Canadian Hezbollah supporters defend right to post billboard

August 13th, 2007 | Posted in Hezbollah, Lebanon, Corporate Media
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    Trevor Wilhelm, The Windsor Star, Monday, August 13, 2007

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    Photo: Hezbollah Rally, Bint Jbeil 2005

WINDSOR – A billboard that appears to promote Hezbollah — an organization the Canadian government has ruled to be terrorist — has raised the hackles of a number of Windsor community groups. However, one of the people responsible for the sign said it was put up to honour their freedom-fighter families in Lebanon — and it’s their Canadian right to do so.

“In Canada, we want peace,” said Hussein Dabaja, a Lebanese-born Hezbollah supporter. “We’re not trying to offend anybody. We have freedom of speech. It’s a free country. Every Lebanese in Canada has somebody that died in Lebanon. Who is Hezbollah? Our brothers, our family, our parents, our friends. We came to Canada and they stayed there to fight.”

The billboard went up Friday and immediately drew fire from the Windsor Jewish Community Centre, the Lebanese Christian political group Kataeb and other groups.

The sign prominently depicts Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Hezbollah and carries English and Arabic text.

In English it reads: “Lebanese and Arab communities in Windsor city congratulate the Lebanese people for their steadfastness and endeavour to establish peace in Lebanon.

Mr. Dabaja said the Arabic translates to roughly the same. However, Emile Nabbout, president of Kataeb, said that Arabic in fact makes a reference to fighting. “There is a definite difference between the Arabic and the English,” he said.

Mr. Dabaja said Lebanese community members wanted a way to honour people back home. He said community members and leaders of organizations representing about 700 people settled on the billboard plan. He adds that support has swelled since the sign went up.

He said several of Windsor’s Lebanese citizens will do what it takes to keep the sign up, short of violence.

“The whole community is not going to let anybody take it down,” said Mr. Dabaja. “It’s going to stay up until the last minute. If someone comes to take it down, they’re ready to fight for it, to protect it to be up there. We’re not trying to offend anybody.”

Mr. Dabaja said the billboard was not meant to be an anti-Jewish statement.

Mr. Dabaja said honouring those fighting in Lebanon means a lot to many people, including himself. “People living here have family back home and they’re fighting, trying to protect their country,” he said. “They wanted to respect them, honour them.”

Others rallying in support of the billboard echoed that sentiment.

“This sign means to me remembrance for the people who are looking for peace in the Middle East,” said Zouelfikar Haidar. “It’s a point of view. It’s paper on the board. It’s not a weapon. Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese people.”

Mr. Dabaja said he believes the sign wouldn’t have sparked such controversy if Canada’s government hadn’t labelled Hezbollah a terrorist group. That is hard for many Lebanese to swallow, he said.

“They keep talking about Nasrallah” said Mr. Dabaja. “Nasrallah for us is a red light. It is like saying Jesus is bad.”

3 Comments »

it is understandable that jewish community will protest against billboard that shows sayyed hassan nasrallah, president emile lahoud, president nabih berri, president salim hoss, general michel aoun but it is not understandabile that some lebanese christains (kataeb ) in particular are protesting against such action, it shows how racist and full of hatred those people are ,at the same time it proves also there is not much difference between them and the those jews who share them the same hatred against us

Comment by ghassan — August 13th, 2007 @ 11:20 AM

Just to reiterate it is a billboard, with pictures of Lebanese leaders, that states: “Lebanese and Arab communities in Windsor city congratulate the Lebanese people for their steadfastness and Endeavour to establish PEACE in Lebanon.” So what is the big deal, why is the Jewish community or anybody else offended, I don’t find any offense to anybody. Don’t these people have the right to express their feelings and their gratitude for the survival of their families and their country of origin. In Montreal for example, Israeli flags are raised ever year in the Cote Saint-Luc neighborhood on a major street, Cavendish, during the celebration of Israel Day, but I didn’t hear that the Arab community are offended even though Israel have been occupying vast areas of Arab lands for more than 40 years in spite of all UN resolutions that demand their withdrawal, and Israel is killing Arabs on daily bases in Gaza and West Bank. This is a free country, and everybody, yes everybody, everybody have the right to express himself in a peaceful and respectful matter!!!

Comment by Bassam — August 13th, 2007 @ 11:35 PM

Concerning the billboard in Windsor… Tadamon! Montreal is currently undertaking an effort to challange the listing of Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist’ organization in Canada. Information at:

http://tadamon.resist.ca/index.php/campaigns/de-listing-hezbollah

Comment by Stefan Christoff — August 15th, 2007 @ 7:49 PM

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