The Administrative Board of the Romaïan Cultural Society commented on “the issue of the marginalization of the Romaïan Orthodox Community in the political and administrative life of the Lebanese state,” and said in a statement: “An extensive discussion is underway in the Lebanese media, and among the Romaïan Orthodox Community in Lebanon, about the administrative positions that traditionally belong to this community. This discussion is provoked by the administrative appointments that the Lebanese government finally approved, through which it stripped from the Antiochian Romaïan Orthodox Community some of its remaining positions in the higher administrative governmental ranks and affected them to other communities, bending to pressures made by the latters.
The society’s declaration continued: “Then, there were news that the Lebanese government would not renew the mandate of the governor of Beirut, Judge Ziad Chbib, and that it intends to appoint another person in his place without considering the opinion of the spiritual and temporal leaders of the community, making this administrative position, like others before, a consolation prize for this or that group of pressure and serving the political interests of other Lebanese communities.”
The Society added, “The Romaïan Cultural Society is neither a political association nor a religious association, and it does not seek any direct political benefit for its own. Its main interest is of cultural nature, but it cannot stand idly in front of the marginalization of a founding socio-cultural community that has played a great role in the course of the Eastern civilization to which Lebanon belongs,”
It also pointed out that “the Romaïans are an essential and active partner in the societies to which they belong. Therefore, we consider any threat to their existence, be it on social, political or cultural levels, as a threat to the coexistence of the numerous components of the Lebanese society. The political and administrative positions that the Romaïans occupy in Lebanon are the expression of their total integration in the Lebanon multiconfessional society and a way for interaction between the numerous constituent Lebanese groups. “
“The interest of the Romaïan Cultural Association is not limited to the Romaïan Orthodox community, but it is evident that it includes all Christians in Lebanon and the Levant, because all of them have benefited, in the first Christian millennium, from the Romaïan heritage, as they are all children of one civilization that is at the origin of Eastern Christianity. Despite their different religious beliefs and traditions, they are all concerned with the fate of our Lebanese nation. Past and present history is the best witness to this common fate”.
And it continued, “We feel very sorry as we witness that this ancient community, which has refused to bargain in the corridors of political quotas, is becoming the most vulnerable when it comes to political and administrative distribution of power, and the most marginalized community in the Lebanese state. The political leaders of this state are forgetting that the Romaïan Orthodox community was one of the six founding groups of the modern Lebanon, and that it should be considered the fourth demographic entity in the Lebanese political structure. The Romaïan Orthodox community should fill one of the four presidencies of the country, so that the balance between Christians and Muslims is achieved on the basis of two Christian and two Muslim presidencies. The Romaïan Cultural Society protests against the exclusion of this community from the decision-making positions in the Lebanese state, and against the attempt to ignore its spiritual and temporal leaders in the process of appointments in governmental and administrative positions.”
The statement concluded: “Based on all the above, and in light of what we have known about His Excellency the Governor Ziad Chbib, in terms of administrative qualities, human attitudes, and adequate knowledge, we call on religious and temporal leaders to take the necessary measures in order to consolidate his position in the governorate of Beirut. This will be a just consideration of all his achievements and a recognition of the justified respect showed to him by the population of the capital Beirut.”