Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘caste system

First a Palestinian State according to UN definition. Then negotiation for a State of “Palisrael”? (Palestine/Israel):

Posted on December 22, 2008

There are reams and reams of plans and counter plans and resolution suggested to containing this everlasting unjust and uncalled for reality of the 20th century monstrosity that permitted the establishment of the State of Israel by displacing its original inhabitants (the Palestinians), as so many monstrosities in this century.

There are two viable solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, short of exterminating one party or the other, or most probably both, that has been spreading death, disabilities, miseries, indignities and humiliation since 1920.

The Israeli Olmert PM has lately declared that the time to facing truth has come.

Since the Madrid convention in 1990 among the “Arab” States and Israeli delegations and mediated by the US Administration, during the tenure of Bush Sr. for a resolution of this conflict, it was becoming evident that the “Biblical” strategy of Israel, for further expansion and preemptive wars, is no longer tenable.

A resolution was contemplated but the US had an old battle plan to invade Iraq before resolving this conflict, pressured by the US Evangelical extremist movement in the institutions.

The Bush Jr. “Son” administration dusted off this war plan and invaded Iraq.

This invasion has failed miserably but Israel is no longer necessary for the strategic interest of the US in the Middle East:  The US has military bases in the Arabian Gulf, it has many heavy weight allies among the Arab States, and the price of oil on the market is far cheaper than the need to physically securing its exploitation and distribution in Iraq, elsewhere or even resuming plans to intimidating China and blackmailing her by outdated military presence in Iraq.

The return of the heavy investments of the US in Israel has been reflecting sharp negative rates for decades, politically, economically, and socially within the US society and foreign policies.

My plan is of two phases:

1. The first phase is recognizing the State of Palestine by the United Nation, a State self-autonomous, independent and all, and No conditions.  It is of primordial interest by the world community and the Jewish State that the Palestinian people recover their dignity and rights as a full fledged State and be permitted to exercise the complex task of administering and governing a State.

At least from a psychological necessity, the Palestinian people should feel that persistent resistance and countless “martyrs” for re-establishing their rights as legitimate and independent people have brought fruits, as any genuine national resistance ultimately should.

2. The second phase is the merging of the two States of Palestine and Israel into a confederate State with a central government and several self-autonomous “cantons”.

I can envisage the following cantons: West Bank, Gaza (including Escalon), Galilee (including Haifa and Akka), Judea (around Jerusalem and Bethlehem), the “East Shore” (Tel Aviv, Yafa), and the Negev (including Akaba).

I have this impression that the tight religious extremists on both sides would opt to move to Gaza and Judea, and the very secular citizens would move to the East Shore or Galilee and the economically minded people might reside in the Negev backed by strong financial incentives.

The second phase will witness the return of the Palestinian refugees as ordered by the UN resolution of 193 in 1948 and the refugees would have the right to select the canton of their preferences.

I can foresee that the key offices in the central government would be equitably distributed, including genders, shared by the Palestinians and Israelis and a rotation of key positions imposed.

The representation in the cantons would be proportional to the general census of the period (at 5 years intervals).  The representation among sects, factions, or other types of social divisions within each “people” would also follow the proportions in the census.

I suggest to the interest of the future “Palesrael” State that Israel do Not follow Lebanon insane experience, and limit foreign interventions.

The caste religious sect structure in pseudo-State of lebanon should be recognized so that the State of Palesrael might study the pitfalls and strength of such a system of co-existence and avoid the unnecessary miseries of minor civil wars and countless frustrations in its future unfolding.

It would be inevitable that the State of “Palesreal” be guaranteed a neutrality status (no preemptive wars within and outside its borders) by the world community and the regional powers.

Then, it is hoped and strongly desired that the State of Lebanon would secure the same neutrality status.  Amen.

Note 1: John Kerry, State Department chief, has been shuffling between Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas since 2013, trying to find a resolution to the Palestinian problem.

So far, Kerry failed. Israel has been building more settlements than ever before, annexing Jerusalem to become totally Jewish, and demanding that the Palestinians and the Arab leaders agree that Israel is a pure Jewish State.

Note 2: Current state of affairs is pressuring the USA to withdraw its forces from the Middle-East and should contemplate restricting its unquestioned support for created State of Israel.

I “feel I should have the same rights as many enjoy”?

Why and for what purpose?

At the clanish level, community, district, national level?

As in the community of “humans” or in the category of “Homo Sapiens“?

Suppose you have been living for many years in a town, a community. The day of municipal election has “chimed” and there are a few unusual activities around you.

You are a very valued person in that town because of a particular profession, a handyman, an artisan… that allow you to visit most houses, connect with the family members, the visitors…

And you ended up knowing more of the town and decisions taken and activities that failed to materialize… from the families, directly or indirectly.

And people are flocking to the urnes to vote, for clannish reason, monetary incentives, promises given and promises received to be extended after election…or to flaunt your importance (Rakkiz Tarboush), kind of reminding the community that you are One of them and a very valued person outside the community…

And you know that most of these voters never cared about the town, the community for all these years. They don’t know the names of the members of the council, of the mayor even.

Not a single member of the municipal council ever visited you during the tenure of the municipality and you never cared to visit any one of them or ask pertinent questions.

But you know all of the members of the council, by name and in person and you extended valuable contribution, personally, to the house, to the municipality institution…

For some reasons you are Not in the list of people “permitted” to vote. You are Not from the town, from the country, from the Caste System ruling the community, the level of education…

How would you “feel”?

Just feeling others should Not be eligible to vote because they are unaware of the candidates, the needs of the town, Not living there… and you feel you are more eligible to cast your vote…

Is this feeling a valid ground to demand your “right” to vote?

This is one of the dozens of cases where you feel that your rights were thwarted as an eligible person to be considered at par with others.

Genders rights, “Race” rights, marriage rights, civil rights, human rights…

Forward you “feeling” of robbed rights and develop your basis on your feelings, activities, values… in each case.

Lebanon: An improbable Statehood in the making

Mind you this article was posted in February 20, 2008, 12 years before the total bankruptcy of the State of Lebanon, politically, economically and financially.  

