Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on March 28, 2020, devoted to the holy month of Sha’ban (which precedes the month of Ramadan) and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Summary of the beginning of the speech before the full transcript of the last section:
- The Lebanese abroad who want to come home should be brought back asap by the government at any cost (and with all sanitary precautions of course), because they are at great risk, especially that some countries are on the verge of “social & security collapse, and many people might get killed… Yesterday, we saw that in the US, who consider themselves as the 1st power on earth, with the strongest army, intelligence services and police of the world, there, everyone buys not only food and 1st necessity goods, but weapons as well. Because in the very US, in some cities & States, they are afraid of a social & security collapse, and a downfall of the regime. That’s why everyone goes and buys weapons to protect himself, his family and his home. So it’s even worse in some countries in Africa, etc. [from where our citizens should be brought as they might get killed]”
- In fighting the world war against coronavirus, Lebanon should watch closely what happens elsewhere and learn from the other countries’ experience. Some countries are overwhelmed by this pandemic and cannot manage it properly, even some superpowers are at a loss, changing course every day or so, like the US and UK for example. Lebanon is in a good situation because the cases are very few, and the whole country is mobilized and fights the threat seriously, with social distancing, quarantine, night curfew, etc. All Lebanese should unite behind this courageous and efficient government, and forget political grudges in order to defeat this virus. We should be aware and careful, but not panic in this long battle. We have lived worse than being forced to stay home for days and weeks, a real war is much more destructive. So let’s be patient like the whole world and keep self-isolating as long as it’ll take. Any loss is acceptable (economy, school, etc.), except human lives. People should be patient and resilient and not comply just for some time with the sanitary regulations and quarantine measures, and then relax and forget all about it. Such an attitude would waste all the efforts. It is a matter of life and death, and the price in this world and the Hereafter will be heavy for those who don’t respect the rules strictly and put their lives and others’ at risk. Social solidarity and cooperation are required because it will take many months before this crisis is behind us, more than 2 or 3 months. The poor and needy shouldn’t be forgotten (families, neighbours, clerics, charities, rich people, all should help). Government must take harsh measures to keep prices reasonable, as the merchants who try to make money by raising prices are guilty of treason. No one should die from the disease, and no one should be left to die of hunger.
- Banks must give the deposits back to the people. And especially, they should help the government and the country with their own money because they have made tens of billions of dollars from the Lebanese (let’s not say how they made this money now, one day we might), and only donated six million to fight Covid-19, just as much as they spend for their weddings in Europe, which is a shame. Even if the rich spend the money on their particular sect and not on all the Lebanese, even if they use it to “buy votes” as they did many times, never mind, the Lebanese people should be helped in any way. It would be wise from the point of view of this life and for the other, especially that if the world economy collapses, if some countries collapse, God only knows what will happen with all the money they stored abroad, it might disappear or lose all its value. So better bring back your money to Lebanon while you can. At last we should be human and treat the Covid-19 as any disease: if someone got it and is cured, we shouldn’t keep him isolated. We should treat the sick with respect and dignity at all times.
I developed three points about the current war against coronavirus, and my fourth point (is the importance) of thinking thoroughly about everything that is going on in the world. Everyone is following the situation, but above all, I call upon the political, intellectual, cultural, economic and military elite to focus on current developments (and their implications).
We are facing an unprecedented global situation, at least since the Second World War. And its implications are even more dangerous (and huge) than those of a world war. We do not know how things will end, but it may be that after the coronavirus, the world order will be completely turned upside down, and we will face an unprecedented situation. After the First World War, there was a new world order; after the 2nd world war, there was a new world order. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, and (the end of the Iron Curtain between) Western Europe and Eastern Europe, there was a new order.
Today, what is happening is much more important than what happened during the world wars, because it affects all (places and) areas. Today, in light of what’s going on in the world, there is a cultural, dogmatic, religious, intellectual and philosophical debate. Everything that concerns the realm of principles, culture, thought, religion and philosophy is currently subject to an earthquake. A real earthquake!
