكن مراجعة “التشهير واجب… لهذه الأسباب” على العنوان التالي http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/199986).
سواء احببت شربل نحاس ام لم تحبه. سواء اعجبت بطريقته غير التقليدية و مثابرته, رفضته بحجة انه شعبوي و لديه نزعات يسارية و طموحات سياسية, غير ان نتائج مثابرته و عناده هي ذات تاثيرات ايجابية علينا جميعا. كم من المرات: قضايا الفساد, السلامة العامة (ذات العلاقة بالمواد الغذائية الفاسدة او الادوية المزورة) عمليات الاختلاس و الفضائح البيئية, تمت تغطيتها و من ارتكبها نجا من العقاب لأن لا احد سماه او شهر به لسبب بسيط انه احتمى بال”غطاء السياسي” ومن تجَرأ على تسميته قد يتعرض لاتهامه بالكذب او تشويه سمعة الاخرين؟!
ان في معركة “التسمية و التشهير” افادة للمواطنين جميعا فيقتضي بالتالي دعم هذه القضية التي من خلالها نستحق ان نكون مواطنين صالحين…
4 Replies to “لبنان: التسمية و التشهير هو واجب”
I think the interpretation should be made clearer so as to enable,none Arabic language speakers be able to contribute meaningfuly.(www.fuoye.edu.ng)
I wrote to you previously to which you of course have not had the courtesy to reply to. Your support Of Charbel Nahas’ vendetta and obsession with me is clear…you are for example a member of his FB group against me ( when I say his, of course maintained by his daughter for impartiality ). I have pasted my most recent letter to you below:
Dear Ms. Chamma
Noting the content of your article “Lebanon: ‘Naming and Shaming’ as a Duty.
Clearly I have a number of issues with your article, which I will summarize:
The article’s premise of supporting actions in contradiction of the Law and yet we (by choice as well as being bound) abide by the Laws of the land. In fact it is that very adherence that protects our employees, our customers and everybody else that we deal with from the abuses that Nahas and indeed yourself accuse us/me of.
You mention “solid evidence”;
If we move away from the slander and defamation case for a moment (as the ruling on this case has already confirmed our evidence of Nahas’ crime has been proven) and instead go to the matter that is portrayed by Nahas and yourself as the motivation for the attacks upon us, that we have terrorized our employees and not granted their rights; the evidence is solid and absolutely clear that Spinneys employees have enjoyed all their rights and more, we pride ourselves in being the leading employer in the sector and probably one of the leading mass employers in the country. OUR evidence is documented and evident, and more than this our employees (and we are all employees, including myself) have stood steadfastly with us against the attacks from Nahas and activists, and it is only with their support that Spinneys thrives against legitimate competition and against the machinations of Nahas. On the evidence of Nahas and co. it is always the same; press articles written by his supporters….only, that’s all, never anything more.
You talk about “equality under Law and the public spotlight”,
This statement drips irony! Nahas has appeared dozens of time on two TV stations New TV and LBC taking the opportunity each time, no matter what the subject is to attack both Spinneys and me, always putting an emphasis on the fact that I am a foreigner. He has the newspaper Al Akhbar, to which you provided a link to yet another biased article, at his command, they write supporting articles or provide him with an ability to write his own editorials.
Where is my equality in this respect?
In fact Nahas and persons led by him have consistently challenged my right to write to anybody and provide Spinneys own perspective and reply to all accusations.
Furthermore, when Nahas has printed his unfounded accusations against Spinneys and me, he has also prohibited any response by me and also by Spinneys employees who tried to respond on his Facebook page. This led me to write politely to people who had been influenced by his one sided rhetoric, not to complain of them supporting him, but to respectfully offer an alternative view and in fact to offer proof. Nahas and people led by him have made a legal opposition to my right of free speech.
The only forum where we are afforded freedom of speech are public administrations the judiciary system. The Ministry of Labor has audited us over a period of several months; they have looked into our accounts, into proof of payroll and salaries payment, they have personally interviewed hundreds of employees and came to the conclusion that we are a law abiding company. The NSSF, which has been auditing us for years as part of their routine audit, is also currently re-auditing us, and as long as the audit is being conducted, we shall refrain from making any public comments, but we are confident that we have fulfilled our legal duties to the NSSF and to our employees.