Under the leadership of Hezbollah, the Shias in the south and the Bekaa Valley are basically and currently the main caste shouldering the heavy burden of defending Lebanon from the frequent aggressions of Israel. 

Before Hezbollah, Lebanon had many secular political parties confronting Israel aggressions (The Communists and the Syria National Social parties), especially during Israel invasion of Lebanon in 1982 until 1989, when mandated Syria gave Hezbollah the “monopoly to conduct the resistance.

Without the Shiaa, south Lebanon would have long been swallowed by Israel and Lebanon divided and scraped from the number of independent States. 

It is the Shiaa who forced Israel to withdraw unconditionally from the south in May 24, 2000. 

It is the Shiaa who foiled the strategy of Israel of reconquering the south of Lebanon in July 2006 and installing a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East.  

Hezbollah split from the main “Amal” Shia movement (of Mousa sader) around 1983 and adopted an ideology tightly linked to the Khomeini hardliners in Iran and is made responsible for the suicide attacks against the US and French headquarters in Beirut. 

Hezbollah was the only resistance movement allowed by Syria to operate against Israel’s occupation in the south of Lebanon since 1989 when the US Administration permitted Syria mandate over Lebanon for over 15 years. 

Syria had prohibited all the other Lebanese nationalistic and progressive parties to resume their liberation resistance during its occupation of Lebanon. 

After the assassination of Rafic Hariri PM in 2005 and the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon we have been experiencing a serious void in the legitimacy of the current government. 

The signed entente between the Tayyar political party of Michel Aoun (Free Patriotic Movement for Reform and Change) and Hezbollah has allayed the perception that schemes for a recurring civil war in under planning. 

The patient internally non-violence strategy of Hezbollah in conducting non-cooperation activities against an unjust and and mafia control of the government has permitted the Lebanese population to gain the assurance and relief that another civil war is not feasible.  

This Seniora’s government and its allies have been plundering the public treasury for the past three years (since 2005) and for the last 15 years under Rafic Hariri.

This feudal/sectarian/contractor continuous regime, establishing a Ponzi scheme for our financial system, has been spreading poverty and deepening the indebtedness and ineptness of Lebanon, with the explicit support of the Bush administration, and under the guise of empty rhetoric of democracy, security and independence from Syria’s indirect involvement in Lebanon.

Consequently, the Shia have proven to be the legitimate sons of an independent Lebanon and have paid the prices of martyrdom, suffering, sacrifice and pain in order to be the guarantor for the emergence of a Nation against all odds. 

It is the sacrifices of the Shia and their patience to suffer for the benefit of all Lebanese that is providing them with the leverage of flexibility, intent to change, learn from experience and improve. 

The successive unilateral withdrawals of Israel from Lebanon in 2000, an occupation that lasted since 1982, without any preconditions have given the Lebanese citizen grounds to standing tall. 

Our main problem is that the International requirements of Lebanon and our local politics are at odds. 

The USA, Europe and Saudi Kingdom would like to settle the Palestinian refugees as Lebanese citizens with full rights and thus avoiding the corny problem of their legitimate rights to be repatriated to Israel as stated in the UN resolution of 194. 

The Monarchy in Saudi Kingdom has been viewing the Palestinian question as a major liability since the extremist party of Hamas has taken power in Gaza.

Saudi Kingdom is exhausted of paying the bills every time Israel destroys the infrastructure of Lebanon and covering some of the expenses of the Palestinian refugees and would like an end to this conflict that is hampering the internal stability of the Wahhabi Saudi regime.

Israel invasions of Lebanon and its genocide tactics against the Palestinians are done at the urging of the USA 

The two main local movements of the Future Party (Hariri clan) and Hezbollah are more than content for this unconstitutional political dilemma which suits their short-term interests. 

The Future is satisfied with its dominance among the Sunnis in Beirut and the North and thus, giving the Palestinian refugees citizenship might create an unknown variable that could disrupt the majority of the Sunni allegiance to the Al Moustakbal. 

Consequently, the Hariri clan cannot disobey the Saudi orders but it cannot shoot itself in the foot. 

Externally, the Hariri clan is pro Saudi but in reality it is very cozy with the Syrian position on the Palestinian refugee status as its strongest card during the negotiations with the USA and afterward. 

The unstable constitutional political system in Lebanon may delay indefinitely any serious pressures from Saudi Kingdom and the USA to resolving the Palestinian refugees’ question. 

Hezbollah is weary of having to deal with a constitutional government and negotiate returning its arms to the Lebanese army. 

Thus, the two main parties in Lebanon are supporting each other practically and just playing the game of opposing forces.

Furthermore, The USA has decided after the fiasco of the July war in 2006 that no more investment in time on Lebanon is appropriate at this junction.  We have to wait for a new US administration to decide whether it is willing to re-open the file of the Near East problems.

The allies to the two main parties are side shows: they know it and they cannot change camps with the deep mistrust for the other side pledges and dependent policies to foreign powers. 

Thanks to the vehement rhetoric against Syria or its allies in Lebanon by Walid Jumblatt and Samir Geagea, the Future party has been able to give the impression that it is against the Syrian regime while practically it agrees with the Syrian positions and would like to keep the present status quo in Lebanon’s political system of the Taef Constitutional amendments.  

General Michel Aoun has realized that he has been taken by the sweet tender offers of Hezbollah but he cannot shift allegiance or form a third alliance since non resolution of the situation is the name of the game until further agreement among the main Arab states and the main superpowers.

Recently, General Aoun has demonstrated his independence by visiting Syria for 5 days amid a popular welcome to re-establish entente between the two people, if not the regimes.

So far, the polemics among the government’s allies and the opposition political parties are not shy of harboring sectarian allegiances in their charged speeches, but somehow they failed to discuss the actual caste, or closed religious system in our social structure, which is the fundamental problem toward a modern state of governance.

I do not believe that any fair and representative electoral law is of utility unless the basic caste system is recognized as a sin and altered accordingly to represent an alternative for the citizen joining a united and free status under one State. 

