14 September 1982

President-elect of Lebanon Bachir Gemayel is assassinated.

Bachir Gemayel
بشير الجميّل
Bachir While Giving A Speech.jpg
President-elect of Lebanon
In role
23 August 1982 – 14 September 1982
Prime MinisterShafik Wazzan
Preceded byElias Sarkis
Succeeded byAmine Gemayel
Leader of the Lebanese Forces
In office
Personal details
Born(1947-11-10)10 November 1947
Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon
Died14 September 1982(1982-09-14) (aged 34)
Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon
Political partyLebanese Forces
(m. 1977; his death 1982)
RelationsAmine Gemayel (brother)
ChildrenMaya Gemayel (1978–1980)
Youmna Gemayel
Nadim Gemayel
ParentsPierre Gemayel
Geneviève Gemayel
EducationSaint Joseph University
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Bachir Gemayel (Arabic: الشيخ بشير الجميّل) Bashīr al-Jimayyel, also romanized al-Jumayyil and El Gemaiel, Arabic pronunciation: [baˈʃiːr ʤɪ'ma.jjɪl]; 10 November 1947 – 14 September 1982), also Sheikh Bashir Gemayel, was a Lebanese politician and militia commander who was elected President of Lebanon in 1982, a member of the Kataeb Party, also known as the Phalange Party (حزب الكتائب), and the son of its founder Pierre Gemayel.

He founded and became the supreme commander of the Lebanese Forces, uniting major Christian militias by force during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War under the campaign of "Uniting the Christian Rifle" and later founded the Lebanese Forces political party. Gemayel's Forces became the most powerful militia in Lebanon and is widely remembered for its resistance and battles against the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Syrian Army, most notably the Hundred Days' War and the Battle of Zahleh.

He was democratically elected president on 23 August 1982 by the majority of Christian and Muslim MPs while the country was torn by civil war and occupied by Israel, Syria and Palestinian factions. Gemayel started enacting policies to disarm Christian militias, ordered the Lebanese Army to enter West Beirut for the first time since the start of the war and forced Yasser Arafat and the PLO to leave Lebanon. On 14 September 1982, before he could take office, he was assassinated, along with 26 others, when a bomb exploded in Beirut Phalange headquarters in Achrafiyeh by Habib Tanious Shartouni, a member of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.[1] The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation blamed the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) for the terrorist attack.[2]

President Bachir Gemayel remains the youngest elected Lebanese president.

Early life

Bachir Gemayel as a child

Bachir Gemayel was born in the Achrafieh neighborhood of Beirut on 10 November 1947, the youngest of six children. The Gemayel family originated from Bikfaya village in the Matn District of Lebanon and is one of the most influential Christian families in the country. His father was Pierre Gemayel, who founded the Phalange party in 1936 as a youth movement. He attended the Jesuit Collège Notre Dame de Jamhour and the Institution Moderne du Liban (IML)- Fanar. He completed his university education at St. Joseph University (Université Saint-Joseph - USJ) in Beirut. After teaching for three years at the Lebanese Modern Institute, he graduated in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in law and another in political sciences in 1973. In 1971, Gemayel studied at The Center for American and International Law near Dallas, Texas in the United States. Qualifying in 1972, he joined the bar association and opened an office in Hamra Street, West Beirut.[3]

Gemayel family

Gemayel's father Pierre Gemayel studied pharmacology in Europe and founded the Phalange Party in 1936 (also known as Kataeb) upon his return to Lebanon, modelling the party after the Spanish and Italian Fascist parties he had observed there. It swelled to 40,000 members. Although he became a Lebanese minister, and was targeted in at least two assassination attempts, Pierre Gemayel never rose to the prominence of his sons, yet remained a powerful figure until his death in 1984.

A month after Gemayel's death, his brother Amine Gemayel was elected president in 1982, remaining in office until the end of his constitutional second term in 1988.

Many of Gemayel's other family members would go on to be elected into the Lebanese parliament: His widow Solange Gemayel (in 2005), his son Nadim Gemayel (in 2009 and 2018), his nephews Sami Gemayel (in 2009 and 2018) and Pierre Amine Gemayel (in 2000 and 2005) who also served as the Minister of Industry from 2005 until his assassination on 21 November 2006.