In addition, there is a debate on the priorities of the States, on the relevance and utility of the United Nations and the great world political organizations. Today, we do not know if the United States of America will remain united, or if they will be dismantled. Will the European Union remain united, or will it fall apart? Voices are rising today about globalization and its consequences after the coronavirus crisis, and there is a return to nationalist feelings and calculations, and to the priority given to the fatherland.
In economic matters, this whole capitalist and liberal system is riddled with criticism, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO). On economic and financial issues, at the level of international political organizations, (everything is called into question). There are States which we do not know whether they will survive or disappear. There are large and powerful military forces at risk of disappearing (NATO, etc.).
I make no predictions. I’m just saying that we have to monitor the situation closely.
Of course, we must not be too hasty, because some go too fast in the analysis of the questions and their implications, considering that the world is moving towards such and such and such a result (while we must be careful). Predicting what will happen now is very difficult. It all depends on the success of the measures taken here and there, even if the whole world is being violently shaken so far, it has to do with whether or not a drug or vaccine will be found, etc. But there is no doubt that we, today, the present generations, whether in Lebanon, in the region or around the world, we are contemporaries of an unprecedented new experience (in scale), at least since 100 or 200 years.
All the earth and all of humanity will be turned upside down, and the world will find itself in a completely new situation, with a whole new reality, or rather, to be careful, it is possible that the world may find itself in a completely different situation, with a whole new reality. I say “maybe”, but the probability is huge and real, and the objective data strongly suggest it, both theoretically and practically: at the intellectual and cultural level, at the political level, at the level of political alliances and organizations, at the level of the world order, economy, finance, public expenditure, at the level of social infrastructure, etc., etc., (everything is in turmoil).
We have to watch it all closely, because it will influence us, because we are part (of this world). In the region, we are part of it in terms of security, military, economic, social, cultural, health, in all areas. We are part of this world, which has become, as they say, a village, where everyone feels the impact of what is happening in any place of the world. We need to follow and monitor this closely, because developments can sometimes demand that we take action, or slow down, or even (for some, in particular the pro-Westerners) that our calculations be overturned in many areas that concern us all.
My penultimate point, the fifth —my speech has six points—, is that I call… Anyway, I will come back to this in more detail in my next speech, but beyond the concrete daily (sanitary) measures (which must absolutely be respected and about which I have just spoken at length), I call (everyone) to reflect on what is going on in the world, and to learn from it.
When we see for example that the United States and the American administration, which present themselves as a leading power, but in the end, this whole administration, which is not limited to the person of Trump, even if he has great influence, the entire American administration is completely taken aback and disoriented: one day they claim that (the coronavirus) is just an ordinary flu, and the day after, they say it is an unprecedented evil; one day, they say that on April 12, everyone has to go back to work and life has to start again, and the next day, several states declare a state of emergency, and the federal government declares a state of national emergency. The confusion is total, when it comes to the country which presents itself as the first world power. See (also) the situation of the richest countries in the world, etc.
What is happening today, and that we see on television channels, is made even more striking by the fact that we see it live on TV, because everything that could happen 70, 100 or 150 years ago in one place in the world was unknown elsewhere (at least for some time). But today we are in Lebanon and we can see everything that is happening in the world live on television.
What is the lesson to be learned? This earth, this world, this humanity… I will not say anything new, it has been said and written many times lately, but it is good that I add my voice to it. While civilization, technology and knowledge have reached their peak, while man has reached the moon, Mars, and whatnot, while he created nuclear and extremely sophisticated weapons, while he innovates in all areas, and while there is an unprecedented technological revolution in human history, etc., while the current armies are undoubtedly the most powerful in history, either in terms of personnel or equipment, and while the world powers have an influence on the whole face of the Earth, etc.