The first step is to instituting a voluntary State marriage law and letting the situation unfold into a more liberal understanding of the need of the people. 

The road is very long and arduous before the beginning of a semblance of trust among the Lebanese is established. 

However, I feel that the Shia under the leadership of a wise and disciplined Hezbollah and their corresponding Christian Free Patriotic movement are leading the way for a semi-autonomous Lebanon, at least in its internal restructuring. 

I believe that the necessities of survival would loosen up many stiff ideological and caste roadblocks toward a reformed political system and the institution of a governing body that abide in integrity, accountability and justice for all.

It is a fact that extremist Sunni “salafist” ideology is gaining quickly in all the Arab and Moslem World, out of desperation and the widespread illiteracy and lack of job openings. (See note 3). 

Maybe our mix of all kinds of sects might be a rampart to our moderate liberal tendencies.

The spirit of Statehood is coming from an unforeseen quarter. Mainly the Shia caste freshly arriving in the social and political scene around 1970. 

This disinherited caste was already a majority when the civil war of 1975 broke out and it suffered from the total ignorance of the central government for infrastructure and social services and had also to suffer the humiliation and atrocities of frequent Israeli air raids and land attacks and bombing of their villages under the disguise of dislodging the Palestinian guerillas.  

The Shia caste is opening up to almost all sects and managed to ally with large sections of many other castes. 

This extending arm might be considered as necessary out of the realization that they are a majority in Lebanon and a real minority in the neighboring States of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

This necessity is a blessing to Lebanon because the main major caste is encouraging unity against foreign invaders. 

In the event that Hezbollah maintains its strength, then it can be forecasted that the economic strategy of Lebanon will shift from tourism and third sector (the Hariri’s clan strategy) into more emphasis on agriculture and small and medium industries, many of it geared toward guerilla warfare. 

This is how the future looks like to me if no overall peace treaty with Israel is realized any time soon.

I used the term “Statehood” for Lebanon in a general sense to convey that a form of unity is developing in the conscious of the Lebanese, but this notion of Nation is far from appropriate to Lebanon simply because experiences since independence could not provide any evidence to a unified people under legitimate and responsible central governments. 

Lebanon is fundamentally an amalgamation of castes that enjoy self-autonomy. 

I still believe that the Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, and Jordanians naturally form a Nation and they should generate a common market with separate recognized States.

I am convinced the Taef Constitution was meant to have total entente among the various main three religious castes in Lebanon before starting to elect a new president to the Republic.

The entente should involve everything from election law, to the constitution of the government and other priorities. 

This fact translates into agreement among the main Arab States and the main superpowers on how Lebanon should be governed during six years. 

Unless the Lebanese leaders and political parties get together to review the Taef Constitution and be willing to pay the price of deciding to have a mind of their own, then Lebanon is de facto under the UN protectorate.

Note 1: the current Dawha agreement, after Hezbollah destroyed Israel communication control in 2008, translated the spirit of Taef in its temporary execution until the Parliamentary election takes place.

Note 2:  The Future movement of the Hariri clan (Saad Hariri is a Saudi citizen) is practically pro-Syrian but it cannot overtly open up to the Syrian regime as long as Saudi Kingdom is not currently in good term with President Bashar Assad.

Note 3:  The Sunni “salafist” movement expressed its strong arm tendencies in the Palestinian camp of Nahr Al Bared. The Lebanese army destroyed the camp along with the extremist Sunni groups and the ramifications are not over in our internal strife.

Note 4:  The social/political structure is held by 19 recognized religious castes that grow at different paces in demography.  Thus, the top of our Temple must be very flexible and changeable when foreign powers decide to destabilize the tacit agreement among the caste political feudal leaders.

Lebanon uprising (Intifada): Are we just slaves to our caste system?

Since October 17, the Lebanese took to the streets in every city demanding a change in our political/financial system. This sectarian system has degraded since Lebanon “fictitious” independence in 1943: we ended up with 19 officially recognized religious sects. each sect having the monopoly to its co-coreligionist civil registry from birth to death.

Since 1994, the civil war militia leaders of (1975-91) took power and control of Lebanon political system. Nabih Berry, chairman of the Parliament for 22 successive years, became the Godfather of these militia/mafia leaders. Every deputy in the parliament was attributed a monopoly in consumer goods, energy, financial transactions, services… and the head of the parliamentary block receive a substantial part of the profit and they appoint the civil servants in the State institutions. (This is the definition of Anomy political/economic system)

In 1994, Rafic Hariri was dispatched by Saudi Kingdom to become Lebanon PM and he set up the financial Ponzi scheme. Rafic would borrow loans and accumulated Lebanon sovereign debt from just $3bn to over $100 bn. The assumption was that the USA would wipe out all our debt as soon as Lebanon sign a peace treaty with Israel.

Actually, in order to force his being appointed PM, through his financial partners and the chief of the Central Bank Riad Salami, he devalued the Lebanese pound (LP) to 3,000 for the dollar and then re-instated the change to 1,500 to the $ and pigged it to the the dollar ever since.

Note: A re-edit of “Democracy or servitude in Lebanon’s caste system? (October 17, 2007)”

I recently read a 125-pages study by Safia Antoun Saadeh that was researched through a Fulbright grant.

Safia visited Harvard University as a scholar for the academic year 1992-93.  This study is so far the most condensed and comprehensive study of Lebanon social and political structure.

The study was most instructive and it clearly defined our social and political system that explains our problems and recurring civil wars and may forecast our difficulties in the coming months.

In a nut shell, our society has been gradually and consistently developing a political structure, based on a caste system (a closed religious sect) through the Ottoman legacy and has been strengthened since our independence in 1943.

The definition of a Caste is that it is a closed system restricted in five elements;

First, communities are ranked from high to low

Second, it is formed of endogamous groups where marriages is restricted within the caste and intermarriage among caste is socially sanctioned,

Third, membership is determined by birth and is inherited and ascribed,

Fourth, the group at the top may be the largest numerically, and

Fifth, mobility is restricted and an individual can move up within the caste and the caste, as a whole, attempts to move up; thus, the frequent rivalry among castes competing to take precedence in the hierarchical ranking.