Early activities in the Kataeb Party

Gemayel became a member of the Kataeb Party's youth section when he was 12 years old.[4] He realized the dangers that surrounded Lebanon in 1958, and spent a lot of time with the organized political wing of the Kataeb Party.[4] He attended the meetings organized by the Kataeb Student Section, and was the president of the Kataeb Circle in St. Joseph University between 1965 and 1971.[4]

In the late 1960s, he underwent paramilitary training in Bikfaya, and he was appointed squad leader of a militia unit of the Kataeb Regulatory Forces (RKF), the party's military wing formed in 1961. In the early 1970s, he formed the "Bikfaya Squad" within the RKF, where he became acquainted with the basics of military combat.[4] In 1968, he participated in a student colloquium organized by the newspaper Orient, following events which occurred across Lebanese universities between the Muslim and leftist Pan-Arabist students supporting the Palestinians in Lebanon on one side, and Lebanese Christian nationalist (Phoenicist) students (whom Gemayel represented) on the other.[citation needed]

After the 1968-69 clashes between the Lebanese Army and the PLO, Gemayel gathered a group of Christian students, and started training them in the Kataeb-run training camp, located near Bsharri in the Keserwan District mountains. This was the start of what would later become the Lebanese Forces. At this stage, he was a junior militia commander under the orders of William Hawi, the founder and head of the KRF.[4]

Gemayel with his father Pierre.
Gemayel with Kataeb Regulatory Forces militiamen.

In 1970, Gemayel was briefly kidnapped by Palestinian militants in Lebanon and taken to the Tel al-Zaatar refugee camp. He was released eight hours later.[citation needed]

Gemayel became a member of the "BG Squad" formed by William Hawi. He was a revolutionary in the party. He became close with Jean Nader, the leader of Achrafieh at that time, and became the vice president of that Lebanese Capital district, a position that he held from 1971 until 1975.[4]

Gemayel became the head of the "BG Squad" after its members found him as a leader more close to their views. This group was formed of 12 specially trained members such as Fouad Abou Nader, Fadi Frem, Elie Hobeika and others. They were fierce fighters, and they were known for their violent performance in the field. This group was out of the direct control of the party.[4] He had his own views and principles, and he wanted to run for the Vice Presidency of the party, but his men said to him that they wanted him as the leader of the "Lebanese Forces" and not the VP of a party. In addition, many members of the party did not want him as the VP because he was the son of Pierre Gemayel, the founder and president of the party. The elections were cancelled and did not take place until after his assassination.[4]

Gemayel submitted his resignation from the party in 1976, but it was rejected. This was because the Kataeb Party was forced to approve the entrance of the Syrian Army to Lebanon to put an end to the war, but Gemayel refused to accept this, being strongly against the Syrian intervention because he believed that Syria wanted to annex Lebanon. He came to this conclusion because the Syrian officials repeatedly stated that Lebanon was part of Syria and that the Syrian Army doesn't need anyone's permission to enter Lebanon. Moreover, at that time, the Syrian educational system was teaching that Lebanon was a Syrian district.[4]

Military command

Conflict with the PLO

In 1975, Gemayel was accused by the LNM of being responsible for the Black Saturday massacre of Palestinians and Lebanese Muslims. According to Phalange member Karim Pakradouni, Gemayel admitted to him that while being in an emotional state over the killing of four Phalangists earlier that day, he ordered his militiamen into the streets. He added that when the situation developed into something he did not agree with and civilians were being killed, he tried but failed to stop the killings.[5] However, according to Michel Samaha, another Phalange member, Gemayel was outside Beirut, arriving after the killing of civilians had started. Michel Samaha added that Gemayel was one of the many senior members of the Phalange Party who tried to stop the massacre.[5]

Gemayel in the street

Christian East Beirut was ringed by heavily fortified Palestinian camps from which kidnappings and sniping against Lebanese civilians became a daily routine. Christian East Beirut became besieged by the PLO camps, with severe shortages of food and fuel. This unbearable situation led the Kataeb Forces and their allied Christian militias to besiege the Palestinian camps embedded in Christian East Beirut one at a time and bring them down. On January 18, 1976, Gemayel led the invasion of the heavily fortified Karantina camp that was located near the strategic Beirut Harbor: About 1,000 PLO fighters and civilians were killed.[6] The Palestinian PLO and as-Saiqa forces retaliated by attacking the isolated defenseless Christian town of Damour about 20 miles south of Beirut on the coast, during the Damour massacre in which 1,000 Christian civilians were killed and 5,000 were sent fleeing north by boat, since all roads were blocked off.[7] The Maronites retaliated with the invasion of the Tel al-Zaatar camp that same year (The camp was placed under siege for 52 days by the Tigers militia led by Dany Chamoun). Gemayel played an important role in the last stages of the battle: he sent a group of his forces that moved through the sewers and they blew up the ammunition storage in the camp. This incident was considered to be the lethal blow that led the fall of the camp.[8] The Christian militias also fought against the PLO and LNM militias at the Battle of the Hotels in central Beirut. Gemayel led the battle for the Holiday Inn that had an important strategic location. The battle was a success for Gemayel's troops, and they were able to move the PLO out of the hotel. After ensuring the safety of the rear lines and their effectiveness (necessary for the safety of Christian East Beirut), Gemayel and his troops decided to abandon the hotel.[9]

