Students protested on Wednesday in front of Lebanon’s Foreign Affairs Ministry building
Beirut – Somayya Mahmoud
Students affiliated with the Kataeb Party protested on Wednesday in front of Lebanon’s Foreign Affairs Ministry building in Beirut’s Ashrafieh to protest the ministry’s policy toward Syrian violations against
Protesters said that the ministry “does not place national interests above other interests” and called “for normal diplomatic relations with Syria.”
They also said that it was important that the Syrian embassy in Beirut “does not turn into a centre to dominate Lebanon” and called for reconsidering Syrian-Lebanese agreements.
“[We call] for annulling the Lebanese-Syrian Higher Council and summoning Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali [to address] Syria’s violations against Lebanese sovereignty,” the protesters added.
Syrian troops have carried out several cross-border raids into Lebanon, a number of which led to fatalities.
Lebanese students formerly studying in Syria have planned a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Education headquarters in Beirut, demanding the officials address their cause due to the deteriorated Syrian security situation which led them to leave their studies and return to Lebanon in fear for their lives.
Student Ali Faqih said: “A year and a half has passed since the Syrian crisis began, and the risk haunted us as Lebanese students in Syria. We are going through our academic year with caution and hope in the unkown future, but on July 18 of 2012 our hopes were dashed. From here we started the actual search for alternative solutions, so we gathered on a social networking website to do the same.\"
He added: \"We went to the Minister of Education and Higher Education Hassaan Diab with the following proposals:
1- Request the Syrian state to enable us to take the exams of the supplementary session through the Syrian embassy in Lebanon as well as the national exams of medicine students who completed their sixth year to enable them to graduate.
2- Enable us to continue our studies in the Lebanese university, each in the same year he/she was in while at the Syrian universities.
3- Request the private universities to allow students to apply after giving them financial aid to allow them to continue studying, and considering a way to modify the subjects of the Syrian universities.
4- Send some of the students to countries which have cultural and educational agreements with Lebanon, considering the need to modify all new subjects.
5- Work with associations and competent authorities to give scholarships to deserving students to continue studying in Lebanon or abroad.
6- Ensure hospitals for the doctors who finished their six years in Syrian universities and continue their specialised studies to proceed with their career as required.
7- Request the Syrian embassy to grant students their marks and certificates, especially graduate students.”
“After the second meeting with Minister Diab in the presence of the president of the Lebanese university Adnan El Sayed Hassan in August 4, we learned about the existence of a decree that was raised to the council of Ministers to be included in the agenda, where this decree includes solutions for only 10 or 20 percent of the students, with the excuse of the absorbing capacity of the Lebanese university. We are not more than 1000 students spread over 12 different colleges in several specialisations and in different academic years; mathematically we are talking about an average of 10 students per year in each specialisation.”
He added: “Since we are approaching the exams to start on August 25 in Damascus university, we visited the Syrian consul in Lebanon, hoping to have the complementary session held in Lebanon through the Syrian embassy, and the response was the need for a official ministerial letter, so we didn’t find any cooperation from the ministry.”
He concluded “To their Excellencies, to all officials in our country and all concerned with educational matters, we address you in our message hoping that our voices mixed with our tears for a dream we are losing and hopes that are fading to reach you, and hope they find their way to listening ears amid all that our country is going through, in trouble and crises.”