All these elements actually coincide mostly with the Lebanese social and political structure and, however we understand the concepts of tribalism, feudalism, sectarianism, clan or classes, we end up realizing that they are incomplete models for our structure and are not satisfactory to explaining and forecasting our predicaments.

The contents of “The social structure of Lebanon” by Safia Sadeh starts with the definitions of tribal, sectarian, feudal, and communities, then on the Ottoman legacy in matters of occupation stratification and religious affiliation, then the period of transition in the 19th century, then the social stratification in Greater Lebanon, then society and social structure, then the fate of the State up to the Taef accord in 1991 and finally the conclusion.

(Greater Lebanon of just over 10,000 is an assemblage or attachment to Mount Lebanon by the French colonial power of the southern region, the Bekaa Valley and the Northern regions of Tripoli and Akkar)

As the sociology scholar Tonnies stated: “When many use the same language, they must be agreed about the use of names.  This is necessary in science, for science consists in exactly true statements. Every science must therefore start with definitions

I will define the terms of tribe, sectarian, clan, feudal, community, or class as an appendix; and although they are fundamental in elucidating our social structure, this article will overrun the requirements for publishing and I need to go to the point directly. I did though go into the details in my review for this study

The majority of the Lebanese are unable to trace their lineage as tribes and the exogamy rule has not been applied and clans have been integrated within the caste system.

The term sect, taken literally, no longer applies to the current Lebanese situation since we don’t have a theocratic state.  Translating sectarianism by “al ta2ifiyyah” is misleading.  There used to be sects in our ancient history when the Nestorians opposed the Byzantine institutional church or when the Shiis, Ismailis, and Druze opposed the Sunni institutional theocratic state.

The “Arab East” (Arabic Peninsula, the Gulf States and southern Iraq) did not develop a feudal system in any of its historical periods; the lords could not acquire big stretches of land that were passed to the first-born following the law of primogeniture by which the whole real estate of intestate passes solely to the eldest son.

First, the Koranic law stipulates the division of inheritance and second, during the Ottoman hegemony lands (Iqta3) were retrieved from the favorite officers at death.

Syria and Lebanon witnessed the beginnings of private ownership on a large scale after the middle of the 19th century, due to the Ottoman reforms.  The only group which was allowed to inherit land under Islamic rule was the religious order and later named (waqf) when citizens gave their lands to the Religious Order to avoid taxes or trouble.

When the Ottoman theocratic Empire undertook a few reforms that permitted the ownership of private properties and allowed that stratification might move along class lines then a class of feudal lords emerged and new secular schools were established and a Constitution was proclaimed in the Ottoman Empire that enabled landlords and notables to be deputies.

Usually, the Maronite Christian Order supported the peasant rebellions against the feudal lords to maintain its caste supremacy in Lebanon.

For a time, the lords of different religions would unite to oppose peasant revolts but eventually the caste system vanquished that trend and the lords rallied to their respective castes. Feudal lords would become the upper class within each caste.  Each caste had now its own religious courts, its own members in the representative Council and within the government offices.

In present Lebanon, I believe that a few families acquired huge pieces of land and sold whole villages to head the list of candidates to the Parliament within a caste system; for example, the Solh, Salam, Jumblat, Skaf, Eddeh and so forth.  A few of these landlords sold whole villages to the Zionist Organization.

It is unavoidable to defining a class because of the socialist and Marxist theories.

Class is an open system where individuals are ranked instead of communities and intermarriage is not restricted, and membership is based mostly on economic status and the hierarchy takes the shape of a pyramid, with only an elite or small group at the top but mobility is feasible to moving up through finance and professionalism.  Thus, a class is not just the opposite of caste as a closed system; for example, middle classes in countries are formed of individuals from all castes and have received education and intermingled, and intermarried and feel reasonably acquainted with their status and prospects.

Whenever a middle class is weakened then theocracy and undemocratic political systems take over the ruling of society.  The lower class of the poor and disinherited has never been a leader in any political change.

How did Lebanon end up with a caste system?

Stratification in the Ottoman Empire from the middle of the 16th century and up till the beginning of the 20th was set along occupation in its minutest details and then assigned ranks to the different religious community.

The hierarchical ranking of occupations started with men of the sword (Emirs), men of the pen (Ulama or Mollas), merchants and food producers, then artisans, then peasants, and others. The Ottoman theocracy prohibited mobility and ascribed occupations; for example, the son of a peasant was forced to become a peasant and artisans could not move from one guild to another even within the same occupation.

The cities were divided into quarters (haara) representing specific guild corporations (taa2efah) and each quarter was self-contained having its mosque, bath, market and gate to be closed at sunset.

These independent “tawa2ef” had no communication with each other and were directly linked to the central government through an appointed spokesman or “shaykh”; the hara had the right to arm itself and consequently, this historical custom to find arms in each house.

Each guild was imposed a limited number of shops and competition was not existent and even changes in design or fashion or shape were prohibited.  Each guild was linked to a Sufi order spreading fatalism or nasib or kismet (fate).

The Ulama restricted religious appointments solely to their children and thus became the wealthiest and most powerful caste because they were allowed to own lands and they didn’t pay taxes. The Ulama interpreted and set up the laws for the Empire.

The Moslem or (jama3a) relegated the Christians and Jews to a lower status (zhemmah) and were to pay the poll-tax (jizyah) and the land-tax (kharaj) and other restrictions.  The other non-Moslem sects were severely and relentlessly persecuted such as the Shiites, Ismaelite, and Druses.

The weakening of the central authority and the aggressive tensions within the guilds between Muslem and Christians and the increased Indian influence (in religion and caste system structure) led to the merging of the two stratification of occupation and religious orders (millet) and thus the present caste system in Lebanon along religious orders.

The Muslims from India were very influential and overwhelming because the Ottoman Empire cut off trade relations with Europe for a long period and because the Ottoman rulers were originated from Central Asia and the various Sufi movements were Indians by source and indoctrination.