Gemayel attending mass at a training camp

In 1976, with the death of William Hawi, killed by a sniper during the battle of Tall Al-Zaatar, Gemayel became head of the Kataeb Regulatory Forces militia. Later that year, he became a leading member of the Lebanese Front, a coalition of several Christian parties, and commander of their military wing, the Lebanese Forces. A military coalition of several Christian militias which not only opposed the PLO but also the Syrian Army presence, who had entered Lebanon at first to assist in defeating Palestinian militants, before turning into occupiers.[10]

Gemayel giving a speech at "Don Bosco" training camp

Gemayel led his troops in the infamous “Hundred Days War” in Lebanon in 1978, in which the Lebanese Forces successfully resisted the Syrian shelling and attacking of Eastern Beirut for about three months before an Arab-brokered agreement forced the Syrians to end the siege. Syrians took high buildings such as Burj Rizk Achrafieh and Burj El Murr using snipers and heavy weapons against civilians. The soldiers stayed for 90 days. Another major clash took place near the Sodeco area in Achrafieh where the Lebanese Forces fought ferociously and led the Syrian army out of the Rizk Building.[11] This War led to the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from East Beirut and the free Christian Areas. At this time, Israel was the primary backer of the Lebanese Front's militia.

In 1981 at Zahlé in the Beqaa, the largest Christian town in the East, confronted one of the biggest battles – both military and political – between the Lebanese Forces and the Syrian occupying forces. The Lebanese Forces were able to confront them and reverse the result of the battle of 1981 with the help of 92 Lebanese Forces soldiers (LF Special Forces: Al Maghawir) sent from Beirut as well as the towns inhabitants. Regardless of the very bad weather and heavy bombing, convoys were sent in the snow to Zahle. The battle of Zahle gave the Lebanese Cause a new perspective in the International Communities, and by some was regarded as military and diplomatic victory. It strengthened Bachir Gemayel's position because of his leadership and important role in this battle. The battle started on 2 April 1981, and finished with a cease fire and Lebanese Internal Security Forces gendarmes were sent to Zahle. The 92 Lebanese Forces' commandos returned to Beirut on 1 July 1981.[12] (See: Battle of Zahleh for more details)

Tensions within the Lebanese Front

Gemayel with Camille Chamoun

Despite its increasing success in its battles against the PLO and the Syrian troops two factors led to the eventual demise of the Lebanese Front.

Following the killing of many Phalangist members, in addition to a senior Phalangist by members of the Marada Brigade militia, which was led by a fellow member of the Lebanese Front, Tony Frangieh, Gemayel called for a meeting to decide on what to do about this situation. At first, the decision was to capture Tony Frangieh and force him to surrender the members of the Marada militia who killed the Phalangists. However, there was concern about the consequences of this move. So, the decision was changed after many talks between the Phalangists present at the meeting. It was decided that the goal of the operation would be to capture the members of the Marada militia who killed the Phalangists and it would be done on Tuesday to be sure that Tony Frangieh would have finished his weekend vacation and left Ehden. On 13 June 1978, Gemayel sent a squadron of his men led by Samir Geagea and Elie Hobeika to Ehden; what Gemayel did not know was that Tony Frangieh hadn't left Ehden, as his car wasn't running. As soon as the squadron arrived, bullets were flying all over their heads, so they retaliated and this led to the killing of Tony Frangieh and his family, in addition to tens of members of the Marada militia. The incident is known as the Ehden massacre. Gemayel was angered by this incident, but he stood by his men. [13]

In 1980, in order to stop the clashes happening inside the Christian areas, between the Kataeb Militia and the Tigers Militia, and in order to eliminate the possibility of an Intra-Christian war, Gemayel sent his troops to the town of Safra, where Dany Chamoun and members of his Tigers Militia were vacationing. The Tigers under the control of Elias el Hannache were exterminated in what was later named Safra massacre. Dany's life was spared and he sought refuge in West Beirut, but Camille Chamoun's support of the attack was interpreted as him believing that his son's militia was getting too out of control.[citation needed]

Israeli invasion of Lebanon and Gemayel's election

Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.[14] Defense Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, met with Gemayel months earlier, telling him that the Israeli Defense Force were planning an invasion to uproot the PLO threat to Israel and to move them out of Lebanon.[15] While Gemayel did not control Israel's actions in Lebanon, the support Israel gave the Lebanese Forces, militarily and politically, angered many Lebanese leftists.

