After serving for over 4 years as the Ambassador of Italy to Lebanon, Massimo Marotti is leaving back home with the Italian UN forces. As protocol obliges, he paid a farewell visit to President Aoun on January 24, marking the end of his duties in Lebanon.
During this visit, President Aoun honored him with the National Cedar Medal of the rank of officer in appreciation of his efforts in strengthening Lebanese-Italian relations.
The most remarkable though was the message ambassador Massimo addressed to the Lebanese people, expressing his admiration and paying them tribute for their patriotism. The message was as follows:
“Dear friends, It has been an honor to represent Italy in Lebanon. I would like to thank my staff, the men and women who have helped me immensely and with passion in fulfilling our mission to bring the relations and the friendship between Italy and Lebanon to a higher level in these challenging times.”
“I am grateful also to the Italian soldiers, who have been assisting the Lebanese Armed Forces for many years. Together with Zina, who accompanied me on a journey that we will never forget, I want to thank all our Lebanese friends who welcomed us with their exceptional hospitality, offering the warmest friendship. All along these years we never felt alone or detached.”
Ambassador Massimo expressed how much he has enjoyed Lebanon, especially Beirut, saying: “We discovered the beauty of Lebanon, North to South, East to West, and the vibrant energy of Beirut. We got to know the Lebanese, resilient, relentless, laborious, creative, determined people and so attached to their country.”
“Women and men, dedicated to serving their country, in art, culture, economy, academia, sport, social services, medical assistance, and they do it daily, silently, with dignity, pride, and love for what Lebanon represents.”
“Your Lebanon. You, the Lebanese who give back not 100 percent, not 200 percent, but 1000 percent, make Lebanon indispensable in our large Mediterranean region. We, the foreigners, are impressed and admire the way you keep your flag high.”
Ambassador Massimo’s message was clearly directed to the people of the revolution and the efforts they are dedicating into changing their country for the best.
“It is sad for us to leave now and it breaks our heart to see so many people suffering from the consequences of the deep economic crisis that is shaking Lebanon. You passed through gloomy nights before,” he shared with sympathy and went on expressing encouragement and his faith on the people:
“But you are a confident nation determined to shape the future and you certainly don’t want to surrender to this new, dark crisis. These are not the darkest hours; these are not the hours of despair. These are the times of building a more credible system.”
“Social unrest and demonstrations are happening everywhere in the world and reforms are a must,” he asserted. “In Lebanon, the people, especially young people, made their voices heard in their unique way that commands respect.”
“The Lebanese didn’t agree on their history books, but today they are writing a history that they all agree upon. They might disagree on politics, but they all agree on the love for their Lebanon.” He then concluded, “ASHA LUBNAN, WA ASHAT ITALIA.”