The Christian millet demanded that each Christian sect acquires a separate and independent status and the Porte in Istanbul granted that request which led to the recognition of 17 millets; currently we recognize 18 millets in our political structure to include the alawit caste.

Thus, the identity of the individual is based on his religious community in Lebanon; furthermore, citizens vote in districts (kada2) of their base community and not where they actual reside or work and expatriates have not acquired the right to vote overseas.

Consequently, when the European colonialists were given mandate in the Near East the antagonism was not directed at their economic and financial hegemony but primarily directed on the religious dimension; thus, the Christians of the East paid the heaviest toll as the result of such a perception.

The National Pact of 1943, after the independence of Lebanon, divided the spoil among the two main castes, the Christian Maronite and the Muslim Sunni, which were dominant in the cities and controlled the economy of the country; thus, practically ignoring the rights of the other 15 or so castes until civil wars erupted every 20 years to remind the central government that the State is built on caste structure.

The fact is, just after our independence, and in order to keep the demography of the castes in balance the Christians granted citizenship to Armenians and Christian Palestinians but denied it to the Muslim Kurds and Palestinians. Even a plea by Hoss PM to President Sarkis for a single seat in the Parliament representing a secular candidate was rejected.

Essentially, our civil wars were the result of castes, as a whole, trying to move upward to become at a par with the dominant castes in numbers; for example, the Sunny caste in 1958 demanding equal power along the Maronite and seeking the help of the Egyptian Abdul-Nasser; then in 1975 the Sunny caste siding with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the hope of dominating the Maronite.  In the second half of the civil war, between 1984 and 1989, the Shiites attempted to move upward as a caste.

The internal mobility within caste led to serious changes; for example the political parties of Hezbolla and Amal unseated the traditional Shiite feudal families such as the As3ad, the Hamadeh, the Khalil, and the Osseiran; the Lebanese Forces unseated the like traditional families of Eddeh, Chamoun, and tried to eliminate the Frangieh in the north.

It appears that the Gemayyel family is on the way out after President Amine lost recently the election against a practically unknown candidate; the Armenian caste, which traditionally allied with the Phalanges party, parted company.  The Hariri party (or clan) of Al Mustakbal unseated most of the Sunny traditional leaders in Beirut, and with debatable successes in Tripoli, and Sidon.

The current dilemma is that the Sunny caste is trying to hold to its supremacy against the strongly rising Shii3a caste which is more organized, with self-independent institutions and a military wing that checked the Israeli invasion in June 2006 for 31 days.

The Shi3a caste is homogeneous and managed to unseat feudalism and regroup in just two parties that coordinate their activities and projects.

The Sunny caste would like very much to initiate a third civil war but was turned down by the Maronite caste because it would be the major loser at the end.

Michel Aoun averted the inevitable civil war, sought after by the Sunny caste and headed by the Hariri clan, by ratifying an agreement with Hezbollah; thus, the Maronite caste being divided then no civil war is feasible.

The second card that the Sunny caste is ready to play is to settle the Sunny Palestinian refugees and eventually to surreptitiously granting them the Lebanese citizenship.

Consequently, the Sunny caste is hoping to recapture the numerical imbalance with the Shi3a caste if they succeed in this plan with the support of the USA and the European nations.

The most striking development taking place is that the Maronite caste is in the process of getting freer from a caste structure because the Patriarch and his council of Bishops are no longer implicitly the main political power within the caste; this whole hoopla of referring to Bkerki as the source of their union is just within the explicit caste structure game, but the Maronite Order is losing its hold on the caste at this junction.

Ironically, the Christian Greek Orthodox caste is taking advantage of this situation and doing its best to move upward. The Greek orthodox caste has been basically urban and city dwellers for centuries but never formed a militia, nor did they have powerful feudal lords; their professional elites mostly joined secular political parties.

However, they established a University and the Majlis al-Millah decided to discuss and take concerted action on the current political issues and ordered their three ministers in the government not to abdicate.

I think that the Armenian caste is on the move up after defeating the government’s candidate, President Amine Gemayel, in the Metn election. I believe that the Armenian caste wanted revenge because the Hariri clan sidelines it during the last two elections in Beirut.

The assassinated Rafic Hariri PM game was to divide and weaken the adjoining castes in Beirut in order to have absolute hegemony of the Sunny caste in the Capital which he considered himself the sole leader; and thus he didn’t include the Armenian caste candidates on his electoral lists and preferred to select individual Armenians with no support from their caste.

This system of caste translates integrally into State bureaucracy.  In 1955, competitive examinations for civil service positions was replaced by a pass or fail qualification so that the best applicants would not know that the position was taken by a lesser qualified candidate just to fill the castes quotas.

The most damaging consequences is that the hired civil servant considers that he owns his position to the head of the caste and is not subjected to his superiors in the bureaucratic hierarchy. Thus, every firing of incompetent civil servant is viewed as directed at the caste as a whole!

Once a position is filed then the functionary has to fulfill all the requirements and demands of his caste before catering to the other tasks.  In 1992, after the Taef constitution, a bizarre Maronite Minister of Education hired 300 Maronite employees from his home town and in one sweep; the caste system resolved the problem by allowing each ministry to appoint a similar number of his own caste!

It is known that the Defense Minister Michel Al Murr was not bashful when he refused to enlist Shiites who reached the age of 18 in the compulsory training simply because they would tilt the balance of 50/50 between Christians and Moslems!

The most damaging institution that has prevented any modernization and led to the strengthening of the caste system is the judiciary of the personal status laws.

Each millet or in our case caste follows its own laws concerning birth, death, marriage, divorce, adoption, and inheritance.  Each religious caste has developed its own courts whose verdict the state is obliged to execute.  The castes have become independent legal entities.

The Lebanese state cannot implement reforms in these laws to place them in tune with a modernized society, nor do the religious institutions change the law as the later is considered sacred.  Two failed attempts were made, one in 1936 and the other in 1951, to force the different religious organizations to submit their status laws so that the government can examine them.  In 1952, the Lawyers’ syndicate announced an open strike for civil marriage to be initiated and a civil secular code to replace the various personal status laws.  The strike had to be ended after three months.

