Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 12th, 2013

Pass me the Flute and sing with me… Gibran Khalil Jubran

« A3TINI NAYA WA 8ANNI  fal 8inna sirr al woujoud»
This Lebanese poem of Jubran Khalil Jubran was sang by Fayrouz.  Read the French translation from Arabic by Jamil BERRY in note 1.
Pass me the FLUTE and sing.
This whine of the flute
This secret of eternity entrusted to the wind
Will still be heard
When the world vanishes in the void
Have you, like me,
Elected the wood for home
Renounced and shun away the Castles
And escalated instead the docile rocks
And followed the course of streams…
To wash your body
In the fragrant perfumes of the field 
To dry off your skin
In a towel of light abundance?
If dawn has intoxicated you
This dawn of ethereal breeze in lenses…
Hand me the flute and sing
The song is the prayer
The most virtuous and most revered
Have you sat as I did,
At Vespers in the enclosure of the vines
Hung cluster and worthy chandeliers
Golden, beckoning to you?
Have you taken the green herb to nap on
And the sky for cover
Amnesiac to the past and its roots
And hermetic to the future strain?…
Give me the flute and sing
Forget the remedies and people’s woes
Aren’t we just lines written in water and lures?Gives me that flute and sing

This song does justice to the hearts

Note 1:


Ce secret d’éternité confié au vent

Le gémissement de la flûte

Se fera encore entendre

Lorsque le monde sera néant

As-tu comme moi …

Elu les bois pour domicile

En renonçant aux châteaux

Escaladé les rochers dociles

Et suivi le cours des ruisseaux

Pour laver ton corps

As tu pris les parfums pour eau

Et une serviette de lumière

Pour éponger ta peau ?…

Si l’aurore t’a -t-elle enivré

Avec ses verres de brise éthérée

Alors donne moi la flûte et chante

Le chant est la prière

La plus vertueuse, la plus vénérée

T’es-tu comme moi assis aux vêpres

Dans l’enclos des vignes

Aux grappes pendues et dignes

Des lustres dorés te faisant signe

As-tu pris l’herbe pour couche

Et le ciel pour couverture

Amnésique au passé et sa souche

Hermétique au futur ?…

Donne moi cette flûte et chante

Et oublie remèdes et malheurs

Les gens ne sont que des lignes

Ecrites à l’eau et aux leurres

Donne moi cette flûte et chante

Le chant lui, n’est que justice des coeurs

Note 2: When the Lord is great, it is good to be his vassal.

Massacres of 1860… Part 2

You may read part 1 first

Mount Lebanon was divided administratively into two cantons (Kaemmakam) after the previous massacres of 1840 between the Christian Maronit and the Druze sects.

The northern canton was administered by a Maronite Kaemmakam Emir. The main feudal clans that practically ruled the region were:

1. Al Daher in (Ehden, Bcharre… fiefdoms)

2. Al 3azar in (Koura and Betroun fiefdoms)

3. Al Dahdah in Jbeil (Byblos) region

4. Al Hobeich in (Jounieh, Ghazir fiefdoms)

5. Al Khazin ( n the higher altitude of Kesrouan)

6. Al Abillama3 (in Mtein, Baskinta, Salima… the current Metn district)

7. Al Hamadeh (in the northern Bekaa region considered part of Mount Lebanon)

The southern canton was practically ruled by the feudal clans of:

1. Al Arslan in the Chouweifat region

2. Talhouk in Na3emeh region

3. Nakad in the Damour region

4. Al Abd Malek in Aley and Souk al Gharb…)

5. Al Imad in the Barouk region

6. Joumblat in the Chouf region

7. Kabalan/Qadi in the Jezzine region

Mind you that in 1860, the Maronites in Mount Lebanon were about 120,000, the Druze barely 30,000 and the Christian Orthodox about 40,000 (many living in mixed Druze villages of Hasbaya and Rashaya in south Beka3 Valley).

The Maroites in the Druze canton were double the number of the Druze and were peasants, working the properties of the Druze chieftains.

The district of Metn was considered a buffer zone between the two canton and administered by the Abilla3 clan.

The Beirut/Damascus road was the fictional dividing line between the cantons

The Nahr el Kalb (Dog River) was considered the Lebanese Rubicon River not to cross in period of war between the two canton.

In 1858, the Maronite peasants in the Christian canton revolted and kicked out the Khazin clan from Kesrouan, with the tacit support of the Patriarch Boulos Massaad.  The cheihks of al Khazin took refuge in Baskinta. The Abillama3 clan incited the farm tenants to chase these cheihks out of town, Consequently, the Khazin supporter counter this gesture by inciting the Maronite peasants to chase out Beshir Abillama3 from his administrative post as Kaemmakam.

The Khazin clan supported Beshir Assaf, the other nephew of Haidar Abillame3, but the Ottoman Empire wanted the former Beshir to be re-instituted. Thus, the Abillame3 Emirs vanished from the scene of power in Mount Lebanon, after over 3 centuries of ruling the Metn district.

Khorshid Pasha was the Ottoman governor of Lebanon and Ahmed Pasha the governor of Damascus.

The Druze Attar 3amad was the sword of the Druze militia and he led them in all the battles.

