The “Labora” organization celebrated its 11th annual dinner at la salle des “ambassadeurs”, Casino du Liban. Archbishop Boulos Al Sayah, representing the Maronite Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al Ra’i apologized because of the death of Patriarch Sfeir, and the dinner was attended by: Dr. Elias Al Halabi, representing the Patriarch of Antioch and all of the Orient for the Greek Orthodox, Youhanna Yazigi, Engineer Elie Abou Hala, representing the Patriarch of Antioch and all of the Orient, Alexandria, Jerusalem for the Melkite Greek Catholics Youssef Al Absi, Father Sibou Korh Bibian representing the Patriarch of Galicia for Armenian Catholics Bidros the Twentieth, Archbishop Mar Youhanna Jihad Btah representing the Patriarch of Antioch and all of the Orient for the Syriac Catholics Mar Ignatius Youssef the Third Younan, Deputy Antoine Habchi representing the President of the Lebanese Forces Dr. Samir Geagea, former Minister Dr. Salim Al Sayegh representing the President of the Lebanese Kataeb party Deputy Sami Gemayel, Brigadier General Georges Hayek representing the Minister of National Defense Elias Bou Saab and Army Commander General Joseph Aoun, Brigadier General Joseph Toumie representing General Director of Public Security Major General Abbas Ibrahim, Colonel Hanna Al Laham, representing the General Director of the Internal Security Forces Major General Imad Othman, Major Rabih Elias representing the Director General of State Security Major General Toni Saliba, First Lieutenant Elias Daher representing the General Director of the customs Badri Daher, Colonel Saneh representing the Director of Investigations Toni Mansour, Gilbert Al Sokhn representing the Minister of Education and Higher Education Akram Chhayeb, the President of “the Independence Movement” Deputy Michel Mouawad, Deputy Edgard Maalouf, the representative of Deputy Ziad Hawat, Sirouj Abikian representing the Secretary General of Al Tachnaq party Deputy Hagop Bakradonian, Jean Vartanian representing Deputy Nicolas Sahnaoui, Michel Doueihy representing Deputy Estephan Al Doueihy, Colonel Nadim Fares representing Deputy Nadim Gemayel, Norma Chahine representing Deputy Nicolas Nahas, Deacon Simon Haykal representing Archbishop Boulos Rouhana, His Eminence Maroun Kiwan representing Archbishop Maroun Al Ammar, the President of the Maronite League former Deputy Nehmet Allah Abi Nasr, Father Manager Nader Nader, representing Chief General of the Antonine Congregation Father Maroun Abou Jaoudeh, Head of the Editors Joseph Kosseifi, the Manager of “the National Agency of the Media” Ms. Laura Sleiman Saab, the Head of “Al Ard Movement” Talal Al Douweihy, and a crowd of General Managers, Heads of Offices and Departments, the Representatives of the 13 communes, Heads of Administrative Councils Patrons of the dinner, the Honored ones in both the private and the public sectors, Mayors and Presidents of the Municipalities, the Presidents of universities and councils as well as their representatives and the educational organizations, and a crowd of the Lebanese mass-media and journalists, as well as Labora’s delegates and committees.
After the national hymn, Journalist Joyce Akiki delivered a speech to welcome the participants, and praised the efforts of the “Labora” organization and its fundamental role in stabilizing the Christians in Lebanon and stopping immigration, and defending their fundamental rights in the homeland, then they exposed a digital film about “Labora’s” accomplishments and its various activities, including orientation, training, employment, guidance and benefit.
Then the Head of the organization, Father Toni Khadra, delivered a speech at the beginning of which he declared that “for ten years and a half we said what we said and did what we did, and that was a taboo, and we were persecuted because of it, but this is an honor for us and for you. We stopped our transactions in many official departments, tens of accusations, warnings inciting us to stop revealing what is dissimulated, threats and attempts to dissolute the assemblies within the Ora Union. Working hard to claim our rights is not a reason for us to be accused of violating others’ rights and for wars to be waged against us. We should not be prevented from shedding light upon corruption and hypocrisy if we are working hard for Christians to trust in their country again. We do not want to make war on any of our fellow citizens, but we want to provide contribution, the culture of equilibrium, the acceptance of others and the real presence with him, not the false one”.
And Khadra added saying “what we said and the numbers, achievements and statistics we declared during eleven years, in spite of all the dangers, incited us towards an unprecedented awakening. This is what led us to the current situation we are facing; where everybody is talking about Labora’s speech, relying on what we said and adopting it. Yes, we had surpassed with you the mentality of fear and the resignation to our role and the non-claiming of the rights, and we have confirmed that the most dangerous thing is that one negate oneself before others do”.
And Father Khadra exposed a number of stages in the course of the assembly’s work, and indicated that “in May 2017 the thousandth and last warning of Labora: do not publish the scale of salaries based on false and politicized numbers aiming at dissimulating the reality of employment in the public sector. They started with 169700 employees while we had declared in numbers that the real number exceeded three hundred and fifty thousand. And now the numbers are authenticated in Labora in details”.
