Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher

Former British Ambassador to Lebanon

Part of UK in Lebanon

21st November 2013 Beirut, Lebanon

Dear Lebanon: An Open Letter

Tomorrow I’ll hand a letter from Prime Minister Cameron to President Sleiman, with formal congratulations on Lebanon’s 70th anniversary.

The wonderful people at Rag Mag also asked me to write an open letter to mark the day. This is a tough and precarious assignment, and it will annoy or anger some people. But I’ve had a try, as I think this is an important moment for reflection.

I hope others will consider writing letters of their own.

Dear Lebanon,

I wanted to write to say Happy 70th birthday.

I know that in reality you have been around thousands of years, and were trading and writing long before my ancestors. But that moment of your birth in November 1943 was special, different – you took your first steps as a new nation founded on uniting principles rather than lines of division.

I’m proud that my predecessor, Edward Spears, was there to support that, and that we believed as strongly then as now in the idea of Lebanon.

The thing is, Lebanon, do you still believe in that idea? This is a question only you can answer. Without doubt, it has been a bumpy seven decades, with troublesome teenage years and plenty of midlife crises, to put it mildly.

You now face another tough year, and rising anxiety that regional rifts can drive you apart once again. We have been reminded this week that there are plenty of people who want that to happen.

I hope that you’ll forgive a bit of feedback, from one of your admirers.

You’re so much better than you admit. Look back at those seventy years. Your writers, musicians, thinkers and businesspeople have conquered the world again and again.

Your mountains, valleys and coasts are the envy of all of us. You have an extraordinary unquenchable spirit. You have found a way to move on from a devastating civil war, almost as though it never happened.

You are the world’s best networkers, in a century that will be run by networks. You are also the most exceptional hosts, not just to ambassadors but also to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have arrived in the last two years.

Whatever your religion, there are few more beautiful sounds than the intermingling of the call to prayer and church bells. Every day I meet extraordinary Lebanese people doing great things against the odds.

So, let’s be clear, I’m a fan.

But I’m also frustrated, and I know that many of you are.

Your politics are dynamic on the surface. Yet broken and paralysed beneath it. You talk of unity. Yet often say things like ‘Lebanon would be wonderful if it wasn’t for the Lebanese’, ‘it will always be like this – this is Lebanon’, or ‘they (insert different group) are just too different’.

You have an impressive ability to absorb hardships such as power cuts. Yet you rarely confront the causes of them. You invest more than any country in the education of your youth. Yet they feel excluded from changing the country for the better. You have been a beacon for women’s rights.

Yet only elect a tiny handful to parliament. You were the first country in the region to stand up against dictatorship and tyranny in the 21st century Middle East. Yet your voice in calling for your own rights and those of others seems to have fallen silent, and in too many cases been silenced.

So here’s some unsolicited advice.

First and most important, start ignoring advice from outsiders, including me: this is your country.

Second, celebrate the success that is all around you – yes, the talented and inspirational athletes, thinkers, explorers and activists. But also the grafters who tell me on the school run, in the street, shops, schools or hospitals – ‘this is our country, we share it, and carrying on our lives is the best response to violence and division’.

Third, why not use this 70th anniversary of independence to remember what independence meant and should still mean – that you’ll prioritise national interests, Lebanese interests, over those of foreign patrons? And demand that your leaders do too?

Fourth, maybe it is time to renew those marriage vows, to spend a moment reflecting on what you admire rather than what infuriates you about each other. You’re stuck together I’m afraid, for richer or poorer, for better or for worse.

Finally, don’t forget your collective strengths. You may have difficult neighbours and a tendency to fatalism. But your location and diversity put you at the hub between continents and cultures. Your history gives you a resilience and free spirit that others in the region would die for, and are dying for.

Many of us are rooting for you. The UK is doubling trade, increasing tenfold our support to the army’s stabilisation effort, and running our largest ever humanitarian effort to help you cope with the refugee influx. The Security Council, far from fighting their battles here, have come together repeatedly to prioritise your stability, and to provide peacekeepers, aid, political support.

For many of us you’re too important, and too special, to let fail. If coexistence proves impossible in Lebanon, how can we be confident that it will work elsewhere?

I’m still buying shares in Lebanon 2020. All I encourage, humbly, is that you do too.

You’re at a moment of jeopardy. 70 is too young for a country to retire. You can’t just botox away the cracks. Whether you make it to 75 depends on whether you can find a way to regroup, to focus again on what unites rather than divides you.

That is not something that you can leave to outsiders. You have to decide whether you’re on the side of those who are fighting over Lebanon. Or with those who are fighting for it.

Happy Birthday. Happy Independence Day. Happy One Lebanon Day. Mabrouk, bon courage, and solidarity.

Yours affectionately,


418 comments on “Dear Lebanon: An Open Letter

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  3. It is ironic that the ambassador of a major colonizer and destructive force in the Middle East is giving the Lebanese advice, but it’s fun to see how oblivious he is to that history.

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  10. Dear Mr. Ambassador,

    I read you blog when you first published it, and then came to review it a few months later and reflect upon it carefully. As you know a lot has happened in the few months after our not so great 70th birthday and unfortunately the big global powers had a lot to do it. I re-read the blog today as things in Crimea have begun to unfold, interesting enough Crimea is another small nation that is being torn apart in the hands of super powers and their only fault is that they are located in between – just like Lebanon – in between. Mr. Ambassador, you say great things about my country and I envy you and not because you talk so dearly about my Lebanon but because you get to enjoy life in it while I and like the thousands of young educated Lebanese are cursed to live and work outside Lebanon in order to be able to afford a living and not a “life”. In my case, I live in Saudi Arabia. I am sure you are well acquainted with Saudi Arabia after all your throne prince was here just a few weeks ago sporting a sword and traditional Saudi clothing and dancing with them all, just a curious question but isn’t carrying swords considering kind of barbaric in the united kingdom?
    You see Mr. Ambassador, our dilemma is that every one blames us for destroying our own country with our own hands and you ask us to take charge of things and not let anyone else interfere but the question is will you let us do so? Here are some few reminders of the helping hands that the western world has given us throughout our young 70 years: in 1948 and just after 5 years of our independence you guys sent us the first gift of thousands of Palestinian refugees in order to safeguard the existence of the newly formed stated of “Israel”. Then in the 60’s we were also given a helping hand that led to the collapse of intra bank the largest financial institution in the middle east at the time and one of the biggest globally but of course a small country like Lebanon is not allowed to compete on a global level. Then during the civil war, the whole western world sat quietly and watched as the oil rich neighbors meddled in this tiny space of a country and poured in all the possible hatred on us while benefiting from that situation to cheaply buy my country one piece at a time as the Lebanese nationals were piling up in front of Embassies begging for immigration visas (you can check the records of your own embassy Mr, Ambassador) Fast forward to present time and we alone are handling the burden of the Syrian refugees with all its economic weight on our already fragile economy and its social and humanitarian repercussions (I am sure that you are well aware Mr. Ambassador that both Turkey and Jordan have closed their borders in front of any refugee) of course we are not allowed to do that or else we will be called inhuman racists.
    I am sorry Mr. Ambassador, I am sorry that we are not an oil rich country (yet, that is until you and your friends at the G8 allow us to) and by you I mean Britain Mr. Ambassador and not yourself because i have lots of respect and admiration to your person but unfortunately do not hold the same feelings to your country. I am sorry that we do not have some extra few billion dollars to spare to buy weapons that we are not going to use -although and God knows we are the most country in the arab world that is really in need of advanced military weapons- nor to buy some football clubs or Harrods and similar companies. I am sorry we can’t jump to the rescue whenever an economical crisis hits the “civilized world”. I am sorry we are not important enough to make his royal highness come over and wear the “Tarboush” and “Sherwel” and dance the Dabkeh.
    A few days ago i watched as everyone raved about you and how in a certain social function you socialized and broke bread with some domestic helpers as a sign of admiration and respect. It does draw lots of respect and i bow down in respect for you Mr. Ambassador, we are not the greatest nation in human rights that is true and most of the western world condemns us for the “inhumane” treatment of the Palestinian refugees by not allowing them full civil rights and allowing them to work. I find that ironic and painfully funny Mr. Ambassador and i am sure you can see the irony here, you guys are condemning the country that is not able to produce enough jobs let alone suitable to its own citizens and you seriously want us to offer Palestinians jobs? seriously? are you guys for real? and now also you are condemning us for the Syrian refugees – the timed bomb that God knows when it will explode in our face- because we are not allowing them good shelters and the ability to have human conditions.
    I would like to share a thought with you, if you find it impossible that the Palestinians return to their homeland because that would disrupt Israel and no no no, we do not want that under any circumstance, well how about you guys talk to some of your Arab friends who have the money, the geography and the capacity to shelter them in much better conditions that we do to welcome them over? wouldn’t that be a win win situation? Some food for thought Mr. Ambassador.
    Let me let you in on a little secret Mr. Ambassador, we are a broke country we can’t even afford to feed ourselves how are we supposed to feed the 2 million syrian refugees and the 1 million already present palestinian refugees? that’s 3 million Mr. Ambassador, 3 million! and do you know what is the Lebanese population? wow don’t I feel a stranger in my own country now? and what is the international community doing? Oh yes, sending envoys to urge the Lebanese government to offer better conditions to the refugees. A few days ago you went to France to attend a support group for Syria and pledged a few millions to help the refugees. I am sure everyone there slept peacefully like a baby that night feeling better about themselves and thinking that they have served humanity. But this is not how things are solved, you can’t just give a few dollars away and expect things to solve themselves. Mr. Ambassador, are you aware that for example Saudi Arabia has stopped giving visas to all Syrian citizens? if the country with the best economic sources is not willing to help seriously in the refugee issue how do you guys expect us to do anything effective with our no resources?
    Excuse me if you consider me a racist but i believe it is not fair that I am living so far off my home and in very difficult conditions (you might want to research human rights and the nature of a life that a single young male has to endure in Saudi Arabia) while others are paid to stay in my country and wreck havoc in it, You do know that crime, stealing and sexual offenses have recently reached alarming levels in Lebanon and yet when we try to do something like forcing a curfew or try to monitor the activities of the refugees we are dubbed as insensitive racists who are implementing slavery acts.
    As I look around me whether in Saudi Arabia and in all the other arab countries where my relatives, childhood friends, classmates and acquaintances are dispersed and see how far they have reached career wise I can safely say and i am not bragging that we – the Lebanse – are the true builders of the Arab world and without us this whole place would have still been a barren desert and i say that without any pride or prejudices nor chauvenism, i am simply stating simple facts based on statistics and the dispersion of the Lebanese youth. I am very confident that if left alone we can do marvels to our country Mr. Ambassador but maybe this is the point of the whole story: we are not and should not be allowed to do that to our county, we are not and under any circumstance allowed to go back to the Lebanon of the 1970-1975 because the damages this would cause to the rest of the Arab world and to Europe as well would be of massive proportions. This is our curse Mr. Ambassador, we are condemned to be vagabonds and gypsies……
    Mr. Ambassador I am saying all this to you because for the first time there is someone willing to listen and interact, i just hope that you are also willing to act this time.

  11. dear tom , thank you for this touching letter that i feel it coming from a lebanese citizen but actually its from a british ambassador that has more love and enthusiasm than lebanese citizens themselves , its so touching and i really enjoyed reading it ……………….. wish you al the best

  12. Your Excellency Ambassador Fletcher, Ambassador of the UK to Lebanon.

    I was very pleased to read your Open Letter which showed a lot of your good qualities, and appreciated your comments and advice very very much. I do have certain concerns though which I would like to bring up.

    I’ll try to make my comment to the point as much as possible.

    – You wrote a great letter, great words, great patriotism, great passion to my homeland and Lebanese people. In short, I appreciate and thank you very very much for all your love and passion to everything Lebanese.
    – I can tell, just like everyone here agrees, that you’re a great person on the personal level, have great good intentions and excellent and amazing political skills, and you are a person who wants all things good.
    – I’m 41 y/o and I live in Canada now for the past 12 years. So I’ve seen enough of Lebanon during and after the war, and I’ve see the difference in regimes (and lifestyles) between Lebanon and western countries, and I love western ideologies.
    – I’m Christian who’s a Pro- Lebanese-forces, i.e. Pro 14th of March, or in other words, I’m NOT a Pro Nasrallah or any of his ideologies. I love western ideologies and their implementations; and hence I would like to comment as follows:

    The comment made above by “sami” on November 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm was well put and well written and I completely support it. In addition, I would like to add the following:

    – If I were you, as an Ambassador of the United Kingdom, I would not have accepted to write this letter. Don’t get me wrong, read on and you will see what I mean. So, I wouldn’t have written this letter as an Ambassador because I would look like a liar. No joke, including your replies to the comments. Looks like a liar because you know it (as everybody knows it too) that the UK’s policy towards Lebanon is not AT ALL about protecting Lebanon or its stability or its sovereignty or Its freedom or… etc. What the UK’s policy is really about is how to protect Israel and its interests in the area, including financial interests, Touristic interests, Oil interests, political interests, Occupation of Arab land interests, and many many other pro-Israel interests. All this is going to result in what? of course in more anger from the Arab world towards the western nations… It’s a pity because I love these western countries and the way they run their own countries and their internal policies… but they messed up when it came to foreign policy; they simply don’t treat all humans as equal when an Israeli interest is involved in any conflict, regardless how big or small.
    – I’m not talking History here, i’m talking “always”; history and present, and probably future as well. No body loves this fact, but, unfortunately, it’s a fact of life and history!!! All western nations (and some non western too) are only about protecting Israel’s interest in the region, and everything/everybody else in the ME region can be sacrificed for that end.
    – The above doesn’t mean at all that us, Lebanese people, are the best patriotic people. Many are, but a few aren’t, and we should learn a lot from Mr. Fletcher’s letter especially how to look at what unites us and not what separates us… I’m not going to attack this subject now and how us, Lebanese, should build a better country, better society and better policy and politicians by following the really great advice of Mr. Fletcher, because my comment is about his letter and not about Lebanese people. Truth be said though, if all external influences are taken away from Lebanon, we Lebanese of all factions can live perfectly fine together and will not have any serious conflicts, because we will be looking only after our own internal interests rather than implementing the policies of foreign countries which influence differently each of Lebanon’s factions.
    – However, as long as outsiders (other nations) including UK (and USA, France, Russia…), are always interfering in our business and preventing (in many occasions) the Lebanese Army from even being allowed to acquire arms/weapons/missiles to defend itself from Israel’s (or other nations/militants) attacks and protect Lebanon’s sovereignty, until that has changed, I don’t know if we should listen to their advice in their status as Ambassadors. It’s actually their policies in the ME which was behind the existence of extremist parties like Hezbollah and Hamas and others… You Mr. Fletcher can offer great advice on a personal level which is very appreciated and welcome, but as long as they are representing a country who’s public and secret policy is to protect our country’s enemies, then your silence, as an Ambassador, is better… When your esteemed countries can treat us, Lebanese, as humans with equal rights for life like you treat your nationals or even like you treat the Israelis, then you can speak. When you stop considering a poor Palestinian peasant as a terrorist when actually Israel is demolishing his house illegally and yet you consider Israel as a democratic country, then you can speak. Otherwise, please give us advise on a personal human level, but not as an Ambassador.
    – To ask us if we believe in the idea of Lebanon when actually many things the UK is doing are actually behind the misery of Lebanon because of your unconditional support to Israel… This question is actually insulting to all Lebanese!! These policies are behind the immigration of most Lebanese because they can’t find peace and safety in their own country… details are needless here, you know better!!!
    – You supported Israel when they came and destroyed our infrastructure multiple times in the past few decades, and then you ask us how come we “rarely confront the causes of them (electrical cuts)” by correcting the reasons behind electricity shortages in the country!!! Thanks to the private sector in Lebanon which funded a lot in rebuilding the country after each Israeli attack… Where were your countries from this?? Why did your countries allow the attacks to happen to start with???
    – You probably noticed that I keep talking about Israel as if it’s the source of all trouble. Truthfully, I don’t mean that at all. Israelis are humans just like me and you, and they have the right to live a safe and respectful life… But hey, the Palestinians should be in the same boat, and they have the same rights as well. You know it very well that if you resolve the Palestinian conflict, all conflicts in Lebanon and in all ME region will be a thing of the past. At least most of it. You Ambassadors gave so much credit and power to Israel, that now your countries are in trouble and can’t handle the Israeli power and influence anymore and you are stuck too. Anyways, let me not get there. I just wanted to clarify why I keep talking about Israel; it’s simple, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the source of all the troubles we are going through. So change your countries’ policies towards this issue and things will turn around globally. International terrorism will be (mostly) a thing of the past as well.
    – I love Lebanon, but i’m living in Canada now because of, partially, the policies of your country in Lebanon and the region.
    – What ever “good” that happened to Lebanon in the past 100 years or so and was a result of the policies of UK in the region, was only a side effect of their policies to protect their own interests or Israel’s interests. So thank you Mr. Ambassador for every good-side effect of the UK’s policies which turned out to be good for Lebanon and its people.
    – Your feelings, words and advice are greatly appreciated on the personal level Mr. Fletcher because I can tell that you are a great person, but it just makes you look bad to say what you said when you’re representing a country who, in a way, is supporting the enemy who is causing these issues in Lebanon.

    In the end, again I say, don’t get me wrong as I love western ideologies; I also thank very much the UK for every help it offered to Lebanon and every humanitarian help that it’s providing to Lebanon in many occasions, especially now with the huge problem of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon… Many thanks again for many many many other good things that UK did to us, but hey don’t forget also that most of the mess in the ME region is a result of your bad policies from the longest times. As an example only, Hezballah would not have been what it is now if your foreign policies were properly designed and implemented towards the good of people of the region and not just Israel.

    Mr. Fletcher, my deep apologies if I missed to mention anything good that the UK did for Lebanon or the rest of the world, as it did a lot of great and good things for Lebanon and the whole world over the years… My comment was to clarify what the ME nationals think of the recent and not-so-recent policy of the UK in the region. It’s very important to say that UK was not the only influencing policy maker in our region, but nonetheless had a big role to play, and that role could have been played in a more positive manner towards the whole region.

    Thank you for reading this far. I insist on the idea that your advice is great to build a great Lebanon and better Lebanese society, but the fact that this advice came from the Ambassador of a great nation with not the most honest policies towards Lebanon is what ticked me and thought that I would have to comment on it.

    – In my humble opinion, all your advice, ideas and comments in this Open Letter are great and, I can assure you, that they will all be implemented almost automatically when the UK, US, France, Russia, China, Syria, Iran and KSA leave us alone and don’t influence the Lebanese factions and interfere in Lebanon’s politics. Also when the UK starts supporting the Palestinian cause as much as the Israeli cause which will lead to real peace in the region resulting in a solution to ME conflicts and in turn, most of Lebanon’s political conflicts.

    I wish I could have addressed this letter to many other Ambassadors of the countries mentioned above.

    Will all respect.

  13. First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question
    which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center
    yourself and clear your mind prior to writing.
    I’ve had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts
    out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first
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    Any recommendations or hints? Appreciate it!

  14. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    We would like to present to you yet another example of Lebanese manifest. We, at Captain Cook Resto are part of the positive vibe. We are a small business that opened in August 2013 in downtown Beirut, against all odds, and we brought a new innovation to the hospitality sector: a cuisine based on Superfoods, which are the foods that provide the energy and the highest health benefits.

    Our main challenge was to match healthy with delicious. It’s where we succeeded tremendously. Many of your colleagues already orders from us at the British Embassy.

    Your words were very inspiring and they promote peace and prosperity.

    Thank you again for being positive against all odds. It is passion and goodness that drives to success.

    Yours sincerely

    Captain Cook Resto

  15. Mr. Ambassador.
    Great words,great belief,GREAT MAN! Thank you for your precious words,and God bless you.

  16. Dear Amb. Fletcher,

    Am not quite sure whether after all the replies, comments, thanks and open letters in response to your thoughts you will be able to read my comment but I couldn’t resist my own temptation to snatch some thoughts that queued in my mind, mainly because I have noticed how reflexive is your open letter and because I have noticed, without much surprise, that we, as Lebanese are good, in three major things:

    1. In blaming others, and pretending that we are the righteous, the most virtuous and that we own the whole truth and that others are wrong.

    2. In creating deadlocks to our problems with our own hands. (something similar to what you mentioned about surviving extreme hardships and not solving them).

    3. In failing to learn from others’ experiences or even from our own.

    I have seen Lebanon since I was at a young age as being this legend that you can read about everywhere, in the Bible, History, Geography (compared to the nearby deserts), in Literature, etc…, and like a small and fragile paradise that you may not find anything like it in the whole world.

    Instead of telling you like some comments here that the others are bad and corrupted I tell you that I have failed.

    I have failed to tell the other Lebanese that I am sorry for the war for the haste for the misery in which I have swamped him for fifteen years, that I have cursed him and wished his death.

    I have failed when, on one day like no other in the whole history of this land, people showed their solidarity to each other and protected each others with their own flesh , I couldn’t say to the other Lebanese who did not join me: don’t be afraid of me, I am your support because if you fall I’ll fall too.

    I have failed to convince my other part when the straws of division started mingling between us again, when I felt the hand of my brother loosing his grips from me, to keep hanging on to me and maybe on my shoulders if needed.

    I have failed to stop listening to the clans’ leaders and clean my thoughts from every single word they say.

    I have failed to create the real revolution of minds and mentalities when initiatives are taken from the people on solidarity basis, the same solidarity that British people during and after WW2 showed to each other, when leaders are the ones who are big dreamers and believers, who come down to the level of the common citizen, live their daily hardships in times of tragedies and embrace them with their dreams,
    and also failed when I called “Leaders” those who stand on podiums telling lies and acting in the most demeaned way.

    I have simply failed in all that and in many other things too, mainly, I have failed in everything.

    The result: after 30 years of struggle to clean my country from the foreign boots, I have left Lebanon, my dear Lebanon, I have left the narrow streets of Beirut of my childhood, where I’ve spent moments dreaming of victory and of the phoenix reborn, where, every time I come back, I try to catch pictures of memories and nostalgic dreams on how these places were my daily scene.

    Now the phoenix is dying, but this time slowly and more painfully because Lebanese have lost their soul, Lebanese people lost their dream, and this frustration, me, as a Lebanese, I have personally lead myself to it.

    I have exclaimed Lebanon’s God-gifted beauty, but I am now cutting all the forests, destroying the nature and burning it with my own hands for my own immediate pleasure and greed. Instead of creating beauty, world-wide amazement and wonders, that will stand as a legacy for the coming generations, in fact I have created all these hideous urbanized areas.

    I believe I, and all of us Lebanese, have failed in joining hands and create a sustainable country. Right now, in the current events and status quo I may only say farewell to our dreams and to our beloved Lebanon.

    Even the most powerful ptriotic hymns for Lebanon, the ones that used to make us cry and believe, we are now immune to them and nonsensitive.

