A Courageous Journalist Is Murdered in Lebanon
This time, the victim is a distinguished journalist, columnist Samir Kassir of the leading Lebanese daily, An Nahar. Kassir, 45, was blown to pieces Thursday morning, June 2, in Beirut shortly after he got into his car at his home. The importance of his assassination was reflected this morning in the fact that both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ran it as their lead story on Page 1.
He has been known as a foe of the Syrians, and the murder occurs soon after the anti-Syrian Lebanese opposition swept the voting for 19 Beirut seats in the new parliament.
Six days earlier, last Friday, Syria test-fired three Scuds, one of which disintegrated over Turkey. And, this week, Time magazine carries a lengthy story tying Assad to the bombing murder Feb. 14, of the Lebanese leader, Rafiq Hariri, six months after he stood up to Assad at a meeting in Lebanon. A picture is printed in Time of Hariri, then the Lebanese prime minister, meeting with Assad in Damascus last August.
Assad is the vile-tempered son and successor of his brutal father, Hafaz al-Assad, who ruled Syria with an iron hand for many years. Syria just recently notified the United States that it would no longer cooperate in the U.S. War On Terror, after months of trying to fake such cooperation while quietly supporting the infiltration of Iraq by foreign terrorists.
In the great war against terror now raging in the Middle East, Kassir was not the only journalist to side with progressive forces both inside and outside the Muslim world. Indeed, it is encouraging that an increasing number of Muslims have begun to stand up to the terrorists.
But perhaps the latest murder will give pause to journalists who pretend to some kind of neutrality in this war, or who actively criticize the Bush Administration for fighting the war.
Acts of terror have recently occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Lebanon as the Muslim extremists press their campaign in a vast region of the Middle East.
The terrorists have nothing compatible with free journalists. The coming to power of the terrorists in any country will only lead to crushing of any vestiges of a free press.
We must identify with the martyred journalist, Samir Kassir, for our safety and security is bound up in the last analysis with his and other journalists who will carry on his fight.