He reminded that “in September 2017, and after promulgation of the salaries scale law, we warned against the false application of that scale pursuing to lots of concrete data received. Employees with salaries exceeding the 3 folds and others with salaries exceeding fifty-thousand. We had claimed justice and the preservation of the public funds, and we added up in fiscal numbers those false applications of the scale that have exceeded the billions of Lebanese pounds, and that are beneficial in the budget to reduce the expenditures”.
And Father Khadra said:” do you remember what we said during the dinner of 2018? We declare tonight the opening of the corruption file and we want to see the corrupt leaders behind bars. We started working on them and in July 2018, many were put forth to the Lebanese people, secrets were revealed and we reached the present situation. We were called for investigation and witnessing, we gave authenticated files, but we are still waiting for the answer. We ask God that the new regime do not clash with great officials protecting corruption while fighting it, since it will be difficult to see the corrupt leaders behind bars, and here we will use all our strength to avoid that the young employee be held responsible while his master or his supporter is cleared, because we are against depriving the poor of their bread, and we know how difficult it is to judge the corrupt leaders and those who stole the billions of dollars, therefore we ask at least that everybody judge the remaining ones, so to alleviate the prevailing belief of some of the international authorities about the Lebanese people’s incapacity to fight corruption. We do not want corruption to become a popular motto commercialized by politicians or an obligatory course for the Cedar congress or the project of a regime striving to reform. But we want it to remain a fundamental necessity to raise our country and we should go on with it until the end, and asking for explanations is necessary and it is required on all levels.
And he added “we and the honest employees are ready to pay of our salaries provided that the public fund is retrieved first from the great leaders and then the honest will pay to the state what they owe it, if it is still in need, instead of oppressing tens of thousands of persons and steal their means of living, and leave the great leaders enjoy the money of the people”.
And he confirmed that 11 years ago, Labora convinced the Christians about the necessity of becoming members of the state, and today the authorities decide to stop employment, so to make our youth hopeless and fix unjust deprivation as well as communal employment and political quota that went on during the past years, instead of chasing the corrupt, bringing new blood into the country and giving hope to the jobless and fresh graduates telling them that “your country will embrace you and provide jobs for you”, wondering “is it possible to punish the smart youth by stopping employment and legislating unjust deprivation and theft?”
And Khadra considered that “stopping employment is a very dangerous decision, we ask first that the country be restructured, that production be reactivated and that those who do not work and are not qualified for the posts they hold be done away with, and that the well- educated, the specialized and the experimented Lebanese people be hired in new projects that provide job opportunities for our youth. We do not want our country to be become an empty desert”.
Then Father Khadra was decisive about the “necessity of having an ecclesiastical speech that is more compatible with the need of our people and his troubles highlighting the rights and the equilibrium, and opening the churches and monasteries and their possessions to the people so to avoid starvation”.
And he saw the necessity of “the Christians solidarity with each other and with Labora: men of religion and civilians of all parties, communes and organisms in the purpose of rebalancing, reactivating participation and preserve diversity”.
And he confirmed “the necessity of concrete collaboration regarding the Lebanese University- equilibrium and the designations proposed”, reminding of what “Labora” said previously “we do not want to claim equilibrium with the fellow citizens, and forget equilibrium also among the Christians themselves otherwise the posts or the designations will be monopolized by one party without the other”.
In addition to that, Father Khadra claimed “common destiny, unity among the Christians and to remember that we have 13 communes in Lebanon and that everyone has the right to participate, and we should pursue our meetings and plans that guarantee the permanence of the strong Christians’ role in the country. Labora’s work consists in serving the country, reinforcing its invincibility, activating participation and provide equilibrium with everyone without exception and settling the litigations occurring by reason of the war and the accumulations. This cooperation is necessary for us not to reject one another and to consolidate the Christians’ trust in the country as we began to feel. Our union strengthens us and in this spirit, we can collaborate equally with the fellow citizens and to accept them in what is necessary to protect Lebanon and its message, otherwise everyone will drown in the boat, if there is no equilibrium and if the rights are lost”.
And he renewed his invitation to cling to skill first and then equilibrium and clean hands, since any competent person in the country represents all the communes and ideologies. But what is more dangerous today is to add the law of fair functions distribution in the file of corruption exclusively or at the expense of a commune without the other, asking the politicians to renounce to jurisdiction, not to interfere in monitoring bodies and to start the operation of reform textually and spiritually”.
And Father Khadra considered that the offers and services of the country should be fairly distributed without depriving the payers of all the taxes and fees from their right to benefit from their revenues, therefore we suggest once more the administrative decentralization and the permission to all who pay the taxes and fees to benefit at least from the percentage of his payment”.
The he added saying: “we ask for a serious national dialogue for the respectful and effective cooperation of our fellow citizens, and not as it often happens while we are practicing our rights and frequently while we are exercising them”, proposing “the establishment of a specialized committee or the activation of the monitoring bodies in the country so to apply the salaries scale scientifically and fairly.”
