Lebanese Independence Day at UNIFIL

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18 Nov 2010

Lebanese Independence Day at UNIFIL

Lebanese staff members of UNIFIL marked their country's independence with speeches, patriotic song and traditional dance during a ceremony at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura.


Mission leadership led by Force Commander Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas joined UNIFIL's National Staff Union in celebrating the occasion marking the anniversary of Lebanon's independence in 1943.


In a speech, the Force Commander expressed his deep appreciation to the Lebanese employees for their "determined efforts towards achieving our mission".


He said it was significant that UNIFIL staff, regardless of affiliation and background, have demonstrated that they can work together for the good of the country.


"In the period ahead, I count on your steadfast professionalism and commitment," Major-General Asarta said, addressing the several hundred employees who packed a hall on the seaside headquarters.

"Only by reaffirming our joint efforts, in close cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces, and with the friendship and support from the people of southern Lebanon, will we be able to work towards the successful implementation of our mandate," he added.

The National Staff Union, which represents about 700 Lebanese employees, organized the event this year under the theme "Unity Preserves Independence."

NSU Chairperson Bahaa El-Hage said the occasion was to remind the Lebanese of their history and for them to take stock of past experiences.




"On this meaningful day, we are invited to purify ourselves from tensions, ignorance and fear. Therefore, we are to change mentalities feeding on sectarianism and to adopt an approach that values life and strives for the public good."

Mrs. El-Hage used the occasion to reiterate commitment to

UNIFIL and the cause of peace, and to pay tribute to Troop Contributing Countries and Lebanon's national army.

"We are indeed proud to constitute a vital part of this organization (United Nations) that represents mankind's best hope in achieving peace, security and development," El-Hage said, adding that the ceremony was "an opportunity for us to reaffirm our dedication to the noble cause of peace and stability in south Lebanon, which constituted the basis for UNIFIL's establishment in 1978."



The ceremony included a photo documentary on Lebanese independence, performance by staff member Monita Youssef of a song of her own entitled "Your Independence", a folklore dance by the Zaffat dancing group, and a reception.