Gemayel met with Hani Al Hassan (representative of the PLO) and told him that Israel would enter and wipe them out. He told the PLO to leave Lebanon peacefully before it was too late. Hassan left without replying.[16]

Celebrations in Sassine Square after Gemayel's election
Gemayel with Philip Habib, who played an important role in his election

Israel invaded and the PLO were expelled from Lebanon in August 1982. During the invasion, the Israelis wanted the Lebanese Forces to assist the Israeli Army militarily by fighting the PLO and allied groups in West Beirut; however, Gemayel refused, stating that his forces would not assist an invading army. By then, Gemayel had announced his candidacy for president. He was backed by the United States, who sent peacekeeping troops to oversee the withdrawal of the PLO from Lebanon. Gemayel had requested that they stay longer to keep Lebanon stable until he could reunite it, but his request was denied. The Mossad also contributed to his presidency.[14] On 23 August 1982, being the only one to declare candidacy, Gemayel was elected president, as he prevailed over the National Movement.[17][18][19]

On 1 September 1982, two weeks before his assassination and only one week after his election, Gemayel met the Israeli Prime minister Menachem Begin in Nahariya. During the meeting, Begin demanded that Gemayel sign a peace treaty with Israel as soon as he took office in return of Israel's earlier support of Lebanese Forces; he also told Gemayel that the IDF would stay in South Lebanon if the Peace Treaty wasn't signed. Gemayel was furious at Begin and told him that the Lebanese Forces didn't fight for seven years and that they didn't sacrifice thousands of soldiers to free Lebanon from the Syrian Army and the PLO so that Israel could take their place. Gemayel also added that he would not sign the Peace Treaty without national consensus on the matter.

Begin was reportedly angry at Gemayel for his public denial of Israel's support. Gemayel refused signing a peace treaty arguing that time is needed to reach consensus with Lebanese Muslims and the Arab nations. This angered the Israelis because they knew that it is almost impossible for the Lebanese Muslims to agree on a Peace Treaty. They realized that Gemayel was starting to distance himself from them.[20]

On 12 September 1982, in an attempt to fix the relations between Begin and Gemayel, Ariel Sharon had a secret meeting with Gemayel in Bikfaya. During the meeting, Gemayel told Sharon that the Lebanese Army would soon enter the Palestinian Camps to disarm any remaining fighters. They also agreed that the Lebanese Army would attack the Syrian Army's positions in Lebanon assisted by the Israeli Army. Sharon further tried to convince Gemayel to sign a peace treaty, which he refused to do.

Gemayel had planned to use the IDF to push the Syrian Army out of Lebanon and then use his relations with the Americans to pressure the Israelis into withdrawing from Lebanese territory.[21]

Time as President-elect

25 August : Deployment of International Separation Forces (mainly American, French, and Italian)

30 August  : Yasser Arafat leaves Beirut for Athens

1 September : Meeting between Presidents Gemayel and Elias Sarkis with American Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger

2 September : Opening the path of Sodeco that was previously considered as a separation line between East and West Beirut

4 September : The Lebanese Army enters West Beirut for the first time since 1973

9 September : The Lebanese Army enters the Palestinian Camp Bourj el-Barajneh and that was restricted since 1969 by the Cairo Agreement

10 September : The International Separation Forces leaves Lebanon after completing its task

11 September : Beirut's economic market resumes its activities; Gemayel meets with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saeb Salam.

13 September : Beirut's seaport resumes its activities

During these 21 days, fighters from the Lebanese Forces were prohibited from wearing their uniforms and also from carrying their weapons in the streets. The Lebanese Army was the only armed force in the streets.


On 14 September 1982, Gemayel was addressing fellow Phalangists at their headquarters in Achrafieh for the last time as their leader and for the last time as commander of the Lebanese Forces. At 4:10 PM, a bomb was detonated, killing Gemayel and 26 other Phalange politicians. The first testimonies stated that Gemayel had left the premises on foot or in an ambulance (bearing the number 90). A report from a hospital came to say he had just arrived. Then the commander of military intelligence Jonny Abdu reported that Bachir Gemayel had been taken to a hospital in Haifa by helicopter. The search and rescue teams on the field were unable to find him or his body.[22]

