Shock at murder of Lebanon’s Lokman Slim, prominent critic of Hezbollah

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Lokman Slim was a critic of Hezbollah who spoke out against the terrorist group’s role in Lebanon. He had received death threats for years in an attempt to silence him. He was murdered in southern Lebanon overnight and his body found Thursday.

He is one of many critics of Iran and Iranian-backed groups like Hezbollah who have been targeted in the region. In July Hisham al-Hashimi, an intellectual and commentator who also critiqued Iranian-backed militias, was murdered in Baghdad.

Lokman went missing yesterday, and he was found shot dead in his car in southern Lebanon. He was a publisher, intellectual and activist, friends noted. Many blamed Hezbollah and pointed out he was a critic of the terror group. It fits a pattern of assassination of critics of Hezbollah. His home and family had been threatened in the past, recently in 2019.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s son Jawad Nasrallah appeared to tweet in favor of the murder, claiming “losing some people is actually a win,” in a now-deleted tweet. Slim’s sister, Rasha, said that her brother was a humble man who was loved by local people. She also said that his opponents had lost a noble person who had been willing to discuss and spar with them smartly and comfortably.

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Around the world, people mourned Lokman, especially in Lebanon and among the Lebanese diaspora and others who have spent time in the country. People were shocked at the assassination. People who sympathize with Iran and Hezbollah pretended to care as well – the usual feigning of outpouring by those who excuse Iran’s behavior and the mafia-like terrorist behavior of Hezbollah but then are shocked by the brutal reality.

People posted memories online and also photos of his now empty desk, surrounded by books. Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias never build institutions of learning in the region; they don’t build libraries or bookshelves filled with intellectual pursuits. They only fill coffers with money stolen from the countries they have bankrupted, such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and they then replace the stolen money with munitions used to destabilize and guns used to murder.

The loss is felt by those who know that many of these countries deserve better – they deserve more people like Lokman as opposed to being hulled out, and having dissidents flee abroad, while militants digest the government of Lebanon.

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Firas Maksad, an academic, noted that the murder of Lokman serves the objective of subjugating through fear, “particularly during times of rising dissent. They failed to silence him in life; they will fail at stopping the tidal wave of anger still building after his death.”

Friends recalled having coffee and various meals and discussions with him. Many referred to the murder as a “mafia” style hit. This illustrates how Hezbollah behaves as not only a terror group, but as a state within a state, maintaining an extralegal arsenal and armed militia, pretending to the “resisting” Israel while in fact it crushes dissent in Lebanon and hijacks the presidency and parliament.

Samir Kassir was also murdered in Lebanon in 2005. Lokman Slim had also once been interrogated by a cyber crimes unit in Lebanon in 2013, in an apparent attempt to also silence him. In 2012, Slim took part in a gathering of the Press Syndicate to support Sheikh Hassan Mcheimech, a former member of Hezbollah.

On January 24, 2012, a gathering was held at the Press Syndicate headquarters in support of Sheikh Hassan Mcheimech, in the presence of Syndicate president Mohammad Baalbaki, the ulemas Mohammad Hassan al-Amin and Hani Fahs, former minister Ibrahim Chamseddine, Mcheimech’s wife, journalist Ali al-Amine and Sheikh Mohammad al-Hage Ali al-Ameli. It was moderated by Lokman Slim.

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