Formerly, there was only one man (with excessive pride), Pharaoh, who affirmed “I am your God, the Most High!” (Quran, 79, 24), the Pharaoh of Egypt at the time of Moses. Today, on all the Earth, how many Pharaohs proclaim “I am your God, the Most High!”, and how many Nemrods (bully against Abraham) proclaim “I am your God, the Most High!” ? There are a multitude of Pharaohs and Nemrods who behave as if they were God. There are even people who are even less (than Heads of State) and who behave as if they were Gods on Earth. But see in what predicament a simple microscopic virus, invisible to the naked eye, which remains largely unknown to this day, has put the whole Earth.
Anyone can reconsider the situation in their mind, without needing to expand. Let’s make a quick list: entire States are shut down and their entire population self-isolated, factories and businesses are closed, tourism has ceased worldwide, airlines search for a place to park their planes, the IMF has officially declared that the world has entered an economic recession, the unemployment rate is unprecedented, everything is paralyzed, disoriented, confused, the sick and the dead are piling up (by the hundreds of thousands and soon by the millions), everything is stopped —schools, universities, tourism, sports… What is still functioning? A simple virus has so far immobilized more than 3 billion people, since India, which has more than a billion inhabitants, has been added to the list. There are 3 billion and several hundred million people self-isolated in their homes.
Who put them in this situation? Who? An army? A government? A great power? (No such thing). They were placed under house arrest by a simple virus invisible to the naked eye. This requires everyone to think seriously (about the human condition) and learn from it. In such situations, one remembers what God the Most High said (to men): “It is only a little that is communicated to you in matter of knowledge, (O men!).” (Quran, 17, 85). Where is human science today? Despite all its sophistication, after 2 or 3 months, humanity remains powerless, unable to understand what this virus is, how it will be able to decode it, how it will cure it, etc. All the minds of the world are devoting all their resources to the question. The world intellectual and scientific elite is busy in all academies and in all centers of experts, whether with an ethical and humanitarian incentive, a financial and lucrative incentive, an electoral incentive or (even) a racist incentive, and everyone is looking for a cure. It is a historic competition that takes place today, with different motivations. But so far there is no cure.
May it please God that they find a cure! They don’t have to fail for people to learn from this experience, no! May God help them find a cure. The Mercy of God for His servants, in the blink of an eye, can embrace the whole world, by His Will, His Kindness, His Generosity, His Benevolence. But we, the human beings who follow things and undergo them, being at the heart of this ordeal, this battle and this war, we must learn from it.
It is natural, in view of human nature, and this has been seen throughout history, that men, when faced with trials and difficulties of this magnitude, turn to God the Most High and the Exalted. And we must appeal to God the Most High and the Exalted. Of course, there are people who are opposed (to religion), and who have other convictions, other thoughts, but that is their problem. But logic, rationality, arguments, evidence and human nature spontaneously push us to always turn to God and place our hopes in Him, especially when we have no other help but Him. That’s it, it’s over, there is nothing more to do, except to appeal to the Kindness of God, to the Mercy of God.
This call to God that I talked about in my (March 13) speech is one of the most powerful weapons we have, especially the good and humble people, those whose hearts are broken (by adversity). There may be many people who are not yet suffering, because as I said, the situation in Lebanon remains acceptable: the number of deaths remains very low, and even the number of sick, when we compare our situation to the rest of the world, we are in the best part of the list (on the day of this speech, Lebanon had 412 cases and 8 dead; on June 2, Lebanon counted 1,233 cases and 27 dead). So far, we are not in a plight, people aren’t starving to death. We (almost) have no coronavirus deaths, we have no hunger deaths; all we have is measures (of sanitary closure and isolation), and people have a hard time (being locked up) in their house, that’s right. But should we wait until our situation gets worse and become very difficult before turning to God the Most High and the Exalted?
Anyway, I leave this question to the minds and reflexion (of everyone), and I will come back to it on the next occasions God willing, in a few days, a week, 10 days, we’ll see. […]
“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah