Acting Ambassador to Lebanon, Azzi: Government We are most unique in the World
Trivana News – Acting Ambassador to Lebanon, Azzi: Government We are most unique in the World | There is something different in Lebanon Independence Day is celebrated annually on 22 November. After two and a half years of vacuum, multitalented cultural homelands Gibran Khalil Gibran finally have a president, Michel Naim Aoun, the Maronite Catholic.
Acting Lebanese Ambassador to Indonesia, Joanna-Maria Azzi explained, Lebanon festive with the expiration of governmental vacuum. “There’s a party in the streets, fireworks, dances, festivals in various cities,” said Azzi told Natalia Santi and Maria Hasugian of Tempo at his home, Monday, November 22, 2016.
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Azzi then said that Lebanon and Indonesia have close cultural, especially regarding tolerance, pluralism and freedom of expression. He also knows a lot of people smile Indonesian cultural admirer of Khalil Gibran, including President Joko Widodo (Jokowi). Even President Jokowi, said Azzi, gave his first son the name of the name of the world’s culture. The following are excerpts from the interview:
What is the history of the National Day of Lebanon?
We gained its independence from France through a bloody struggle. In 1943, the Lebanese people elect the president and prime minister first. But France rejected it. All members of the cabinet were imprisoned, except for two ministers and a president who does not get caught. As a result, the people of Lebanon take to the streets. Some of them were martyred. Thanks to the resistance, we finally independence on November 22, 1943, the entire cabinet were released.
How celebrations this year?
This year is especially celebrated for the first time in two and a half years of vacuum, the Lebanese people have a president. There was a military parade, with the presence of the president, prime minister and speaker of parliament. There was a party in the streets, fireworks, dances, festivals in different cities.
What the Lebanese-Indonesian relations with the election of a new president?
This year is very helpful in the relationship between the two countries. Indonesian Army Chief visit Lebanon. Lebanese Environment Minister visits Indonesia.
In October, for the first time 50 employees Lebanon, examining the opportunities of trade with Indonesia. They signed the agreement. For example, for importing such tires, herbs, teas from Indonesia.
Importing herbs, teas?
The people of Lebanon now know much about Indonesian products and there is demand for it. It also furniture. In the future, we want to increase trade, from the Lebanon-Indonesia Business Council. Also, increase student exchanges. The current bilateral trade figure of US $ 80-85 million dollars, we only US $ 1 million. In my opinion, will increase after the visit of the businessmen.
The products what is interesting from Lebanon?
We’ve got a good canned food industry, such as humus and other Lebanese specialties. We also had a good wine, began to be exported to Indonesia last year. Then, there are makeup products, pharmaceuticals, wood and more.
Some of the Indonesian people do not understand how the structure of government in Lebanon. What kind of structure?
Lebanon has a unique formula, possibly in the whole world because it has 18 religious pluralistic system. So that people live happily with a balanced, we create a national pact. An understanding of religious diversity which has become the basis of the Lebanese government. Based plurality, tolerance and mutual respect, a national pact is not written and verbal only. The understanding between us, president chosen from the Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister of Sunni and Shiite Parliament Speaker. This decision was taken after discussion in society and amended the civil war in Lebanon. It was a magic formula that allows the Lebanese to interact.
Is that cause vacuums president?
That’s democracy. Sometimes it is difficult to reach an agreement. If not achieved in the first phase, there is a chance the second, third and fourth.
Motto your country, unity in diversity, similar to Indonesia, Unity in Diversity. What else do you like?
Lebanon and Indonesia have much in common. You have the values of tolerance, pluralistic with many religions, and all religions have a place and respected. It was also a unique formula, similar to Lebanon. Because of that, we had the same motto. A unique formula for Lebanon and Indonesia, mutual respect of all people, tolerance, and respect for the idea. Freedom of expression in Indonesia is also impressive. Freedom of expressing ideas through the Internet. Also, a free press criticize. The same atmosphere in Lebanon. If you go to Lebanon as a journalist, you will feel like in Indonesia. There is also no freedom of expression, criticism of the government, a pleasant environment for journalists.
People Indonesia recognize Lebanon Gibran Kahlil Gibran, how his figure in Lebanon?
We are very proud of Gibran Kahlil Gibran. The multi-talented figure, poet, painter, sculptor, many followers in Indonesia. I am proud that he came from Lebanon. For us, he was ambassador to the primary. Gibran was very proud of Lebanon and said, If I am not a person of Lebanon, I will get so the Lebanese people. It shows how sticking him with Lebanon, the hometown of Bsharri. Her writing is also popular here, for example, the Prophet. I know President Jokowi also her fans because he named his son, Gibran. Last month, I attended a Poetry Day. Vice President Jusuf Kalla, read a poem that he wrote himself. I read a poem Gibran, Mother, Mother Nature, and the kids, my favorite. Children are not ours, they are the sons of the earth.
The relationship between people like what you would expect with Indonesia?
I want to increase tourism. I held two meetings with about 20 travel agents. With the help of the Chamber of Commerce course. They visited a number of tourist areas in Lebanon, religious tours, ruins, mountains and beaches. I expect Lebanon to be included in umrah trip, for example, from Saudi Arabia, and then two or three days to Lebanon. We also signed a memorandum of understanding conduction Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs to increase the exchange of students of religion.
How can universities in Lebanon?
In Lebanon, religious studies Arabic, French, English. I think a lot of people in Indonesia who can speak English. So I guess it would be easy for Indonesian students to study in Lebanon. I also know an Indonesian diplomat whose son following the summer school in Beirut. He said he was pleased.
Was expensive tuition fees?
Not expensive compared to education in other countries with the same quality. I have been several times presentations at several universities in Indonesia in Lebanon. I hope they are interested in.
How did they respond?
Interested. but frankly they were afraid because of the situation in Syria, and I want to say here, Lebanon is very safe, the security situation is very stable. There is war in Syria, but it is in Syria, not Lebanon. So you should not be afraid to Lebanon to study or travel because Lebanon is very safe and stable.
What is the biggest challenge the new government of Lebanon?
There are a lot of challenges. As a result of the tension around us. First, terrorism, the fight against ISIS, Indonesia is also a common enemy and the whole world. According to me, an enemy of civilization, an enemy of tolerance, pluralism enemy. President Aoun in his inaugural address had pledged to wage a preventive policy, anticipating attacks ISIS, ISIS fight before attacking and eliminating ISIS support in Lebanon. In addition, another challenge for us is displaced. There are 1.5 million Syrian refugees and more than 500 thousand Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. You imagine in a country of four million there are so many refugees. So the majority of the Lebanese population was displaced and certainly, can not continue like this. This drains our resources. We also did not get enough help from the international community. So the president to strive for the refugees to return to their country. We received them for humanitarian reasons, but they had to return to his country. In addition as a result of that is happening around us, our economy has slowed down. The President shall establish the economic package to revive growth. Also fighting corruption and efforts to boost the economy.
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Chief of Mission Embassy of Lebanon in Jakarta since July 2013 to the present
place, date of birth: Achrafieh, Lebanon, 30 September 1969
Education: Master in International Politics, Université Libre de Bruxelles Belgium 2001
1994 DESS in Interpreting, Université de la Sorbonne Paris 1994
Fluent in Arabic, French, English and Portuguese.
His previous positions:
January 2010 – March 2013: Head of Mission of the Embassy of Lebanon in Brussels, Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union
April December 2009 Deputy Ambassador great Lebanese Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union