Luqman SALIM No to the Silencer – The man who is free never dies

Press Release – 08 February 2021

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression condemns in the strongest terms the assassination of the Lebanese writer and political activist Luqman SALIM, and calls for an independent international investigation.

The mentality of silencing and assassinations is still prevailed against the free speech and truth in Lebanon, and the assassination of Luqman Salim is a clear indication that the forces of tyranny are not deterrent from taking any action to silence the voices of their critics.

Luqman SALIM is an independent Lebanese writer, publisher, social and political activist and political analyst in Lebanese and Middle Eastern. Luqman SALIM was born in Haret Hreik in 1962 to a father who was a brilliant and well-known lawyer and an Egyptian mother. He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and in 1990 he founded “Dar al Jadeed Publishing House” which publishes Arabic literature, essays, studies and translations, it’s publications included the first Arabic translations of the writings of Muhammad Khatami, the former Iranian reformist president.

In 2001, SALIM moved into film production and produced several films such as “The Fighter”, which won the International Federation of Film Critics Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2005. With his German wife, Monica BORGMANN, he co-produced two documentaries, one of them about the massacre of Sabra and Shatila during the Civil War in Lebanon, while the second is about Tadmur Prison in Syria, where Lebanese prisoners were tortured. And In 2004, at his family home neighborhood in Haret Hreik, he founded Al-Umam (Nations) Research and Documentation, a non-profit organization, an organization that is creating an open archive of materials concerning Lebanon’s social and political history, and facilitates exhibits for artists to openly address the scars of the Lebanese Civil War.

Luqman Selim has published many books and translations, including, Oud al-Rihani on Arabic in 1998, Keys to the Syrian Prison: Terms from Behind Bars (Prepared with Others) in 2012, Signatures by Emil CIORAN from French to Arabic in 1991, The City of Politics: Chapters of the development of political thought in the West by Muhammad KHATAMI, Presented by Luqman and Rasha SALIM in 2000.

SALIM stood with the Syrian revolution and supported the efforts of Syrian human rights activists, and as an anti-racist speech against Syrian refugees he participated in many campaigns to support their rights.

He was one of the fiercest critics of “Hezbollah”, where he addressed the party’s activities and its violations frequently in television interventions, as well as addressing the corrupt political class boldly and courageously, he addressed important and major issues such as the exploration of Beirut’s port and other issues extensively.

As a result of his activities, he was subjected to many threats and intimidation campaigns by pro Hezbollah’s loyalists, in December 2019, a number of people gathered in front of his house in Haret Hreik, Shouting phrases of treason and sticking slogans on the walls of the house with phrases such as: “Hezbollah, the nation’s honor” and “Glory to the Silencer”. 

In response to that, SALIM published a statement accusing those he called “The bats of darkness” of doing so, and he held Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and his ally Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri responsible for what happened and “what might happen” to him, his family and his home.

On the night of February 4, 2021, his sister Rasha reported his disappearance, as he was later found at 1 pm in his car on the way back from Beirut to Beirut, with four bullets in the head and one in the back.

“They can kill Luqman’s body, but not his thoughts,” Luqman’s wife, Monica BORGMANN, said in a statement to the media. “I and his family will continue with his project and if they think I will be afraid  and board the plane to leave?, they have to wait for the end of their lives”.

The assassination of Luqman SALIM is a great loss for justice, freedom, truth and the struggle for them in Lebanon and Syria, and it is the continuation of the policy of silencing the voices pursued by the dominant forces in the two countries. The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) condemns the assassination in the strongest terms and considers it an inevitable result of years of perpetuating impunity, which makes criminals reassured and continues to terrorize the truth through a long series of crimes that still occur in Lebanon and Syria and bear responsibility directly for the de facto authorities in the two countries, SCM also calls for an urgent independent international investigation.