- Documents on Democracy
The assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri on February 14 sparked mass protests in Beirut against the Syrian-backed Lebanese government and the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon. The demonstrations prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Omar Karami and his cabinet on February 28. Below are excerpts from a February 18 statement by the Lebanese opposition, declaring a "Nonviolent Intifada of Independence and Democracy." The statement was translated from the Arabic by Reema Radwan.
In response to the policy of crime and terror by the Lebanese and Syrian regimes, the Lebanese opposition declares the outbreak of the Nonviolent Intifada of Independence and Democracy, and calls for the following steps:
First: A decisive demand for an international investigative committee under UN auspices to expose the planners and perpetrators of the assassination crime and to bring them to trial according to the statement issued by the Security Council and according to what the family of Hariri asks.
Second: The removal of the illegitimate [Lebanese] regime and the establishment of a transitional government, as a supreme national need which will defend the Lebanese people and ensure the immediate and full withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon and also pave the way for free, clean parliamentary elections. . . .
Fourth: That the Lebanese communities in all countries in the diaspora support the Intifada of Independence by all means, political and material, and also by means of activity and demonstrations in front of the embassies and headquarters of international and legal organizations.
Fifth: That the Arab people and Arab states bear their responsibilities toward Lebanon and its people in appreciation for the sacrifices of the Lebanese people for the sake of Arab causes.
Sixth: That the international community, which is represented by the UN according to its charter, protect the captive Lebanese nation that is threatened with organized state terrorism, to which it is continually being exposed. [End Page 178]
Seventh: The sending of thanks to the Lebanese, Arab, and international mass media for continuously keeping up with the Intifada of Independence and covering the struggles of the Lebanese people who support freedom.
Ukraine's turbulent presidential election came to a close on December 26, when opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko defeated Viktor Yanukovych, President Leonid Kuchma's handpicked successor, in a court-ordered rerun of the November 21 second round (see the articles by Taras Kuzio and Lucan A. Way on pp. 117–45 of this issue). The following are excerpts from the speech that Yushchenko delivered on Kyiv's Independence Square after being sworn in as president on January 23:
We have lifted the burden of the past from our shoulders. Nobody can order us how to live and whom to elect anymore. I have become the president of Ukraine by the will of the Ukrainian people. . . .
Two months ago millions of people came to this square, to the squares and streets all over Ukraine. Our brothers and sisters, parents and children, friends and neighbors were standing day and night in the cold. Ukraine was devouring every word sounded here. The heart of Ukraine was beating here. Free people of the whole world, our compatriots dispersed in distant lands, were standing shoulder to shoulder with us. On Independence Square Ukrainians have risen as a modern Ukrainian nation. Stubborn resistance has stirred up our souls. All of us feel we are citizens. Our decency, generosity, and kindness have awakened. Armed with faith and will the people won a glorious victory. This is a victory of freedom over tyranny, law over lawlessness, and the future over the past. Each Ukrainian citizen has become the winner. We succeeded in holding a fair election on 26 December. We have freely chosen to go forward. . . .
We, the Ukrainian citizens, have become a single Ukrainian nation. Nobody can separate us with languages, religion, and political views. We have a single Ukrainian fate. We have a single national pride. We are proud of being Ukrainians! We have already taken an irrevocable step to democracy. Only democracy guards the most valuable things for every person—family and children, peace and order, work, and well-being. Only in a democratic state are the highest values human dignity...