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Tracy Chamoun: Declaration on the anniversary of Dany Chamoun’s assassination

Declaration on the anniversary of Dany Chamoun’s assassination - October 21, 1990

October 2008

It is painful for me to write on this sad occasion, but I feel compelled somehow to apologize for the distortion of my father Dany Chamoun’s death by those who do not understand the gravity of their actions. I also want to extend my regards to our dear friends the Karame family and the Frangieh family who also suffered personal loss under similar conditions.

It has been 18 years since Dany was brutally murdered in an orchestrated attack that was so ruthless it claimed not only his life but also the life of his wife Ingrid and his two innocent sons Tarek and Julian. It seems like yesterday that this darkness was cast over our land and sadly nothing has changed for the better in the space of that time.

I spent two years of my life involved in my family’s murder trial where Samir Geagea was convicted of Dany’s killing. The complications during those hard years came from all sides including sadly from our own family. Dany’s brother Dory never attended the trial. Perhaps he had a political interest not to alienate a certain portion of the Christian community. During that lengthy judiciary process, I took time out my life to explore all angles, to talk and to discuss the matter with everyone concerned, so as to ascertain for myself the truth surrounding my family’s assassination. Among those whose council I sought was the late Prime Minister Rafic Harriri. He was a strong advocate of the conviction and the trial of Samir Geagea, and completely supported the verdict. He undoubtedly knew what he was doing, which is why the recent actions and allegiances in the country baffle me.

Today, the truth of that murder trial is being blatantly neglected, which is why I am compelled to speak. It forces me to denounce those who persist in conferring innocence on Samir Geagea. He was found guilty, unanimously, on all charges of murder by the highest court in the country comprising our most ethical judges, each honorably representing their confession.

The flagrant disrespect for this verdict insults all those who labored to bring the criminals to justice and those who loved Dany. It betrays the essence of his life, which was one of high political conduct and conscience. The fact that Samir Geagea was let out of prison arbitrarily does not exonerate him of the crimes for which he was found guilty.

Around five years ago, I was asked by a large group of prominent members of the National Liberal Party to return to Lebanon. I spent many months conferring with members, attempting to reconcile those who felt disenfranchised by the leadership of the Party by Dany’s brother Dory. These men and women have since organized themselves as the “Noumour” and “Friends of Dany Chamoun.” They have been wrongly persecuted and have been accused of betraying the Party. Whereas, in reality, they have only been true to my father’s memory and to his legacy. For this they have been threatened and ostracized.

Personally, five years ago, I had to choose whether to go against my uncle Dory in defense of my father and his life’s work. For the sake of our family and the memory of both my grandfather Camille and my Grandmother Zelpha I chose to pull away and to withdraw from what would have been a wrenching family conflict. I did not want to recreate a pattern of fighting that had plagued the leading families of our poor country for decades. Much to the sadness of our great and loyal friends in Lebanon, I placed myself in willful exile to allow Dory to continue. It felt as though, out of respect for him as the elder son of President Camille Chamoun, that this should be the case.

However, my absence has served no purpose other than to allow the lies of revisionist history to go unchecked. The recent virulent conduct and verbal attacks by Dory against Michel Aoun, a close family ally, and his unfounded vocal defense and open alliance with Samir Geagea have forced me to denounce these actions publicly.

Has our whole country lost its collective memory? It is unconscionable for Samir Geagea to trade on the blood of the martyrs in order to advance his political career and in the process to cheapen Dany’s image and his legacy by including references and photos of him in his recent political rallies. It saddens me to see our country plunging back into the senseless power struggles that tear away at the lives of all our innocent citizens. With politician pitted against politician, it would seem that the mistakes of the past are still forming the present.

There is a mass that is being scheduled by Dory and his unlikely allies in October to honor not just Dany’s memory but, they claim, that of all the martyrs, yet again milking sadness for political gain.

My heart bleeds for the families of those who were killed in the horrendous years of fighting. I am certainly one with them. But my heart bleeds more for the truth behind their sacrifice that is being plundered and desecrated with lies.

Therefore, out of respect to Dany, Ingrid and my brothers, I ask that those who truly love Dany, who still hold dear his message of integrity and courage in the face of injustice, show that love by not attending that service. To attend that mass would be to participate in hypocrisy and to lend support to those who continue to distort the truth.

My wish is that those of like mind connect with “The Friends of Dany Chamoun” and others who will remember my family in a separate service on Saturday the 18th of October in Rabieh. The service will be held at the Church of the Resurrection at 4:00 pm.

I know what my late father strived for, what he bravely fought for, and why he was killed. I know that he loved Lebanon and befriended all it’s inhabitants, Moslem, Christian, and Druze. In his eyes and mine also, we are all equal, brothers and sisters under the same nation. I am honored to be his daughter and to remember him on this day. May his soul rest in peace. My fervent prayer is that his death, and the death of all the martyrs, will not be marred by the reckless actions of the few.

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