The various religious agencies holding both economic and legal power became formidable political institutions that oversee the interest of its members.  Remnants of the Ottoman system the Sunni “mufti” gets his salary from the Lebanese government and all judicial decisions by the Sunnis are published in the “Official Newsletter” issued by the government.

Moreover, this caste system reach an agreement whereby no Christian can inherit from a Muslim, and vice-versa, and thus a non-converted mother cannot bequeath her inheritance to her own children!  Our caste system allows our women to marry foreigners of the same religion but forbid marrying a Lebanese of a different religion.  Historically, a Muslim woman was prohibited from marrying into another religious group but the Christian caste could permit it until the unbalance in the demography restricted it and made it very difficult.

Both internal and external social controls are used in deterring the individual from breaking a specific prescribed behavior. One major factor in the establishment of a caste is the rule of non-exchange of women.

Consequently, the religious orders in Lebanon have acquired the status of caste because the jurisprudence in matter of personal status laws has been relinquished to them by the central government.  Conversion is made extremely difficult among orders by mutual agreement, except for political reasons and within the Christians castes to fill the quota in government offices.

Intermarriages among castes are not common and civil marriages had to be done in Cyprus or elsewhere for the government to accept the marriage according to an existing civil status law enacted during the mandate period.  Generally, males have a much easier allowance to inter marry outside the religious caste.

We, the Lebanese, are denied equality under the law of the land because it does not exists; we are like turtles carrying our baggage over our back and have to be subjected to the traditions of our respective religious castes, a system that is far reaching and follows us wherever we reside.

We are denied freedom to change religion, to change electoral district, to change our names, to work anywhere we chose to and to associate with whatever groups that matches our modern values. We are denied a democratic process based on peaceful transitions from allegiance to caste to allegiance to a rational State that abhors theocracy in any form or shape and release the citizen from his bondage to work toward a modern way of life over all the Lebanese territory.

The way I forecast the next political steps stems from my understanding that:

First, the Sunny caste is the most conservative among the caste and will be the last one to forego its privileges and this system;

Second, the Shiaa caste is the most homogeneous, most numerical, and self sufficient but wary of the combined efforts of the western nations and Israel to destabilize its supremacy and needs reassurances from the Christian castes not subject it to further harassment and displacement; and

Third there might be a tendency for the Christian castes to unite within a process of modernizing the system as the only viable alternative for survival in the future; and

Fourth the realization that, except for the Sunny caste, it would be beneficial for all the concerned parties to unseat Walid Jumblat as the sole feudal lord within the Druze caste.

The Christian Maronite sect in Lebanon has reverted to a closed religion and adopted the caste system since the independence of Lebanon in 1943.  The Maronite sect has agreed on a tacit pact with the non-Christian castes not to allow non-Christian members from the other castes in Lebanon to become Maronite.

I can testify that even Lebanese living overseas were not permitted to change religion: the Maronite Order made it clear that the process of changing religion is not feasible.  This Christian sect has sold its soul to preserve its supremacy as a caste in local politics and ended up losing its supremacy in 1989 at the Taef Conference in Saudi Arabia. (It has been allied to the Zionist movement as it landed in Palestine)

Although the office of President of the Republic, conferred to the Maronite, is no longer that powerful after the Taef Constitution; the current maneuvering is intended to come to an agreement as to the next stages of transforming this caste system and giving the Lebanese citizens a new doze of anesthesia until the plans and logistics for a new round of civil war are completed.

Unfortunately, the secular forces are not coordinating their activities commensurate to the dangerous climate that is being fomented.  The dynamic middle class in Lebanon has fled, for no return, and the existing one is too dispersed, weak and almost totally swallowed by the caste system.

The changes might seem insurmountable, but nothing is impossible with the will for survival.  A grass root movement of all the religious groups and led by the current middle class and syndicates, supported by the dual citizens of Lebanese origin, has to educate the disinherited citizens and to rally the secular forces and parties and to promote a program for a change in our archaic system into modernism.

This movement needs to destroy the barriers against interrelationship to implement the following program:

First, removing the power from the religious hierarchical orders by the following successive steps:

starting by forcing the different religious organizations to submit their status laws so that the government can examine them; then initiating a program to institute civil marriage law and a civil secular code to replace the various personal status laws; and then taxing heavily the religious “waqf” as lucrative financial and economic entities.

Second, a voting system that institutes for two parliaments: the Popular Parliament where a single deputy is selected by the majority of votes for each restricted district (no lists of candidates, please) and the National Parliament by the proportional method and the candidates are selected by the political parties and where women are to acquire a quota of half the numbers in the National Parliament after the second election.  The total of the two parliaments should not exceed 122 deputies.

Third, a decentralization of the government where the re-drawn Mouhafazaat, with access to the sea, might enjoy much wider responsibilities with the appropriate budget to cater for the social and economic well being of their citizens.  Encouraging competition among the Mouhafazats is a must and their corresponding budgets to be commensurate to their profitable investments and efficiency in saving money.

I decided to include the definitions of clan, tribe, sect, feudalism, and community so that the reader might judge on the correct description of Lebanon’s social and political structure.

A Clan or settled Tribe must first be based explicitly on a non linear rule of descent, it then must have a residential unity, and third, it must exhibit actual social integration.  The clan is independent and has a homogeneous system; it is a self-sufficient unit and is not ranked into higher and lower.

The majority of the Lebanese are unable to trace their lineage and the exogamy rule has not been applied and clans have been integrated within the caste system. Thus the tribal theory is inadequate in explaining the complex political, social, and economic picture of Lebanon.

Sects, by definition, welcome a voluntary membership by conversion, as individuals are free to adhere to a specific religious sect once they believe in its tenets. A sect has come to denote a religious conflict society which arises in opposition to an institutional church. The term sect, taken literally, no longer applies to the current Lebanese situation since we don’t have a theocratic state.  Translating sectarianism by “al taa2ifiyah” is misleading.  There used to be sects in our ancient history when the Nestorian opposed the Byzantine institutional church or when the Shiis, Ismailis, and Druze opposed the Sunni institutional state.

