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If ISIS tried to carry out ethnic cleansing based on takfirism, Hezbollah has devised the notion of “takhuinism” (accusation of treason) to subjugate Lebanon in an atmosphere of terror. Every Christian is potentially labeled as a Zionist agent. The military tribunal has become Hezbollah’s instrument of oppression, where any accused individual is presumed guilty until proven innocent, and treated as such. By controlling the State’s services, along with its media and electronic armies, this militia has established the tools of its ideology.

Through its control of the military tribunal (a special Court with limited powers), the “Islamic Resistance” (Hezbollah) has abolished the rights, justice and democracy that once distinguished and defined Lebanon’s uniqueness and reputation in this part of the world. Through the pressure of its illegal weapons, this militia has deprived the state of its sovereign functions, usurped ministries, defrauded the public treasury and private funds and seized state institutions. Hezbollah has built a real oppression machine, similar to the Gestapo and the Soviet KGB. It has meticulously crafted a seamless apparatus, fostering collaboration among the diverse elements of its strategy to neutralize adversaries.

The Three Phases Quest

The first phase is handled by its media satellites, newspapers and television channels relayed by a devoted and fanatical electronic army. The party’s newspaper is tasked with crafting a narrative against an opponent and establishing the corresponding dossier. It is in charge of disseminating the defamatory information to the electronic army.

In a second phase, state security services are mobilized. The targeted prey is subjected to endless interrogations where the minutest details of their private life is scrutinized, with unrestricted access to all social networks, emails, private messages, etc. The party’s journal continues to act as an investigator while also collecting, on its path, the most confidential data obtained by state services. It’s a quid pro quo in an unwavering collaboration involving Christian magistrates and politicians willing to serve as a cover for these sectarian practices.

This witch hunt culminates with the mobilization of the legal system, specifically the military tribunal — an institution endowed with extraordinary powers, entirely detached from the realities of modern society and the fundamental rights of the accused. In this setting, the accused is presumed guilty until proven innocent, and treated as such. Consequently, they find themselves subjected to a parallel system of justice in a world where their social life is already shattered, irrespective of the trial’s outcome.

The process is well-oiled and flawless. Each party seamlessly transitions into its pertinent role. Media, social networks, state security services, Hezbollah’s services, military justice – all these actors play their roles by discrediting, defaming, isolating, questioning, judging and condemning. Anyone who tries to oppose this system is removed or annihilated. For instance, in 2019, after releasing the American citizen, Amer Fakhoury, the Attorney General at the military tribunal, Peter Germanos, was forced to resign. He was replaced by someone more politically aligned with Hezbollah.

The Islamic Dictatorship

Through the implementation of this global apparatus, Hezbollah manages to successfully intimidate its opponents, instill terror in its adversaries and enforce self-censorship as the most effective form of control. Lebanon is being steered towards a dictatorial path, paving the way for an increasingly theocratic and Islamized regime. It is well known that currently, the Shiite party’s Secretary-General exerts influence over all appointments, including that of the President of the Republic. However, what the public is largely unaware of is the significant number of innocent individuals condemned in the military court and the countless shattered lives.

This tribunal is inherently martial (military) and, thus, transient. It operates under military jurisdiction and, consequently, cannot judge civilians. However, civilians are dragged into it, interrogated, judged and condemned without any qualm. This process, regardless of its outcome, provides fertile ground for their liquidation, either physically or socially, via defamation and humiliation.

Conspiring With the Enemy

Experience has shown that conspiring with the enemy is ingrained in the social dynamics of the “Islamic resistance,” significantly troubling authorities dedicated to identifying “traitors” within Christian society. When such individuals aren’t readily available, there is a tendency to “fabricate” them. Sunni journalists and Christian activists have been notable examples. I personally experienced this in 2018.

This is how even a simple picture taken with an Israeli in a beauty contest, or any participation in a cultural, linguistic or artistic congress with a group of Israeli youth (even Christians) can lead to imprisonment. When Christians, who have become traumatized, no longer participate in such marketable “ventures,” Hezbollah turns to the last resort: the cleric, who travels to Israel in accordance with clauses of Lebanese law that allow such a journey.

As such, in July 2022, the Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land, Archbishop Moussa Hage, underwent an extended interrogation at the Naqoura border crossing. The authorities confiscated his financial aid, medications and mobile phone before summoning him to the military tribunal.

Remotely Manipulated Factions

Today, a memorandum filed by one of the unmanned entities directed by Hezbollah carries a dual accusation. It incriminates two prelates who have jurisdiction over the Holy Land of “contacts with the enemy:” Archbishop Moussa Hage and his counterpart Camille Semaan, the Syriac Catholic Patriarchal Vicar.

In an interview with This is Beirut on July 24, 2022, Archbishop Hage acknowledged the premeditated nature of these coercions. Additionally, he explicitly condemned a deliberate intention to persecute Christians and systematically dismantle all institutions that symbolize their presence. According to him, Bkerke is singled out, as it embodies hope not only for Christians, but also for Druze and Muslim communities aspiring to achieve freedom.

During his visit to the Holy Land, Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai emphatically declared these territories as “our historical lands.” Bishop Hage elaborated, highlighting the enduring Maronite presence dating back to the 7th century. A presence that flourished during the Crusades, and reemerged with the Franciscan custodians in the 16th century. In Haifa, the Maronites continue to uphold the tradition of annual Mass, paying honor to France and Louis IX, the revered patron saint of their church.

Double Standards Judicial System

Muslim Israelis can travel to Lebanon to give lectures. Many Muslims and Druze also serve in the Israeli army. Hezbollah negotiates with Israel on “rules of engagement,” a discussion typically reserved for allied armies. Hezbollah concedes entire gas fields to Israel under dubious conditions. However, whenever a Christian posts a brief statement on their Facebook page, they face a vigorous interrogation riddled with threats. Shiite fighters from the South Lebanon Army returned from Israel to their villages, while a Christian child born after the war keeps on being cursed.

The intention to isolate the Lebanese population at large, and Christians in particular, severing their connections to their surroundings, history, roots, living space and universal calling, leaves no room for doubt. Moreover, there is a sinister process aiming to subjugate and persecute them, replacing Daesh and al-Qaeda’s takfirism (anathema) with Hezbollah’s accusations of “treason” (takhuinism).

According to this pro-Iranian group, every Christian is deemed “a potential traitor to the Arab nation and an agent of Zionism.” This logic aims to relegate them to the status of second-class citizens, depriving them of the same rights and privileges granted to jihadists elevated to the rank of “resistants.”

The Scarecrow Enemy

Any opposition to the project of undermining the foundations of the Lebanese state, economy or the diverse cultural identity of the Lebanese people faces a barrage of accusations and the threat of appearing before the “military tribunal” on charges of incitement to civil war, high treason or collaboration with the Zionist enemy. Similar to Djemal Pasha, who, during his military tribunal in Aley, consistently wielded the specter of the French enemy during the 1914-18 genocide, Hezbollah uses a justice system tailored to its needs to intimidate, subjugate or compel into exile anyone who does not align with the nature of its republic.

As is often the case, the prey is acquitted and recognized as innocent following months of torture or confinement in inhumane conditions. However, the goal has been achieved. The victim – though clearly innocent of the alleged crime and despite being released –, has paid a high price to behave and restrict their freedom of speech. It is high time for the Church, sovereigntist parties and Christian MPs to strongly denounce such sectarian, fascist and fanatical actions before international organisms.