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Lebanese resistance struggler's deportation from Europe is attack on human rights

By Harsh Thakor 

Democratic forces should unconditionally or in no uncertain terms condemn the Greek government and European Union’s denial of entry to Soha Bechara, the Lebanese resistance struggler, former political prisoner and Communist activist.
On her journey from from Beirut through Athens to Switzerland, on Wednesday, 12th July, she was stopped in the Athens airport by Greek officials, detained for multiple hours and deported to Lebanon, on the grounds of posing a “threat to national security” of unnamed “European countries. Greek Police alleged she posed a security threat to European countries, despite her being a Swiss passport holder and a European citizen herself. This violation of legality and deportation is an attack on a torture survivor and a symbol of the Lebanese national resistance and of the political prisoners’ movement.
It is also a blatant violation of treaties, with the force of the highest law of the land, between Switzerland and the European Union ensuring each other’s citizens free entry. Soha Bechara is a Swiss and Lebanese dual citizen who has lived and worked in Switzerland with her family for decades; she previously spent time in France and has addressed events throughout Europe. She was on a summer vacation in Beirut with her family when suddenly her Schengen visa was confiscated on “security” grounds. After being deported to Beirut, she was able to return to Switzerland via a direct flight.
The deportation and “security” political ban imposed on Soha Bechara in Greece and in Europe coincides with the Lebanese people commemorating the 17th anniversary of their 2006 victory over the Israeli invasion that assaulted the south of Lebanon and was turned back by the Lebanese resistance. The detention and deportation of Soha Bechara by Greece and the European Union comes exactly as Hezbollah and fellow resistance forces hail the victory that gave a mortal blow to European imperialism and Zionism.
The sudden denial of entry to Soha Bechara, and her branding as a “security threat” by an as-yet-undisclosed European Union member state, illustrates not only the Greek government’s connivance with European imperialism and Zionist colonialism but also the intensification of attacks throughout the EU against Palestinian and Arab resistance and solidarity. Palestinian and Lebanese resistance organizations are marked on the EU’s “terrorist” list, despite the fact that they manifest people’s liberation. European and particularly French interference in Lebanese internal politics intensifies by the day, while France continues to detain Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese communist and resistance fighter, in French prisons for the past 38 years.
Soha Bechera’s life story manifests the soul of oppressed masses and revolution, with unflinching resilience never bowing down before the enemy. .In the most dire straits she shimmered the spark of liberation and ressurected people’s fighting spirit. Soha did not leave a single stone unturned in sharpening striking capacity of people to deliver a mortal blow to the bloodthirsty Zionist state/
Bechara was born on 15th June in 1967, in Deir Mimas, Lebanon, to an Eastern Orthodox Christian family. Her father, Fawaz, was a member of the Lebanese Communist Party.
When young, Soha's parents decided that Beirut in the midst of civil war was inappropriate to raise a family and moved temporarily to the village of Deir Mimas, where they had relatives. Bechara thinking was shaped by the political orientation of her friends and family members – including her apolitical mother – but was most influenced by the example of her father. She integrated with the resistance and was allotted the task of assassinating General Lahad .head of Pro-Israeli militia.
Soha Bechara joined the Lebanese national resistance in 1986, retaliating against the Zionist invasion and occupation of south Lebanon and the imposition of its proxy Lebanese force, the South Lebanon Army, directed by the fascist Antoine Lahhad.
In 1988, at the age of twenty, Soha Béchara attempted to assassinate General Lahad, chief of militia in charge of Israeli-occupied Southern Lebanon. Immediately arrested, and tortured for weeks, she was sent to Khiam, a prison and death camp. She languished for ten years there, in despicable conditions, without trial. Six years were in total isolation, in a six- by two- foot cell, with one meal per day and ten minutes to eat.
In 1998 Bechara was released through the sustained pressure of several international human rights organizations, particularly the International Committee of the Red Cross. Khiam was liberated on May 24, 2000, at the same time as the rest of south Lebanon.
She was released in 1998 following an extensive Lebanese and international campaign, less than two years before the liberation of Khiam prison and the entire south of Lebanon by the victorious Lebanese resistance. She later published a book Resistance My life for Lebanon narrating her experiences, translated in English as Lebanon. Writing after Israel’s withdrawal, she projects her life’s orientation in direct juxtaposition with that of the newly disgraced Antoine Lahad: “Still a teenager, I had gone to fight against everything he stood for, against the foreign presence on my land.”
Quoting Mary Turfah in Liberated Texts in article ‘Resistance and Revolutionary Will’, “ Hers is a political memoir, a recounting of the development of Bechara’s consciousness, textured by her daily experiences and the influences of the people around her as she struggled to localize causality in what was often framed by foreign media as meaningless chaos.”
“Her analysis is refreshing particularly because stories about violence in the Middle East often portray it as inherent. They end at the ‘stupefaction’ Bechara describes. The logic of cause and effect is replaced by sectarianism, tribal backwardness, and poverty; these presented as built-in features of the conglomerate ‘Arab mind’ rather than functions of national and colonial histories, neo-colonialist de-development, the foreign hands obscured.”
After her release, she spent time and studied in France and then moved to Switzerland, where she married and has two children. She has waged an unflinching battle for the liberation of the Arab homeland and for the liberation of the over 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Zionist jails.
I recommend all to read her life story Resistance My life for Lebanon in which is manifestation of quest for liberation and tyranny of Zionism. Few works were more illustrative of the bloodthirsty actions of Zionism or merciless treatment of the Arabs,dwelling on the conflict at the very root.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who has studied Liberation movements. Thanks information from ‘Palestinian Prisoner Solidaity network’, ‘Liberated Texts’, ‘In Defence of Communism’ and ‘freedom archives’



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