    We have replaced thinkers and writers with propaganda clowns polluting all our medias with their toxins and like masochists and self-destructive maniacs are still listening to them.

    We are a sick society who is surviving on placebos and not even trying to take one drop of Tylenol to treat one of the numerous ailments we’re suffering from, also disregarding the chronic diseases which we are sure they will lead to our complete and total annihilation.

    I have failed to be a great human being, because great nations are only created by great people.

    We shall pay for it and the coming generations will curse us as well, we are the shame of all the generations who have rambled or will live over this land.

    Mr. Amb. Fletcher, thank you for your kindness, but there is nothing to admire in us, I can be quite sure that you are so frustrated right now from trying to celebrate that one step forward achieved by our society that will not be superseded by numerous setbacks.

    Very truly yours.


  17. Pourquoi pas ne pas apprecier un constant venu du coeur , une appreciation encourageante emanant d’un vecu et s’obstiner a se soumettre a notre maniere de penses ? N’est ce pas le regard de l’autre qui est plus a meme de nous eclairer sur e qu’on east ?

  18. Thank you for your kind words words Tom and for taking the time to put this out to all. .
    As for us Lebanese, put religion & greed aside and let’s just do the right thing by each other and build our great country. It’s our mentality which is letting us down. We can be so united in some ways yet somehow we can’t seem to execute our plans for a bright future or walk a straight line.
    We complain about our politicians but they are from within us. It’s not politicians, it’s our mentality that needs to be changed. That’s no easy task but it’s achievable.

  19. Moderation moderation….the resonance of the word has brought me back to my senses. There is little to achieve in being over-zealous.

    I reckon I may have crossed a hidden line for which I apologize. This page is neither the place nor the opportunity to petition or rally… more so at a time when tensions are exacerbated.

    Thank you nevertheless for having given me a chance to voice my opinion at a time when I had lost all hope. What is life without hope…and moderation?


    Rula Rais

  20. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    It’s me again, One of the Silent Majority…

    Still waiting to hear from you Mr Ambassador & wondering if I might be transgressing by using this page to promote my petition. I am tempted to address each & everyone of your commentators & place in a word/link but I need your approval.
    My plea is a-political, a-confessional, a-tribal. It addresses all my fellow citizens. I have always been a fervent believer in plurality & diversity.

    Who knows, some of the commentators may also be waiting for a response from you so, in their hour of darkness they may want to go back & check on their comment.

    I may sound like I’ve lost ‘it’ but I’ve never been saner in my whole life!
    I am but an architect & a busy one at that with deadlines to meet, yet I have been struggling for the past few days on the keyboard, searching for ways & means to generate enough momentum for the petition to start moving on its own & for me to get back on the board!

    Even if I do not succeed, it will have been well worth the sacrifice. For once I will have done something for my country, whatever it is in my creative power to do as in… feel the fear but do it anyway, speak up & rally worldwide.

    Rally the Silent Majority before our youth can no longer seek their education safely on our beautiful campus grounds, let alone the dangers they brave unknowingly getting there! We’ve been through this in my days & I cant believe it’s happening again!

    Thank you Mr. Fletcher for your kind consideration.

    Yours Truly

    Rula Rais of The Silent Majority

  21. dear Mr. Fletcher .
    after what happened yesterday and what they are doing today do you still believe that we deserve to be a country ???
    every time we are given hope they manage to suck that hope away from us.
    im sorry to say that but i lost the last thread of hope or belief that this country would be the mother of my children. i will never raise my kids in a farm like this.never

  22. Thank you your Excellency for your kind wishes. As a Lebanese immigrant, my wish is to live my last days in the Lebanon I left in the 60s…Those days Lebanon was peaceful and we Lebanese lived in harmony with each other…unfortunately and as recent history is telling us, this did not last long, and some of us Lebanese made the deadly mistake for allowing evil foreign powers to interfere in our life…we allowed them to brain wash us and those evil powers succeeded to rule us so as to divide us…I will now stop moaning…as I know that this political anomaly going on presently in Lebanon will not last for long, as I have faith in the young Lebanese generation people like Rula Rais who earlier in this column is making a petition to try to move away that heavy black cloud over our beloved Lebanon…reminding us what Gibran Kahlil Gibran did exactly the same in 1926 in his article The New Frontier. I urge every Lebanese to read it at:

    where among other things in this article he wrote addressing the Lebanese politicians: and I quote: “Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country ?” unquote. This quotation by Gibran was cleverly used by John F. Kennedy in his inaugural speech addressing his country men and women and I quote: ” Ask not what your country can do for you , ask what you can do for your country” unquote.

    So back to Rula Rais…Thank you Rula for your patriotic endeavour. I am forwarding your petition site to all my family and friends here in Sweden where I live also in many other countries : Canada, USA,. Australia South America and the Gulf countries…Good luck Rula…

    1. Thank u thank u Samir!

      U have just given me hope, even more so than Mr Fletcher’s letter has!

      Thank u Mr Ambassador for giving me this opportunity to reach out for other fellow patriots who haven’t lost faith in their homeland. I almost get the feeling that you are smiling now while you read!

      Samir you have made my day…if only you knew how difficult it has been for me, this past week, to drive this campaign thru the dense fog of fatalism & helplessness that surrounds us. I have seen signatures from Peruvians, Venezuelans which goes to say that some out there in the world do care.

      If we as lebanese do not react & express our outrage why should other citizens of the world do so? We are almost too resilient…i myself have none nothing else but senseless killing since 1975. I am fed up. We deserve better, truly.

      If anything my dignity as a human being, let alone that of a proud to be lebanese is at stake here -I reckon Mr. Fletcher would agree, knowing his love & devotion to our beautiful & resourceful country. We are almost too resourceful…

      Help me roll this thing. Every minute drop counts in the great ocean. May it swell & move in the right direction as we strive to reach a million signatures!

      Yours truly


  23. Dear Tom and Karl,
    Amidst the turmoil of your interesting correspondences I would like to thank you both for highlighting dental hygiene. I have been fighting, in court, a decayed political dental system for a year now in a Lebanese society where the culture of filing complaints and claiming rights is still way behind.

  24. Your excellency,

    This is indeed a very touching letter, i would love to hear you announcing it as a speech towards Lebanese people.

    I am pretty sure they will be touched and moved by such words and taught.

  25. Mr. Ambassador:
    70 years ago, we lost our French identity and today we have a syrian, iranian, seoudian, quatarian and palestinian identity.
    Unfortunately we don’t have even yet the constituents of the state.
    70 years ago, our “leaders” did an historical mistake by aking for independance from one country and asking for colonialism of several countries. I can assure that it was a shame and black day..

  26. Your excellency,

    I was very moved by your open letter. I very rarely post or react to anything related to lebanese politics but you have succeded in steering my enotions with your heart-touching words and sensitivity towards our cherished country and its unique status in the world. I wish and hope it could be felt by every single lebanese person reading it, whatever his views or political side.

    What we still needto work on after 70 years of existence (we can’t really call it independance) are three things, and we need them badly and urgently for ourselves, from our neighbours and from the rest of the world: forgiveness, neutrality, and respect.

    As for me, I still strongly believe in my country’s ability to find its right balance to live together peacefully despite having lived in it during all my childhood in a state of war. I therefore decided to launch my online start-up along with my two co-founders from here. This project will hopefully change the way all of us “connect” to others online in a profound way, unlike any other online platform to date. It should reinforce the statement you so rightfully made:
    “You are the world’s best networkers, in a century that will be run by networks.”

    Thank you again for your letter and God bless our beloved country.
    Badih Saikali

    1. Badih,

      Great. Let us then join forces.
      I am the commentator to Mr Fletcher’s letter just before you. Please read my comment as i did yours.
      I have just launched a petition on (see link at the end of my tex).

      Please help me promote the petition by signing it & making it grow BIG. it is a petition for peace. Someone must start!

  27. Dear Mr Fletcher,

    What a terrific stunt you pulled Sir, I loved the video…the twist at the end, the underlying humor (so typically british!). Bravo.
    I shall not bore you with thank you’s & praise but indeed you are one hell of an ambassador, one of a kind!
    And the letter…. needless to say, a genuine gesture of friendship & solidarity at a time when so needed. Gutsy & real. As you see I am as much a fan of yours as you are of ours!

    Mr Fletcher, you are one courageous gentleman who wants to make a difference…. as a matter of fact, be it for selfish reasons, I do too… badly.

    So here I am at the crack of dawn on that sad Friday totally devastated & wondering … what to do? I am but an ordinary lebanese citizen who has lived through civil warfare, exile, assassinations, through the horrors of it all. In spite of all the blessings I count in my life… I can find no peace, anywhere, until this madness stops. I live in fear, my choices are governed by fear & that is extremely paralyzing.

    However i still believe in miracles, I believe in mankind.

    So I wake up to the shocking news of the ‘suicide’ bombings & within minutes I’m on & I’m braving my deepest fears & I’m starting my own petition & I’m addressing President Rouhani & I’m crying out for help!
    I’m crying out loud, I’m writing a letter, loud & clear & I’m asking ‘him’ (he seems the nicest of the lot) to spare us, actually to SAVE LEBANON, SAVE THE SILENT MAJORITY OF LEBANON, SAVE AN ENDANGERED SPECIES…

    All I am asking is for us to be allowed to distance ourselves from ‘their’ wars. We can no longer afford them. We are on the edge of shit creek!

    This petition was launched the day after the bombing, allow me to take the opportunity of this letter to promote it today. It is a petition for peace, as in:
    ‘send our boys back home, they know not what they doeth & we’ll take it from there’. Any harm in that?

    To all my fellow citizens who wrote comments on this site:

    Please join my campaign for the return of peace to our homeland. We can do it, we the silent majority can make a difference. PLEASE SIGN & SPREAD!
    Hope is infectious…

    Thank you

  28. Your Excellency, I have taken the liberty to reproduce your message and add fifteen comments to your recommendations. The latter are in capital letters for ease of identification. I trust that you will find my comments justified, considering that they emanate from a sincere patriot who dearly loves his country and earnestly wants the best for it.

    Dear Lebanon,
    I wanted to write to say Happy 70th birthday.
    I know that in reality you have been around thousands of years, and were trading and writing long before my ancestors. But that moment of your birth in November 1943 was special, different – you took your first steps as a new nation founded on uniting principles rather than lines of division.
    I’m proud that my predecessor, Edward Spears, was there to support that, and that we believed as strongly then as now in the idea of Lebanon.
    The thing is, Lebanon, do you still believe in that idea ?

    This is a question only you can answer. Without doubt, it has been a bumpy seven decades, with troublesome teenage years and plenty of midlife crises, to put it mildly.
    You now face another tough year, and rising anxiety that regional rifts can drive you apart once again. We have been reminded this week that there are plenty of people who want that to happen.
    I hope that you’ll forgive a bit of feedback, from one of your admirers.
    You’re so much better than you admit. Look back at those seventy years. Your writers, musicians, thinkers and businesspeople have conquered the world again and again.
    Your mountains, valleys and coasts are the envy of all of us. You have an extraordinary unquenchable spirit. You have found a way to move on from a devastating civil war, almost as though it never happened.
    You are the world’s best networkers, in a century that will be run by networks. You are also the most exceptional hosts, not just to ambassadors but also to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have arrived in the last two years.
    Whatever your religion, there are few more beautiful sounds than the intermingling of the call to prayer and church bells. Every day I meet extraordinary Lebanese people doing great things against the odds.
    So, let’s be clear, I’m a fan.
    But I’m also frustrated, and I know that many of you are.
    Your politics are dynamic on the surface. Yet broken and paralyzed beneath it. You talk of unity. Yet often say things like ‘Lebanon would be wonderful if it wasn’t for the Lebanese’, ‘it will always be like this – this is Lebanon’, or ‘they (insert different group) are just too different’.
    You have an impressive ability to absorb hardships such as power cuts. Yet you rarely confront the causes of them .

    You invest more than any country in the education of your youth. Yet they feel excluded from changing the country for the better .

    You have been a beacon for women’s rights.Yet only elect a tiny handful to parliament .

    You were the first country in the region to stand up against dictatorship and tyranny in the 21st century Middle East. Yet your voice in calling for your own rights and those of others seems to have fallen silent, and in too many cases been silenced .
    So here’s some unsolicited advice.
    First and most important, start ignoring advice from outsiders, including me: this is your country .
    Second, celebrate the success that is all around you – yes, the talented and inspirational athletes, thinkers, explorers and activists. But also the grafters who tell me on the school run, in the street, shops, schools or hospitals – ‘this is our country, we share it, and carrying on our lives is the best response to violence and division ’.

    Third, why not use this 70th anniversary of independence to remember what independence meant and should still mean – that you’ll prioritize national interests, Lebanese interests, over those of foreign patrons? And demand that your leaders do too ?

    Fourth, maybe it is time to renew those marriage vows, to spend a moment reflecting on what you admire rather than what infuriates you about each other. You’re stuck together I’m afraid, for richer or poorer, for better or for worse .

    Finally, don’t forget your collective strengths. You may have difficult neighbors and a tendency to fatalism. But your location and diversity put you at the hub between continents and cultures. Your history gives you a resilience and free spirit that others in the region would die for, and are dying for .
    (10)SO TRUE!

    Many of us are rooting for you. The UK is doubling trade, increasing tenfold our support to the army’s stabilization effort, and running our largest ever humanitarian effort to help you cope with the refugee influx. The Security Council, far from fighting their battles here, have come together repeatedly to prioritize your stability, and to provide peacekeepers, aid, political support .


    For many of us you’re too important, and too special, to let fail. If coexistence proves impossible in Lebanon, how can we be confident that it will work elsewhere ?

    I’m still buying shares in Lebanon 2020. All I encourage, humbly, is that you do too.
    You’re at a moment of jeopardy. 70 is too young for a country to retire. You can’t just botox away the cracks. Whether you make it to 75 depends on whether you can find a way to regroup, to focus again on what unites rather than divides you.


    That is not something that you can leave to outsiders

    You have to decide whether you’re on the side of those who are fighting over Lebanon. Or with those who are fighting for it .


    Happy Birthday. Happy Independence Day. Happy One Lebanon Day. Mabrouk, bon courage, and solidarity.
    Yours affectionately,

    1. 1/14/2014

      Mr. Ambassador, I was re-reading the few words of encouragement that you sent me in reply to my fifteen observations over the wonderful and frank independence birthday message that you addressed to the Lebanese people.Allow me to thank you, once more, for that exhortation from the heart that touched me deeply.
      At the same, let me say that I was also disappointed because none of my fifteen observations and requests were addressed, or at least commented upon.I personally believe that they were worthy of some answers, considering that they represented a cry from the heart over the neglect that the citizens of this country are suffering at the hands of their leaders and the international community. Yeah, sure, over and over again, the international community has poured billions of dollars in aid to Lebanon through the Paris I,II and III programs and many other loans and gifts that Lebanon has received during the past two decades. But, did the lenders and the benefactors bother to check whether that money and these aids have reached the average Lebanese citizen? Had they done this, they would have realized, to their dismay, that very little of this assistance did. Our Public Debt has now reached US$65 billion, our infrastructure is still in a mess, the gap between the wealthy 5% of the population and the other 95% is growing wider by the day. Our youth is unemployed and has to emigrate to survive. So what good did this aid do to us, Mr. Ambassador? And what will happen to us in 2023 when our Debt will reach US$160 billions if we do not introduce some essential reforms NOW? What good will be the Us$80 billion that we expect to get from oil and gas during the following second decade if our Debt will keep growing to reach US$220 billion by 2033, even if we use the entire US$80 billions to partly repay this Debt? Mr. Ambassador, we are on the wrong path, and you and your colleagues in Lebanon know it perfectly well. Instead of money and assistance that never reach the citizens either directly or indirectly, why don’t you give our leaders some strong, forceful and well placed advice? Why don’t you enjoin them to LISTEN TO THEIR CITIZENS and start a true dialogue with them. You can certainly do it, if you really want to.They will be forced to listen to you if you do not mince words with them.

  29. Dear Mr Fletcher,

    From the deepest of my heart I want to express my gratitude to you for your support to Lebanon.

    Please allow me to state one idea: Lebanon cannot wait till all the other regional problems are solved…by that time Lebanon could even may have disappeared! Additionally, the Lebanese are torn apart because of external pressures and cannot meet together to secure Lebanon from within.

    Therefore, there is one UNIQUE thing that could be done right away: salvation has to come from outside.
    The UN Security Council can “Grant Lebanon a statute of Neutrality”.
    President Michel Sleiman has presented the approach when he was in N.Y during the UN Assembly. Only the Great Powers can lead such an issue as they have done for Austria in 1955.

    I beg you to take this idea in consideration.

    God bless you,

    Samir Nassif, Ph.D.

    1. Salvation from outside is surely a good idea if it could work. But what was our past experience in that domain? Financial salvation with the Parises I, II, and III that brought us next to nothing in the end. Or, the “dispersed” and “uncoordinated” aids that we have had in the past in many sectors that did not really serve their purposes as effectively as we would have wanted it to. And now, it is suggested that we ask the international community to guarantee our political independence when they have already the UN keeping force on our borders with Israel. Well, if they are willing to give us that other type of protection, we should be grateful. But why not also try to do something for ourselves inside our own country? Why not have our “CITIZENS TABLE OF DIALOGUE” instead of the “FUNNY TABLE OF DIALOGUE” that we have had in the past and that has led to a big zero in the end.Why not encourage the citizens to talk with each other instead? How to do it may not be so easy, but in this age of instant communication, there must be a way, we could talk with each other, without one million citizens descending to the “Place des Martyrs” gesticulating, raising all sorts of flags, and maybe ending hurting each other. If we concentrate on finding what each community really wants, we might end up considering that we ALL want the same things: “Clean Food, Affordable good Education and Health, Job and Retirement Security, Affordable living and affordable Transport, affordable housing, a working Infrastructure, Job and Business prospects, a healthy Environment for all , etc. etc”. So, if we all want the same thing, why, the hell, are we fighting each other, instead of working together to get it? And why do we need Switzerland or Austria to get it for us when it is really up to us to get it?

  30. Sometimes all we need to keep the beacon burning is a truthful testimonial from a man of wisdom.

    Thank you.

  31. Dear all,

    Now that you have read the letter and wrote your thanks. What are YOU going to do about it.

    Many, and hope that I am wrong, have already forgotten about this letter. Like many things that happen to us and we say, “We got used to it.” What we are actually saying is, “I am no going to do anything about it.”

    I always said, “Lebanese are living in a bubble of being told they are the best and the greatest, where actually we are not.”

    Until, we shake off the corrupted politicians (all of them) and elect the youth who are not members of political families, only then Lebanon will lead again.

    Thank you,

  32. Thank you very much Mr. Ambassador for your true feelings.

    I sincerely hope that Lebanese politicians love Lebanon the way you do.

    You spoke for the silent Lebanese majority and you marked out our true frustrations.

  33. Dear Tom,

    I want to congratulate the United Kingdom for having you as its ambassador.

    You are about what positive humanity is.

    There is a huge class off people in Lebanon who works positively, ignoring the problem no metter how huge and worrisome they appear to be.

    These positive Lebanese, working for Lebanon-Only, for its beauty, its environment, its unity, its positive values need to network with time to produce the changes our country needs.

    Away from mediocrity.

    These positive Lebanese do not think of the size of the problem and the challenge; they work each at his scale: producing amazing results derived out of their passion and love for Lebanon.

    There no question Lebanon is subjected to major problems that seem unsolvable in the immediate futureand we are not living in lala land. We re all pragmatic and realistic about it.

    At this time of our country’s history we are at a historical low.
    But “We keep walking'” as long as we breath and as long as we are Lebanese.

    Long live Lebanon, happy independence day and thank you for your words Excellency.

  34. I wish that you would become the Prime Mininter of your country one day and act on all the good feelings you now express to help Lebanon .

  35. Dear Ambassador, Mr. Fletcher,

    It’s an honor how you are always supporting Lebanon.
    I’m waiting for one day : the day you will be the official President advisor of Lebanon. And please, trust me, I think that we need someone like you (and your team)! Helping our politicians and citizens to have your vision/spirit/intelligence.

    You are a great person, and an example for a lot of people.

    Hope you all the best, and all the best for our wonderful country Lebanon.

    Thank you!

  36. Well said George!

    While I thank Tom Fletcher, a fellow human being, for expressing his admiration for the Lebanese spirit, stating unambiguous facts regarding the ills of the country, and demonstrating genuine concern for its people and their future. The man aimed straight at several truths. He is quite capable to hit the nail on the head, and run his acumen up the flagpole for all to contemplate.

    But “Ambassador” Tom Fletcher should know better, and unquestionably so. In writing, I am responding to a letter addressed to all Lebanese by this Tom; the highest ranking diplomat who represents Britain. And if you’ll excuse my annoyance over his Excellency’s patronization and deliberate or actual bout of memory loss, then read on.

    While there have been instances when Britain acted conscientiously towards a peaceful, healthier Lebanon, seeing to the betterment of its people collectively, needless to say, its self-interest has and will always come first.

    In fact, many of Lebanon’s countless tragic events since 1943 are undoubtedly linked to British design and policy in the Middle East (Hello Israel!), and beyond… Official and unofficial British agents and diplomats repeatedly connived in favouring one Lebanese faction over another, in order to advance their scrupulous cause, and have helped pit different communities against each other for strategic reasons based on greed.

    Dear sir, writing this letter must have been indeed, and I quote from your letter “a tough and precarious assignment” Does your tough love for Lebanon turn precarious once you’re back in your homeland? How highly do you hold in esteem my fellow countrymen and women, living or hoping to live a better life for themselves and their loved ones on a prosperous island of cold yet pacific climate because their very survival depends on it? Many of the ones already there have shed blood, sweat and tears, following their dreams against all odds, when they were informed by your very offices of a impairing condition hindering their lives if they chose to go; a virus your country formulated and called Lebanese? And how much do you champion their cause when you take your seat among fellow policy makers, knowing all too well that a Lebanese passport ranks among the lowest and most undesirable as to hit a standard barely above stock? How does this make you feel sir, you, Britain’s ambassador to a people your Queen and government deem as inferior?

    Your Britain is an avid ranker, since centuries, greatly setting the stage for a world charged with your repugnant indoctrination of a class system you used to shamelessly experiment in evaluating humankind’s worth with shades, grades, and trade value. Your compatriots engaged in quite a few ignominious actions for Queen and Country. You’ve practiced veiling your contempt well, and you know how to perform in the best possible light when praising your superb accomplishments, and there are many. You British make the best actors and are the world’s masters of disguise. Britannia rules treacherous seas, simultaneously pleasing worthy or worrisome friends and enemies alike.

    If one were to scrutinize your British affairs in Lebanon for the most part of the last 70 years, one will find a pattern of deceit. Great Britain has schemed, manipulated, divided and controlled when it saw fit. Like any other Western or regional power you might say. Right, but once again, this is coming from the ambassador of a nation that has invaded 90% of the World’s countries, a task not accomplished by being “nice”. Not to mention the tactics it used in order to subjugate, enslave and at times decimate an entire people. Many nations across the world are still struggling with that legacy to this day. I ask, is that what you call greatness?