Feudalism means that lords have acquired big stretches of land that were passed to the first-born following the law of primogeniture by which the whole real estate of intestate passes solely to the eldest son.  The lords were opposed to the peasants who owned no land.

The Arab East did not develop such a system in any of its historical periods. First, the Koranic law stipulates the division of inheritance and second, during the Ottoman hegemony lands (Iqta3) were retrieved from the favorite officers at death.  Syria and Lebanon witnessed the beginnings of private ownership on a large scale after the middle of the 19th century, due to the Ottoman reforms.

The only group which was allowed to inherit land under Islamic rule was the religious order and later named (waqf) when citizens gave their lands to the order to avoid taxes or trouble.

Thus, historically at least, the feudal theory cannot hold in Lebanon structure. Though, in present Lebanon, I believe that a few families acquired huge pieces of land and sold whole villages to head the list of candidates to the Parliament within a caste system; for example, the Solh, Salam, Jumblat, Skaf, Eddeh and so forth.

Community revolve around three elements that are intimately interconnected: the element of descent which focuses on blood and kinship ties and where “family” life is the general basis or life; then the element of soil exemplified by the village community, and finally the element of occupation centered into guilds, corporations and offices.

Strangers may be accepted and protected as serving members but not easily as agents and representatives of the community. Usually, village communities have not been ranked historically on a scale of higher to lower.  Lebanon did not enter fully the era of communities and furthermore in our villages, communities are ranked leading to a quasi-caste situation.

Class is an open system where individuals are ranked instead of communities and intermarriage is not restricted, and membership is based mostly on economic status and the hierarchy takes the shape of a pyramid, with only an elite or small group at the top but mobility is feasible to moving up through finance and professionalism.

Tidbits and Notes. Part 252

Note: My previous large file titled “Tidbits and notes. Part 211” has vanished after I pressed Leave instead of Cancel. WordPress,com support system was of No help. If you know how I can retrieve the file, I’ll be very appreciative.

The world’s billionaires made more money in 2017 than in any year in recorded history. A UBS report says billionaires become 20% richer last year. (Mind you that their number is increasing crazily since China and India billionaires are closing the gap with the colonial powers of USA and Europe combined)

Seulement en Libye et en Somalie, les deux puissance au monde, le sabre et l’esprit, ont ete’ vaincus

Dans les democracies “equitables”, le sabre et l’esprit prennent la releve: pas tout de suite et pas a chaque election

Ces nuits passe’ en souvenir du polissage des obsessions, ceritudes et doutes

Invariable positions in politics should be reduced to the bare minimum: all issues (economics, finance, trade, social equity, election laws…) need to be ripe for community-wide discussions and referendum.

In Middle-East politics, I have two invariable positions, based on daily confirmation for many decades: 1) Israel is our Existential enemy, and 2) Greater Syria forms one Nation with One people (current Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq)

The successive governments in Lebanon, in order Not to destabilize the sectarian ratios, got hold of the UN resolution 193 for “the right of the Palestinians to return to Palestine” by forbidding the Palestinians citizenship and even the rights to work within Lebanon. Palestinian refugees were permitted restrictive economic sectors within their delimited ghetto camps!

Palestinians refugees would never be a burden to Lebanon or its security if Lebanon refused to cooperate fully with the wishes of this Zionist State.

The idea of creating Israel by England around 1907, with instigation of the US Evangelical sects, was when England realized that it needed a buffer zone to protect its interests in India through Egypt by eliminating any kind of unification of the Middle-Eastern people in the foreseeable future. 

The Balfour declaration in 1917 (through the pressures of USA Wilson) was to give it body by naming the owners of this buffer zone; indeed, the “Jews arrived carrying their Bible as an act of ownership” for the Prime Real Estate called Palestine. But first, Churchill had to create the Saudi Kingdom and then the monarchy in Jordan.

In fact, and so far, Israel is the only state in the UN that refused to define its borders; I wonder if Israel can be considered a legitimate State under the UN requirements.

Dr. Jamil Berry comprehends the caste system of Lebanon which is represented by 19 closed sect castes (most of them headed by a militia/mafia leader of the civil war).  This caste system views as anathema for the State of Lebanon to establishing a strong central government because their respective free float interests would be imperiled.

Thus, Lebanon is meant to experience a civil war every 30 years so that these caste leaders could destroy and exhaust any accumulation of energy and good will for instituting a stable governing system meant to cater for all the citizens.

So you won’t say: “Adonis49 is acting cool, Not commenting on sectarian discussions”

I have not approached Lebanon conditions and upheavals for a month. It is not that I despaired from my engagement for drastic reforms, but it is becoming a vicious cycle of the same, and that a substantial break for positive reforms is not materializing on the ground.

Let us analyse the facts.

1. Lebanon is a tiny State of just 10, 425 with about 4 million, give and take one million (the latest census was done in 1935, during France mandate).

2. Lebanon is surrounded by two powerful regional powers (Syria and Israel), each one of these “powers” strongly believe that Lebanon is not a viable State: Syria claim Lebanon as an intrinsic province of Syria (historically and geographically), and Israel thinks that Lebanon, rich in water sources, is letting water go to sea…

Lebanon acquired a virtual independence from France in 1943, and the last French soldier vacated the land in 1946, the year Lebanon was recognized as State in the UN, three years earlier than Israel. Since then, Lebanon failed to institute a central government, a State that citizens feels they belong to, instead of the 18 officially recognized religious sects, which are in charge of every citizen civil status, and not the government!

A Lebanese “citizen” has been forced, through tailor-made election laws, to pay allegiance to his sect, and local warlord leader…

Two civil wars failed to produce a “winner”, and every surviving warlords, or his son, came back to power, being represented in government and the Parliament (actually, being appointed by the “Elite Club”)

In this social/political void, complete lack of sustainable central institutions, Hezbollah had no alternative but to fill the void. Hezbollah established a State. It could do it: Iran is an excellent State builder, and supported the constitution of this “State within a State” situation by all means available (financially, politically, militarily, ideologically, and organizationally…)

Hezbollah managed to defeat mighty Israel in July 2006, after barbaric bombardment that lasted 33 days. Hezbollah extended a new life to the “State of Lebanon”: Could the citizens rise and establish a real State to whom we can pay allegiance for representing every citizen longing for equity, fairness, and wide variety of opportunities…?

