UNIFIL celebrates Lebanon’s 69th Independence Anniversary with Ragheb Alama
November 22 is a day to remember and reflect upon every year. As did the whole country, UNIFIL also commemorated the 69th anniversary of Lebanon's Independence celebrating its freedom, sovereignty, and liberation.
The ceremony was held under the theme "Lebanon is more than a country, it is a message," a message of diversity in unity and a message of interaction of civilizations instead of clash of civilizations.
The independence celebration at UNIFIL was held with the participation of the famous Lebanese singer and UN ambassador for climate change Ragheb Alama, who opened the Independence ceremony by singing the Lebanese National Anthem followed by a minute of silence.
The ceremony was held at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura on Wednesday 21 November and was attended by UNIFIL's Deputy Force Commander Brigadier General Patrick Phelan, head of civil affairs Mr. Albagir Adam, Mr. Alama, and UNIFIL officials and staff members.
"We share the same front line, and as the UNIFIL peacekeepers were united with the southerners in blood, we can also be united by developing the South" said Mr.Alama in his speech. He noted the development that UNIFIL is creating in Southern towns that were forgotten.
Alama, recognized for his artistic background as well as his role as the UN ambassador for climate change, saluted every peacekeeper for his efforts in preserving the peace in this land.
He added: "Lebanon and UNIFIL is a story of a lifetime, where the humanitarian effort made by the peacekeepers is highly noted and its purpose has overcome the military and security purposes".
Deputy Force Commander Brigadier General Phelan, in his address to the guests, considered it a proud day to celebrate the 69th anniversary of Lebanon's independence.
"Today I express my deep appreciation to everyone for their determined efforts into sustaining the peace and stability in South Lebanon" he said.
The Deputy Force Commander stressed that 'only by reaffirming our joint efforts in close cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces and the people of the south will we be able to work towards the successful implementation of UNIFIL's mandate'.
Mr. Albagir Adam, said that some of the conditions of independence are; to achieve social justice, economic development, sustainable human development, fighting poverty, providing the essential needs of the citizens like water, electricity, medical care, education, public transportation and clean environment.
"We in UNIFIL, like all the organizations of the United Nations, work together with the Lebanese Government to achieve these development goals" he added in his speech at the ceremony.
The head of the national staff union Mr. Ali Najem considered it an occasion to remember and pay our respects to the martyrs of the Lebanese Army.
"We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the command of the Lebanese army in particular for its high level of wisdom, awareness, and responsibility which is anchoring security and peace of mind" said Najem, asking his fellow colleagues to mold history in the good service of Lebanon and humanity, instead of being molded by history'.
Mr. Alama received two honorary plaques, one from the Deputy Force Commander Brigadier General Patrick Phelan and another from UNIFIL's national staff union. In return Mr. Alama presented to the Deputy Force Commander an honorary plaque in recognition of UNIFIL's role for preserving the peace in South Lebanon.
The Independence Day song was performed by UNIFIL staff member Ms. Monita Youssef, followed by a performance of the Lebanese folklore dance known as the "Dabkke".
The ceremony was concluded by the joining of hands and the cutting of the Independence cake.