    This is getting too heavy and serious, and I’d rather not feel angry. From here on I will derail. In all honesty and pretense, I’d rather not make sense…

    Britain year after year, consistently manages to win “worst cuisine on Earth”.

    Haute food or taste don’t trickle down well over there. Monarchs and friends in hierarchy handle the golden tap, and impoverished subjects are used to being drained. British royals feast and regale indeed, as crown junkies avail themselves like loyal tails in need. Crown holders and their candles look over their shoulders at junk and poorly subjects alike, freighting the good lot to a crack in Africa. Royal drunks, abject pawns, smolder off awaiting crown orders by Crook & Mack, addled but loyal in replica.

    …Feeling better now, back on track,

    Britain has led by example and changed the world for better and for worse. On many levels and with the help of its staunchest partners in crime, I will name culprit numero uno, The U.S of A. Both succeeded in creating hideous ideologies and doctrines for a new world order.

    Here is from B to U:

    – Conserve ignorant beliefs of the ignoramus so to conserve more believed to be ignorant.
    – Be part of the rich and fabulous by enriching the fabulously rich. – Empower the frighteningly powerful.
    – Feed the fleshiest of gluttonous banks.
    – Instill fear by trusting doubt.
    – Highjack bright and revolutionary ideas, expose them as fake, give so called bright and revolutionary idea a dark and old-fashioned make over, re-brand, rename, and market as brighter with extra revolution. – Laud and applaud the most destructive corporations as saviors of the planet.
    – Retain status quo as game option in socio-economic status, make a fortune by playing dead.
    – Thwart what stands apart in art, offer crass and tart for the masses, and counterpart.
    – Uphold vanity as the highest form of pride, what else is more important? Flaunt it excessively, and by the Grace of God do lust over your own image. Weren’t you seriously created after Thee?

    And we are back with Tom Fletcher, the human being. Reading your letter, you could be the most honest of men with the best intentions… when forgetting or suspending maneuvers for the maintenance of formidable wealth and power, edge and authority over the rest of the world.

    Dear Sir, I agree with most everything you wrote. And I truly believe that as a fellowman you passionately care about my country and my Lebanese brothers and sisters indiscriminately. I thank you for that. I simply feel that based on your country’s darker dealings in history, and your position in this world; preaching justice, goodwill, fairness and honesty to an entire other country is, well, inappropriate. You certainly know more than I can ever claim to know in Lebanon’s current affairs, beside, I live in Canada. But I would have respected your opinion if you weren’t Britain’s Ambassador to Lebanon. Actually, I would have wholeheartedly embraced your thoughts if you had at least given thought to a single paragraph with a few humble words acknowledging your country’s errors in Lebanon, and maybe the region as a whole, and expressing a genuine apology. But that would be too much to ask from a great nation.

    Please don’t interpret this as a rant out of some personal animosity towards all things British. And excuse some of my vented silliness. I’ve lived and studied in your country for two consecutive years. I carry with me fond memories. When I think of England, I feel joy and smile. The things I don’t love about your country are mostly from the past, and are far outweighed by the things I love. To name a few, I think of your great writers, thinkers, scientists, inventors, musicians, artists, sportsmen and women… Your eccentricity coupled with your sense of rational, your witty, scathing and self-mocking humour, the fact that you are one of the few countries that still have a beloved, for the most part, and heavily influential monarchy (clearly not a fan here), whilst having had a democratic parliament before most others (fan), your imperfect but remarkable National Health Service, you are also rightly suspicious of moralistic France, I think of London, and more London, your countryside, your quaint villages, your gardens andyou fought courageously and won two World Wars, and much of the world is indebted to you because of this, and you the English people, you’re a scruffy good-laugh on your decent English street, your neighbours are Polish, Pakistani, Chinese, Italian, and Lebanese, proper English people you’d say, and I think in your language, English…

    May we celebrate Lebanon’s second-coming independence from lies, deceits, greed, impassivity, intolerance, envy, dogmas, revenge, and false needs and addictions, and may we all love one another one day.



  37. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    Thank you for your nice feeling regard lebanon,
    we appreciate for you your emotion ,the problem is in ourselves,we have political parties,those parties want to divide the country as there Ambitions,almost those parties have supporters outside lebanon and this our tragedy …..
    i hope lebanese our self send those parties to hell with their supporter then we will live in peace.

    Only pure lebanese should stay here in lebanon,others go out to there references.

    Thanks again Mr. Fletcher .

  38. Sir..while i am only 16,i do love lebanon a lot and honestlt i feel a little conflicted by everything and your letter touched me a reminded me that people like you still care and…i do habe a reply..sort of….i don’t know if you’ll read my comment or if you will reply but..if you may read my blog it has actuallyonly one post but am important ond,one that reflects my personnal opinion and i would be honored if you read it and gave me some feadback..or opinion and …maybe we can debate about it..if i’m not taking that too far of course
    Thank you in advance for everything

    1. Thank you Maria. Yes, I read all the comments, and have now had a look at your blog – many thanks for sharing and do keep the debate going.







  40. Dear Ambassador,

    As a Lebanese living abroad, I’d like to thank you for this trust you still have in Lebanon, the ability to analyze correctly the meaning of Lebanon and what it should stands for Lebanese. However at some point I believe that some of us wants to retire from hope that Lebanon will be for all Lebanese. But as you pointed Lebanon and Lebanese should be the same…..hope that with time we can try to live together even though it seems far away…..

  41. Vous qui parlez, remerciez, pretendez que Mr aime le liban plus que les libanais…mais parlez de vous meme; ne nous englobez pas tous dans vos jeremiades…vous n’avez apparement pas perdu d enfants, de jambe ou de bras ou meme ete exiles de ce pays pour penser que Mr L’ambassadeur aime plus ce pays que nous; il y a des gens qui ont donne leur vie pour ce pays;leur vie; leurs enfants….nous sommes la, ceux qui le sont, parce que nous aimons notre pays; mais qu ;est ce que vous etes?aucun respect de vous meme?aucun respect de tout ce que les libanais ont endure?encore leur taper sur la tete pour leur dire qu ils ne valent rien???je reeeve

  42. Monsieur, nonobstant l amour que vous portez a notre pays, et je vous en remercie, votre lettre vient du coeur et c est tout a votre honneur, vous restez dans l écriture. Notre indépendance? laquelle exactement? Vous parlez d union, de solidarite…et j en passe, des plus loufoques! nous sommes au XXIeme siècle, les droits de la femme sont bafoues, a supposer qu on en ait. aucun représentant de l état ne donnera suite a une plainte déposée par une femme contre son conjoint pour violence!
    la moitié de la population est analphabète. les écoles publiques sont quasiment inexistantes. pour celles qui existent, le programme scolaire est entre les mains de crapules qui font leur fortune sur le dos des enfants. sans compter le manque de professeurs. l avortement est condamne. l homosexualité est condamne. je vous passe les détails humiliants qu endurent ces personnes…la liberté d expression est interdite. nos dirigeants ne sont pas des hommes de politique mais de petits politiciens véreux “qui prétendent nous gouverner alors qu ils ne savent meme pas se conduire eux meme”. leurs ambitions se limitent aux privilèges de la chaise. le pays est mene depuis des decenies a hue et a dia. il n y a pas de libanais mais des partisans d un groupuscule ou d un autre…il fait bon vivre dans notre pays oui!…le libertinage ne laisse pas de place a la liberté. les étrangers y trouvent certes leur compte et par la meme, l élite y trouve son plaisir. il n y a pas de trottoir pour marcher en sécurité. il n y a pas d électricité, pas d eau! oui nous survivons! avec beaucoup d humour d ailleurs! mais dites moi, Monsieur, si personne ne s occupe de l éducation, de l agriculture, des travaux publics, des droits de l homme, de l énergie, de la dette qui nous engloutie, du vol dans les caisses de l état, de l écologie…ou allons nous avec notre indépendance? rendez nous service, reprenez la! …nous aurons, peut être, alors la possibilité de nous regarder les uns les autres et de nous respecter les uns les autres avec nos différences…tout ça ne nourrit pas nos enfants ni les protege, et c est eux l avenir de notre pays. j aimerais vous poser une question, si toutefois vous lisez cela: par décence, ces puissances étrangères qui se soucient tellement de notre avenir prendraient elles la peine de dire “ça suffit” et d arrêter le massacre ou bien cela n en vaut pas la peine? les intérêts sont bien supérieurs a ca…Il y a deux jours une bombe faisait 25 morts et pendant qu on ramassait encore les cadavres, l armée accrochait les banderoles pour les festivités de l indépendance ! cocasse hein?…misérable oui!…mais les dirigeants de cette haute politique qui gouvernent le monde nous répondraient surement : « nous sommes des gens sérieux », “…des champignons oui!”. Monsieur, le Liban est un pays d accueil. Les libanais sont des gens d amour, et nous n avons de leçon a recevoir de personne. Nous faisons ce que nous avons appris a faire, survivre. Mes salutations distinguées.

  43. Merci beaucoup Tom.
    Your words are so true. But as a French working in a Lebanese company I wonder myself : where is the French ambassador ? what about his personnal relationship with Lebanon ? Why such a silence from its part ?

  44. Well said Mr. Ambassador. Thank you for believing in us, while we lost believing in ourselves. We do have a lot of atonement to do. We also have a lot of soul searching to do. But before we can get anywhere, we have to change a lot of our ways. We say we are a democracy, yet we hold on to our traditional leaders, many of whom are unqualified and unworthy of our votes and trust. We have to realize that change brings new hope, while same old policies and leaders will only bring the same results, which so far have not been too good. Again, thank you for your letter, and indeed, well said.

  45. Beyond inspiring…
    Say what you want about the UK and its leadership, but they sure know how to pick their ambassadors!

  46. One cannot but be touched by your letter Tom, as it shows the genuine man beneath the politician. You’ve hit the spot where it hurts. The thing is that a thousand well written words cannot overcome the reality of geography. Lebanon was not lucky to be surrounded by its neighbors and whether we like it or not, we are the weak link. Switzerland would have not become the country we know today should france, italy and germany decided otherwise, no matter how strong the will of its people is…. if the international community takes lebanon’s coexistance message as seriously as you are stating, it is its responsibility to pressure our neighbors to stop interfering in our internal affairs, and strengthen the power of our legal government… so far, the international community has miserably failed in lebanon and in the region, whether on purpose or not.

    1. Yes, we have failed at many points. But the will is there, as the formation of the International Support Group in September demonstrated. We have an obligation to work harder to ensure UNSCRs are respected. But my point is that we should not think of Lebanon and its people as powerless.

  47. Thank you for nice letter most of it is true. Whereas i disagree with you with one point which is your sentence: ,You have found a way to move on from a devastating civil war, almost as though it never happened

    This war had really happen but the mistake that no one of those warlords was sentence to death or prisons. Hundred of thousand died and no one was judged.
    Even those warlords still in power and will take back the country to war and the Lebanese did not learn their lesson and still follow blindly those politicians.

    On the top we do not have democracy. Tell me which lebanese party is democratic? When was the last election and had changed their leaders? It is power for life + inherited to their children or family members.
    Unfortunately even the people are well educated but still not able to make their own decisions

    1. I agree with you that that line was a bit glib. I was trying to avoid writing a letter about the civil war, but focusing on the future. You’ll see blogposts earlier on this site where I try to talk about the challenging themes of reconciliation and renewal.

  48. Your Excellency,
    “Courage is what it takes stand up and speak, courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill
    You spoke, can you sit and listen?

    Silence, could be interpreted verdantly or on the other extreme line greyish, but the worst of all no color.


    1. Yes, I’m very happy to listen. As Alec Ross always says, Ambassadors need one mouth and two ears.

      1. Your Excellency,
        Quotes of Alec Ross sounds loud and clear. You must have the same intentions. Well, I will stand and sit to see what comes out. My two sense tells me, you see the rock, you think you will be able to turn it to see what is under, but the rock will fall on you.
        Lebanon stand on the edge of a cliff, sit on a vast small quick sand, resilient people with short memory that is tied strongly like a metal chain. Once it deteriorates it find itself hooked to another local and outsider chain.

        GOOD LUCK

  49. Excellency, allow me to remind you of the following :
    “The- truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.”
    So, wherever the loss might be, take it and be gracious, Lebanon people aren’t waiting for an Obama speech of Cairo, nor your speech.
    In the previous message answered your challenge to review history of Lebanon revolution/s that evolved to the Lebanon a solid country of real people, your thoughts of Lebanon an idea, is the same as the speech made by the great man of England: ‘I propose that 100,000 degenerate Britons should be forcibly sterilized and others put in labour camps to halt the decline of the British race.’

    Thank you for your pressing advice, and please take a simple advice, drop your citizenship and be a Lebanese, therefore you then have the right to vote and be voted in office, restructure the laws of the land…..and advocate your idealism…. to wake u the next morning finding your soul no different of those in office..

  50. First of all thank you Mr. Fletcher for your kind words, but as you asked it’s time for the Lebanese people to stop taking advice from outsiders especially the flattering ones which allows us to stay delusional to our true self, as individuals we might be as good as anyone but as having a sense of belonging and unity we’re still way behind, we are raised on the idea that we could not change a thing in our nation’s future and we grow trying to prove that wrong and we finally yield to it and we start looking for the first opportunity to run away and never look back and that’s a Lebanese specialty. Talking about history and our ancestors is nothing but a nostalgia which we should get over if we want to give our grandchildren something to be proud of, although im not doing anything about it and so most of the people that say something should be done, and for that i’m not proud to be Lebanese…

  51. Your Excellency,
    Is this is what you are driving toward:” awaken in me (and probably a lot of us Lebanese) a feeling that we felt in 2005, ”

    “George says:

    November 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Amb. Fletcher..
    Your letter has awaken in me (and probably a lot of us Lebanese) a feeling that we felt in 2005, that was taken away from me in 2006 and that the status quo since then has made me forget!
    Thank you!

    P.S.: With great pleasure will take the challenge you made to a person commenting on your Open Letter, talk about History, choose the time .

  52. I was wondering mr Tom why didn’t you run and donated blood in a so many previous explosions where more people were killed and lot more important
    About arming the lebanese army why don’t you give us some arms that will help us fight the Israeli daily intrusion into Lebanon via air sea or land

  53. Your Excellency, please review your wordings and find the courage to answer not to me but to the people of Lebanon.
    You have said in your “Open Letter” that you do not want Lebanese Politicians to listen to “Outsiders” to include yourself….

    Tom, the following was your answer:
    Tom Fletcher says:

    November 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Thanks XXXXX, we are indeed supporting the Tribunal, financially and politically; we are supporting the army effort on the borders; and we are pressing political leaders to work together.

    Your Excellency, could you say why and where a political support is needed for a Tribunal, shouldn’t be NO POLITICS?
    You say you support the army effort on the borders, that is great, and it is necessary, not only for the host country, but to include the resources your nation gains to fight “Terrorism” I trust that is a good deed.
    You say “Pressing” political leaders to work together, wouldn’t be better if you were spreading the word of “Democracy”?
    So your Excellency Rather than you contradicting yourself between the term advising and pressing, please answer the Lebanese what right does an ambassador has to meddle in a host nation politics, wouldn’t be more eloquent and ethical to be asked?

    Please, answer your host nation, maybe the foreign ministry can’t express thyself, especially when a power nation is backing you in what you doing, isn’t that a Lebanese failure, and that isn’t only to say about you personally, this statement goes for many of the Excellency Ambassadors in Lebanon.

    The Foreign minister should resign, and would resign in a state that is sovereign and independent, so where is the independence day that they are celebrating?
    Please your Excellency pass the message to his Excellency President of Lebanon, and Foreign Minister….all the way to the least Lebanese that is taken by your Love letter.

    Thank you your Excellency for listening

    Rogue Soldier

  54. Thx for the kind words Mr Fletcher..they really seem from the heart..
    But may we remind you that 90% of our problems are caused by one of your own ancesters…Mr you remember him?

  55. Nice words!!indeed

    When it came from a lebanese everyone went crazy,now you have said it and just see the result,you became the savior..that will only explain we we are failing so hard our ears only tune to external frequencies sadly,i hope you have said it and beleived in what you have wrote.

  56. Mr. Fletcher wrote: …”Yet often say things like ‘Lebanon would be wonderful if it wasn’t for the Lebanese’, ‘it will always be like this – this is Lebanon’, or ‘they (insert different group) are just too different’. ”

    Yet the common theme in many of the comments is that it is someone else’s fault.

    We have the country we deserve. We have the politicians we deserve. We are responsible for our fate and destiny. We just like to play victim.

    Take a cue from our neighbor to the south. They have put together a formidable economic and political engine. Yes they got help, but they did not squander it. We on the other hand admire the bravery of those who profit from corruption. We got help and we pilfered it. They have nothing on us and we can do as well or better. But instead we enjoy complaining and cursing our fate.

    What should we do? Ask why? Why is the above acceptable? Why do we elect people that we then accuse of corruption and incompetence? Why do we marginalize ourselves?

    Yes we could use better leadership. But how is a better leader to rise when the character of the country is so flawed? Nothing good will happen in Lebanon until what makes some individuals shine in their personal success be translated to the nation as a whole. Let us stop playing victim and let us each be a difference maker in our daily life. An infectious positive approach will create a different environment for Lebanon to blossom. But it starts with each and everyone of us, bottom up and not top down. Blaming the outside world is easy. If we were to unite no one can touch us. But we lack the political maturity to create a modern state. Recognizing that we are each individually part of the problem is the beginning of the drafting of the solution.

  57. nicely said.. can’t really point out anything wrong in what he said.. maybe shame of what we are ..

  58. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    Reading your sincere, straight, and bold opinion made me wish that many Lebanese people could be inspired by your words. Thank you for your true words of wisdom and advise. You definitely are more lebanese than many of those actors we rarely see in parliament.

    Cheers for honesty and truthfullness!
    Cheers for change!

  59. I’m sure we would have been alright, had the west not backed Israel in sacking hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and displacing them into neighboring countries. That would have probably spared us a bloody civil war, and would have spared us a subsequent Syrian occupation both of which have drained our country’s resources. This is typical of the Lebanese saying ; “killing someone and attending their funeral”. Considering however that some of us sympathize so much with western ideals that we have decided to forgive and forget, Excellency instead of giving us idealogical advise, please advise your government and those of your allies to provide much needed military assistance to the Lebanese Army, the one institution in which all Lebanese factions believe in, in turn
    giving our military the means to protect our borders and to prevent both foreign and local sabotagers from doing harm to our people.

    A Lebanese Citizen who Believes in Western Ideals

    1. Thank you Jean. A major part of our effort is supporting the Lebanese Army. In response to their plans and requests, we have a 15m USD project – training, equipping etc. More detail elsewhere on this blog. As part of this, 70 Land Rovers arrived as a gift for Independence Day. The army needs the support to match its courage.

  60. this is my second comment, I just found out that you even donated blood to the wounded…their is only one thing to say…thank you, you are a great man



  61. Mr Fletcher,
    Thank you! You put the dot on the i, and crossed the t’s… where fragmented Lebanon was unable or unwilling to do so. We, as Lebanese, should unite and not wait for anyone to unite us. Let’s not pretend that we cannot save the country and, if God willing, someone else will save it for us. It is our country! And, first and foremost, it is our sacred right and responsibility to save it for our generation and those that follow. To claim inability is untrue and, to blame destiny is totally false.
    Othman, a Lebanese who has since become an American!

  62. The people of Lebanon are great but somehow passive in their reaction to the prevailing services and care offered by the state. One gets the impression they have no belief in people’s power.
    As for the officials, it’s just promises, promises and promises unfulfilled.
    Somehow, their excuse is always the fault to someone else.
    GENERAL civil disobedience for an extended period should make a difference, perhaps, to wake up those useless and selfish politicians to the hard living conditions of the majority of the brave Lebanese.
    There hasn’t been a functional government for an eternity now. Of what I understand every Lebanese is convinced that it makes absolutely no difference to their daily life. What a vote of confidence!!

    1. An article written back in 1870 / Spot the difference in today’s Lebanon, please.

      *LEBANON DURING 1870*****
      *Lebanon did not change since 1870! There is no hope, Lebanon will always be the same *****

      This is an article written by W.M. Thomson, Protestant minister, written a book called , published in London in 1870.

      Lebanon has about 400,000 inhabitants, gathered into more than six hundred towns, villages and hamlets. The various religions and sects live together, and practice their conflicting superstitions in close proximity, but the people do not coalesce into one homogeneous community, nor do they regard each other with fraternal feelings.

      The Sunnites excommunicate the Shiites, both hate the Druze, and all three detest the Nusairiyeh.

      The Maronites have no particular love for anybody and, in turn, are disliked by all.

      The Greeks cannot endure the Greek Catholics – all despise the Jews. And the same remarks apply to the minor divisions of this land.

      There is no common bond of union. Society has no continuous strata underlying it, which can be opened and worked for the general benefit of all, but an endless number of dislocated fragments, faults, and dikes, by which the masses are tilted up in hopeless confusion, and lie at every conceivable angle of antagonism to each other.

      The omnific Spirit that brooded over primeval chaos can alone
      bring order out of such confusion, and reduce these conflicting elements into peace and concord. No other country in the world, I presume, has such a multiplicity of antagonistic races; and herein lies the greatest obstacle to any general and permanent amelioration and improvement of their condition character, and prospects. *

      They can never form one united people,never combine for any important religious or political purpose; and will therefore remain weak, incapable of self-government, and exposed to the invasions and oppressions of foreigners.

      Thus it has been, is now, and must long continue to be “a people divided, meted out, and trodden down*”.


  63. Thanks Mr. Fletcher for this wonderful letter, I appreciate it a lot. I’m proud of being Lebanese and hope one day Lebanon will cone over all his difficulties.
    Lebanon is a unique country with his18 different religions, education, hospitality, nature of the country, weather and specially the night life. The Lebanese people in real life are very united and love each other and I think one day Lebanon will stand on his feet again, cause I believe in the will of his people who really is a survivor.

  64. Tom your love for the country (Lebanon) shows unfortunately more than some born & raised Lebanese citizen.
    My Hat is off to you for this great letter to the Lebanese President and the people of Lebanon, may God bless the U.K. and Lebanon from evil doers Thank you !

  65. Dear Mr Fletcher

    I thank you for taking the time to write such a heart warming letter. In an age of disappointment, misery and helplessness, it is good to hear some words of encouragement and relative optimism.

    I am sure you must have been surprised by the huge response to your blog post. You have made the news in Lebanon with your letter so believe me when I say your words resonated with more people than any other politician’s words. The reason is simple. It is because you are clearly a man of integrity whereas every single one of our so called politicians and political leaders is not.

