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Before the very eyes of the whole world a process is taking place which involves the responsibility of the entire international society; it is the process that is leading to the destruction of Lebanon.

This situation has been going on for years and is linked to the intervention of the armed forces of neighbouring countries. At this point the very existence of Lebanon is threatened; for many years this country has been an example of the peaceful coexistence of its citizens, both Christian and Muslim, based on the foundation of the equa1ity of rights, and respect for the principles of a democratic society.

The degree of intensity of the painful process of the destruction of the Lebanese nation is evidenced by the constant repetition of heavy and bloody armed attacks which in recent times have been concentrated on Beirut.

For several months obstacles have also been created to block the regular election of the President of the Lebanese Republic.

Such a state of affairs appeals to the responsibility of individual political bodies, to the Heads of State as well as to international Organizations alike.

In reality, we are faced with a threat to the entire order of international life. It is a threat of a moral nature, which is all the more painful because it is a weaker State which is suffering the violence of the stronger. Indeed, in international life the principle also holds according to which it is not permissible to harm the weaker party. Whoever does so is guilty before God, the Supreme Judge, as well as before the justice of human history. A grave moral guilt also falls upon all those who do not defend the weak in such situations, although they should and should have done so.

I consider it my duty, therefore, to bring this sad problem to your attention with a fervent appeal that the necessary steps to prevent the destruction which threatens Lebanon be taken with urgency.

At the same time, I am pleased to invoke upon you and your noble mission the most abundant blessings of the Most High.

*L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly Edition in English n. 22 p.2.

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