Renowned Lebanese-American oncologist Prof. Philip Salem said during a January 4, 2019 interview with LDC TV (Lebanon) that the general strike in Lebanon is important because it indicates that the Lebanese people are unwilling to accept thatthe current political stalemate. He added that Lebanon's Independence Day should be a day of mourning, and that the situation would be a hundred times better if Lebanon were still under the French Mandate. Prof. Salem concluded by calling for separation of religion and state. Prof. Salem has received many awards, including the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Following are excerpts:
Prof. Philip Salem: The Lebanese people would rather adjust [to their circumstances] than rebel. If there's no electricity, they buy a generator, and if there's no water, they buy water, instead of rebelling against the state in order to guarantee their rights. Today's general strike is important because the entire Lebanese people does not accept the current state of affairs, in which we have been unable to form a government for 7 months. We are presenting ourselves to the world as a failed state and as people who are unable to govern themselves.
Lebanon's Independence Day should have been a day of mourning, not a day of pride.
Host: Why? Because we separated from the French?
Prof. Philip Salem: If Lebanon were still under the French Mandate, the situation would be a hundred times better than it is today.
Host: Now you will be accused of supporting colonialism…
Prof. Philip Salem: We achieved independence, but what have we done with it? Where has independence taken Lebanon? Unfortunately, the political leaders and the traditional schools of political thought in Lebanon have caused Lebanon to wilt.
In Lebanon and in the [Middle] East, we will be unable to achieve any real progress unless we are able to separate religion and state, and, more importantly, separate religion and education, because education is the true revolution for the creation of a new individual.