His body was finally identified five and a half hours after the explosion by a Mossad agent in a church close to the site of the explosion where the dead were being collected. The face on the body was unrecognizable; he was identified by the white-gold wedding ring he was wearing and two letters he was carrying addressed to Bachir Gemayel. It was concluded that he had been one of the first people moved to the church after the explosion.[22] Rumors persisted that Gemayel had survived, until it was confirmed the following morning by the Lebanese Prime Minister Shafik Wazzan that he had indeed been killed in the attack.[23]

Habib Shartouni, a member of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and also a Maronite Christian, was later arrested for the assassination. His sister was living in the apartment above the room Gemayel was staying in. He had visited her the previous day and planted the bomb in her apartment. The next day, he called her and told her to get out of the building. Once she was out, he detonated the bomb from a few miles away using a remote detonator. When he came back to check on his sister, he was immediately arrested. Shartouni later confessed to the crime, saying he had done this because “Bachir had sold the country to Israel.” A reporter was heard telling him in reply, "You didn't kill a man, you killed a country." He was imprisoned for 8 years until Syrian troops took over Lebanon at the end of the war and freed him on 13 October 1990. Amine Gemayel did not condemn the actions taken by Habib Shartouni because of immense Syrian pressure.[24] Many point fingers at the Syrian government and then-Syrian President Hafez al-Assad for having knowledge of the assassination attempt and for covertly backing Shartouni.[25]


Condemnations poured in from around the world, including the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 520 as well as from American President Ronald Reagan. Reagan had been one of Gemael's staunchest supporters, saying "this promising young leader had brought the light of hope to Lebanon."[26]

Bachir Gemayel's older brother Amine Gemayel was not long after elected president, serving from 1982[27] to 1988. Rather different in temperament, Amine Gemayel was widely regarded as more moderate than his brother.

Many of Bachir Gemayel's followers were dissatisfied with Amine, which eventually led to the Lebanese Forces becoming independent from the Phalange and forming its own political party.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

The Sabra and Shatila massacre was the killing of between 762 and 3,500 civilians, mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shiites, by a militia close to the Kataeb Party, a predominantly Christian Lebanese right-wing party in the Sabra neighborhood and the adjacent Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon.

The massacre was presented as retaliation for the assassination of Bachir Gemayel.[citation needed]


Throughout the postwar period, the cult of Bachir Gemayel was the most visible commemorative phenomenon in parts of Beirut especially Ashrafieh. The leader of the Lebanese Forces, is revered with a wealth of different signs, ranging from spray-painted profiles and posters in the public space of the entry hall of Beirut's old Jesuit university, University Saint-Joseph.[citation needed]

Personal life

Bachir Gemayel's widow, Solange Gemayel, works to keep his legacy alive through the Bachir Gemayel Foundation, a political and informational organization.

His eldest daughter, Maya, was murdered on 23 February 1980 at 18 months of age by a car bomb intended for her father.[28][29] Gemayel had two surviving children: His second daughter, Youmna, born in 1980, received her degree in political science in Paris. She was working towards her Masters in Management at ESA (École supérieure des affaires) in Beirut. Gemayel's son, Nadim, who was born a few months before Gemayel was killed, was a law student and political activist, and was elected as a member of the Lebanese Parliament in 2009.

Political views

On relationship with the United States

The relations between Lebanon and the United States had a high priority rating on Gemayel's agenda, and occupied a sizeable portion of his time and efforts. Bachir Gemayel believed that the United States and Lebanon are natural allies since they enjoy a common cultural affinity, similar ideological beliefs, free economic systems and strong commitment to human rights and dignity. He believed in the U.S. leadership of the Free World and he was confident that Washington would strengthen its ties to Lebanon. The Lebanese people, he declared, do not wish that their American friends fight their battle and suffer casualties. However, they look to the United States for economic and military aid so that they themselves may free their country.[citation needed]

When Alexander Haig, the United States Secretary of State, subsequently declared that the fact of restoring peace and security to Lebanon would achieve the same result for all the countries of the region, Gemayel wholeheartedly agreed with him and supported the new policy of the United States saying: “Mr. Alexander Haig is quite right in proclaiming this new attitude loud and clear. In fact, that its exactly what we have been saying for the past seven years!”

Gemayel did not minimize the role of the Lebanese communities in America. He considered that his fellow-Lebanese living in the United States had an important role to play, and distinguished two stages in this context: the first stage, in which the Lebanese overseas communities would not play any role at all, i.e. the passive stage; and a positive stage in which they would promote the cause of their father land and lobby for a modification in U.S. foreign policy dealing with Lebanon. He said: “Two years ago, we were not present in the American Forum. The Palestinians have their lobby, so do the Jews, the Kurds and the Copts. As for us, whenever a representative of this country goes to the States, it is usually to collect donations to fix the belfry of such or such a Church, or to obtain a grant for some school or other in a village. But when our presence there became larger, people began to sit up and take interest in the Lebanese Cause.”