The judicial system has considered our point of view and condemned Mr. Nahas in one case and cleared him in another one. Unlike Mr. Nahas, we have not criticized the court publicly; we have filed an appeal as per the law. Mr. Nahas not only criticized the court with very harsh words, but he also reiterated on tv the same unfounded accusations against me, for which he has been condemned on the same day! And yet, he accuses me of contempt to court for not attending a court hearing which had not been lawfully notified to me?
When the matter of Law comes, are you suggesting that this is not equal? I am a foreigner in a case against a former Government Minister, who is the under-dog in this? Yet I put my faith in the Lebanese legal system to defend my rights.
Ironically for a politician who likes to say he supports foreign workers, he has persistently referred to my nationality in a negative manner and accused me wrongly of illegally working in the country.
With regard to: “It is towards this end that former Lebanese Minister Charbel Nahas may be making historical headway”.
He lost the case.
But really would you have preferred him to win ? (and thus deprive me of my rights under the Law) Or to win some process whereby the Law would be changed, so that he would be able to make any unsubstantiated accusations, using his tame media to bombard the unfortunate receipt of his ire.
On: “What started – and continues – as a fight for the rights of employees of Lebanon-based supermarket Spinneys spearheaded by Nahas.”
This was never the subject, neither then nor now, at the start Nahas saw an opportunity to try to show himself as Robin Hood to gain the support of working class voters to forward his political ambitions. His biggest mistake was not to research the subject deeply enough, if he had he would have found a Company that is honourable and caring for its employees, and if I may say so, in me a person who would not be bullied by him.
The matter soon became and continues to be a personal matter, his fury at me for standing up to him, how dare I….a mere commoner….stymie his aims. Whereas he normally rails and abuses Government leaders and other prominent Lebanese, they ignore him with disdain, I could not take this easier route as the survival of Spinneys and the employment of fifteen hundred families depended on a defence to his attacks and the related covert attacks.
His rage against me was also inadvertently triggered when we took legal action against two individuals who had been infringing our copyright, one of whom turned out to be his daughter. Of course the case against only the other individual progressed; the case against his daughter was not progressed, wink wink.
Regarding; “perpetrators left unpunished because nobody named and shamed them, because they were “politically backed” and potential accusers had no backing themselves”
Hypocrisy ! The reality is the exact opposite!
I have no political backing and have been having to fight off a politician!
I have been ‘named’ without due cause, I have nothing to be ashamed of.
Your rally to causes that you deem worthy, why not spend just a bit of effort to find out some of the real issues related to this issue:
• Why do you not mention the two individuals who are being prosecuted for forgery, for having forged the signatures of 18 Spinneys employees, pretending that they had joined a union. Why do you not mention Mr. Nahas’ attempt to influence the investigation by organizing a demonstration in front of the police station where the two individuals were being investigated and claiming on television that these two individuals are backed by a prominent politician?
• Why do you not criticize a union election process that:
o Announced the election a day after membership was closed, preventing any members with a different view Nahas from joining.
o Offers to employees an ability to join the union on predated paperwork if they agree to follow “them”
o Held an election that fielded only five employees and three ex-employees, to run unopposed and elected with no votes cast. Is this democracy ?
o In all cases even if you don’t criticize, the employees do and that’s why they rejected the union, the motives behind it, and its mentor Nahas.
• Why when Nahas rallies activists outside the Spinneys (with no employees with him) and the staff rally against him, almost one thousand of them, telling him to leave us alone, why do you not back the voice of the employees. Why do you not criticize the newspaper that shows a picture of those employees and say they are rallying against Spinneys, knowing full well that they were for Spinneys and against Nahas.
Mr. Wright, kindly check your email, as I had the courtesy to reply to your email on February 13, 2014.
I have looked though emails on that date and cannot find it, perhaps there was problem with it, would you mind resending, on my main email of firstname.lastname@example.org , thanks