Hassan NasrallahLebanonMiddle East

Lebanon ‘Revolt’ Hijacked, AUB President Personally Guiding Protesters

President of the American University of Beirut Fadlo Khoury was seen in a video guiding protesters in Beirut Downtown, the venue of protests taking place in Lebanon since October 17.

The video, which went viral on social media during the weekend, showed Khoury talking to protesters about the nationwide demonstrations, and commenting on the fact that these protests have been leaderless, a point which was raised by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah during his last address.

“Great nations built by citizens and not by leaders. And the fact that this has been largely leaderless revolt is inappropriate description. Every one of you is a leader,” AUB president said in the video.

Sayyed Nasrallah urged resistance supporters to leave protests venues on Friday, stressing that suspicious sides including foreign embassies and local parties have been redirecting the demonstrations to target the resistance. His eminence said that the protests which were calling for livelihood demands have turned out to be an anti-resistance scheme.

Also in the video, Khoury warned the protesters who were gathering around him to take into consideration that they are dealing “with very experienced, calculating people”, asserting that the protests are “genuine national outcry” and not “conspiracy-fueled and embassy-driven.”

He called on protesters to “resist extreme provocation for violence,” noting that violence “can be verbal as well as physical.”

“The spirit of this has to be non-violent, long-term and frankly aspirational,” Khoury added.

‘Clarification’

Shortly after the video went viral on social media, Khoury’s office ‘clarified’ that both the AUB and its president “don’t interfere in politics neither directly nor indirectly.”

The video, alongside the ‘clarification’, sparked anger among Lebanese protesters and social media activists who considered Khoury’s remarks as an interference in the Lebanese affairs. Meanwhile, Khoury’s move was found strange since the AUB administration usually prevents any political event inside its campus.

Activists voiced condemnation to the AUB’s moves, with one saying that the university can’t tackle the issue of corruption in the Lebanese state and there is information on corruption inside the AUB itself.

Another activist said that Fadlo, whose yearly income surpasses $800,000, can’t take part in protests that complain over poverty.

Joint Statement with USJ

Earlier on Friday, Khoury and Rector of Saint Joseph University of Beirut (USJ), Salim Daccache s.j, issued a joint statement in which they said they are committed to participate “in the struggle for the rights of all Lebanese without exception.”

The statement condemned all attempts to suppress the protests, calling on the Lebanese Army and security forces to protect demonstrators.

It also voiced readiness to contribute “in finding all solutions in finding all solutions that lead to the national salvation.”

Activity ‘under Cover’

Later on Monday, Al-Akhbar Lebanese daily reported that the AUB president has been actively working, alongside with the Secretary General of the National Bloc Party Pierre Issa and former minister Robert Fadel, on a list that includes dozens of figures that may take part in a ‘future government’.

Issa has been brought up to protesters as one of the “revolt wise men”, Al-Akhbar reported, adding that Fadel is one of the figures who have been financing the protests in Beirut Downtown, according to security reports.

“Up till now, the trio have still been working under cover,” Al-Akhbar said, warning that despite that their names are not circulated enough, their “illusions are big, especially regarding their role during the transitional period.”

‘National Assembly and Parallel Governemnt’

In the same context of foreign interference in the protests in Lebanon, another video emerged, showing a foreign figure delivering a speech in the Grand Theatre in Beirut’s Downtown.

The figure, who was addressing dozens of protesters in English, said very dangerous remarks.

“We have to take over the functions of the government. We have to set up people assemblies in every town around the country to make national assembly here in Beirut,” he said, noting that a ‘parallel government’ should be set.

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