Gemayel's approach was not limited to this alone: he called for an efficient reorganization of the overseas Lebanese collectivities in the United States because, according to his views, they represented a non-negligible source of political and financial power. He suggested: “There is a vital necessity to reorganize the groups of Lebanese emigrants in a practical and modern manner, in order to create our own lobby, to promote the cause of our country in America. We cannot ignore the fact that the United States constitute the world’s center of gravity and that their influence in the Middle East conflict is preponderant.” He stressed the importance of maintaining the best relations with the United States, particularly in Lebanon itself through the medium of U.S. Ambassador Philip Habib and the United States’ Embassy in Beirut. No effort must be neglected to enlist the active political support of the greatest nation in the world for the Lebanese cause. Gemayel was confident that such good relations existed already: “We entertain excellent relations with Philip Habib, with the United States’ Embassy in Beirut, and with the State Department in Washington through our offices abroad. We enjoy close relations with all the centers of power and gravity throughout the world.”

With regard to Ambassador Philip Habib’s mission in Lebanon, Gemayel expressed the wish to see these efforts continue: “I hope that Ambassador Habib’s mission here will be pursued until we clear up all our problems with his help. In our present predicament we Lebanese are in dire need of friendship from abroad, to assist up in overcoming our difficulties and help us stand on our feet again.”

On relationship with European countries

The relations between Lebanon and the European countries deteriorated because Gemayel saw the latter trying to solve the Middle East problem at the expense of Lebanon. In addition to this factor, many European countries had adopted the obsequious policy of fawning on the Arab states in order to secure their oil supplies.

Gemayel referred to both these factors in one of his speeches :

“Europe and many other states are not able to digest the Christian presence in this corner of the world, because it is a stumbling-block to most of their ambitions in this area. The Americans and the West have not yet assimilated the fact that we, the Christians of the Orient, represent their last line of defense against a return to the dark ages, against terror and blind fundamentalism, against those who seek to annihilate all the values of civilization and of their culture. Today, they want to ‘sell us down the river’ for a barrel of oil!”

On relationship with Arab countries

Gemayel firmly believed that Lebanon has a great role to play in emancipation of the Arab world but that Lebanon must be respected and trusted as an equal and be free of foreign intervention (including Arab intervention) and that Arab governments must understand that Lebanon is a sovereign state and has right to reject any policy contrary to its national interests.

He warned the Arab world not to exploit the friendship and cooperation of the Lebanese people by attempting to settle Middle East conflicts at Lebanon's expense. He acknowledged, however, that during his visit to Ta'if, he was advised by his Saudi hosts that they understand Lebanon's problems and position on the PLO and Syria. Saudi leaders publicly lauded him for his leadership and vision.

Gemayel insisted in his talks that the PLO and Syrian armed presence in Lebanon is not negotiable or open for compromise since it undermines Lebanon's sovereignty which cannot be divided among non-Lebanese armies.

He also praised the efforts deployed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in helping Lebanon, and he called for stronger relations with these two countries. "The Lebanese people," he declared, "will reserve a special friendship for the Saudis and their Arab friends."

On Israel

Gemayel defined his attitude towards Israel clearly: "This is our answer with regard to our relations or our dealings with Israel: We are nobody's agents or lackeys, we are Lebanese. As for the Israeli arms present in the country, this can be explained by the fact that some villages might have felt themselves threatened, and were cornered into getting supplies from anywhere that might be convenient including Israel. When a person feels threatened by danger, he will accept help from the devil. A very critical situation would develop if we were forced to turn towards Israel for help."

As for his attachment to the South of Lebanon, Gemayel expressed this by appealing to all "to work for the preservation of the Lebanese identity in the South. This can best be done by a State initiative to provide them this neglected region with the basic social services, education, and development, all of which are sorely lacking, and to ask the State to restore its full sovereignty over the South, in all its forms."

Concerning the Syrian-Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the battlefields of Lebanon, it was obvious that the three belligerents were fighting to impose the solution that would best serve their interests, exploiting the Lebanese situation in the process. Whereas what Gemayel was concerned with, first and foremost, was to find solutions that would enable the Lebanese to recover their land and save the people from their present tribulations. In this connection he said: "It is now a matter of competition, a race between Syrian moves, Palestinian moves and Israeli action, and the one who wins the race will be able to solve the Lebanese problem radically. As for us, we have taken a decision: we want to recover our territorial integrity, our national sovereignty and the freedom of our people."