    I, like many others like me, have had to leave our beloved country and live abroad. The UK has been my home for the last 12 years. I was born and raised in Lebanon. Brought up and educated in a country that breaks my heart every day. I remember the excitement and hope that brought most of the Lebanese people together in 2005 and now 8 years on how that same excitement and hope has been stolen from the people by those who claim to represent them. How disappointing don’t you think?

    I have grown to respect and love my new home. I feel valued and as an individual here. My skills are celebrated and appreciated. However I have an everlasting feeling of longing and emptiness, for my heart longs to be back in the land that nurtured me as a child and teenager. My wife is English from Leamington Spa. We go to Lebanon every summer for a couple of weeks. She says this about my homeland “there’s an unmistakable and noticeable sense of inner freedom and joy when in Lebanon”. She has grown to love it as much as I do and urges me constantly to move us all back there. It is odd that I am the one objecting to that at the moment. I see the country being torn to shreds by all sorts of corrupt and meddling hands and I ask myself is it fair to expose my son to this uncertainty and evil?

    You might have noticed Mr Fletcher that the vast majority of Lebanese people are peace loving but you only need a minority to take the whole country to the abyss. Innocent lives perish regularly and all you see is leaders using their poor souls as propaganda for hate and incitement.

    As a British citizen with an American accent I find myself being asked regularly where I’m from. I used to proudly say I am from Lebanon. These days however, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to do so. It is not because I am ashamed of my identity but because I see nothing that I am proud of any more.

    Your words have inspired many and for that I thank you. I hope your advice does not go to waste.

    Warm regards,


  66. Dear Mr. Fletcher,
    After reading your letter, I couldn’t help but notice the you mentioned Mr. Spears as your predecessor who was helping this country :”I’m proud that my predecessor, Edward Spears, was there to support that, and that we believed as strongly then as now in the idea of Lebanon.”
    Just to clarify, in case there is need for clarification, that the UK and France as colonialist counrties were far from helping this area, they were invading foreign nations and this area was under occupation. i hope the “Asia Minor Agreement” rings a bell (a.k.a Sykes–Picot Agreement). I hope that you consider the experiment called ISRAEL that your country left us as something to think about. Mr. Fletcher, Sending politicians to draw geo-political borders and divide societies according to your own economical interests is hardly called help. Look around, Look at Asia, Africa and the middle east, this is the work of immature professionals from your kingdoms nobility.I can hradly call the work of colonial powers building some unsustainable complimentary economies as help. What is going on right now is a long hard road towards healing from your Kingdom’s legacy, we will get there, it is gonna take lots of blood, tears and sweat, but we will get there, we always do…

  67. Mr. Fletcher, you are more Lebanese than the Lebanese.
    We highly appreciate your amazing and impressing words.
    Thanks amillion and highest consideration

  68. Your Excellency, Your letter is impressive!!thank you!! It meant a lot to us! I wish our politicians were ”Lebanese” just like you !! God protect our lovely country and I hope that one day we can celebrate our ”true independence” ..

  69. As far as the UK’s foreign policy goes, may I say that your open letter is another (familiar) example of your Empire’s double standards. Oh, should I say past Empire. No need to patronize anyone. Our Lebanese passport was ranked among the worst in the world not too long ago, and your government is clearly not preoccupied with what Lebanon, its independence or its citizens could mean… and once again, may I voice my frustrations as an overseas student living and studying in the UK? The UKBA regulations are getting more and more absurd… I hope you prove me wrong when Mr. Johnson comes to Beirut with a special invitation for Lebanon’s students to flock to London’s universities and student halls.
    May I finally offer my thanks for the 70 Land Rover defenders. I am a true afficiano of Britain’s automotive industry.
    Yours sincerely,

    1. Thanks. Please see an earlier blog on visas. It is a thorny and emotional subject. We issue to the majority of applicants, and in the vast majority ahead of targets. But we also face significant, legitimate pressure, to ensure that the system is watertight. It is the few people who try to abuse it that make it harder for the rest.

  70. Dear Tom,

    Personally, I couldn’t have said it any better. Thank you for this.

    But, have we forgotten these small details that constitute the country for the past hundreds of years?

    Yes, we do want to ‘renovate’ and minimize collision between the sects. Yes, we do want to believe that ‘Lebanese’ do not differ or in other words are willing to accept their differences and have a unified view of their country. yes, we do want to believe that social and political change is possible in the country.

    But then we wouldn’t be living in this country if we believed all the above are possible any time soon.

    The way I see it is how we reached here today, this very delicate stage on the verges of a desaterous explosion is because of our system. This sectarian system that has been wandering in the Country’s skies for hundreds of years even before the French came along (I bet you know the history better).

    The core of the problem isn’t political and it no longer is sectarian (although it was). The core of the problem are the sectarian leaders who have created this vast space between the different sects/groups. The bottom line is Lebanese no longer look alike, think alike, or have the same views towards the future of the country they all live in.

    There isn’t a absolute solution… We leave this country seeking refuge in countries where our potentials are appreciated and seek citizenship for countries such as yours in order to feel safe and have a stable peaceful lives…

    I hope I didn’t talk too much…

    Thank you ,


  71. Your excellency,

    I want to thank you for your honest simple straight forward elegant public letter to congratulate the Lebanese people on this day.

    I hope your words will awaken our politicians that is if they read the letter and evaluate themselves to start with before evaluating opposing side.

    I also read most of the blog and congratulate my fellow citizens on this day and pay my respects to all the innocents that paid their lives in Lebanon’s continued battle to find itself.

    Thank you again.

    Mohamad Khachab

  72. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    Your words are very inspirational. And you speak them from knowledge and not from ignorance, which gives them much more value than when similar words come from our politicians. I am however obliged to say that you got one thing misplaced: Faith in the current Lebanese generation.

    I am Lebanese, so is my father, and forefathers , spanning down many many generations. And the mere fact is, that this generation has done what no other was capable of. That is killing the Lebanese spirit. We, as a people, have been domesticated by our politicians. We don’t like what they say, but we follow their orders blindly. Hence, the word domesticated.

    All of your advice is wonderful, and well thought and very well written, and comes from a pure mind. However, the audience you are writing it to is great at reading, but terrible at taking real steps towards change. They will keep electing the same “Representatives” to the parliament, and will follow them blindly.

    What we need is a leader. One person (man or woman) who is young, enthusiastic, smart, clean, and who does NOT come from a political family. We have several of those around, but we need people like you who have influence in political matters to shine light on such political talent. We need you to push them into spotlights so that they can in turn, steal the spotlight from our useless politicians. This does not need to happen through classical politics, but rather through NGO, aid work, and discussion symposia.

    To conclude, even though I am thankful for your words and encouragement…..this alone is not enough. We need actions, and only through well thought political driving force will we be able to break apart the current political class, and re-take what is rightfully ours; our country.

    Best regards,


  73. Cher Monsieur Fletcher,
    Votre esprit et votre cœur ont très bien saisi le Liban et l’âme de notre pays. Merci pour votre effort de partageravec nous votre vision et vos sentiments et merci pour vos encouragements. Je ne suis pas née au Liban et je ne suis pas d’origine Libanaise, mais je suis libanaise. Et c’est précisément ce tableau que vous dressez du Liban qui m’y a fait revenir pour y vivre et qui m’y accroche contre toute adversité. Mais comment ne pas constater que la misère, la pollution et l’individualisme commencent à entamer ce qui reste de la dignité de bon nombre de nos compatriotes. Les citoyens sont désespérés par la classe politique impitoyablement opportuniste et inerte devant ses responsabilités. Dites-moi par où il faut commencer pour arranger la situation??? Le stupéfiant immobilisme du peuple devant cette conjoncture politique et économique est justifié par la lassitude (parfois deliberement entretenue) et la menace de la violence. Quand une faction importante de la population est armée en permanence et ne cesse, par sa simple existence, de proférer des menaces, et humilier l’Etat et l’armée et a recours sans état d’âme a l’élimination pas assassinats et agit dans l’irrespect des monopoles de l’Etat, comment agir ? Comment agir pour le bien de tous les libanais en ignorant ce qui prétend être une résistance et qui se comporte comme un État dans l’État ? Je pense à la Suisse. Il ne serait jamais venu à l’esprit de la Suisse alémanique ou des suisses allemands de s’allier à l’Allemagne pendant la guerre… Le suisses italiens ne se seraient jamais rangés ou n’auraient jamais pris parti avec Mussolini, ni la Suisse Romande avec Pétain ou De Gaulle…et pourtant chaque citoyen suisse detient une arme a la maison, car l’armee SUisse est une armee de milice. Hélas peu de libanais sont vraiment indépendants intérieurement dans leur âme et dans leur cœur…Il y aura toujours un diable extérieure auquel ils voudront se rallier, je ne sais pour quelle raison ! Je n’ai jamais compris ce qui entretient et fait survivre cet esprit d’allégeance et de soumission au grand frère extérieure. A une époque c’était Nasser qui attirait la foule de sunnites. Les libanais ne savent pas qu’aujourd’hui il existe un sunnite ou un chiite ou un maronite contre qui ils peuvent se battre et que demain s’il il n’existe ni un maronite ni un chiite ni un sunnite ni un diable quelconque contre lequel ils peuvent se battre, ceux qui auront survecu tous du même bord finiront par se battre entre eux ! Ne comprendront-ils pas un jour que cet instinct de survie primitif n’a pas lieu d’être, et que nous sommes tous destinés à vivre ensemble en tant qu’être humain, appartenant à cette terre ? Tous les libanais ont appris à trouver leur gagne pain a l’étranger sauf une faction qui se fait payer pour ne pas aller travailler ailleurs, mais pour faire les mercenaires dans la région… Difficile de faire avec, monsieur Fletcher !

  74. Your Excellency, Your letter is impressive!! I wish our politicians feel as Lebanese as You are in Your open letter!!

  75. Mr. Tom we would love to thank you so much for your care and love to Lebanon and Lebanese. I am sure every Lebanese would fill 100’s of papers to tell the world about our wonderful country and how all we are suffering and living In foreign countries and hoping that one day we can go back to our beloved country living in peace without being afraid to be killed by a bomb….

    I hate our politicians and I am pretty sure that each one of them might felt ashamed when they read your open letter coz it shows their reality.

    May God be with our country and I blame the people more than the greedy politicians coz we keep electing the same cheap ones just coz they know how to scare us of loosing our religion strength. they are playing on us pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaase wake up my people stop themmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Thank you again Mr. Tom your letter will not be forgotten.

  76. Your Excellency,

    It pleases me, as a young Lebanese citizen who still believes in this country, in its potential, its beauty and its youth, to see someone as cultured and educated as you pronounce these words. Like you said, it is very unfortunate that most people lost all hope and faith in this country, and what’s worse, is that foreigners appreciate and love this country more than most of its inhabitants. I guess it’s true what they say, that you only appreciate what you had once you lose it. I hope and pray that we the Lebanese do not lose what we have, what he have built and strived for achieving. And I also hope that words like yours will bring the people back to their rational senses.

  77. Votre Excellence,
    Nous vous aimons autant que vous aimez notre/votre Liban….que puis-je ajouter sinon….thank you, , merci, , choukran…..
    Nos officiels devraient vous prendre en exemple.

  78. Well Mr. Tom, regardless of what we think about your motives to right to the Lebanese people on this 70th independence. We must appreciate these kinds and thoughtful words you shared as well as give you credits for your thoughts. Nevertheless, as you all know – politicians I meant- that theses days people alone find it so hard to change anything in any country because the existing regime or political morals in a homogeneous community. I believe that it is nearly impossible for change to take place in non homogenous one like Lebanon, where every Lebanese sect is an extension to different foreign power.
    Dear Mr. Tom, we have a greate history, I agree, and we have potentials which I also agree but sorry to say We don’t have Identity. Nothing from your beautiful words will happen if we are still fighting over our identity. Your country as well as many European countries, some American, some Asian and Russia and some countries from other parts of the words have succeeded to be leaders of the free world for only one imperical reason i.e they put RELIGION apart. We have 18 sects from different religions fighting over power, disregarding human rights and they have their own LAWS. Do you expect, your excellence, that any of your wonderfull words or wishes or as you called it advice, will come true! Lebanese don’t share the same civil rights, sects are ruling, we have a sceleton of a country an idea and we are celebrating 70 years of independence from France who at that time was under German occupation… What an irony.
    Finally, my regards to you, your country, your law, your civilization and your morals that if by any chance some will underestimate them, will be 1 million times better than ours.
    Conclusion, if I want to prosper in an honest way I will do my best to leave this so called country.

    Have a nice evening Sir.

  79. Maybe its in the diet of some nations . Shameless .they kill you and live among you and try to teach you ethics

    1. I’m sad you think this Tony. Yes, I’m living here. But I’m neither killing you nor teaching you ethics. I am not qualified for either.

  80. Your exellence,

    You are an extraordinary ambassador with all what you did since you came to Lebanon. Thank you for your support, help, encouragement.

    As you said think and work positively and try to ignore the negative though its a good way to build my Lebanon.

    Samir Tohme.

  81. If you love us so much, why is it so impossible (extremely hard + very expensive) to get a visa to the UK?

  82. Happy to hear that it has reached .and once more the word is stronger than massacres .moderation ay .were the bombs and the killings and using terror against us moderation !!!!???? Well i guess your sarchasm is constructive and its realy coming from your heart we thank and pray that we’ll learn from you

  83. Dear Sir,

    Nice words and God may hear you and Lebanese work on this path. Nevertheless, my enthusiasm declines when these wishes come from the representative of the country who have had a major implication of what today is causing many of the problems of the region,

    Meanwhile, I hope your stay in the country grants you all the good experience it has to offer and in your future duties you remind people what excellences you have seen amongst us.

    Kind regards.

  84. Thank you Tom, I do appreciate your love to Lebanon more than Lebanese… God bless this country and thanks again for the support

  85. Hope our children will not wonder when reading this letter in the coming few years, if such a Lebanon has ever existed. thank you for this letter

  86. hope our children will not be wondering when reading this letter in the years to come, if such a Lebanon has ever existed? thank you anyway for this beautiful letter

  87. Thank you for the amazing letter. It took an outsider to make me realize again what a beautiful country I come from.

  88. Dear Mr. Fletcher,
    Thank you for your kind words and overwhelming truth. Thank you for the encouraging lines. And rightfully so, we Lebanese have lost hope & faith in our Lebanon, Leaders but above all in our selves. Unfortunately, and in my personal opinion, with the dynamics today and all the trouble, we did change & drastically. we moved from a “Lebanese Society” to an “Individualistic Society”. Our culture changed, so are our behaviors towards each other & Lebanon. It is a beautiful, stunning Ancient country with Great History & achievements. Unfortunately, our glory is past and outdated. We must have a Radical change that start from the simplest little tiny things that range from: respecting to helping each other, from leaving a “chair” to the elderly & pregnant women, to abiding by the rules even on the Roads … and the list is so long that it may take few pages to write down. Mr. Fletcher, it may be grim comments but are so true.
    You are right – we must BELIEVE again that we can make a difference, rebuild our country however it must start with each & every one of us. Any Change simply should start from within, inside, our inner us – provided that we stick to moral values & ethical conduct. I do not think that Ethics prevail anymore in Lebanon. The common currency is actually Corruption to the very core. Fighting it will take Time, Courage, Transparency and an UTTER change of our beliefs & behaviors.
    On another dimension, hope our Politicians can think of the Country in a Patriotic, Pure way and NOT as a financial opportunity – and rush for the “gold seat”. I am afraid it is a far-fetched idea BUT we must always be & remain positive & see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    GOD Bless Lebanon and May GOD shed upon all of us: Virtue, principles, values and patriotism.
    Thank YOU

  89. Mister fletcha,

    Ill get straight to the points, the weapons of mass destruction flew from england to israel and lebanon was massacred in 2006 with your government and us’s for the point you spoke about those crossing over lebanon, you remember sikspeeko we were one nation speaking one language sharing all of us the same culture and beliefs.
    Europe is united now !! And yes you are interfering in lebanon’s affair those cant read between the line are much or your embassy wouldint be in lebanon in the first place. Ill give you a tip the conflict will never end that i

    can assure you and the conspiracy against the whole world is in the process of lifting the veils and soon the truth shall bright .

  90. Mr. Fletcher and All Lebanese:
    Brush up on your history: The British Mandate and the Balfour Declaration.

  91. your excellency thank you for the kind words that you conveyed to the Lebanese people, I am almost certain of your sincerity and your personal affection to Lebanon & Lebanese …. I cant help not being a bit cynical after all you are the representative of the country that gave us most of our grievances, shall I mention a few like the Balfour declaration ,the Sykes Picot agreement, (A,B & C) Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and the blind support for Israel….. if there is no shift in your country’s policies then you should be made an honorary Lebanese as you learned how to please the audience by telling them what they would like to hear, while the destruction of the Arab world continues city by city .Sir. Independence is a right earned by nations, it is not given by a mandate from the league of nation or a major power, …….we will be independent one day.

    1. Spot on! I do’t know what’s worse… The letter itself or it being embraced by too many without serious reflection, or reflexivity, for that matter…

  92. Amb. Fletcher..
    Your letter has awaken in me (and probably a lot of us Lebanese) a feeling that we felt in 2005, that was taken away from me in 2006 and that the status quo since then has made me forget!
    Thank you!

  93. Thank you Tom Fletcher for loving Lebanon … unfortunately more than a lot of Lebanese do … I wish every single Lebanese read this and try to Love himself and his family by loving his country & only by then we will be saving our LEBANON … Happy 70th Independence Day

  94. Nov 22, 2013

    Your excellency,
    I admire your poetic and emotional letter to the Lebanese people on our day of independence.

    Yet, may I remind you that there are four million Lebanese in our country, with four million ideas about the Lebanon !!!

    1. Yes! And great to have 350 different ideas already on this blog. The diversity needs to become a strength.

  95. Dear Mr Fletcher,
    I have no doubt your genuine feeling about my country.
    However, my concern is about your foreign policy and your allies using our country to pass messages to other regional powers,
    If you don,t stop this game of power, soon there will be no lebanon.
    Thank you

    1. I strongly agree that external powers should not use Lebanon as a mailbox. I’ve written elsewhere about the need for everyone to respect Lebanon’s neutrality.

  96. Thank you Mr. Ambassador. You speak the mind of so many of us Lebanese. Despite it all. I am pround to be Lebanese and hope to instill this feeling in my children so may be they will exprerience the Lebanon we all look forward to.

  97. I walk to work everyday and I look around at the people and the streets and it brings a tear to my eye.having lived abroad I cherish the beauty of Lebanon.eventhough some days I feel like slap the people on the face and wake them up.we have a treasure that we dnt know the value of. On a daily basis we break a peace of this beautiful land. It’s sad to think that after all we’ve been through we still carry hate for each other. We need to learn to cherish and care for what we still have.
    Thank you for you beautiful means a lot coming from a non-Lebanese.maybe just maybe out leaders will start agreeing on something.

  98. Thank you Mr. Ambassador for your warm words and thoughts and hope that all of us Lebanese immigrants to come back home to our lovely country and our beautiful Cedars.

  99. Eloquent, honest and to the point’ What we need is a united Lebanese uprising against our self centered, self serving politicians.

  100. Excellence, votre lettre nous a rejouis,nous les libanais qui vivons des moments difficiles, vos reflexions nous touchent au fond du coeur ! Toute notre admiration et toute notre gratitude pour ce que vous representez et pour tout ce que vous faites pour notre cher Liban ! May God bless you forever.

    1. To my Beloved sister i join myself from France adding one thing,

      ” Such Wonderfull words comes from a Wonderful Person ”

      Bless You

  101. Very touchy letter excellency. wish you could open an academy to coach/teach politicians in our country!

  102. Mr. Fletcher,

    For the first time in our life, we have a fantastic diplomat like your goodself. No doubt, the UK is proud of you. I’ve never read something similar or even close. Your advices are so realistic and true. When I saw you giving blood after the explosion in Bir Hassan, I knew how great you are. Thank you for caring. Thank you for being here. May Glod bless you and your beloved ones. Thumbs up Mr. Fletcher. I cannot but bow in front of you for such a wonderful letter.

  103. As much as i loved this letter, as much as i am thinking of how weird is to read a foreigner writing with a big heart, and hear Lebanese leaders talking bullshit on TV.

    Thank you Mr. Tom, i appreciate your words.

  104. Good morning Mr Fletcher.
    I’ve read in your post above that the UK is giving and will give support to lebanese army and help in training etc. But do U think Israël will allow the UK to supply our army with what’s needed to be a strong army? I unfortunately doubt it.

  105. Parabéns ao Líbano, pedaço do Oriente que representa liberdade e aspirações para o sofrido povo árabe, que apesar dos desafios possa seguir em frente sendo uma Nação diferenciada e evoluída. Parabéns ao articulador pela bela reflexão.
    Sérgio Martins de Martins from City: Porto Alegre, State: Rio Grande do Sul, Country: Brasil.

  106. Dear Tom
    For the most part , your letter is greatly appreciated but one thing that you mentioned surprised and shocked me at the same time. You have said :
    “”You are also the most exceptional hosts, not just to ambassadors but also to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have arrived in the last two years””.
    It shocks me how you only see last two years of refugees , who by the way did not ask our permission to be hosted , and you don’t see last 63 years since the creation of Israel the hundred of thousands of other refugees as if in your diplomatic agenda they don’t exist or considered refugees anymore.
    We are, and still hosting over half million of the displaced Palestinian people , displaced because countries like yours decided to ignore basic rights of human beings to have their own country by voting down resolution after resolution that call for their returns to their land , don’t you think that these refugees and shameful act like these at the UN by themselves were and still a big part why our independence been shaky for last 70 years.
    I’m not blaming your country or others for every little conflict we encountered since our independence , and I appreciate your letter as a wonderful human being , but at the same time we became the victims of your and other countries’s foreign policy by making our country since 1948 the wrong hub for the wrong people and for the wrong reasons to satisfy the people who settled south. Your country and others put a huge meal at our table that was and still impossible for my country and my people to digest , this is where most of our problems in modern history and in this fragile country originated and this will be the biggest problem we are facing till a further notice .

  107. Your excellence
    Your words are the inner voices living inside every wise lebanese
    I wish for all of us to have the courage to translate every thought into a real action!
    Thank you for believing in Lebanon, thank you for believing in us.

  108. Thank you Mr. Fletcher for your words which came from your heart. I only hope that your words will arrive to the politicians who are playing with fire ignoring that they will burn again our so beautiful Lebanon.