And he regretted “the unprecedented lack of work because of the refugees and the foreigners depriving the Lebanese from their jobs and speculating unequally, which is absolutely unacceptable”, asking “those to go back to their country as soon as possible, besides the cost of energy, water, infrastructure, supported information and consumed teaching”.
And he made it clear that: “the economic collapse, which we are witnessing, is closely related to the accumulation of corruption, the bill of the expatriated paid by the country, and the plans that are not drawn in all sectors, and most importantly the discord of the Lebanese over what should not become subject of discord; the interest of the Lebanese, the people and the communes”.
And he confirmed that “Labora carried the torch to the point that its problem has become that of a country, a legitimate and urgent need as well as a message of cooperation, love, equilibrium, competency and contribution”, promising everyone “not to renounce to any claim of a right or resignation, because what we are doing strengthens the Lebanese society and protects all the communes, the societies and Lebanon as well”.
And he explained “that after years of work, Labora discovered that fraud against the Christians, since the 90s, at the level of politics, the society and the public administration, included the weak, the expatriated and the majority of the honest people belonging to the associate communes of the country that are suffering as we did, and the people are already starving”.
And he addressed the governors saying: “governors, beware of the revolution of the starving and the frustrated of all communes, and stop playing and betting on the communal instincts to protect your gains and thefts, because we began to feel that enough is enough, and if you do not fix what you have ruined, the revolution will inevitably take place. And since we are not concerned by the political, the authoritarian and the material interests, we say to all the officials that our motto is “we are with you but do your job well”.
And in his speech, Father Khadra announced the “Ora” Union with its four assemblies, the forum of opportunities and energies, preserving success of his fascinating works from the 6th until the 10th of November 2019 in the Forum de Beyrouth”.
And at the end of his speech, Father Khadra thanked His Eminence Our Father Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al Ra’I for his permanent support and estimate for the work done by Labora which he expressed in a special letter, dated 6/3/2019 saying “we highly appreciate Labora’s work and any support for it so that it go on with its services and provide for the needs of the Christian society—“, and He addressed a word of gratitude to all the cooperators with Labora, including the individuals and the organizations, spiritual and sectarian officials, voluntaries, patrons of the audience, financials, as well as the advertisers and the people honored in the audience, and thanked the administration of the Casino du Liban its President Roland Khoury.
Aouad: to encourage our youth to adhere to the public administrations
And during dinner, the accepted and the persons having postulated to the employments of the country, while being submitted to the training session in Labora, exposed their testimonies concerning their experiences with Labora, and these persons are: Advocate Elie Issam Naïm who succeeded at the contest of the notaries in 2019 with his three brothers and Marwan Irani who succeeded with his sister at the entry contest at the Lebanese University, faculty of business management in 2018 after their training at Labora.
And Labora honored several former officials who served at the public administration, the military career and the administrative body: retired General Georges Shreim, retired General Samir El –Hajj, retired Lieutenant Roland Abou Jaoudeh, the retired Lieutenant Claude El Hayek, General Joseph Kallas, retired General Fares Hanna, retired Lieutenant Jihad Tarabey, retired Colonel Adel Francis, Judge Georges Aouad, Mr. Adnan Nassar, Mr. Hanna Boulos Al Aamil, Mr. Jean Abi Fadel, Mr. Saïd Fouad Aoun, Mr. Elias El Khoury, Mr. Gerard Yahi and Mr. Nabil Samaha.
Besides, Labora honored two private companies at the Lebanese job market; Malek El Taouk and Dataquest since they are among those that were hired through Labora and have informed about vacant posts during this year, and Ms. Tarazia Sarkis Breidy, the trainer at “Labora” since 2014, was honored in the name of the trainers at the institute of permanent preparation and training. And Father Khadra offered the trophee for journalist Joyce Akiki as a token of appreciation for her dinner’s introductory speech.
And in the name of the honored, Judge Georges Aouad thanked Labora and Father Khadra for his initiative, and considered that “the efforts and services done by the Labora organization, to encourage the youth to return to their country, deserves all our respect and our appreciation, especially that the Lebanese firm is pluralistic”.
And he said: “the introduction of the Lebanese Constitution mentioned that Lebanon is a definite country for all its citizens and communes. Besides, the Apostolic Counsel, issued by the Synod made especially for Lebanon and headed by the Supreme Pontiff St. John Paul II, mentioned that Lebanon is more than a country, it is a message”.
And he saw that “for this message to shine and for Lebanon to remain a definite country for all its citizens, we should protect all the Lebanese communes, because if one of them disappears from the unique structure of the country, Lebanon will have no meaning, and how much rather if this commune is the basis of its creation, and everyone knows the role of the Maronite Patriarchate at the birth of Lebanon”.
And he concluded by affirming “the necessity of encouraging our youth to adhere to the army and the security forces, because by avoiding them, the Christian youth will abandon their country, thus the role of Labora to keep them close to the military organization and the public administration”.
And during dinner, composer Michel Fadel and his band presented a variety of their greatest hits.
In conclusion, the cake was cut with the work team, the administrative body and the honored, to celebrate and take memorial photos.
The Office of Information