Pro-Western activist Moustafa Geha lives to tell his story following an assassination attempt.
The outspoken and courageous son of an equally outspoken and courageous father is making waves of his own. Moustafa Geha is a Lebanese political activist and journalist who has openly opposed the meddling of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in his country's affairs. As a result, an attempt was made to assassinate him on April 14th. Luckily, he survived. His father wasn't as lucky. The elder Geha's outspoken opposition to Syrian and Iranian intervention in Lebanon, as well his criticism of violent Islamists during the 1970s and 1980s, precipitated his assassination by pro-Syrian terrorists in 1992.
"I cannot forget my father's pictures when he was assassinated by Hezbollah in 1992 and I cannot forget the sound of shooting at me in April," Geha told FrontPage. "I want to have peace [for me] and my family too, because we have a long, bad history with killing and oppression. I want to have the right to write and publish my ideas and to be safe at the same time. For this I left Lebanon and I don’t want to come back, because I know they will kill me," he added. Geha currently seeking political asylum in Sweden. "It's a good country for human rights," he notes.
The same can hardly be said for Lebanon, where the murderous machinations of Hezbollah--backed by Syria and Iran--continue to be perpetrated with impunity. In an article for Arutz Sheva's op-ed page, Geha illuminates that history, even as he remains rightly incredulous that the European Union refuses to categorize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah "is now running world public opinion," he writes.
Geha is on the mark. As recently as July, Cypriot Foreign Minister Gujarat Cossack-Marcolis, who presently holds the EU's rotating presidency, contended that "there is no consensus on the [terror] issue," because Hezbollah "also has an active political arm." She added that the matter might be reconsidered if "tangible evidence" reveals otherwise.
Geha offers this clueless EU bureaucrat and other like-minded Europeans a brief history of such "tangible evidence," beginning in 1983, when Hezbollah carried out three operations. They bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 63 Americans, and a camp of French soldiers in the Bekaa Valley, killing 58 Frenchmen. Furthermore, they were responsible for the now infamous bombing of the U.S. Marine headquarters in Beirut, where 241 American soldiers lost their lives. Geha's historically inspired indictment continues, as he lists several assassinations carried out by Hezbollah over the course of decades, including the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, as well as their attack against Israel in 2006 that precipitated an all-out war. Even now, Hezbollah remains "a huge threat to Lebanese society through the group's control of the security network, where false accusations and charges can be levied against those who oppose the fabrication of files putting them in prisons or worse," writes Geha.
Geha went into the issue even deeper for FrontPage. After noting that neither he nor his father were followers of Islam, he explains why. "I do not believe Islam can be characterized as a religion," he contends. "Islam is concerned only about spreading Islam. It is not concerned about the welfare of the Muslim. In the Hadith, unbelievers have three choices: accept Islam, [go to] war with Muslims, or pay a tax and live a humiliating inferior status. Living as equals in peaceful coexistence is not a choice!" He further notes the long line of civilizations destroyed by Islam on the Arabian Peninsula, and in Africa and Asia. "How many Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Bahaists and others were killed by Muslims only because they are not Muslims?" he asks. "And don't believe those who say Islam is religion of peace," he adds.
Harsh? "I have received a death threat and harassment by SSNP (Syrian Social Nationalist Party) members," Geha tells FrontPage, adding that "Palestinians and Hezbollah members were running a terrorist campaign against me by distributing provocative news that calls for following and assassinating me...They killed my father and they tried to kill me."
Geha has little use for characterizing political upheaval in the Middle East as the "Arab Spring," "because I am against Pan-Arabism and I believe that we must call the groups in Middle East by their real names, like Syrians, Kurds, Assyrians, Circassians and others." Regarding outside intervention in the region, Geha contends that it is "good to destroy dictatorships, but we must be very careful, because we don't want to change these dictatorships into Islamic regimes and Islamic dictatorships." He also believes all-out war is coming between Sunni and Shia Muslims, pitting the Sunni forces of al-Qaeda and certain Gulf regimes against the Shi'ite forces Iran, with its "Mahdi army" and Hezbollah. "To have a real Spring in the Middle East we must support all groups [and] their rights," he states.
Thus, he is supportive of Israel. "The Jewish people have the right to have a good life without terror and wars, and I believe that if we make good peaceful relations between Israel and Lebanon we can have an amazing region," he contends. "I have nice Israeli and Jewish friends and I am proud of them." He is skeptical of the Obama administration's approach to the region, "especially with the terrorist regime in Iran and now in Syria. And I don't support U.S. withdrawal from Iraq because it opened the door to the Iranian regime to put their fingers in Iraq," he adds.
At one point, Geha tried to have the investigation into his father's death re-opened. "I have the names of the people who issued the fatwas against my father and I had the idea that maybe we can make a change in Lebanon after all these dark years," he reveals. "But now I can say that I was wrong: the government in Lebanon it's totally controlled by Hezbollah, the security forces and the army too."
Regarding his own future, Geha remains optimistic. "I will continue my work..I have a dream that I want to translate my father's book and publish it. At the same time I am preparing my first book for publishing," he says. As for the bigger picture, "I hope and believe that those intellectuals who can be truthful with themselves and with the facts can begin to turn the tide, and cause the people to no longer see Israel as a monster," he reveals. "I want to see our children playing and studying together in friendship."
Though he will hopefully gain permanent residence in Sweden, it is clear that it is reformers like Moustafa Geha and his family who are the real agents for genuine change in the region. Sadly, their Islamist and anti-Western counterparts are often given more credence by world powers, including the Obama administration. It does not bode well for the future.
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