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Aoudeh: Distance between Lebanese leads to destruction
Bishop Elias Aoudeh delivers a sermon at the Greek Orthodox St. Georges Church in Downtown Beirut, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
Bishop Elias Aoudeh delivers a sermon at the Greek Orthodox St. Georges Church in Downtown Beirut, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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BEIRUT: Beirut Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop Elias Aoudeh blasted Thursday ongoing political disputes in the country that he said shifted to young students in universities, saying distance among the Lebanese only yields destruction.

During his sermon at the 8th anniversary of the assassination of journalist Gebran Tueni, Aoudeh said college students should be the essence of a society which was "ruined by wars.”

“The Lebanese have not learned from the lessons of the Civil War and they have not realized that distance among the nation's components can only bring destruction for everyone,” he said at the Greek Orthodox St. Georges Church in Downtown Beirut.

“The worst of what we are seeing is the transfer of the barricades from the streets to the doors of colleges and inside them,” he said.

“College students have brought in the disputes of their respective political parties to their colleges ... although what is needed is for the students to be the positive essence in a society ruined by war, arms and drugs,” Aoudeh added.

The bishop was referring to last month’s disputes at Universite Saint Joseph after several confrontations between students from Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces on campus led to suspension of classes.

Tueni, who also was an MP, was assassinated in a car bomb on Dec. 12, 2005.

The journalist and Editor-in-Chief of Annahar newspaper was one of the leading activists of the so-called 2005 “Cedar Revolution” demonstrations against the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon.

Aoudeh also spoke about the recent quarrel between caretaker Minister Public Works Ghazi Aridi and Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi, saying: “The dispute between ministers and the discovery of what is hidden [at ministries] is merely an episode in the series we have been witnessing.”

Speaking about the late journalist, Aoudeh said Lebanon is missing today “the courageous and honest stances of the late Gebran.”

“[His] stances involved love for Lebanon and loyalty to [the country] and its unity. You [Tueni] have resisted darkness and oppression and dreamed of a Lebanon where Muslims and Christians live in unity,” he said.

“You also dreamed of a Lebanon unharmed by cheap political disputes,” he added.

Tueni’s daughter, Michel, also made a brief speech about her father, criticizing the absence of progress in the investigation into her father’s assassination.

“I am sad to tell you [Tueni] that ... there has been no tangible progress in the investigation into your assassination,” Tueni said.

“Lebanon is now the arena for the Syrian conflict [causing Lebanon’s] complete paralysis,” she added.

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