The voice of 'moderation' suppressed - An economist, ex minister and humble servant to Lebanon assassinated

Published December 27th, 2013 - 12:59 GMT
Former Finance Minister Mohammad Shatah []
Former Finance Minister Mohammad Shatah []

The assassination of former Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah drew widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum on Friday as officials and politicians mourned the loss of a “moderate” voice.

“It's a pity that we returned to the wave of assassinations in Lebanon ... Shatah worked day and night in Lebanon’s interest,” March 14 lawmaker Butros Harb told LBCI TV station.

Al-Mustaqbal MP Hadi Hbeish told MTV that Shatah's killers “are trying to silence the words of truth through explosions and killings.”

“My condolences to all the Lebanese,” he said.

Shatah, who was ex-Premier Saad Hariri's advisor, died in a huge car bomb.

National Bloc leader Carlos Edde told LBCI's reporter near the scene of the blast in downtown Beirut that Shatah was a “courageous man.”

He was not afraid of the wave of assassinations that have shaken Lebanon, he said.

“There is an attempt to suppress voices of moderation,” Edde added.

Another March 14 official, MP Robert Ghanem, also spoke to the same TV station, saying the explosion was part of the strife plot against Lebanon.

“The entire Lebanese entity was the target of the blast,” he said.

“We should overcome the plot by forming a new cabinet,” the lawmaker said

Shatah “was not an extremist. He used to speak logically and was known for being ethical,” Ghanem added.

Caretaker Labor Minister Salim Jreissati warned through LBCI against strife.

“The blast targeted a moderate voice,” he said.

Caretaker Information Minister Walid al-Daouq condemned the “terrorist bombing,” saying “the target of the blast was the stability of Lebanon.”

“We should form a cabinet to control the situation,” he said.

Caretaker Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil called for "wisdom in resolving problems … and reaching an agreement on how to confront the upcoming stage.”

“We condemn this terrorist attack that targeted our brother Mohammed Shatah,” he said.

Change and Reform bloc MP Alain Aoun also called for unity.

“The country is exposed and as long as we are divided we're helping others to target us.”

“Lebanon became a mailbox between rival sides,” he warned.

Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel expressed hope from the blast scene that such incidents won't occur again.

He urged officials to engage in dialogue as the only solution to Lebanon's crises.

Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel said the blast aimed at destabilizing Lebanon.

“The moderate voice was assassinated,” he lamented.

Caretaker Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi described the bombing as “barbarous,” saying “it had nothing to do with any sect or cause.”

Caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said the bombing targets Lebanon's national unity.

“We hope that the blood of martyrs would bring the Lebanese closer,” he told LBCI, hoping for dialogue between the rival sides.

Phalange MP Nadim Gemayel also said via twitter that Shatah was a moderate man.

"He was killed for having faith in Lebanon first and the principles of the Cedar Revolution, he said.

Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun condemned Shatah's murder, saying it's time for every official, to carry out his duties and exercise his authorities at least in preserving security.

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