The majority of the text below is republished from the original French at Collectif Palestine Vaincra. Collectif Palestine Vaincra is a member of the Samidoun Network based in Toulouse, France:
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its deepest solidarity with the people of Beirut and all of Lebanon after the devastating explosion on Tuesday, 4 August, which has left at least 137 dead, dozens missing and 5,000 injured, as well as hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
It also struck a sharp economic blow, destroying critical resources such as Beirut’s grain silos and the Beirut port, critical to Lebanese trade. This comes atop the existing economic crisis, exacerbated and developed by U.S. imperialism and its sanctions and financial policies, leaving the most marginalized sectors, including Palestinian refugees, migrant workers, and the almost 50% of Lebanese living in poverty. Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation – which occupied Southern Lebanon until defeated in 2000 and has launched multiple, violent wars continues to threaten Lebanon, its people and its resistance with destruction while regularly violating Lebanese airspace with drones.
Meanwhile, imperialist powers, while continuing to impose sanctions on Lebanon, as well as neighboring Syria, that are contributing significantly to the financial crisis, have been eager to draw a potential profit from the devastation in Lebanon.
Visiting Beirut on Thursday, 6 August, French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that he was present to bring humanitarian aid to Lebanon, already in the throes of an economic and social catastrophe. However, the arrival of the French president was not smooth. Many Lebanese journalists and activists denounced the neocolonial hypocrisy demonstrated by Macron, emphasizing that his objective is to impose “structural reforms” on the country according to the requirements of the International Monetary Fund.
Perhaps the clearest example of Macron’s duplicity is the continued imprisonment by France of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, imprisoned by the French state since 1984 and eligible for release since 1999. The Lebanese government has officially requested his release and repatriation, yet he continues to be held hostage while calls for his release mount, especially in France and Lebanon.
Lebanese intellectual Samah Idriss noted, “we want the release of Georges Abdallah before all of your ‘aid’ and promises!”
Indeed, Macron’s visits to the streets of Gemmayzeh in the devastated Lebanese capital was repeatedly greeted with calls of “Freedom for Georges Abdallah” by youth who refuse to be treated as colonial subjects once again by France, reject the complicity of many Lebanese politicians and see Georges Abdallah as a symbol of Arab and anti-imperialist dignity, resilience and resistance.
Mobilizations continue to demand the release of this Lebanese Arab resistance fighter for the Palestinian cause, and building solidarity with Georges Abdallah is critical! Beyond simply an individual case, Georges Abdallah embodies an alternative to French colonialism and corrupt politicians that serve imperialist interests, a truly free Lebanon.