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Remembering Samir Kassir

A statue of journalist Samir Kassir was unveiled in Beirut on the first anniversary of his assassination. Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said the monument will stand "as a reminder to passersby of his great sacrifice in freeing Lebanon."

On June 2, 2005, Samir Kassir was killed outside his home in Beirut when a bomb destroyed his car. He was known for his sharp criticism of Syria’s nearly three-decade occupation of Lebanon. Prime Minister Fouad called Mr. Kassir a "driving force of the red and white independence revolution" that forced Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon.

In a written statement, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called Samir Kassir "a courageous voice for Lebanese freedom." Mr. McCormack said, "In his widely read columns in Al-Nahar newspaper, he gave expression to Lebanese aspirations for sovereignty and independence and to the desire throughout the Arab world for reform and democracy."

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent press freedom monitoring group, "Syrian troops and security services may have withdrawn [from Lebanon], but many journalists believe a shadowy network working for Damascus and its allies remained, and that it continues to pose a threat to journalists and press freedom."

State Department spokesman McCormack said those responsible for the murder of Samir Kassir should be brought to justice. "The United States," said Mr. McCormack, "reaffirms its steadfast support for the government of Lebanon and the Lebanese people as they work to achieve the goal for which Mr. Kassir and others have given their lives: a free and democratic Lebanon."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.