    God bless you

  109. Your Excellency,
    Thank you for your wonderful letter, which contains much truth.
    But we would appreciate that UK and EU supply our army with the proper equipment, in order to help us bring back stability. We would also appreciate if western world give Visas to the Palestinian refugees and also to the Syrians, as we Lebanese can no longer support this burden(for which your country and others holds a large responsibility). They are at the heart of the instability of our fragile mosaic.
    On another subject, I found the gesture of giving blood, very humble and it showed alot humanity in your person.
    Again, thank you for this wonderful, and truthful letter.
    best regards
    Nadim Heneine

  110. Definitely agree that you should be given an honorary citizenship…we should be honoured by your acceptance! Thank you for believing in us. I do too, we are the land of the Phoenix, of Adonis, we shall survive. All Lebanese who put LEBANON FIRST must react, despair leads nowhere, nor does hatred or violence. We do need “a little bit of help from our friends” as long a they are friends like you… many thanks for you morale- supporting letter. Thank you, Mouna Bassili Sehnaoui

  111. Your letter is even better than any Lebanese politician statement , we are happy to see that good people like you still cares for our country.

  112. Mr. Ambassador;
    Your letter to Lebanon is very interesting and sound honest advice to Lebanon and the Lebanese. Thank you for the effort and time you spared to put it together.
    I am a Jordanian who studied in Lebanon in the early sixties of last century. Like all my colleagues in the AUB I loved Lebanon and the Lebanese of that time. Lebanon was what we earn to have now and forever.
    I read your advices to the Lebanese, they are all sound and thoughtful.
    However, I think you should have two more advices to nonlebanese, these two advices might be exceer to smoother down most present problems of Lebanon, these two advices are:
    A: to nonlebanese and countries and mafias who are settling their fights on Lebanese grounds and regretfully using Lebanese fronts (-LEAVE LEBANON NOW)
    B: to your government as well as US and most of western country governments (STOP HELPING ISRAEL AGAINST TINY LEBANON)

    If advices A & B above are accepted and fulfilled LEBANON WILL BE THE LEBANON WE ALL LOVE TO SEE)

  113. Mr. Ambassador,

    You deserve to be Lebanese more than any lebanese, I know including myself. This is very inspiring and touching to read.
    Thank you

  114. I read the letter with great interest. I thank HE for sharing his thoughts.
    Is the letter addressed to the Lebanese Public or to our rotten politicians?

    I believe that most of us understand the content of the letter and the many messages between the lines. The problem does not only lies with the corrupted leaders but more importantly with those who keep on renewing their mandates so stupidly.

    I hope the day would come when the people of Lebanon would unite despite regardless their religions and sects and will demand the army to take over the country.
    I know that this is strictly against democracy but what did a fake democracy did to Lebanon?

    Only the army can clean the system, enforce rules, hang corrupted officials and have a 5 years martial plan that would put the country on a track that would secure the future of the next generation. A future that is not linked to getting a foreign passport or a visa “to get the hell out:”.

    The time has come for our politicians to take a well deserved long leave and let honest and caring people to build the country. Better late than never!

    Would Kahwaji and his team become our national Sissi and say enough is enough!!

    5 years later, democracy could be welcomed back…
    I hope so

    1. Daniel

      You are 100% correct .
      Our corrupt politicians are the one of the main reasons behind our misery , and they are the cancer in our body . We just need a surgery to remove that cancer and I think the army is the answer otherwise we will be stuck in that circle for years and years to come .

  115. Thank you sir for your faith in Lebanon and also for the blood donation you did during the beirut explosion. You did what most lebanese didnt do .Very proud to have an ambassador like you . Thank you.

  116. Your excellency as you have mentioned that Lebanon past the civil war
    and it was like a teenager phase I actually say that Lebanon was then a baby still getting born and now he is a toddler and he needs a parent to hold his hand and walk him threw his way
    and thank you for your letter I actually was surprised that there still countries that look at others even if they don’t act

  117. Many thanks Tom for the kind words, we should grant you honorary citizenship. Can somebody start a petition please

  118. Your letter has certainly moved a lot of people to respond . Here’s hoping that the people in high places will react.

  119. Thank you very much Mr. Fletcher. These are really some nice words here. However, we are very sorry to disappoint you. It is not in our hands you see. We are no longer independent. We have been invaded and occupied again. And this time we cannot rise to arms and defend our country like we did so many times before throughout our 7000 years of history. We cannot, because to do so, we will have to battle fellow lebanese this time and it would be fatal to our country. Thank you for your support nevertheless…..

  120. Thx tom you sound like lebanese politicians but the difference is that your words coming from your heart and our politicians their words on papers they use it once and throw it away.
    Hope your letter reach every person in lebanon

  121. This is not for publication, this is a request to whoever in charge of this letter to put serial numbers to all the replies. Main reason is to simplify reference.
    Thank you

  122. Many thanks for your thoughts and feelings.
    Your genuine letter touched me deeply.
    Happy Independence Day to my beloved Lebanon!!

  123. Dear Mr. Fletcher,
    Thank you for those beautiful words… Only if everyone still believed in Lebanon like you and I do.

  124. Your Excellence,
    Thank you for finding time, to write your heart warming letter, to share your caring thoughts with us. It is very appreciated and valued to hear your kind advices.
    However, In These times, of global evolutions, communications, materialized Interests and mainly where international trends impose or execute realities, the majority of Lebanese feel powerless filled with anxiety for own future & the future of coming generations.

    Therefor, I kindly ask you, if at all possible, at your level, to try to create an international trend for the beautiful Lebanon you so kindly described in your letter. If the International trend is in place, all rest can and will fallow.

    We most of the ordinary people, who hold great respect and love towards you and all others that hold values dearly to their hearts and the future, we are more than willing to do whatever it takes to preserve the wonderful Lebanon that is needed to the region and to the world. As small as a drop in an ocean but still has a lot of ripples…

    Have no doubt that you will do all you can, as said earlier, hope it will be enough and possible, meanwhile, sincere thanks for your great efforts, your time and your kind thoughts.
    Warm Regards, Rafi Sabounjian

    1. Thank you Rafi. The International Support Group, launched in New York on 25 September, is our collective effort to launch just such a trend, to focus external help and limit external interference.

      1. Thank you for your kind reply, You Made the day brighter already…

        Would Appreciate If there would be a way to email me any outcomes, or further such activities, of the NYC Int. Supp…

        Big Thanks for your Fantastic efforts, Wishing you Health, Strength & Success in all your involvements.
        Warm Regards,
        Rafi Sabounjian

  125. Dear Tom, born in Lebanon, both my parents are Lebanese, we speak, eat and act Lebanese. Although I grew up in in Germany, educated in Paris, London and New York, working for the United Nations in Brussels, I am restless about this country and dreaming of living there again. Thanks for your touching and very reflected letter.

  126. M. Fletcher
    I just read your letter to Lebanon with high emotion. Thank you for your thoughts and for your hope for a better Lebanon in the future. I love the point where you say that Lebanon should now take his decision on his own.
    I hope you will always have this image of my country wherever you go

    Concerning myself, I only see chaos in Lebanon. So let us hope for the best

  127. Your Excellency,
    Your words are so true and show how much you understand the lebanese case and that you are a true friend of Lebanon. So true yet so sad as those words are alarming due t a real threat of the existance of Lebanon that we want. I am afraid that we reached this situation due to the fact that Lebanese people are great individuals but on the other side are bad team players and building and protecting a country is all about good team players. when we talk about team playing in country management we mean the government, unfortunately we have one of the worst governments in the world (i dont mean the current one only, i mean all the system). Lebanon as a country will ot have a real change to resurect unless the corrupted politicians and system is rrplaced with a new better one and politicans that are not involved in corruption and tend to serve their public interests more than the public interest. it is si.ple to put it in words but it is the most challenging thing in life to fight corruption, having said that i am not sure how much of a chance does Lebanon have…an i.portant thing we should not miss, the beleive of lebanese people in their Lebanon, unfortunately some are servants of other foreign parties. finally i want to say that Lebanese will continue to be an individual sucess stories but unfortunatelly will continue to be bad team players resulting in bad governments that does not serve the Lebanon we dream of the one that once the great Wadih el Safi descrde as a piece of heaven. with all due regards, Jamal Georges Abi Salloum

  128. I read your letter over and over again cos I was not sure if you wrote it or a Lebanese citizen. Thank you, I truly respect what you said; you rose tears in my eyes.

    May God bless you, your country and our country.

  129. Yesterday Ambassador Tom Fletcher posted an open letter to Lebanon on the occasion of our Independence day. I read it, then scrolled down to check the comments posted by different Lebanese persons. Some were in awe, some in tears, others very suspicious at this “sudden rush of love”. Some attacked him, just like that, out of frustration and others defended him. I think the words and thoughts he put in his open letter are worth being accepted, cause neither the man is including hidden meanings beneath his words, nor we’ll get poisoned by reflecting upon the part where he’s pointing out to the many mistakes perpetrated first and above all, by the Lebanese people against their country. Just accept the words and forget about whether their writer belongs to your same geopolitical conceptual strategical blablabla whatsoever party, group, or clan targeting one same plan. Just for once let’s admit our failure and stop throwing stones on the shoulders of other whores. According to history, We are the first Traders… According to the dictionary, a Trader is one who sells and buys… Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that our Traders did not “sell out” our whole country… Happy Independence Day.

    1. Thanks Randa. The vast majority of comments have been hugely heartening and very touching. I don’t mind that some are critical – it is all part of a healthy debate.

  130. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    Let me first start by thanking you for the heartfelt sentiments you expressed towards Lebanon and its people. I have no doubt that they were sincere, yet I cannot but be dismayed by your letter and your statements, due to the gross disregard and omission of many facts, which I am attributing to one of two things: a lack of knowledge of Lebanese history, or an intentional disregard of some of the facts as to Lebanon and the region’s modern history.

    While I might agree with you that your predecessor Edward Spears supported a united Lebanon, let me remind you that your other predecessor Arthur Balfour opposed it, and sought to divide Lebanon and eradicate its real neighbor to the south. Furthermore, let me remind you that your “British Empire” along with your allies of the Republique Francaise, strove to divide the entire Middle East and North Africa by installing it’s own proxy Dictators, Kings and Presidents before departing the region.

    While you admire our writers, musicians, thinkers and business people, along with our mountains, valleys and coasts, you simply brush over 17 years of war and admire our “extraordinary unquenchable spirit” which has allowed us to move on. Well, we unfortunately haven’t moved on, we’ve actually become worse, much worse, and our civil war was not strictly because of “outsiders”, it was mostly of our own doing. It was the result of more than 30 years of divisiveness, struggle over power, and more importantly sectarian strife. We unfortunately, since our “independence” have never had a unified vision as to the future of our country, nor a common path on which to meet and travel on. The efforts of the few towards building a secular Lebanon have failed, because the many were expending their efforts at building a sectarian one.

    Our entire political structure and “tiny handful parliament” is based on religion, rather than merit, our politicians are not elected, they simply inherit their positions from their ancestors and predecessors, and Lebanon’s national interest is the farthest thing from their minds, and non-existent in their agendas. Both your countrymen and their French counterparts, made sure that this system and structure were in place before they departed in 1943. You were and still are the foreign patrons, you are asking us to shun.

    On another note, I couldn’t but laugh at your use of the adjective “difficult”, while describing our “neighbors”, and I can only hope that you were referring to our neighbors in the south. In my opinion any of the following terms such as: belligerent, aggressive, hostile, violent, destructive, antagonistic, vicious, brutal, inhuman, etc. would have been more appropriate. I think you get the idea! Furthermore, your use of the term “neighbor” is offensive, as it implies a peaceful occupation of a dwelling by people that either leased or purchased said dwelling. Again, let me respectfully remind you, that it was you, that installed this “neighbor” in a land that was neither yours to lease, sell nor give away.

    And finally, while I believe that your personal feelings are sincere and that your are rooting for Lebanon, I cannot help but be critical of the UK’s trade doubling efforts and increase in support to our army, just as I am by the Security Council’s efforts in providing peacekeepers, aid and political support. We don’t need any of these things from you, or from the Security Council, we can do it on our own given half a chance. Our army can become strong and effective, if you let it be. What we need from you, your European neighbors, and the rest of your allies in the Security Council, is to for example, equitably enforce all of your resolutions and laws, thus truly showing a genuine interest in the well being of Lebanon and the Arabs of the Middle East.

    Then, and only then, will the Lebanese unite, prosper and flourish, and will you truly experience the warmth of all of the people of Lebanon.


    Samer Hijazi

    1. Thanks Samir. I’ve written in previous blog about Balfour, and all he has come to mean here. It is an important debate. But I think we’ll remain stuck if we blame everything on someone who died decades ago. It is important to look at solutions, and to move forward.

      On the army, the plan is to build it up in order to no longer need help. The support we are giving is all kit and training that the army has asked us for, in line with its own plan.

      1. Mr. Fletcher,

        I though long and hard about whether I should post a reply to your answer, until I saw many responses that tended to agree with my point of view, so I am continuing the debate in the spirit it was intended:

        While us Arabs, admittedly tend to constantly like to refer to our glorious past, lament our present, and wallow in our misery, you cannot in all sincerity expect us to forget our present-day problem as it is the crux of the issue. And while Balfour is but one person that has long been dead and gone, he is a manifestation and representation of a policy that is still in effect in our day and age. He was a representative of your government, and was acting accordingly, just as you are now.

        You, of all people (a student of Modern History), asking us to move forward and forgo everything that has happened, is like asking the people of India to forget about the British rule, asking your countrymen to forget about the IRA, and asking the Jews of Europe to forget about what happened to them In Nazi Germany.

        The consequences of all of the events described above (including Sikes-Picot/Balfour), cannot be undone or simply dismissed, and until you come to terms with that fact, you will fail. One does not forget its history, and should learn from its mistakes. Unfortunately, your government hasn’t done that, and continues to repeat them.

        Your reply to me in this particular blog and your blog of April 13th, were both befitting a politician of your stature, and were both in true diplomatic form. You chose to address the softball questions and sidestepped everything else. This is not the way to conduct a true open and meaningful debate, as you suggest. Until you decide otherwise, your words will ring hollow with many of us.


        Samer Hijazi

        1. Thanks Samer. Look, I’m not suggesting that we should pretend the past never happened. As you infer, that would be crass and hypocritical. I know, because I have studied the history and because it comes up in so many conversations, how strongly people in Lebanon and elsewhere feel about Balfour and Sykes-Picot. My point is that, while we can debate forever their legacy (and there are strong views on all sides) we also have to spend time dealing with the present, even if that present is of course shaped by the past. As you say, I’ve blogged on history, remembrance etc elsewhere.

          Incidentally, one idea I do reject is that just because I’m British, with all the history that carries, that I should not have a view on how to help Lebanon. As I’ve said persistently on this blog, you can choose whether or not to listen – it is your country.



  131. Dear Excellency,

    Thank you for reminding us of the worth of our country and at the same time pinpointing our mistakes in a very respectful way !!!! We know these facts but we needed someone to remind us of them.

    Wished our “Leaders” would get inspired by your actions and words !!!!

    Actions ??? Yes we were truly touched by your act of donating blood after Beirut’s blast instead of running to any media mean to just “talk nonsense” and “accuse” others in an irresponsible way as our leaders did !!!!

    Words ???? Talking to build bridges, to communicate, to find common grounds and solutions instead of adding fuel to an already lighted fire !!!

    Thank you for being that sincere voice of wisdom and common sense in a Chaotic society that is loosing its identity !!!! It’s a bit painful to see that a Foreigner Ambassador is more aware of my country’s value than its own leaders !!!!

  132. Dear Mr. Ambassador:
    I want to thank you for your sweet and touching words. I cried and I had goosebumps the whole time I was reading your letter. The sad thing is that I see the bells and the cry for prayer in Lebanon as cancer and prognosis is very poor. Every time you mix religion and state, you invite trouble. History has borne this out time and time again. Given all the religions, the lebanese constitution, the absence of the government due to constant manipulation, intimidation, threats and terrorism by local groups, the bordering countries and even Iran, I see no hope in the near future. For the Lebanese to unite, that means they need to be less greedy, put religions aside (good luck with that) and have one vision and one goal 10, 452 square km.
    Freedom is a beautiful thing, the freedom to feel, to learn, to express who you are and the to behave in ways that are not manipulated by religion and terrorist groups or by countries around you.
    I believe if all the current politicians step aside and let new fresh educated men and women take charge, a healthier government will be born, new goals, new visions and new plans to a healthier and more stable Lebanon.

    Happy 70th

    Hisham Saikali,

  133. Mr. Tom,
    Well said, though:
    On a political level: UK, USA, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Russia, KSA, Iran, Qatar, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and France have been the cause of the problem throughout ever since the Ottoman Empire till date. You all used us, abused us and dominantly deceived us.
    We have been a tool and will still be a tool, because all those countries have placed their bets in the monopoly and appointed their cheap representatives to co-rule the country.
    On a personal level: I just admired your words which reflected a genuine lebanese call.
    All I wish is it implant real balls to the men of decisions and hypnotize their brains to install the nationalism softwares again and run it virus-free.
    Do you love Lebanon ?
    -Help the International Court settle on a judgement
    -Support the Army to close the borders
    -Don’t send us military support, but support the decision makers to take actions
    -Dig the hall for problems to collapse and not just talk about them

    You are in a position that defeats you which is politics; if you weren’t the ambassador i’d truly love what you said and spread it virally.

    Finally, i wish your words to be translated into public speeches and be realized in actions.

    Thank you,

    1. Thanks Omar, we are indeed supporting the Tribunal, financially and politically; we are supporting the army effort on the borders; and we are pressing political leaders to work together.

  134. Thank you Mr. Tom kindly,

    What you have said is way too believing than the lebanese themselves.
    Your words was like pumping a fresh blood and a wakeup call for the lebanese people to make them see the truth as it is.
    Mr. Tim i wish all the lebanese read your letter carefully with every simgke word in it and if only they understand it, starting that time a change might happen.
    For years we have lived in agony but unfortunately lessons are never learned.
    However, your letter gives us hope and i believe in our generation and in my country.
    Thank you again for the heart felt speech it reached us in depth.

  135. Dear Mr Fletcher,
    Thank you for your amazing letter…
    This is the most positive and wisest thinking that we all wish to have. Unfortunarely most of lebanese people are far far away from such a way of thinking knowing that they are brain washed by their leaders and especially by their religious leaders (that’s one of the main things that diffrenciate us from all civilized and developped countries). How can we still have faith in our country’s future as long as even the best educated and intelligent people follow and defend blindly their political leader even though all our problems come from bad decisions they have taken without having to be judged or be sentenced for. We must also not forget that lebanese people had a lot of wise, intelligent and positive men but unfortunately everytime they wanted to reunite lebanese people they were assassinated…So can we still have faith in our country ? Eventhough it is the most difficult thing in these days, but we owe it to what our country has given us…
    Best regards,

  136. Merci Votre Excellence.
    Merci d’aimer notre Liban meurtri,et de croire en son avenir.
    Merci de nous donner de l’espoir.
    God bless you.

  137. Thank you for this very motivating letter… wished all ambassadors in Lebanon think and behave the way you do!

  138. As a lebanese, i would say : i thank you for this Great letter… i guess it says it all… the big challenge is to start thinking as one , in fact we do it at work and with our day to day encounters, but easily forget how to do it when we become again “followers” to our same political leaders who in fact haven’t changed anything for the last 70 years !

    As a British citizen, i am proud of having you representing me in Lebanon today and maybe later , hopefully not so soon 😉 , in another country 🙂

  139. My husband and children are British, and we strongly support what you are saying. We are proud to have you representing us here in Lebanon. I wish more people thought like you. Thank you!

  140. Thank you Mr. Embassador for your words of wisdome. The question is , would your thoughts find their way to the alienated minds of our political cast?

  141. Thank you, your Excellency!

    You’ve hit the nail on its head! Indeed a candid and well-written message to all of us.

    Thanks again. Stay awesome.


  142. Last year I presented you in ATEL 16th Annual Conference as a man who is amiable, compassionate, diplomatic, and extraordinary. Today, and after reading you letter, I add to these qualities the fact that you proved to be “Lebanese” more than those who should be.
    Thank you for loving our country.

  143. Your Exellency, Thank you for your heartfelt letter to the Lebanese people on our 70 th Independance.
    As Nicholas so eloquently put it! Lebanon was sold out long ago and left to chaos by the political traitors and their foreign assistance for power and rule in tiny Lebanon.
    We are paying the price for their animosity and greed for money and rule.
    We are all one under God! I am Lebanese born and raised outside Lebanon, married one and returned to Lebanon every year to live the dream only to live in horror, and disgust daily. Truth be said we are, warm, welcoming, generous and kind but look what this has got us. Suffering, heartache and grief. Until and unless foreign intervention for power is stopped permanently, there is no hope for Lebanon, period.

  144. Mr. Fletcher has been ultra-diplomatic. Nothing in this life is indispensable including of course own country. After years of living in hope, human beings naturally reach a point to take a decision to forgo and start a new chapter. As one of Lebanon’s ministers once said: ” I have never read about a country with such an endless string of turbulence”. If I lived without electricity amid car bombs and in complete anarchy, my children must not face the same under any excuse. There are some countries in this world that simply do not fit the criteria of being self entities and Lebanon is absolutely on top of that list. Every country like everything in this life has ups and downs but I have never read about or heard of something similar to the unstoppable downs of Lebanon! It’s just unfortunate and extremely hard luck that I was born and lived my early years in Lebanon. Today, I seize the anniversary of 22 Nov. to reassert my promise to my children that I will do the impossible till my last breath to live far from the turbulence of Lebanon. We live once and human beings deserve to live it peacefully. Today I pity some people including millionaires like Rafic Hariri who were killed in Lebanon for nothing! A country is formed by its own people and if the people are not making the country right, then it’s a consequence. And about those bright Lebanese people who excel abroad, we better go the extra mile and analyze why they do excel far from Lebanon and not homeland. In fact, this comes as a revolt against Lebanon’s agony and it’s that distance from Lebanon that fuel and energize their success. History is not a success by itself but rather a catalyst for future success and this is simply not the case in Lebanon! I certainly hope and pray that the new middle east results in a new entity that absorbs Lebanon. After 70 years of endless turbulence, every Lebanese and the world at large must understand that it’s not working and will never do! Great Britain is not great by coincidence but rather as a result of a robust system that sets limits for everybody including The Queen and steers hard work! In fact, the level of success in every country is based on the effectiveness of its own system. Sadly, Lebanon’s system is in the unknown to say the least!

  145. Thank your for your touching letter.I wish all politicians ana countries will support our aim for stability, peace and freedom in actions rather than words and promises. Moving out from civil war is a reflection of our love fir life but forgetting it as it never happens is our big mistakes; this should be a lesson to all lebanese in order not to be repeated especially in thisdifficult period which seems endless. I Love and believe in Lebanon and so do lots of lebanese. I hope this small piece of earth will shine like all the shinning Lebanese stars abroad and that we will succeed in fighting and deleting the terrorist fron our map. Thank you again and GOD bless and protect LEBANON♥

  146. Yes we will make it to 75! That’s because Lebanon will prevail and overcome all hardships and challenges and greed of all its ennemies! When we reach 75 of Spears, Balfour’s tumour in the Middle East will either be 70, or will be gone by then… Depending on this fact, we will be either able to rise with our beautiful Lebanon to new heights and with a full Lebanese unity, or we will have to keep the struggle against this cancer and all the divisions it creates as part of its global plan against our nation!

