Lebanese Diamond

BEIRUT: Tensions escalated Friday between the Lebanese Forces and the Marada Movement after LF MP Strida Geagea was accused of insulting residents of the Marada stronghold of Zgharta.

Geagea appeared in a video talking about her late father and how she met her husband and current LF leader Samir Geagea.

She said her father had described him by saying, “This boy is one of a kind because he is a true Bsharri man who went and stomped on the residents of Zgharta.”

Geagea had been speaking at a meeting in Australia with a delegation from the influential Tawk family, which is originally from north Lebanon’s Bsharri.

Despite comments made, the MP was heard in the video as saying: “I hope these comments will not be misunderstood because what my father meant was that Geagea was compassionate about his village, Bsharri.”

However, the Marada Movement was quick to “deplore the statements made by Geagea.”

In a statement released by the party’s media office, the movement said that “the insulting words and deep hatred not only affects us, but also deprives the Zgharta people of their dignity.” The statement called on the LF to apologize.

Geagea responded to the video’s circulation and apologized for her misinterpreted comments.

“I am sorry that some parties have taken my words in a different context,” she said, pointing out that she had been telling a “story that happened with my father 30 years ago, and everyone knows how the old mentality was.”

Speaking to local outlet MTV, she said, “I am known for my determination to [establish] reconciliations, which we started working on while Geagea was in prison,” referring to the Mountain Reconciliation with the help of former Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, struck with the Progressive Socialist Party. “I do not know if my words were cut short,” she said, regarding the video.

Addressing the people of Zgharta, Geagea said, “We are keen to accomplish the reconciliation [with the Marada Movement] soon, and forget about the painful past.”

Samir Geagea was accused of killing Marada MP Sleiman Frangieh’s father Tony Frangieh in the Ehden massacre on June 13, 1978.

There have been efforts to establish an understanding between the two parties.