Al-Ashbal: its first camp was organized under Gemayel's patronage in Byblos scout camping grounds (1975).

Popular Committees: launched by Gemayel in 1976, their aim is the people's participation in the organization of daily life.

Hamat Airport: created by Gemayel in 1976 for special tourist trips and for the export of agricultural products.

Radio Free Lebanon : founded by Gemayel in 1978 to explain to the world the reality of the Lebanese cause.

Radio 102 : out of Gemayel's desire for a commercial station in order to alleviate the burden of the war (1979).

Delta Computer : founded in 1979 as a specialized information body related to all components of social organization.

Help Lebanon : founded to take care of children and alleviate the consequences of the war.

Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) : launched in 1980 as a national, educational, cultural and non-commercial television.

Gamma Group : an institution including specialists to plan the building of a modern state in all of its sectors (1982).

The Lebanese Cultural Association : created in 1982 to deal with intellectual, literature and artistic affairs as well as Lebanese civilization.

Achrafieh Merchants Committee : created in 1982 to revive the economy and trade and organize the market.

Achrafieh Festival Committee : created in 1982 to organize fairs and exhibitions and to encourage artistic activities.[30]

See also



  1. ^ Reuters (10 March 1982). "Phalangists identify bomber of Gemayel as Lebanese leftist". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Neil A. Lewis (18 May 1988). "U.S. Links Men in Bomb Case To Lebanon Terrorist Group". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Bashir Gemayel (1947-1982)". Bachir Gemayel. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hayek, Georges (2010). History in a Man – Bachir Gemayel. p. 68.
  5. ^ a b [1] Archived 22 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Harris (p. 162) notes "the massacre of 1,500 Palestinians, and others in Karantina and Maslakh, and the revenge killings of hundreds of Christians in Damur"
  7. ^ "Historical Fact: The Massacre and Destruction of Damour". Lebanese Forces. Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  8. ^ "The Battle of Tel el Zaatar 1976". Liberty 05. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Lebanon: Beirut's Agony Under the Guns of March". Time. 5 April 1976.
  10. ^ Interviews with Elie Karameh, Edmond Rizk, Louis Karam, Naji Boutrous and Salim Reaidi conducted in March 1995
  11. ^ Video on YouTube[dead link]
  12. ^ "Historical Fact: The Battle of Zahle - 1981". Lebanese Forces. Archived from the original on 26 June 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  13. ^ [2] Archived 29 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ a b Bsisu, N. (2012). "Israeli Domestic Politics and the War in Lebanon" (PDF). Lights: The MESSA Journal. 29. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Israel and Lebanon - Allies - Part 2". YouTube. 20 August 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  16. ^ قصة الموارنة في الحرب - جوزيف أبو خليل
  17. ^ Hayek, Georges (2010). Bachir Gemayel - History in a Man. self-published. p. 278.
  18. ^ Hudson, Michael C. (1997). "Trying Again: Power-Sharing in Post-Civil War Lebanon". International Negotiation. 2: 103–122. doi:10.1163/15718069720847889.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Avon, Dominique; Khatchadourian, Anaïs-Trissa; Todd, Jane Marie (10 September 2012). Hezbollah: A History of the "Party of God". Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674067523.
  20. ^ Cobra - From Israel to Damascus
  21. ^ Khalife, Nabil (2008). Lebanon in Kissinger's Plan. Byblos Center for Research. p. 271.
  22. ^ a b Zeev Schiff; Ehud Ya'ari (3 June 1985). Simon and Schuster (ed.). Israel's Lebanon War.
  23. ^ From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman
  24. ^ "Bachir Gemayel Community Site - Who is Habib El-Shartouni ?". Bachirgemayel.org. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  25. ^ "Wars of Lebanon - People". Wars.meskawi.nl. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  26. ^ Statement on the Assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel of Lebanon
  27. ^ Avon, Dominique; Khatchadourian, Anaïs-Trissa; Todd, Jane Marie (10 September 2012). Hezbollah: A History of the "Party of God". Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674067523.
  28. ^ "Beirut Bomb Kills 8; Christian Militia Chief Believed to Be Target; Fought Palestinians and Leftists". The New York Times. 24 February 1980. p. 10.
  29. ^ "Syrian chronicles 1973-1990". Tayyar. Archived from the original on 19 December 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  30. ^ [3] Archived 21 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

  • Dameer wa Tareekh (ضمير وتاريخ)
  • Tareekh fi Rajol (تاريخ في رجل)
  • Rajol el Nahda (رجل النهضة)
  • Jumayyil, Bashīr; Geha, Rani (2010). Words from Bashir: Understanding the Mind of Lebanese Forces Founder Bashir Gemayel from His Speeches: Rani Geha: 9781442160743: Amazon.com: Books. ISBN 978-1442160743.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Elias Sarkis
President-elect of Lebanon
(assassinated before being sworn in)

Succeeded by
Amine Gemayel

14 September 1808

The Russians defeat the Swedes at the Battle of Oravais.

At the beginning of the war, Swedish forces had retreated to Oulu. They had then managed to repel the Russians and reach Savonia despite the capitulation of the fortress of Sveaborg by the end of summer 1808. Russia recuperated quickly, and by the end of August the Swedish army was again retreating northwards along the coastal road. To avoid being encircled, Colonel Georg Carl von Döbeln was sent in advance to Nykarleby with a brigade. The threat of encirclement was exaggerated, but the Swedish army was at this point showing signs of panic and collapse. On 13 September the army left for Oravais and it halted to await news from von Döbeln, who was fighting the Russians at Jutas. The sound of a cannon was heard in Oravais, and a brigade was sent to reinforce von Döbeln.

The Russian main army had marched from Vasa in furious pursuit of the Swedish forces. The night before 14 September was spent in bivouacs along the road between Vörå and Oravais. The impulsive General-Major Yakov Kulnev’s troops had taken the lead and were the first to make contact with the Swedes.

At dawn the first shots were exchanged between Kulnev’s troops and a Swedish outpost by a bridge in the forest. Firing intensified, the Swedish position was reinforced continuously while the remainder of the Russian forces behind Kulnev arrived. Fighting continued with heavy losses on both sides until the situation became untenable for the Swedes, who retreated to their defensive positions at 10 a.m. The retreat was covered by a single artillery piece commanded by the fifteen-year-old sublieutenant Wilhelm von Schwerin.

The Swedish main position was deployed along a ridge which was protected to the north (on the Swedish right wing) by an inlet from the Baltic, and the Fjärdså stream with its south to north flow provided added defensive potential. The forest in front of the ridge had been cleared to afford the artillery a better view of the arriving Russians, who were regrouping at the edge of the forest.

Artillery bombardment then began between the two forces, and continued for an hour until the Russians mounted a frontal assault against the Swedish positions. Kulnev, on the Russian left wing, struck the Swedish right, but was repelled when his force became bogged down in the Fjärdså stream. The Russians now reinforced their right wing, under Nikolay Demidov, and another assault was made. It was also repelled, but this time the Swedish unexplainably left their positions and counterattacked; Adlercreutz had issued no order to that effect. The Swedish counterattack met overpowering fire and was forced to withdraw with heavy losses.

At 2 p.m. the battle was far from decided. The Russians made a second attempt at turning the Swedish left flank. This thinned the Russian center, and Adlercreutz ordered a forceful attack to exploit the weakness. Despite the intensive Russian fire, the attack proceeded swiftly, and the whole Swedish line was carried along by the movement. The entire Russian line was forced to retire back into the forest where the battle had begun earlier in the morning.

However, dwindling of ammunition frustrated Adlercreutz’s attempted decisive stroke. As Russian reinforcements arrived, the spent Swedish army retired to their defensive positions again. At this point the battle was still undecided, but General Kamensky ordered Demidov’s right wing to make yet another attempt on the weak Swedish left wing. When this maneuver started night had fallen and the battle had raged for fourteen hours; it became too much for the Swedish army, which hastily retreated to the north.

14 September 1975

Pope Paul VI canonized the first American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton.


Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, known as “Mother Seton,” is special to all Americans for historical, humanitarian and spiritual reasons. Though born in the New York City area, she lived in Maryland from 1809 until her death.

Elizabeth Ann Seton was widowed at the age of 29 and left to care for her five children alone. Her late husband’s shipping business had been unstable, and money was scarce. In order to support her family, she attempted to establish a school but met with little success. To the dismay of her friends and relatives, she converted to the Catholic faith. With encouragement and assistance from John Carroll, the first Catholic Bishop of Baltimore, Seton came to Baltimore and established the first free school for girls in 1808. This school, which was the forerunner of the Catholic school system, soon outgrew its original location on Paca Street and moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1809. Also in 1809, Seton founded the first American religious order for women known as the Sisters of Charity. This religious order, later evolved into the Daughters and Sisters of Charity. The order grew throughout the United States and expanded into several foreign countries. Beginning in 1814, Mother Seton and her religious daughters established schools, orphanages and hospitals throughout the world.

On September 14, 1975, Pope Paul VI proclaimed, “Elizabeth Ann Seton is a Saint,” making her the first native born American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is located in Emmitsburg, Maryland.