  147. Nice written Tom and we are proud to have friends like you, God bless you nd bless our paradise Lebanon, happy independence day to All

  148. Well said Mr ambassador Fletcher, in addition to what you wrote sir, with which I agree 100%, I think Lebanon also needs few more ambassadors like you. Ambassadors that give the right advice to the Lebanese politicians and through them to the Lebanese people.
    Unfortunately, most of the other ambassadors interfere to turn things around to their countries’ best interest rather than the best interests of Lebanon and its people. Our politicians and people are far away from learning how to love their country more than their pockets, set aside their disputes, forget sectarianism, and stop listening to orders coming from foreign countries.
    But, thank you again for what you wrote dear sir and best wishes

  149. Many thanks to the special Ambassador Mr Fletcher , who’s contributions in Lebanon are all great ones and wish our politicians can learn some or at least have the dignity to resign , actually I’am not surprised by your letter having had heard many good things about you ! I like to believe that Despite the frustrating past years that were more than enough to make any nation fades, yet still marks of brilliance from our pioneers in more than one domain make us hold on to our faith in our beloved country and that we could survive these tough times (crossing our fingers).
    Finally I would like to thank you again for your words because I could only see the bright side of things and keep our belief in Lebanon.

  150. Dear Mr. Embassador,
    As a Lebanese of Armenian origin, I wish to thank you for your candid letter. I had the privilege of a similar discussion with your excellence I. A social gathering a while back so I know this letter reflects your genuine and candid thoughts. Your letter touched on crucial facts but I’m afraid the problem is a bit more basic. I feel that we as Lebanese all dearly love being Lebanese and our country. However we never agreed on what it means to be Lebanese. As such, whoever had a different view from ours was automatically cast aside as non- patriotic or flat out not Lebanese. And that was even before the civil war (which to me was bit so civil at least at first and had a major root issue related to the Palestinian presence). Religion was another issue that plagued us instead of forming cause to celebrate being Lebanese we (with the backing of outside nations including the UK, US, and others) used religious differences to widen the rift amongst us.
    In short, we Lebaneae excel and thrive as individuals as you shrewdly noted but we never work collectively for the better of the group. Add that to the fact that we never agreed on the proper foundation of our young country as evidenced by our inability to agree on a unified history book and it becomes easy to get where we have gotten.
    On the premise that we will, one day, sit together and listen to each other (and each other alone and no outsider) and build a nation I truly believe will be great in all respects.

    Best regards and God bless

  151. Dear Ambassador

    I am a Lebanese with a British passport. I am proud of you, Tom, for writing these words that surely came from your heart. We should become worthy of this beautiful country. At present, we are not.
    The way we speak or drive or act is not going to take is anywhere, except to disaster.
    Thank you for your love to our country. I hope we will some day deserve it.

  152. Dear tom, your genuine letter speaks the mind of the Lebanese silent majority. I think more light should be shed on Lebanese success stories to give hope and ambition to the youth who have given up on their country. I hope you can work with NGOs to promote that kind of image in the eyes of the upcoming generation who has witnessed nothing but hate and destruction in the past 10 years. My most sincere wishes go to you and hope you’ll take a beautiful image of Lebanon wherever you go and that it stays in your heart forever.

    1. Yes Razane, one great vehicle for promoting these positive stories is Twitter. Another is the One Lebanon project. Best of luck.

  153. thank you Mr. Fletcher
    we are in need this encouragement to stay in Lebanon,
    it became nasty to live.
    thank you again

  154. Your Excellence

    What can one add to your kind and insightful open letter?!

    Honest and candid, speaks to the hearts and minds… You are proving to be a sincere friend of Lebanon once more!

    Warm regards


  155. Dear Tom,
    Thank you for the lovely thoughts..
    I have been to the United Kingdom over hundred times so far,due to the nature of my work (airlines industry),and I really hope Lebanon will be soon on the right track to become civilised like Great Britain one day.

  156. Dear Mr Fletcher,

    I want to thank you for your sincere love to our country.
    I really believe that if your letter was a book, studied at our schools,
    and Well explained by our teachers, our young and up coming generation would do great.

    Ps: until then could you please make it easier for us to receive a visa to the United Kingdom.

    Kind regards,

  157. Dear Tom

    Im hurts me the most that you think like most of us the people but like none of who are ruling us…the ppl who rule the country just talk like this but in reality they just care for them self only…
    On the other hand the honest people like you who are detached from the benefits and frank …they made sure they are assassinated within the last few years …if your assistants translate for you their speeches you will see its almost exactly what u said…therefore they got killed….whats left today and why they are not dead are the garbage who really doesn’t make any difference in our country’s progress all of our front line politicians…and another sect who are actually running after Iran and saudi arabia and the US . I just hope my brother you are really well protected as men who want to truly change this country like nudge our conscious and minds into the straight line are being taken away in a way or another.

    I wish you all the safety and success

    Your fan and brother.

  158. Touched me deeply, thank you Mr Ambassador , Happy Independence Day to my beloved Lebanon, I wish I ws there

  159. Dear Excellency UK Ambassador to Lebanon,
    Your letter has stuck me in many ways, first, I ask myself whether you are British or a new version of Britts. The reason I say that is Britain’s long history of divide to reign!!!
    You have mentioned 2 years of Syrian migration to Lebanon, yet did not mention or hint about the 1948 migration caused by the policy drafted by your country, Lebanon people as well as the Palestinians has and still pay heavily.
    Your writings, even are far away from Socialism (Che Guevara) call for freedom, yet your letter is a call for Lebanon (Spring) revolution, you advocate a rise against the standing government, and inciting people of Lebanon to rise, even though your call is admired by many, I see that you contradict your self in that letter, your advise to the Lebanon people to not listen to foreigners to include yourself, yet you are giving advise in a way that they are contemplating your words.
    Second, if assuming that you are genuine, that will be that you show deed rather than only nice words, have your PM Mr Cameron make a statement recognizing the 10454Km2 that Lebanon is, and that all REFUGEES must return to their respective nations or country.
    Your excellency, if you can accomplish that, you shall take a seat next to Lebanon Gibran Khalil Gibran for your true love of the Lebanon.
    Until then, I doubt that your Open Letter is not more than a PsyOp message, and should be treated as such.
    You are the representative of her Majesty , your kind words are good poetry, your deeds as a diplomat is to have your government speak and act the content of your words.

    Very Respectfully
    Rogue Soldier

  160. I wish U were there Mr Fletcher and not Spears, I wish U were there and not Balfour, Lebanon would have been a better place. U’re a good man Sir. Chapeau bas.

  161. God Bless You Tom,

    You let my tears all out….

    In few words: My family relocated from one village to another during civil war leaving everything behind and I lived with my siblings a very tough life, without even knowing our relatives; And here we go again the same “scenario” is about to happen to our new generation which will lead to a certain civil war !! I just hope that your letter will be considered as a WAKE UP CALL for every LEBANESE CITIZEN so that each one of us and YES, EACH ONE, starts dreaming for a BETTER LEBANON and I am pretty sure that we don’t need 5 years nor decades to ACCOMPLISH THAT DREAM..We will just realize VERY SOON and VERY VERY SOON that this “dream” has come to a “PHENOMENOLOGICAL REALITY” !!

    My “dream” has just started…what about YOU(4.5 million Lebanese citizens out there) ????????!!!!!!!!


  162. go fuck yourself, you condescending white piece of shit it makes me fucking furious to see my compatriots sucking up to you like this you can f u c k r i g h t o f f


    1. Mahmoud – I’m all up for a debate. But let’s take a deep breath, and respect others who want to talk about these issues in a serious way. Racist or offensive language doesn’t advance the discussion.

  163. Dear Mr. Fletcher

    These are emotional and beautiful words. However, they do come too late for no fault of your own. Lebanon was sold out long ago and left to the chaos that cost the lives of 200,000 people, endless material destruction and the long term destruction of the Lebanese social and political fabric. If it wasn’t for the dynamism of its people and countless immigrants, it would have been a country worse than Somalia. Maybe, you should help us write an open letter to some monsters of the seventies, such as Henry Kissinger, and remind them of the number of countries and lives they sacrificed, just because they thought they knew it all. But thank you for your prose. You are the first foreign ambassador to show grace, interest and class. The rest are too busy in superficialities and serving their time the fastest they can. Peace

  164. Apologies your excellency! You donate blood for our wounded and all we can think of is your shoes. You write us an inspiring open letter and we relish in our divisions. No wonder why we have had so many occupants while the United Kingdom has no independence day!

    1. Thank you Michel. By the way, I was wearing the trainers because I have an ankle injury, not as a fashion statement!

  165. Sir, you are a very good Diplomat

    “You’re so much better than you admit”

    You are correct, Lebanon is a beautiful country,
    but… it’s people? please…

    Have you ever tried
    – driving in Lebanon?
    – Standing in line?
    – Applying for any kind of official license or permit?

    You cannot get a Job in Lebanon without kissing somebody’s (S…)
    no matter how educated you are..

    There are a lot of good and honest Lebanese people; hopefully they will wake up one day.

    However, thanks for being positive


  166. Our white colonial masters to the rescue with empty kind words!
    The biggest problem we have is exactly that moved from the civil war as if it never happened.

    Sure, it was our own hands that screwed us up, but I would remind you, in your own patronizing tone, is that it was your predecessors sykes and picot who divided us in ways that was sure to ignite tribal conflict.

    And while your honeyed words sound wonderful, you and your allies policies towards the middle east expose your words for the hypocrisy that they are.
    If you really want to help us, then leave us the bloody hell alone – oh mighty white man – and stop supporting the murderous bastards in power. Then you will see us pick up the pieces.

    1. Quite happy to discuss the history. But I don’t think you sound like someone who would actually listen.

  167. Dear Tom,

    This is what I posted tonight from Paris on one social network :
    “You were taught to bend, in order not to break. Whatever happens on the short run, you remain. Torn, but still reaching out, still diverse, still crazy, unbelievable, and here. Your independence is fake, but it may be what helped you go through the worse and still have cards to play. Happy freakin independence day to you, my little broken piece of earth, my mirror.”

    As long as that system remains, as long as the war lords rule are not jailed – all those you have to deal with in your current position – as long as there are different education systems, including about our recent history, corruption to the point where people can barely afford food, healthcare or school for their children, while some “humble” politicians are living it,… As long as some of us have to stay out of there, try to live normally without those mountains and our families because we think we’d better stay somewhere out there to help them…

    I’ll keep it short, and as sweet as your message – if it’s sincere : GOOD LUCK with that…. Stay safe.

  168. MR. AMB we are so honored host you in our country as much as we are proud to be Lebanese.
    I am sure that my country will rise again like a Phoenix cause the majority of my countrymen still believe in the idea (Lebanon).
    Thanks for your genuine feelings.

    M. Jaroudy

  169. Excellency I thank you so much for your toughts home our leaders read your precious and understand your letter ..You touch me a lot more than our lebanese leaders..

    thank you so much Excellency

    Helen Hadddad

  170. Mr. Fletcher,

    Thank you for your letter.
    Your first unsolicited advice was to ignore your advices. For sure we will not ignore. We will listen to your advice and we will choose what is good for our country. This is true if you are giving your advice to Lebanese people. Unfortunately, your opinions are given to the wrong people. You are dealing with 128 ex-MPs. You know very well that these MPs do not represent us anymore.

    Many foreign countries are interfering in Lebanon for their own benefits, and unfortunately the Lebanese politicians are good ground for foreign plans.

    We need you and all ambassadors to stop recognizing the ex-MPs. We need a new, democratic, and fair electoral law. Help us to achieve it by pressing on other countries not to interfere in our business. Let the Lebanese decide.

    We do not recognize most of the current politicians and warlords. Kindly stop recognizing them.

    I have been dreaming of the 1943 Independence. I only heard about it at school. I do not want my kid to live the same experience.

    Mr. Fletcher, the politicians listened to your predecessors’ advices for the last 7 decades. We do not blame you. You thought they represent us. Now we are telling you: THEY DO NOT.

    A very proud and free lebanese

  171. We all think and feel the same us Lebanese, but on our way to fix it all, I got stuck in a little traffic, delayed it a bit until I could catch the elevator due to power outage, then found the office closed due to summer vacation. Will try again next year 😉

  172. Merci Monsieur l’Ambassadeur.Merci d’aimer et de croire en notre Liban.Merci pour l’espoir que vous nous donne.
    God bless you.

  173. Your Excellency, as a cosmopolitan Lebanese who spent half of his life
    overseas, I cannot but be very moved by your letter and thank you
    wholeheartedly for your insight and your understanding of what Lebanon is about, if it was not ruled by a corrupt political administration….

  174. Dear Mr Fletcher
    Besutifully said,it is every pure Lebanese words, i can add that Lebanese adapt to a situation ,and may be that is why we do not react.
    Thank you again for showing us all this love
    God bless

  175. OPEN REPLY:

    Dear Tom,

    Thanks for your continuous trust in me.

    I will try to be positive, I promise. But I have a few comments beforehand concerning some facts that keep on bothering me.

    In case you had the Lebanese nationality, my questions and answers, after 70 years of “united” living are as follows:

    Are you maronite? In this case you can run for presidency with the least prerogatives and powers. You know, I should have a president of the republic as I am considered a republic.
    Are you shitte? In this case you are entitled to be the president of my beloved parliament yet you will be on a constant vacation.
    Are you Sunnite? In the case you will are entitled to have the pleasure to negotiate over a united government for months and months ahead.

    See? I treat everyone religiously equally, yet I have room for no one. I have room for religions, yet I have absolute no room for citizens irrespective of religion.

    Let’s give you more details about how honored you are if you are a Lebanese:

    Talking about freedom to travel, some countries consider you as third-country terrorist and do not grant you visa because of your origin.

    Talking about granting you some over-rights, if you are imprisoned for instance, no need to ask to make calls as you are entitled to have your private mobile phone at your disposal. See? We treat the good and the bad guy equally.

    Talking about worries, instead of worrying about what matters, you worry about the frequency of electricity cut-off, your water containers to be delivered to your home and traffic jam because I simply have no vision how I can resolve those basic everyday problems.

    Talking about unity, you know, we, in the country do not consider that it is for your own good to get married as you feel like it. Therefore, you are not entitled to contract a civil marriage and marrying a person from another religion is just not the right thing to do. Why? Because my religious leaders believe so.

    In case you are a foreigner, please be my guest to have a brief overview of what I call human rights:

    Your Lebanese wife is not entitled to have her own children registered as Lebanese. She will therefore have to wait in lines to register such children in order to obtain every now and then their residency permit.

    Your rights as a house-keeper are not granted. You will have the privilege of having your passport confiscated, not being paid on a monthly basis, not having your day off and most of all, being locked at home, not to mention the fact that in case you are lucky enough, you are allowed to “10-minutes” international calls every month without any direct contact with potential friends within the country. In case you are not lucky enough, you will have your own dish, your own food not to be mixed with the entire family and you will sleep in the kitchen or even in the balcony.

    That being said, and after 70 years of independence,
    After Bechara El Khoury and Riad El Soleh
    After the government of Bchemoun
    After the National pact of 1943,
    After Wadih el Safi and Gebran Khalil Gebran
    After Amin Maalouf and many more,

    I do not recognize myself,
    I am lost,
    I am divided more than ever.
    I am making my people hate each other.
    I cannot urge anymore not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
    I cannot watch my national news and read the daily newspapers because of the hate they share constantly.
    I cannot cry anymore on every talented young guy and girl leaving the country for a better future.
    I cannot be strong anymore after each bombing in every city.
    And I cannot celebrate anymore the 22th of November like I used to do in the old-good-days.

    I did not give up but I gave some many warnings to the leaders without any action.

    My independence from what? From whom?

    I perfectly know my assets, the beauty of my mountains and hills as you said, the talents of my people, their will to live, their will to believe in a promising future.
    I bet everyone envy living on my territory and enjoying every single day of living in it.

    I do not recognise anymore my country Tom,
    My neighbours came to have security within my camps and houses, a security that I cannot provide for my own citizens.

    The mistakes are unforgettable and the solution is far from clear.

    Dear Tom,
    I do not know if I want to thank your people for being supportive or hate your leaders for sometimes intervening without any liability. See? I am lost.
    I do not know if I have to thank France, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or hate them all because they loved me way too much till they point that I was hurt from their love.
    I do not know if I am diagnosed as incapable of running my own business and shall need foreign intervention or if I am better standing alone learning from my mistakes.

    All I know is that I am a small country, a very tiny country with great resources.
    All I know is that I am celebrating today my independence while I have not defined what Lebanon is for my citizen, where it starts and where it ends.
    All I know is that I will be shaking hands today after the military show, and most probably shaking your hand as well.

    But meanwhile, despite all my imperfections and all the uncertainty haunting me, I perfectly know that I will stand on my feet no matter what, and try as usual to be what every Lebanese dream of, a country worth dying for, a country worth living in. See? I cannot and refuse to disappoint them.

    Yours sincerely,

    Your way-more-than-70-years-old Lebanon

    P.S : My birthday started way before Jesus-Christ.

    1. Thank you Ghassan for that great answer, those accurate questions that most of us are having while living the biggest dilemma : do I keep hope and stay in that wonderful country that unfortunately its people are forgetting its value ????? Or give up and leave as I deeply feel I don’t relate nor belong to what it’s becoming ?????

      1. Dear Grace,

        I am so happy to see the positive patriotic replied to the excellent message of HEM Tom Fletcher and I am more than sure that there are a lot of lebanese citizens that think just like us and won’t give up unless we get a better lebanon for ourselves and for the upcoming generations. It is the right time to start building the humans.

  176. Hypocrisy… if the Arab world is in trouble, its because of the British and the French… unfortunately we tend to forget easily… once conveying hypocrisy and ALWAYS……………….

  177. Dear Mr Fletcher,

    Remember sykes-picot? You led us here at the first place (Britain and France). Please fix it.

    Thank you 🙂

  178. Very Touched, Those Words Really Affect Us,
    Thanks For Your Feelings and Encouragement Ambassador .. May This Letter Affect Our President Too
    Thanks Again,, All My Respect For A Great Britain, Chapeau Bas

  179. Dear Sir,

    Thank you very much for your wishes.

    Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, history will exact its toll and redeem the errors that begat “part” of the misery of our country. When the UK will agree to supply the fuses of the ejection seats of the Hawker Hunters of the Lebanese Army, we will then start to claim partial independence.

    Until then, allow me to celebrate my own “independance”.

    The link above is about the feelings of lebanese citizens who seem to succeed abroad, but fail abysmally at home.

    E. Galois

  180. Mr Ambassador,
    Every day I wake up in my dear Lebanon and I tell my self how blessed the Lebanese people are . And every day I wake up in my dear Lebanon and I tell my self how cursed the Lebanese people are. We Lebanese, are blessed with our country. And cursed by the neighbouring ones. We are blessed with our climate and asphixiated by the hatred around us. We are blessed with our pluri cultural and religious affiliations but often get lost in translation. We are blessed to have so many guardian angels but are eing crashed by so much love. We are blessed with our mountains, and our joie de vivre, our resilience and courage, our generosity and free spirit yet are bound to rot in hell burried by corruption and bribery. We are blessed to still have few good men yet are drowning with the bad and the ugly. A blessing and a curse. Indeed. That’s my Lebanon. Tomorrow I’ll drink to my Lebanon. And to you Mr Ambassador. Hoping that it will be blessed with more people of your kind. Cheers and happy independence day.

  181. Thank you for your kind words.. I agree on every aspect and I believe so does every average Lebanese. However, many of us fled the country long time ago to avoid the current conflicts and many have even tried doing something to solve it, without success. Your kind words do mean something, however they do not have a real solution to our problem. If there was something that we, as citizens of Lebanon, could do something to help our own country we would’ve done it, but we really need help from international countries if our government is not willing to solve it. We don’t know where to begin to ‘fix’ this problem nor do we have the tools to ‘fix’ it. The only thing we can hope for is that the militants disband and disarm, which is highly unpossible. Thank you once again, would be nice to hear your feedback!

  182. I have so much to say , but the pain of seeing my country being advised by a well loving ( foreign ) person , makes me see how much this country is corrupt by politicians and ignorant majority of so called lebanese . I wish for many things , all my ideal thoughts about this planet not only my country is paining me to extreme disappointment . This world needs more compassion and tolerance and acceptance to one another , only on the basis of love we can restart a real approach to a better understanding between different communities ! Thank you …

  183. Thank You Mr Ambassador for those wonderful words and your beautiful letter..

    Unfortunitly … I don´t live in my home-country Lebanon, I live in scandinavien,sence I was 9 years old and now I´m a grown up woman and a mum …. but I´m very very very proude of bein a lebanes woman..

  184. Great sincere letter Mr, Ambassador. I love my Lebanon and some of its people…Happy Independence Lebanon wishing you better citizens

  185. Thank you very much Mr.Fletcher, your letter gave us hope and light in the middle of darkness…. We love our country so much but we are suffering from violence! We will stay positive and we will believe things will get better, we will never give up!!!

  186. Dear Mr. Fletcher;

    We are very impressed by your emotional yet realistic approach to the Lebanese dilemma.

    The US have always been a true, sincere and honest friend with the Lebanese people. More than half of the Lebanese families have relatives who are US Citizens living in the USA.

    We all look forward to have Lebanon as a copy of the US where people from all of the world could live together as one, without any discrimination.

    God bless the USA and Lebanon.

    Moustafa F. Moukarim
    Houston, Texas, USA

  187. Thank you Excellency for this “Lebanese Patriotism”.. I was saying the same thing, exactly the same thing yesterday to my friend who sent me the link… we are so good in “exhibiting” the bad side of Lebanon and forget how proud we can be of all the good things we’re blessed with… now we’re blessed with your presence and wish you can be a “model” for so many Lebanese. thanks again.

  188. Following in the logic that most Lebanese listen to the outside more than to their own, I hope if only part of your lovely letter will resonate with those that have led to the destruction of this country, and I believe we all know who they are. Unfortunately, you are forced to meet with many of them as part of your work.

    It is often hard to hope for the better in this God forsaken country, and hard to keep the faith when so many give up daily on their struggle to make this country a better place. But we try. And when you become British Prime Minister one day, I’m sure you will remind us how much you tried to do to help us in the daunting task of keeping Lebanon as one…

  189. Dear Mr.Fletcher,

    What we need,Lebanese people,is a sense of Patriotism and nothing else.Born and raised in a war torn country what I could see was fear of the other and lack of belonging to one nation.
    I only can say that I envy those who have a country a leader they can follow and admire.
    The solution is simple yet so difficult to achieve.

    Happy 70 independance day and I don’t understand why should I suffer
    not to have a stable and secure country until the last breath I take.
    A person who is in dire need of her country.
    A person who is in dire need of a her country.