The Infamous pest Ismail Atrash, descended from Syria Huran with a rag tag of Druze tribes and entered Rashaya.  The Christian Orthodox put down their weapons and took refuge at the Ottoman garrison. The Turkish officer opened the doors of the garrison and let in the bands of Atrash in. Over 2,000 males, adults, babies and elderly perished that day. The Turkish soldiers, most of them Arab recruits, plundered the houses and the Druze made sure to burn them.

The same process took place in Hasbaya. The last of the Chehab clan in the region were killed. The women were allowed to flee toward Damascus, penniless and without food. They thought that they finally were saved the horrors, but Damascus will experience the same kinds of massacres a couple of months later.

Ismail Atrash continued his progress toward Zahle.  The women were whisked to Kesrouan and the males fought for 3 days, until they withdrew and let their homes be burned..

The Druze of Hauran didn’t have to go back to their hometown for food resupply as in Lebanon: The Bekaa Valley was rich in foodstuff and the inhabitants backed this intrusion into Maronite enclaves.

Youssef Karam, the newly appointed Maronite military leader, preferred to get first the permission of the European consuls before coming to the rescue of Zahle. And thus failed in his primary mission as leader.

Deir el Kamar (the convent of the Moon) had a special status as an Ottoman protectorate and not within the Kaemmakam division of two canton. This largest Maronite village was “protected by a Turkish garrison of 1,000 soldiers.

It didn’t matter. Taher pasha supported the Druze in the slaughter hood. More than 3,000 males perished, all the wealth looted and the houses burned. Deir Kamar ceased to exist.

When there was no more male to kill, Khorchid Pasha arrived in Deir Kamar, gave the Druze two days to leave the town after looting everything, and declared:” The Christian inhabitants can rest in peace: Hostility has ceased…” The Druzes laughed it out: “Cadavers may rest in peace.”  Canon shots announced the re-establishment of security. The house of emir Kassem-Chehab was the last one to be set on fire.

An eye witness accounted:

“Taher Pasha had formally declared that they will be protected from any Druze aggression. Taher Pasha dissuaded a few rich Maronites to take refuge at Said Jumblat castle in Moukhtara. In the meantime, the Druze assassinated the peasants who ventured outside the town to tend to their lands. Food caravans were halted from entering and famine set in. On June 31, the Druze entered the town and assassinated two priests and 3 other persons at the door of the Serail and started looting the houses.

On July 4, the massacre was generalized: Male babies were snatched from the mothers and and banged on walls, males were murdered with instrument of torture. The elite of the population of 500 young males were huddled in the Serail and they were exterminated. Abdalah abu Nedjim was tortured with his 3 kids in the arms of the mother.

The Mutessellim and Turkish officers were impassibly watching and guiding the Druzes were the Maronite males were hiding…And the soldiers aided in throwing down the balcony many Maronites… Priests and clerics suffered the same atrocities. The village of Beit Eddine submitted to the same genocide…”

The fever spread to Beirut, and an innocent Christian was sacrificed and beheaded for the murder of a Moslem… The victim was sentenced within less than 24 hours, and the masses rejoiced the entire night. This French author described this single beheading as “Holocaust“.

Christian villages in the Druze canton were “cleaned”.  The Druze disseminated the news that the Ottoman are encouraging them to resume their advances toward Kesrouan, just to lay the blame on the Turkish power.

It was the turn of Syria to witness the same exaction on the Christians (To continue)

Note 1: Memoirs of a French diplomat who participated in the French expedition of 1860 to Lebanon and Damascus. The book was published in 1903.

Note 2:

Demolishing Iconic public Stairs: Mar Mikhael stairs in Ashrafiyeh (Lebanon)

Would you protest for the removal of a historic set of stairs in your neighborhood? People in Beirut are suffocating for lack of green spaces, and yet, local residents are willing to fight for stairs.

I watched on the evening news the protest of the neighborhood to that iconic stairs (about 66 stairs) and they all promised to die in front of the bulldozing machine… Many people have taken these stairs as their reference and place of daily work…

Ashrafieh is hilly. Sassine square is up on a hill and Mar Mikhael’s toes dip in the sea (before reclaiming the sea that is).

Anyone who walks around Ashrafieh/Gemmayzeh/Tabaris/Mar Mikhael knows how essential these stairs are, and the time they save. They’re also cultural and historical icons where dozens of festivals, exhibitions and performances take place.

 posted this Nov. 9, 2013

Residents Protest Demolition of Mar Mikhael Stairs

Here’s why the decision by the Municipality of Beirut (dominated by Al Mustakbal movement of the Hariri clan) to demolish the Massaad stairs, known as the Mar Mikhael stairs, is unreasonable.

  1. It means too much to so many people. This is a historic piece of land that many if not most of us have memories on. Personally, I’ve walked up and down (believe it or not) those stairs dozens of times when I lived in the area growing up. I’ve also been to many an art performance and exhibition on those now colorful steps.
  2. It is the only outlet for many houses on it.
  3. It’s too narrow. Just look at it, how can a road (which will have cars parked on the side) be of any use?
  4. Traffic. There’s a vast network of crisscrossing roads already, and adding this one won’t have much value, if any. It’ll just add to traffic on Armenia Street and make the resident’s lives uncomfortable.

I hope the ultra-corrupt Beirut Municipality will reconsider, and that the residents’ pleas are heard. I’d also like to tell the residents we are with them, and will support them in any non-violent action they take to try and stop this unfair and unnecessary plan.




November 2013

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