Moawad: “Development was never for us an act we do to receive gratitude in return, but a right to provide.”
The Executive Director of the Rene Moawad Foundation, Michel Moawad stated that: “Development was never for us an act offered to receive gratitude in return, but a right to provide.” He added: “One should not be thanked for a duty he performs. The ties between us and the people of Mazraat El Nahr are much more than a donation or a power generator. Our ties with you are ties of brotherhood, conviction and presence. We admire the daily struggles you undergo to remain rooted in this sacred land, despite all the economic, social and daily-life difficulties that we are facing in Lebanon today and in particular in this region.” He added: “We remained the spearhead for development and for fighting corruption that has become a sickness in our country each one of us suffers from.”
Moawad’s words came in a ceremony during which RMF presented a power generator to the Commission of St Joseph’s “Wakf” in Mazraat El Nahr, in the presence of the priest of the parish Father Sarkis Khalil, the Mokhtar Georges Khalil and residents from the town.
After the event, everyone gathered at the church’s hall where the Mokhtar Khalil gave a speech in which he said: “You have visited us several times, and each time our town was dressed like for a festival and everyone was joyous. Today, you visit us again, carrying good news. We therefore thank you for your visit… Thank you for being amongst us. Thank you for all those who are accompanying you and have entered our humble town.” Khalil then shared a poem for the occasion.
This was followed by RMF’s Executive Director Michel Moawad’s speech, in which he said: “I am today amongst my family and my brothers. I first want to thank you for your warm reception to me. I had missed you all after a period in which we were not in touch… As for today’s donation, one should not be thanked for a duty. The ties between us and the people of Mazraat El Nahr are much more than a donation or a power generator. Our ties with you are ones of brotherhood, conviction and presence. We never considered development as offering something to receive gratitude in return, but we view it as a right for you, as you struggle daily to remain rooted in this sacred land, despite all the economic, social and daily-life difficulties that we are facing in Lebanon today, and in particular in this region.”
He added: “I would like to thank you for your reception, despite the fact that we have neglected you for some time. I personally feel this way. But this outside negligence was not because you were absent from my mind, my thoughts and my being. You know well how dear this town is to our hearts; what it symbolizes due to the historical relationship between us; and what this place means to us due to its geographical position right next to the holly valley. It is a historical place for us; the place where I was baptized.”
“We passed through a period where we were far from you, as we were healing our wounds; it was not because we meant to neglect you, and not because Mazraat El Nahr is far from our hearts and minds. We remained the spearhead for development and for fighting corruption that has become a sickness in our country each one of us suffers from.”
He continued: “Here we are today. We remained strong because of you. And despite our absence, you remained faithful to your beliefs and values, which we felt today in your joyful welcoming to us showing on your faces. You know well that when you are strong, we are strong too. You also know that with our presence, you are free, as throughout our relation with you we never tried to oppress you or dishonor you, God forbade. We always offered the hand of partnership, freedom, common work and balance, which is the fruit of a common will for partnership.”
He concluded: “We thank you for the exceptional welcoming, and I am very pleased to be amongst you today.”
The event was preceded by a mass at the St Joseph Church, led by Father Sarkis Khalil, served by the St Joseph chorus, and attended by Mr Moawad, the Mokhtar of the town Georges Khalil and local residents.
In his sermon, Father Sarkis Khalil focused on the ‘week of the blind’ and its theological meanings: “The blind man who recovered his eye-sight due to his faith in Jesus.” Father Khalil also welcomed “the president of the Independence Movement Michel Moawad and those accompanying him.” He explained: “For a long time, we never had a request from President Rene Moawad that he did not satisfy. His name is written in history. His name is also mentioned in every village of our region, and it is linked with mercy, as he was martyred because he refused to sell his country. Minister Nayla Moawad too, always provided support and help, discreetly, without talking about it. She has gained our highest respect, as she is a Lady in the full sense of the word. And you are walking in their footsteps. We thank you and present our deepest respect to you because you are working for development and for the human dignity of the poor and the sick, and because you work to fulfill God’s will, not to buy votes. This is a blessing that we hope will stay with you throughout your path. No matter how great our capacity is, and how high our status is, if we don’t live like President Moawad did, we won’t reach Heaven. It is beautiful that a person living in this world doesn’t work only to reach the Parliament, but to reach Heaven. All your actions, Michel Beik, reflect what you really are. Mazraat El Nahr is your parish, and we are brothers to you. Our houses are all fully open to you, and I am all proud to stand by your side always, wherever you are standing.”
At the end of the mass, Father S. Khalil and Mokhtar G. Khalil presented an honor shield to Mr Moawad as the Executive Director of RMF; a token of thankfulness and appreciation for his person and for the RMF foundation.