  190. Its nice to see that your fire is still strong Mr Fletcher , I have met you in Tedex and was impressed by your speech , and the chain that link your ideas is indeed well made. good work mate. I hope u have listened to my speech too.

  191. First time real and true words, although i dont know you
    But it seems you know Lebanon better than we do

  192. Though everyone is touched by these words myself included, I wish to remind you that these are purely wishes and though you are more Lebanese than many people living in Lebanon you have failed to take any action worth mentioning in denying foreigners from destroying this country or your allies from transforming their war with Iran and projecting it on the many political parties here if you wish to help Lebanon prosper and become safe convince all the foreign countries to sort out their political troubles elsewhere. many thanks for the letter did a lot of good

  193. dear Tom
    If you wrote this letter with honesty , then you have understood who we are more than a lot of us…
    If it was driven by diplomacy : then it should be tought in universities
    If it is only an act to attract attention : i am proud to become an actor
    If it is for hope , and moral push : job done
    If ur advisories wrote it:) : u have picked them perfectly

    At the end, i would like to think that it was written with a sence of belonging

    Thank you

  194. Mr Ambassador Tom Fletcher.

    It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday at the opening of Opening of Eclectic DF art gallery. I would like to thank you for this letter coming from the heart, for your authentic care and concern for our country. I wish more Lebanese citizens start feeling this way and act accordingly

    Unfortunately i can’t but agree with Mr. Saeb Elzein ( british-Lebanese) when he says:
    “so many things you mentioned above are true, and painful. My simple conclusion is that the Lebanese people are creative, enduring, and survivors, the problem is that we function ( or dysfunction) on the wrong engine ( political system) , and to change the engine , which is imperative for our progress , is nearly impossible given the sectarian fuel it functions on.”
    However it’s imperative to remain positive and believe that we can make Lebanon a better place to live. Thank you for believing in Lebanon.

  195. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    I would like to thank you for the honest words and correct attributions you have made about my fellow countrymen. Personally, I believe that 70 years is far too short to raise the white flag, given the unprecedented societal evolution witnessed as a result of the communication revolution and globalization.
    You mentioned: “your location and diversity put you at the hub between continents and cultures. Your history gives you a resilience and free spirit that others in the region would die for, and are dying for.”

    I believe that one of the fundamental problems underlying the political turmoil that my country has witnessed over the last 50 years lies in our inability to look past our sectarian differences. Our political system is based on sectarian cleavages, and as such, produces a political arena where each political member seeks the interest of his sect, to enhance their respective support, rather than focusing on the interests of the nation collectively.

    Your letter struck a chord with me and hope it did so to the rest of my fellow contrymen. We are all human and all seek similar interests. Accordingly, reforms need to take place which embrace the unity of the Lebanese populace rather than a meeting ground where the representatives of each sect argue like a bunch of immature stubborn kids and hinder the likelihood of pragmatic solutions..

    Although I don’t reside in Lebanon, hearing the news about the bombing brought a sincere feeling of sadness and more importantly, frustration.
    this is what the conversation with a friend sounded like:

    “the sad reality about our beloved country is that; if you successfully lead a life indicting those atrocities and promoting the unity of our people, you’ll most likely end up in a serious conflict of interest with one of those barbaric “political leaders”, and you’re innocent life will be at jeopardy..
    not to say that this should go on, its disgusting.”

    Thanking you again for your sincere and optimistic letter :).
    And to all my countrymen:
    Despite your national, political and religious allegiances, we are all humans and all seek relatively similar interests.
    Happy Independence Day in advance,
    Stay Safe Lebanon

  196. Many thanks to your thoughts and beliefs, I am sure that these are coming from your heart… But at the end, it is not your country strategy and policy towards Lebanon and region.

  197. We were surprised, at first, that the United Kingdom would assign a young man for an old country, not only old in age and civilization but old in its problems and issues.
    Mr. Fletcher: it turned out, from your speech, that you feel and know about our dear Lebanon more than most, let’s not say all, of our “patriot” politicians.
    Our “dear” politicians are preventing this country and its people from having a real Independence, they need to keep us seperated as communities so that they would keep sitting on their chairs.
    I don’t know if we, Lebanese people, still understand what the Independence represents or means, we need a new system cause this one has expired.
    Finally, Your words must be called “The Speech of Independence”.

    From: A Free Lebanese Citizen

    Cesar Jabbour

  198. Nice words sir, and encouraging !
    I think we need more actions (a general point) to save Lebanon on the long-term.
    We conquered the world (with brilliant people); it could be better than just conquering one country – a funny thought.

  199. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    Thank you for those precious words and your great belief in Lebanon. Feeling blessed to be a Lebanese member. Happy independence day for our great Lebanon.

    Thank you,

    Best regards,

  200. Dear Tom,
    Your Lebanophilia is touching and want it or not you are as Lebanese as any of us. Thank you for sharing our love for our homeland. I hope the country will see better days, in the meantime and as you said we need more goodwill.


  202. The problem is 40% of Lebanese don’t speak English, and they are not willing to understand the language your speaking dear Tom

  203. Reading this made me so proud to say I am british!
    I am so proud of what the uk is doing to my homeland lebanon.
    This was such a touching article to read, you’re a great man, with great words of advice and a great. Just hope lebanon actually take the advice!!

  204. Thank you we are all proud but must remember that we all are, we are not different from one another. For Lebanon is an Island for people who love to live without judgment of their beliefs. Many come to Lebanon to escape the turmoil of their lives for they can be themselves we are the light and it is up to us to keep it burning.

  205. Thank you for believing in Lebanon I just hope we can make it through this hardship and stay united, you are right, we are multicultural country, this is the beauty of Lebanon. Thank you and thank you Great Britain for your support.


  206. Great letter and sincere words. I think you have described Lebanon and it’s people very accurately. Yes we are fighters despite all the odds and all the instability and I totally understand you and was happy to read you are a fan because every Lebanese outside his country is a fan, that’s why many like me have decided to come back to Lebanon to this unique and diversified country that has a lot of potential, cultural richness and beauty. I really wish for stability, peace and unity. Happy 70th Independence Day.

  207. Dear Tom,

    It’s an honor and privilege to have you as the British envoy to
    You Sir, are a rare breed, a desperately needed breath of fresh air.
    Your address to us Lebanese, is deeply touching and most meaningful.
    You’ve done Britain proud.
    My sincere gratitude and appreciation for your kind words.

    Now, allow me to go to work and ensure that your message reaches as many Lebanese as possible.

    Please accept my warmest regards.

  208. Tom,

    Absolutely fantastic. Having been to Lebanon 15 times in the past 19 months and being English I always try to explain my feelings to both British and Lebanese about my admiration, love and envy for Lebanon and everything you said in that letter portrays my feelings. I guess that’s why you’re so good at your job and I’m ticking along back in the freezing UK. It’s a great shame that you won’t be attending our 2nd Lebanon International Oil and Gas Summit taking place 4-5th December which has been a great struggle but because of my passion towards this amazing little country we have persevered and sacrificed some big projects because Lebanon and it’s people deserve the best of everything. Your commercial attaché Paul Khawaja MBE is a shining light for the Embassy and uniting the UK with Lebanon. I can’t wait to be back in Beirut next week and most certainly will be travelling to Tripoli for fantastic fresh fish and to escape the hustle and bustle of London life. I will be sending this letter to my colleagues, partners and investors to express the profound affect Lebanon has on you and I and why we love the place. God bless Lebanon and Barack Allah fickum.

    Paul Gilbert

  209. Thank you for your sentiment and for your valuable friendship to our beloved country.

    The present in Lebanon reflects its past. As we all know, alongside the wonderful cultural diversity that Lebanon enjoys, Lebanon still suffers from an identity crisis that is fueled by foreign politics and by a large number of opportunistic Lebanese politicians. Moreover, public administration mismanagement and corruption do not do the country any favours.

    It is very surprising that a talented and highly educated people that have historically shone and are still shining in international skies, are torn internally and are unable to manage their internal conflicts.

    70th birthday! Who knows what’s next? A phoenix rising out of the ashes, or a corpse preyed upon by vultures? Or maybe another re-incarnation with the same setup in a different body!

  210. “70 is too young for a country to retire” I cant but admire this sentence!!!! Its just so true! I only wish our politicians can take your words into consideration! And not only in words but in acts!
    Your letter is well stated and well appreciated!
    Forever Lebanese !

  211. That’s bullshit, filling up people’s head with tattle tale stories will never have them improve themselves. It’s not aliens who are doing that to our country, it’s the Lebanese people themselves. We should stop thinking of ourselves as the smartest, brightest, nicest, and prettiest people god had ever created and admit that it’s our way of thinking is the main issue here.
    Learn some modesty people, because cockiness is outdated. You cannot be the smartest person on the face of the earth and the dumbest human being in your country at the same time. Just like in AA, overcoming denial is the first step into recovery. So people stop thinking you’re god’s chosen ones and that all of our problems is because of others, instead of admitting that you have a problem and work toward fixing it.
    Each by starting on himself.

  212. thanks a lot.. but could you also ask your government to stop supporting zionism and fascism.. and help contribute into peaceful region, especially Palestine..

  213. As a tourist..Lebanon is beautiful to visit and to stay for a while..but for a Lebanese citizen who has to daily confront the reality of the country status, it is very difficult to accept and to continue believing in this sad situation..I left my dear country 28 years back and visited it several times in between but…I cannot live in it…anymore.

  214. Your excellency , thank you for your devoted letter , hoping that the decision makers can share your sincere feelings and help Lebanon in sparing it more bloods!

  215. Ambassador Fletcher,
    Thank you for your kind and accurate words. Sadly the ossified religious and political class are the worst enemies of this country, and they are leading it. We can blame foreigners for our troubles, but that’s a cop out. We and only we are to be blamed for our problems. A bit more civic and secular education will go a long way. Our problems will lessen when the Lebanese themselves will electing their corrupt leaders and stop listening to their even more corrupt religious mafias.
    More power to you for these words, and going back to you upsetting anyone, you are wrong, your words are breath of fresh air to all true Lebanese, with the exception of the mafias running the country.

  216. Dear Tom,
    I wish you hand this letter and these words to our president tomorow along with the one from prime minister. I so wish our president reads a few words of it out loud to all the Lebanese within his speech.
    These are words we all need to hear. Our power of overcoming atrocities and despair comes to a very low sometimes. We are like the Phoenix rising out of our ashes, just 2 days ago 24 of us have gone to ashes.
    Thank you for your belief and encouraging words.
    You ve been a great ambassador of a Great Britain.

  217. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    Between all what I’ve heard or read the past few days of political analysis from Lebanese politicians or even normal citizens, yours is the only one that I can consider “Patriotic” to Lebanon. People like You are worthy of our country more than a 100 else who are just living on Lebanon but patriotism is just for the street or area they live in.
    I am by the way living in London with my husband and I hold the same love to it. It’s the only country that makes me feel accepted as an Arab.
    Thank you.

    Warm regards,

  218. Thank you Mr. Ambassador for your thoughts, concerns and advice. I think it is really time for all Lebanese key players and leaders to reconsider taking your words and advice in to consideration to keep Our Lebanon a better place. A place, a home, a Heaven on earth.

    God bless you Tom

  219. Wow that is such a profound and sincere letter, regardless of whether I agree with it or not. I’m not Lebanese myself but I came across it and I don’t regret it. Its really refreshing to see a politician, or in this case a diplomat, talking so openly and truthfully away from the stagnation and staleness of PR and mundane diplomacy.

    Its such a shame that no one left a comment though.

  220. Your Exellency,
    I believe many Lebanese approve the ideas highlighted in your letter, hence one question remains, how to change our political representatives with our archaic legislative law? how to vote for people who think like us and respect our dreams? Our dreams for Lebanon are big and we are determined but how to make way for change without causing major disturbances that would backfire on us?! I believe your ancestors have done it before us, and have brilliantly succeeded, can you give us advice on this?

  221. Respect to you Sir!
    As a Lebanese American who grew up in the US and consider my home, I always ended up coming back to Lebanon “the broken” I every day say I hate it here due to all the corruptions yet I stay and try my best with my friends that are of all sects and religions to do better by uniting, standing up for each other and by riding our motorcycles and discover every inch of our country to prove to ourselves and to fellow Lebanese that Lebanon is pretty and does belong to us if we unite…
    I will never be able to write a letter of such caliber about my country, maybe because you see it as an outsider from a bigger frame… I wish more people see us the way you do and not judge us before they try to understand us… Again sir respect to you and as you mentioned it we are hospitable people so you are welcome anytime as a human being , a foreigner, a politician and as a fan of this tiny country that everyone is fighting over.
    And if you are a motorcycle rider you are also welcome to join one of our rides anytime you are in Lebanon.
    Peace and God bless you!

  222. Thank you Mr.Fletcher, what I liked most about your letter, it comes from a genuine heart and strong passion! I hope our Lebanese leaders will take it as a wake up call!
    Blessings and respect!

  223. I find mr Fletchers view of the Middle East very vague. French and British forces divided the Middle East with a harper and knife after the 2. world war. So what to expect now?

  224. Thank you, a very touching letter, let’s not lose hope, Lebanon is the best country ever. May GOD bless this country and may GOD give strength and patience to all the Lebanese people but most important may GOD guide our politician to decide what is the best for OUR country.
    Happy independence day Lebanon.
    Peace to all

  225. Would love and be proud if we have you as our president.
    Cause none of them ever talked about Lebanon the way you just did.
    Am really amazed and grateful for the words you said.
    Thank you Sir and I would really love to hug you right now.
    Your amazing and we are blessed to have you in our country.


    Ibrahim K. Farhat

  226. Your Excellency,
    One cannot but admire those honest words that not only reflect a great deal of genuine love and concern for our country, but also spread much needed hope in many ways. Despite how much it is deserved and the extent to which I would like to, but I’m not going to stop at all that was so elegantly relayed from an open heart and mind, through an open letter, to who I hope are still open people…
    I will however stop at the following sentence that caught my attention and stirred my hopes:
    “First and most important, start ignoring advice from outsiders, including me: this is your country”
    That is the very advice I would actually urge the Lebanese not to ignore.
    Throughout its history, Lebanon has unfortunately been the private playground and wrestling ring of many regional and international superpowers who have spared no available tool or weapon to use to win a round. The Lebanese themselves were sadly the most efficient of such tools throughout, and they are always ready and contunue to be so.
    Those words that reflect a beautiful and encouraging thought, especially coming from someone of your relevant and esteemed represention, inspire a two-way hope stream in me, about a day to come when the Lebanese will finally not be seen as such a tool on the one hand, and when they themselves would stop selling themselves as one on the other.
    Your Excellency, thank you for heartfelt letter, which I believe contains the perfect message that the Lebanese need to be constantly reminded of, especially on the eve of their country’s independence.

  227. Your excellence you deserve the lebaneese citizenship . Please let me say that you are more lebaneese then the lebaneese

  228. Tom, you are a true friend. Friends are those who tell you the truth in your face and I thank you for that. We may need a bit of help though. Im sure you can slip a good word to your government to slip more good words to other governments that are mingling in our own affairs (yes, I know, we are allowing this to happen to us) and ask them to get off our backs once in a while….maybe for good?…that will be nice…
    All the best to you.

  229. Mr. Fletcher, most of us, Lebanese, have given up hope because of some Lebanese parasites that reproduce in the midst of hardships. Although I was moved by your words, it’s unfortunately too rhetorical; unity and coherence are themes we learn and teach, but never apply in real life. Divided, we’ll always stand because this is how we’re driven to be. It’s hard to say that bitter truth… I don’t want to sound pessimistic; I’m just being realistic. I wish your optimism and positiveness would prevail… Until then, we can only wish for a better future for us and our children who are bound to exist in such a setting…
    Thank you… Happy Independence Day

  230. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    Thank you for reminding us that THE Good Lebanon still around as we are really fed up big time from the whole situation and from people saying this is the way how it goes in Lebanon,etc. i believe people are tired and no one is optimistic anymore as none of our leaders care much.

    I left Lebanon 14 years ago, carried my own Lebanon around the world and at a certain period i stopped as was ashamed of saying am Lebanese as nothing of what i carried in my heart and soul applied on the reality happening on the Lebanese ground…

    Yet came back to Lebanon 5 month ago for good even though i was not totally convinced that i have done the right move, but did that for my own Lebanon, my own family.

    Here i am now in Lebanon shocked, Jobless, lost, etc. Yet keeping my head up and so optimistic about Lebanon’s future and hoping to make it…..

    Again thank you very much for the advice really appreciate your honesty and your love to our country, you are more Lebanese than most of the so called Lebanese.

    a true lebanese

  231. well said Mr. Fletcher, i wish everybody especially our politicians would read this. Thank u for believing in Lebanon.

  232. “70 is too young for a country to retire” . That sentence torn me apart. Your excellency I was really moved by your letter and I wish our lebanese leaders would appreciate Lebanon the way you do. Thank you again for your kind and genuine words. Keep well

  233. it is great to see someone else write about my country.
    the problem with Lebanon is all the dogs and bastard s wizara and nowabs ruining the country. Lebanon has a great history, and great men came from it.
    we need to kick all the assholes out of there, especailly the senators and so called representativess who don’t cares, all they want to be rich and not helping build the country back to its beauty, and long history.

  234. Thank you sooooo much dear Tom for that letter, its amazing how much what you are saying is true, I just wish that all Lebanese love Lebanon as much as u do. We need this we need that spirit, I was really touched with your words, if I could just deliver your msg to all the Lebanese.. we lost hope so fast and I see no patriotism anymore, its our country our lebanon and it deserves putting some effort for. As you said 70 is too young for a country to retire we should fight for our country that deserves our lives…. Thank you thank you thank you

  235. Great words coming from a great man. Well said and we all hope you will be heard. I wish you all the best …. Thank you.

  236. What a beutiful letter Mr Fletcher

    God Bless you

    there is one way to improve lebanon and thats by removing all the people that are in power and replacing them with people that actually care about the country.

    if you know about the history in lebanon you would understand why I said what I said above.

    we have had the same people in power for decades.

    even when they pass away we either get there brother instead of them or another family member with the same ideology .

    enough is enough we should live our life embrace what we have the history the food everything.

    lebanon beirut to me is like heaven on earth!! well it could be if everyone was to side there religions and their believes and learn to love one another.

    that is the way i have been brought up; and that is the way i will raise my kids one day.

    GOD bless lebanon and Happy Birthday!

    Mazen Nasser

  237. Sir,
    I am British and have been here in Lebanon (Beirut) for a little over 3 months (into a 2 year contract). On arrival I was immediately struck by the warmth and genuineness of the welcome I received and I have quickly come to realize that this is, despite foreboding and woe from friends and family, the best decision that I have made in very long while!
    I echo practically everything that you have written in your letter to the country and, despite events over the last few days, my experiences of the wonderful Lebanese people – young and old and of different cultural and religious beliefs and backgrounds – instill in me a profound sense of optimism.
    You can feel it in the air and when you talk to ordinary Lebanese people who care for and love their country, OK! It might be knocked, bruised and a little battered by the inevitable cynicism that arises from conflict, aggression and yes – fear! But, I have seen that optimism is etched on the heart of almost every Lebanese citizen that I have met and with that sentiment the future can only be bright!



  238. 1st of all thank You RAGMAG.. You’re the man!!
    This was a very nice gesture from Mr Fletcher, I hope that my people can benefit from it.
    This letter should be translated to arabic, and published in all lebanese newspapers.

    To a better Lebanon..

  239. Your Excellency , Thank you for showing us the true human side of diplomacy . Usually Diplomacy is more inert , and so great to see it reaching out , especially to us Lebanese. We have grown to be great skeptics , especially on the street level, and of foreign and great powers. although in the game of nations, there are always conflicting winds in corridors of power, it is great to read what you had to say , and view our country from your point of view No need to add to your accurate assessment of our state of affairs. Thank you for your honesty and courage . May our ” great” leaders read your words and heed the call of true Independence .

  240. Dear mr TOM..
    Thanks for what you improved to the Lebanese for what they are.. Actually you are more Lebanese than the Lebanese are .. All the politics men are busy with how much they can get power from all of us not to give anything… I actually got married from a British Citizen 5 years ago, and we used to live in London , we came back thought that our children will live peacfully here in our flat which we worked hard to get it , but at the moment we are thinking to leave forever because no one knows when we’ll loose our flat by a bomb , too much terrorists , no peace of mind , every morning we say goodbye to each other like we will never meet again, no safe streets, no safe places, so we are really living all the stress.. Enough independence celebrations we are not and will never be independant..
    Stephany Haroun.

  241. Thank you.
    Despite the fact that I daily read the news online, This is my first comment ever, I feel compelled to expressing my appreciation and gratitude for your letter

  242. Words and nothing but words.. Let us see you act by pressing on your and European and US governments to HELP Lebanon instead of watching all our near and far neighbors assassinate us..

  243. Your Excellency:
    Thank you for your words of wisdom and posivitism of pointing out our strengths and forgiving our weaknesses. “Yes we Lebanese can together”

  244. Dear Mr Fletcher,

    I want to thank you for your kind and encouraging words. Some things may have been said above but I would like to repeat them. I must admit you sound more Lebanese than many other Lebanese do. I appreciate your passion and dedication for my country very much. This country needs more people like you; especially in politics. I personally don’t live in Lebanon due to the fact that my parents already lived abroad. I am half Lebanese and half German. I’m studying law and especially international law. I always had in mind taking the diplomacy path in my life and letters like yours encourage me even more to do that.
    I am aware of the problems you face in this country as well as some others do. And what impresses me more, is that you can oversee these problems and still love our small country. Once again, thank you very much for your warm and kind words. I wish you a happy Independence Day too, as you are – in my opinion – more Lebanese than some actual Lebanese are. Thanks for everything and keep up the good work!
    Said in British English: Cheers mate!

    With kind regards


  245. Dear Mr.Fletcher,

    Thank you for these kind words and aspirations.
    But please note that throughout history , our country has been torn apart by foreign meddling.
    Why ? Well, because of the qualities you said we presumably had.
    They envy our mountains , valleys and coasts.
    They envy our hub/culture surrounded location.
    And they will never stop tormenting us.
    Can they got to me , or any of the people who have replied to you ? no.
    But they can influence the uneducated , the poor and the desperate.
    And that, your excellency, is enough to keep this country fighting with itself until implosion.

    I admire your words , if they are truly yours, but I don’t think a “small third world country” like us has much to say when it comes to international affairs. The “Big guns” will have their way. If they decide to spare us then great , but if they don’t , I don’t believe the UK will put their neck out for us or anyone else for that matter.


  246. Your Excellence,

    I knew you loved Lebanon before even the start of your mission on this suffering land. However, I would have never imagined how moved you were by its mere existence, the troubles it is facing, and even the gloomy (not to say inexistent) stability perspectives.

