Adonis Diaries

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Ireland and Lebanon: Same Immigration cycles?

The Irish are back to their traditional immigration frenzies.

In the last two decades, Irish never considered that immigration will be another option:  Investment of multinational financial institutions were flooding this island and the illusion of an economic boom distracted governments into diversifying Ireland’s economy.

Now the Irish have no excuses laying it on “The British” for buying immigration tickets, or for totally neglecting Ireland during the horrible potato’s famine in the 19th century.

Parents who raised families are now packing to start a new life in greener pastures, mostly in the US, anywhere else is fine too.

Ireland governments invested in infrastructures that supported financial transactions and modern airports, but not in industries or agriculture.  The game of quick wealth illusion is over:  The Irish are facing the fact that there are no opportunities in their homeland to sustain their addictive former life-style.

The US will be glad to re-welcome the Irish who have skills in financial transactions and programming.

The Irish started immigrating to the US by the 19th century, during the “potatoes famine” as England had adopted policies of subjugating the Irish through their stomachs.

The Lebanese have been immigrating since the turn of the 20th century.  The Lebanese had excellent reasons and excuses to immigrate to greener pastures.  International wars, civil wars, famine (locust), lack of opportunities, the void of any national identity, living in archaic political and economic systems were always there to give reasonable nudges to turn the Lebanese outside their ever-changing borders.

The Lebanese first moved to Egypt and initiated a cultural and literary renaissance that put Egypt on the map for decades to come.  The Lebanese ventured to the Americas:  Their destination was the US but captains of ships dropped them in central America, south America and on Africa’s shores, telling them: You arrived.  The captains of ships were interested in turnover. The Lebanese immigrants survived and flourished wherever they were dropped.

A few people would like to compare Ireland with Lebanon in its cyclical immigration episodes. 

There is a huge difference:  Lebanon had no England as immediate neighbor to learn and appreciate progress, development, and democratic reforms.  Lebanon had no England to experience uninterrupted 5 centuries of stability and progress.

Lebanon was smack in the archaic Ottoman Empire of a Calif/monarchy political and religious system for over 5 centuries.

Currently Lebanon is bordered by its racist arch-enemy Israel, constantly seeking to destabilize Lebanon, and the developing State of Syria intent on securing its moot flank in Lebanon.

Ireland and Lebanon relied on import and mercantile economy while waiting for financial support from the immigrants.

Both countries didn’t dare diversify their economies in industry and agriculture on the ground that they are tiny States and not capable of competing with far vaster and powerful States.

Both tiny countries, though Ireland is far vaster than Lebanon,  staunchly adopted the economic/political ideology that they are practically irrelevant countries to investing in heavy industries and self-satisfying their population with agricultural products.

The Irish immigrants had excellent connections in the most powerful States of the US and England and visited their homeland frequently to communicate changes and social transformations.  The Lebanese immigrants barely re-visited their homeland:  Political and social conditions never were appetizing for investments or returning for any length of time.

While the Irish believe that Catholicism is the foundation of their nationality, unconsciously forgetting that it is because they are living on an island, away from the mixing of other cultures, and that Catholicism united them as an ideological entity.

Lebanon has always been smack at the crossroad of all cultures and civilizations.  Every invading power, since the earliest ancient periods, wanted to conquer Lebanon to build a navy and abuse of its skilled and educated people.

If Lebanon’s sectarian political system revolves around 19 officially recognized religious sects (Moslems and Christians of all denominations) enjoying vast administrative civil privileges from birth, to marriages, to divorce, and to death it is a remnant of the Ottoman caste system.

The Ottoman Empire inherited the caste system from India when communications and trades with Europe were under strict embargo following the Ottoman land expansion in Europe in the 15 and 16th centuries.

This caste system was maintained by the mandated power of France.   Lebanon has no national identity but the process of surviving regional antagonism. Lately, the resistance movement of Hezbollah gave Lebanon a hold to be considered as a viable independent State after it resisted Israel’s invasion in 2006 for 33 days.

Ireland was unable to build a viable economy because the Irish are still impressed with superpower privileges and open borders for easy immigration. Ireland has no relevant and valid reasons to blame foreign powers to its cyclical immigration phenomenon:  Not yesterday; and not today. The Lebanese do have a dozen of excellent reasons to immigrate.

Note 1:  The caste system in Lebanon was structured along artisan businesses or gilds:  Every skilled group enjoyed privileges and occupied quarters in urban centers.  This restricted medieval trade structure extended to religious sects in modern times.

Lebanon has no national identity but the process of surviving regional antagonism.

Note 2: Shane Farrell shared:

Northern Irish artist Paul Brady’s 1985 song ‘The Island’ links the conflict in Northern Ireland to Lebanon.
How tragic it is that nearly 30 years later, his lyrics on Northern Ireland ring eerily true in Lebanon:
“They say the skies of lebanon are burning those mighty cedars
bleeding in the heat they’re showing pictures on the television…
women and children dying in the streets and we’re still at it in our own place
still trying to reach the future through the past still trying to carve tomorrow from a tombstone”
“now i know us plain folk don’t see the bigger picture
and all this peace and love’s just copping out
and the young boys dying in the ditches is just what being free is all about
and how this twisted wreckage down on main street will bring us all together in the end
as we go marching down the road to freedom, freedom”




June 2023

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