On November 26th, Boston LACD celebrated the election of President General Michel Aoun. Chapter President, Ms. Karen Tannous Njeim delivered the following outstanding welcoming speech that conveyed the true meaning of gratitude, pride, and solidarity.
"Good Evening and thank you all for joining us.
We are celebrating, of course, the election of a new president in Lebanon after a long wait but more importantly we are also celebrating the unity among Lebanese, strength and national pride that this particular president has come to symbolize.
General Aoun, as we still lovingly call him, is no stranger to Boston or Bostonians and he had the opportunity to meet many of you. Being a man of the people and from the people, he still remembers and names all of us he had met.
The General makes no secret of the critical role we as LACD and Bostonians played in his long struggle: from the days of the Liberation War, to the time of his forced exile, to the restoration of Lebanon's sovereignty, to negotiating with the Syrian government to withdraw their troops peacefully, to hosting several US tours for him and his representatives, as well as his testimony in the US Congress, and now on his accession to the highest office in the land.
We have much to be proud of and celebrate here as the President openly acknowledges the important role we played in our collective struggle. When one of our founders Gabriel Issa visited the President to congratulate him and said Mabrouk, he replied "No. I have to say Mabrouk to you. I didn't forget how I returned from my exile and with whom."
So on behalf of President Aoun, I would like to make a toast:
Mabrouk LACD and Bostonians!
And on your behalf, I want to make another toast and say:
Mabrouk President Aoun, Mabrouk Lebnen!
Tomorrow though is another day in our struggle. Electing the General president is not an end in itself for us. It is just another milestone in our struggle to building a free, strong and just Lebanon with equality and dignity for all its daughters and sons.....Our struggle has merely started......
We are celebrating the accession of General Aoun to the helm because we see in him the figure that can lead us into our next phase of nation-building, not just any nation but one commensurate with the greatness of its people شعب لبنان العظيم.
A land and home where no one's rights are abused, one with justice and dignity to all, one free of corruption where the State funds are used for our collective wellbeing not to line the pockets of the few, one that provides a dignified living for us all -- not merely by providing the basic yet unavailable services like electricity, water, and clean streets but rather a flourishing land of opportunities.
We will continue our struggle to reach that end and we will relentlessly support and remind President Aoun of the expectations of the people and we invite all Lebanese-Americans to unite and join us in this quest for the revival of our motherland.
Long live Lebanon!
Long live the USA!"