    I came back last year from an eight-year stay in Europe (mainly in Paris and London) to (humbly) try and contribute in the return of the “younger” generation. I was leading a very exciting life, with a brilliant career and shining development perspectives…Yet, I decided to come back.

    Unlike other people, I knew what I was doing. I faced my parents’ incomprehension, their protests about the fact I was jeopardising my future. Yet, I came back…

    I feel very sorry for what’s happening. I despise what our so-called “leaders” are doing for the sake of vulgar, criminal “clientelism”. I also feel powerless with regards to changing the course of things.

    Sadly enough, I firmly believe my only option for resisting is to start a business, not fall for all the tempting ideas of going back to Europe, and make the best out of my new life. This “something I can not explain” glues me more and more to this land, despite the worsening, rotting situation

    Reading your words make me realise how attached to my land you are, even though no genetic or family ties link you to it. They give me even more courage and endurance to face these difficulties and fight them with a big heart… Because it is the only strength we can capitalise on. Our hearts. The same one that made you write these beautiful words.

    God Bless you, your genuineness, and all your dearly beloved.

    Farid Hares Chehab

  247. A friend sent me this article today and I was deeply touched by those words in those critical days.

    I live in the area where the explosion occurred yesterday (targeting the Iranian embassy in Beirut).
    To be honest I don’t care about politics. I don’t care about the cold war between the nations. However, I am not totally careless. I care as much as I should but politics never affect my daily life full of ambitions, hard work and hopes for a better tomorrow.
    But yesterday I was not afraid. I am not afraid to die in an explosion. I am afraid to die without seeing any improvement or at least a ray of hope here and to sacrifice all my youth years while believing in vain in this country.
    Yesterday instead of the fear, I was frustrated and angry because of the dead bodies; because of the bloody days we are living; because of the fact of how cheap a human life became; because I knew some of those who passed away and let’s say it clearly: the people who passed away are, for the media and for the blind minded, irrelevant. Maybe in life, they are irrelevant too for some as they are the forgotten ones in this society (a delivery guy, a foreigner maid, a janitor etc..)

    Few days before the explosion, I wrote an article that was published today in Annahar newspaper. This morning while reading it in the journal, I was afraid to regret every word I wrote. I wrote about my belief in this country; that it will survive and rise again; that a new independence is on the way. I truly believe that someday a new generation will grab the hand of the dying Lebanon to lift it back and build the Lebanon of poets, thinkers, athletes etc. (maybe not in our lifetime as a whole set of beliefs and mentalities shall be free from sectarianism and blindness and it shall take time).

    I was afraid to regret my optimism. Your words made me reconsider these thoughts of regret.
    I will always believe that Lebanon will rise again. Thank you for your words that came right on time.


    1. My answer to Mr. Flecher – UK AMBASSADOR TO LEBANON

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      November 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      My answer to Mr. Flecher (to his message in the Guardian at above url address)

      Thanks for this surprising kindness from Mr. Fletcher, and his sudden love for Lebanon and for the Lebanese – Especially his minute kindness that suddenly dots the spectrum of history, and in order to remind us who we are, and how well we behave, and his astonishment and discovery that we may know music, poetry, art etc.
      I must admit that we are euphoric for being accepted into the spectrum of history.

      But one must remind Mr. Fletcher, that the light from which the spectrum of history stems, emanates from the land of Canaan, its valleys, its mountains, its Cedars and its people. – that the alphabet, he is using to praise(patronise) its people, are but the creation of the very people he has come to praise.

      One must remind Mr. Flecher again, that the God he has come to know, only stem from the inner and profound souls of the people of Lebanon and their history. They have made the spectrum of mankind and humanity – from its incept and creation to its present, long before Mr. Fletcher has discovered the joy of poetry, music, science…

      And when the cup of humanity is drained from, love, kindness, morality… than humanity can refill its cup afresh, from the spectrum of mankind and humanity, it will refill it with love, joy, kindness, music, art, poetry, and remedy for the soul.

      Finally one must pause and ask, why this sudden interest and these kind words he is uttering with his lips? One only has to look at the latter history and assure Mr. Fletcher that the spectrum of history is dotted with the appearances of many kind people here and there. The latest are in Maloola and Sadad.

      Now I ask Mr. Flecher instead, to visit Saint Charbrel, Saint Rafka and offer prayers so that God guide us all in order to seek the amelioration for all mankind, and not only for Lebanon and its people.

      God Bless

  248. Dear Tom,

    Excellent testimony. Simple evidence. True. Straight.
    Straight to the heart.
    Thank you


  249. you have a beautiful mind, but an even greater to discover that you have a beautiful heart. thanks you, we need to believe, that something extraordinary is possible.

  250. This letter should be adressed ti each and every politician in Lebanon. Wr cannot give up and they should act positively immediately. Our Lebanese passport should go back to the top again !

  251. Your excellency,

    As the previous comments have said, truly beautiful words for this nation, and how much more beautiful they would be if they could be true, at least in my generation.

    The problem is the diversity, the church bells ringings at a backdrop of a mosque’s call to prayer, is destroying this nation instead of enriching it. No matter how strong the spirit of the Lebanese, it cannot fly high enough when it is nailed down to the ground by a decaying political and social system.

    In Europe a nobody is in fact a somebody as soon as their rights are taken away. All it takes is one call to the media when a “nobody’s” rights are denied him or her, and it becomes the news of the nation. Over here, a nobody stays a nobody. The only way forward is for a proper, healthy, present, powerful governing body… which we are so so far away from. What we have is a government that’s been hit by a mortar and every shrapnel has create its own governing body. As long as this country is run by sectarian leaders who feed off the divide of the nation, by the lack of a strong governing body, we can not move forward. As long as the average Lebanese has to resort to their “connections” and their “someone who knows someone” who eventually climbs up the sectarian ladder and gets the much required push from this or that leader, we can not move forward. In the absence of a true government, these leaders becomes stronger, and much more relevant for the rest of the population who hide behind their leaders because their basic rights are stripped way from them every day. It has become an “every man for himself” sort of mentality because this government does not have the ability nor the power to govern let alone govern the Lebanese equally.

    The only time I can claim to see a ray of sunshine regarding my country is when the Lebanese look at each other as Lebanese first, and their religion or sect second. Unfortunately with so many “outsiders” as you mentioned puppeteering so many aspects of this country, and we are not exactly in the most fertile area of the globe given the circumstances.

    That said, thank you for your words, and thank you for believing in this country a lot more than many of its nationals. I hope your words will have the impact they deserve.

  252. Cher excellence
    Thanks for your love and understanding , it is always a pleasure hearing other people say nice things about our country, i hope that you will always be on our side and could eventually portray us in positive way back in England, as lots of people might not have your love and sympathy to Lebanon. And by the way English people are also wonderfull and extreemely polite and helpfull. God save the queen

  253. I love the way you stated it…You are so orientated with our Lebanon…And you are so kind and supportive…It touched my heart and my tears came down …Wish every single Lebanese read it and realize our lacks and strength…A warm huge thank you Mr Fletcher and thank your England your beloved country…Sure your Govenment should be proud of you….

  254. Thank you Mr fletcher for your reality assesment ,continued support for what Lebanon tries to stand for,your friendship & your advice.May it fall on responsible ears.

  255. Thank you for your honesty and your beautiful words. I wish every Lebanese can read this letter.

  256. hello.. first I’m really touched cause I was about to forget everything good about my country, so thanks for reminding me. second, I’m really surprised cause you , as a foreign, loves lebanon more than lebanese people do. shame on us and God bless u…

  257. I am in awe, as always, at Amb Fletcher’s Letter. Thank you for taking the time to write to us, simple lebanese people. I share every single thing you said, Amb. Fletcher.
    The majority of us feel helpless. We believe that we cannot make a change at the level of a country. Too complicated, so many stakes…Plus, we are not politicians. We are engineers, doctors, inventors, musicians, artists…How can we take over from those who are so well entrenched in business and in special interests…We have tried it before, and failed miserably…Only to find ourselves refugees, in other countries, for so long…It was so painful. So today, my dear Tom, we are trying to make a change, at the level of a home, a street, a village.
    God bless you and your family.

  258. Hello,

    I saw that my friends shared this with alot of admiration for you, and I can see why.

    I left Lebanon 5 years ago, after having lived and worked there as a journalist, and having lost my boss and 2 of my colleagues… I haven’t been in Lebanon for 2 years now, and I don’t think I will ever come back.

    I am moved by your admiration for the Lebanese people, and by the picture I saw of you donating blood. I hope it was not a publicity stunt, but you seem like a genuine person.

    I just want to thank you for your positive attitude towards my countrymen. I hope you stay long enough to realize how stupid they can also be, and how they managed to drive lots of people, like myself, out of the country for good.

    Regards, stay safe, and thank you for the ray of light.

    1. Thanks Marie, appreciated. Certainly not a publicity stunt. I normally try to give blood if needed after attacks on Lebanon. This was simply the first time we took a photo. A human act not a political one.

    2. You say “they managed to drive” you out of the country. I doubt that you would let anyone make decisions for you. You made the decision to leave because of your priorities and left “them” to drive the country. Think if people like you had the courage to stay and change the country, one person at a time, what the country would be like. It’s the small acts that lead to great gestures.
      We can all make the decision to stay or leave. I am not making a judgement, just setting things straight. I am an expat myself but I have a young daughter and family living in Lebanon and I very much plan to go back as son as possible. My husband and I just spent our life savings renovating our apartment in Beirut and I hope I will be able to enjoy it soon.
      Just a last note, humans are humans. God has created all of us equal, Lebanese or not, we’re all the same.

  259. Excellency you are more Lebanese than the Lebanese should be
    Many thanks and highest consideration

  260. ” Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion …
    Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation …”
    Gibran Khalil Gibran.

    i guess this summons everything ..

  261. He actually believes in Lebanon more thn most of us…..couldn’t write such a great letter to my own country……respect!

  262. Thank you Excellency, hope evry responsible in my country will read you.
    Guess you are more Lebanese than any one of us.
    Your words even if some of them are diplomatic, nevertheless one can feel you wrote them with all your hart ans senses.
    Thank you for beeiing here four us.

  263. http://localhost:8888/tomfletcher/2013/11/21/dear-lebanon-an-open-letter/

    My answer to Mr. Flecher

    Thanks for this surprising kindness from Mr. Fletcher, and his sudden love for Lebanon and for the Lebanese – Especially his minute kindness that suddenly dots the spectrum of history, and in order to remind us who we are, and how well we behave, and his astonishment and discovery that we may know music, poetry, art etc.
    I must admit that we are euphoric for being accepted into the spectrum of history.

    But one must remind Mr. Fletcher, that the light from which the spectrum of history stems, emanates from the land of Canaan, its valleys, its mountains, its Cedars and its people. – that the alphabet, he is using to praise(patronise) its people, are but the creation of the very people he has come praise.

    One must remind Mr. Flecher again, that the God he has come to know, only stem from the inner and profound souls of the people of Lebanon and their history. They have made the spectrum of mankind and humanity – from its incept and creation to its present, long before Mr. Fletcher has discovered the joy of poetry, music, science…

    And when the cup of humanity is empty from, love, kindnes,love.. than humanity can refill its cup again, from the spectrum of mankind and humanity, it will refill it with love, kindness, music, art, poetry, and remedy for the soul.

    Finally one must pause and ask, why this sudden interest and these kind words he is uttering with his lips? One only has to look at the recent history and assure Mr. Fletcher that the spectrum of history is dotted with the appearances of many kind people here and there. The latest are in Maloola and Sadad.

    Now I ask Mr. Flecher instead, to visit Saint Charbrel, Saint Rafka and offer prayer so that God guide us all in order to seek the amelioration for all mankind, and not only for Lebanon and its people.

    God Bless

    1. Thanks Tony. Please don’t be in any doubt of my respect for Lebanon’s long history, and contribution to global development over millennia. My interest and solidarity are not sudden – please see previous blogposts. Regards.

      1. Dear Tom,
        Thank you so much for putting it with such care, candour and clarity – you speak the Britain we are proud to represent (as dual-nationals) in our motherland, Lebanon.

        We look up to the Great Britain who carries the torch upon the path of Democracy, Constitutional Rule of Law, but also Universal Values which seem to stand for very little in many a neighborhood nowadays.

        We are ever so disposed to help foster Lebanese-British relationships and bridge the two cultures.

        Yours Sincerely,

      2. To the attention of the
        British Ambassador to Lebanon
        Mr. Tom Fletcher

        Your Excellency,
        I have been in the publishing business since 1986. Every year our company, World Heritage Publishers, co-exhibits in London Book Fair under the sign of the Ministry of Culture, Lebanon.

        As I filled the visa applications for my wife & myself and tried to fix an appointment for the interview, I discovered that all interview dates are booked till after the 8th of April, the opening day of LBP, meaning we can’t go.

        I wish I would be denied a visa on a more serious basis knowing that my wife and I were at LBF in 2009, we passed through Heathrow airport in 2013 on our way to the US, we do have Green Cards from the US, and we are in our late sixties. Given the above, who’d deny us entry visas?

        Your Excellency,
        I do ask for your help in this matter, bearing in mind that I’ve made hotel reservation, bought tickets, and scheduled a dozen meetings with British, American, and Far East publishers.
        To miss all that will be catastrophic.

        Hoping to have this issue taken into consideration,

        Makram Haddad

    2. Hello Toni
      I was astonished with your reply to Tom’s letter to our Lebanon’s 70th birthday as an independent country, please reread and think of what we need to do to rebuild this country of ours to bring back to the 60s & 70s and renew our political structure.
      Thanks Tom for your thoughts and warm feelings.

      1. Thank you Tom Fletcher, I am a Lebanese expatriate who lives in the U.S. who at one time had no problem giving up on my country and deciding it let me down. I chose to forget its many qualities and the opportunities it gave me growing up, I believed hoping for a stable Lebanon and investing my energies into that is nothing but a waste of time. The amazing thing is that my kids who grew up in the U.S. with very little exposure to everything Lebanese somehow have more affinity and appreciation for my culture than even I did, it made me rethink what I left behind and the richness of that tiny piece of earth. I thank you for putting it so beautifully back in our faces and nudge us to hope and work for a better future Lebanon.

    3. Toni
      Sarcasm won’t lead us anywhere… Instead my answer would be: Thanks Mr Fletcher for the kind words…. and in parallel let’s start working on the positives stated in the open letter and elsewhere, and throw away all the negativity. Only us, can pull us out of this mess. Politicians ours and external are never going to do it, since it doesn’t serve their interest. I say let’s join hands in making it a better place for the generations to come.

      1. After going through all the comments, I can say Excellent Khaled, and Tom you are right what you revealed is so true , people of Lebanon are passive, yes they should react and demand their rights by forgetting their politicians and seek their requirements that are lost in the clouds……

    4. Tony,

      This comes as no personal crticism but rather an orphaned attempt to change deep rooted perception in all of us. The question begs itself – why can we not learn to take positive advice in the form of its face value? Why should we sink so impulsively into taking it outside the realm of simplicity? We need to start to learn to listen and stop hearing. Something we should immediately spark amongst ourselves to bridge our diversities. Look at our state now…we are no closer to that root spectrum of history and its virtues today as we never were. Conspiracy theories has plagued this nation far too long. There is no regime that manifests fear into its own people, its the people who dress themselves that way.

    5. really, tony, where did your comments come from? i’m not sure you actually read tom’s open letter. it’s the sad truth about us – that we don’t seem to see beyond our nose, and in your case, that we don’t read well and make prejudgements and prepackaged sets of pointless comments.

    6. Tony, your shaky response shows how proud and immature you are to accept constructive criticism. I believe Mr. Fletcher is candid and sincere.

    7. Dear Mr. Fletcher,
      From the avalanche of replies, you will no doubt appreciate how many have been touched by your sincerity and optimism.
      No doubt that all what you say is true..Alas, however, none of what you advise can or will happen in our lifetime.
      I feel bad and somewhat defeatist to say so, but one cannot ignore the truth that is all around us, and the fractious society that now forms our “mosaic”
      As individuals, most (but certainly not all), are as you kindly describe..but put them together, then each group becomes a mob and a wave rolling and crashing against the rocks of “so called Fatwa’s”, religious affinity , political agendas or personal selfish financial ones.
      The divide is so vast now being further fed by the regional conflict that reconciliation has become impossible at our level, that of the “silent majority”.
      In the end, regrettably, it seems that we are too clever for our own good, and history will give us all a medal of dishonor!

  264. so many things you mentioned above are true, and painfull. My simple conclusion is that the Lebanese people are creative, enduring, and survivors, the problem is that we function ( or dysfunction) on the wrong engine ( political system) , and to change the engine , which is imperative for our progress , is nearly impossible given the sectarian fuel it functions on.

  265. Thank Tom, if I may call you Tom, I am really touched by your letter… I hope someday we recognize our strengths as you said and use them to unite and hold for ourselves and our homeland….

    Many thanks,

    Ahmad A. Knio

  266. Mr. Fletcher,

    I wish we had more Lebanese thinking the same way you are.
    I will continue trying to do my part as a Lebanese citizen and hope many Lebanese will believe in what you mention in your above letter & come aboard.

    Thank you

  267. This is more like it Tom, not the previous 2020 vision where your feet were in the cloud. Good practical advice which we hope all of us can implement. However, what we demand from the UK and its allies is not extra trade but not to trade us for a bigger prize in the regional conflict.
    Best wishes

  268. Well written. Thank you.
    I am sure the majority in Lebanon feel and think exactly as you do.
    They probably don’t know where to begin to make changes or too scared to do so.

    1. Excellence,
      Votre lettre ouverte comblera beaucoup de mes compatriotes, et ils auront raison. Le seul bémol que j’introduirais serait que la tâche qui nous attend pour un Liban meilleur à l’horizon 2020, que vous nous souhaiter, nous dépasse. Nous acceptons et relevons les défis, nous avons conscience que nous représentons dans cette région un laboratoire d’où pourrait sortir le meilleur comme le pire. Pour que le meilleur prévale il faudrait résoudre trois équations qui ne dépendent absolument pas de nous : le conflit arabo-israélien qui nous mine depuis 60 ans, le conflit latent entre sunnisme et chiisme qui date depuis 1.400 ans et qui entre ces temps-ci en ébullition, et le terrorisme qui a fait irruption partout sur cette planète et qui semble difficile à juguler.
      Croyez-moi Excellence, le reste de nos nombreux autres défis nous saurons les relever.
      Merci pour votre lettre
      Emile Nasr

      1. Votre commentaire Me Nasr résume parfaitement notre triste histoire depuis quelques années et tout le reste serait du détail…

      2. Cousin Emile,
        You are quite right in highlighting the 3 main ailments that infect Lebanon, and the rest of the ME region, and most of the rest of the world, for that matter. But we still can do much better than we are doing, if we deal maturely with the realities of our situation, and stop blaming “the other” for every evil that befalls us!
        Our leaders (whom we have elected and, sadly, continue to support, across the 8 and 14 March divide) should douse the fires of inter-community divisions rather than pour oil on them, with their flaming speeches, incitation of hatred, and (most of the time) unfounded accusations after each calamity.
        Whilst we cannot single-handedly solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or put an end to international terrorism, we can contain their adverse effects on our country, by adopting an (as much as possible) common vision of our Lebanon, and what it should look like in 2020. Should it continue to harbor militias of all sorts and colors? Should it continue to be sacrificed in order to relieve the pressure off Iran, or Syria, or Saudi Arabia, or Israel, or… Timbuktu?
        Let us do away with foreign affiliation, and suffer “together”, quietly and serenely, the unavoidable disadvantages of our geographical location, while enjoying the advantages of the same.

      3. I wish Lebanon well…such genuinely beautiful people. I admire your spirit, your culture and your exquisite cuisine.

    2. I wish Lebanese people would love their country as much as Mr. Tom does….Never mind the random negative replies that appeared here and there….at least (very modestly)..”US” the educated people that had the chance and the means to leave this country so many times….are still here and love our country….in the same way ..logical way…sincere way…away from all political opinions and non sense….We hail Mr. Tom and thank him for this pragmatic and yet emotional open letter submitted here….We are here to stay…and share optimism and love to our country Lebanon….with all contradictory political parties….we are all brothers under the same roof….once we learn to love genuinely this beloved country…we will all finally appreciate Gods given gift as heaven on earth to us…our Lebanon..

    3. Thx for the kind words Mr Fletcher..they really seem from the heart..
      But may we remind you that 90% of our problems are caused by one of your own ancesters…Mr you remember him?

      1. The sentiments in Mr Tom’s letter are surely what matters and point to the way forward. Blame can only incite bitterness, stagnation and retribution. For the sake of such a wonderful country and people embrace the contents of such a meaningful well intentioned piece and look ahead, NOT back. The future is bright if you let it be!

      2. Hey Charbel,
        Thanks for saying what I was about to say.

        I will add another thing.
        As as Lebanese, I am proud how my compatriots treat foreign guests (although this does not apply to all guests, unfortunately). What about starting to treat them the way they treat us? Why are you so afraid of us visiting your country?

        My favourite line in your letter was: “start ignoring advice from outsiders, including me”

        Thank you.

    4. Tks Mr Spears……………….Or……..Sikes-Picot…………. Or… ……………………..what’s coming next………………………………………
      W fehmkon kfeye……………………… please be realistic
      …………………………… say w’re clever…………………………………………………… Are you sure our destiny is in our hands,,,,,?

      Hoping soon the independence of Europe
      Best regards………………And thank you Tom

    5. Your Excellency

      Your sincere letter is commendable.
      The military aid and training to the Lebanese army by your government is welcomed but hardly enough to make a dent in the effectiveness of the army in term of individual arms carried by the soldiers by various brigades if you compare it to the weapons carried by the various militias.
      Watching the army at the roadside you can detect the humble gear worn by the soldiers.

      We encourage other European countries to mention few Germany, France Belgium etc.., to supply the Lebanese with individual weapons plus light and heavy equipment like trucks,APC’S and descent Tanks plus attack helicopters.

      The US have supplied good amount of weapons this year but more is needed including Tanks etc..
      We also encourage Japan to supply the army and police with SUV’s which are in great shortage.

      Russia and Belgium promised military aid to Lebanon army did not materialize.

      The Lebanese army remains the backbone of the state and the light at the end of the tunnel.

      Continue and enhance your needed support.

      A Citizen

Comments are closed.

About Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic in August 2011. Tom was born in Kent, and studied at Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone) and Oxford University (Hertford…

Tom Fletcher was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic in August 2011.

Tom was born in Kent, and studied at Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone) and Oxford University (Hertford College), graduating with a First class degree in Modern History. He has an MA in Modern History, and is a Senior Associate Member of St Anthony’s College for International Studies, Oxford.

He is married to Louise Fletcher and they have two sons, Charles (born 2006) and Theodor (born 2011). Tom enjoys political history, cricket (Strollers CC), and mountains, and is the co-founder of 2020 (a progressive think tank).

Tom was awarded the Companion of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2011 New Year’s Honours, for services to the Prime Minister.