Why when the youth demand civil marriage laws, the “State” (government and Parliament) feels obligated to bow down to a single sentence from a religious cleric (regardless of the sect) when he claims “Civil marriage is blasphemy (Kufr)?”

Why when youth demand fair and equitable election laws, the State sidestep these demands by constituting “study council” with no power attached to it?  Several of these study groups were established, but the same biased election laws kept being applied, regardless of alternative proposals submitted to government and Parliament…

Why when women demand equal treatment in civil right laws, like their children being entitled to citizenship and not be tied to the husband exclusively, the State keeps dragging its feet?

People immigrate to safeguard a remnant of freedom and liberty in their life.

The urge for liberty encompass a wide range of necessary basic needs such as: Not dying of famine, finding relief of curable diseases, expressing opinions, right of gathering and communicating with free people, voting for representatives in equitable and fair election laws…

Christians in the Near-East have been immigrating for centuries, but in the last decade, waves are of the largest in scale.  You hear so many excuses and reasons for this mass immigration, but fundamentally, freedom lovers, regardless of religion, genders, or ethnic minorities are seeking breathable fresh air, a hope that they are able to transform their lives, if the proper conditions and environment are available to exercising their free-will…

People in the Near-East (regardless of religious affiliation) and who can afford it, are immigrating because they want to experience a life within the framework of a State.  We have been living without central States since independence from mandated powers: What we have are nominal States, simply because the UN has recognized us as a State.

The State is just a framework (a gathering of caste system) to facilitating and coordinating trade-off of interests among the caste system. Lebanon is the most cruel environment for “doing it yourself” to survive: We cannot count on any sustainable institution to providing health care, education, electricity, potable water, affordable food, job opening,…

Lebanon has signed on every imaginable convention that the UN promoted. Why should a non-State sign on anything it cannot deliver?

Why the UN should even humiliate us by stating: “We consider Lebanon liable for not delivering on its responsibilities…”  How a practically Non-State is to satisfy any international condition or resolution?

Can’t we ask for a recognized State with no voting right? Like the one extended as an option for the Palestinian State? Since all our votes are never yes or no?  Since we cannot afford to alienate regional powers and UN veto-power States?

Why should Lebanon feels cornered at every situation and end up voting neutral?  Why Lebanon should be constantly threatened of a civil war if we decide to have a stand and a position? Even a nominal position?

We are being heaped with all kinds of internal and external indignities; we have been humiliated as “citizens” for 70 years, and there is no light at the end of this obscure tunnel.

Lebanon was not meant to be a State. We should receive a UN passport and let us deal with our lives anywhere opportunities knock. Period.

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”

Urban Islam and Rural Islam

Western Europe (England, France, and Germany) of the 19th century was hooked to Orientalism: The aristocracies wore turbans and Ottoman attires.  They were carried away with the romantic notion of an Orient (Middle East and Central Asia)  as being the remaining original primitive races and conserving the roots of “spirituality” (sufism).

The Jew Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister, was baptized at the age 12, but never relinquished his Jewishness.  Disraeli was a staunch Orientalist and categorized the Arabs as “Arab-Moses” and “Arab-Muhammad”  on the basis that they are the original races; thus, his classification was based on race.

Implicitly, Disraeli must have considered Arabs as a collection of tribes roaming arid desert lands and conserving their customs and traditions, not altered for centuries, in order to survive the influences of surrounding vast empires such as Persia, Byzantium, Romans, Greeks and so forth.

In the Near East, Antoun Saadeh, founder of the Syria National Socialist Party (SNSP) in 1933, divided Islam in his book as “Islam in its two messages: Islam-Christ and Islam-Muhammad.”  Implicitly, Saadeh classified Islam into two major sects:  Urban Islam (living near urban conglomeration and in fertile agricultural regions) and rural Islam (living in arid desert regions and rugged mountain areas.)

Consequently, Urban Islam or Islam-Christ is a set of sects that exhibit flexibility in changing customs, traditions, and have propensity to compromise and accepting even abstract dogma (constructs) to survive Imperial edicts (Byzantium, Persian and Caliphs…)

People in urban environmental setting are more concerned with commerce, trade, and freedom of opinion. In a sense, urban religious sects have tendency for assimilation into a culture that has demonstrated material supremacy over its surrounding neighboring people.

Rural Islam or Islam-Muhammad is a set of sects that refuse to consider abstract constructs and rely on sets of antique laws that regulate their daily life.  They are either petrified on mountain strongholds or arid desert regions that do not encourage easy communication and travel.  They lack financial means to trade for luxury items that might disturb the social fabric of equality in standard of living and the unity of the tribe.

There is a third class of religious sects than can resolve many difficulties in working out a taxonomy for religious sects.  They are the tribes living close to urban surrounding and fertile zones; they adopt nomadic characteristics, but have acquired flexible line of thinking.

They are the “conveyor belt” or the transmitters of cultural differences between the two major categories of sects.  They are the prime “intelligence gatherer or front-line intelligence agencies” for the powerful neighboring empires; they are the guides in time of wars; they guard the security of caravans crossing regions and extend facilities in water and supplies.

These third class of tribes have the mental agility to manipulating abstract dogma, though they preferred the freedom of keeping away from the lures of urban “decadence“.

It is no enigma why fundamentalist sects of all religions, and particularly the three monotheist religions (that I call “mono-idolatry religions”) move away from urban environment to far away regions, where they can exercise and apply their restrictive laws and not succumb to urban disastrous influences.

That what the Mormons did, the Calvinists, the Huguenot, and the Wahhabi did, and so on.

In the 20th century Europe, there were several kinds of Judaism.  You had the notable, professional urban Jews who were ready to be assimilated within the dominant culture of powerful nations; and you had the Jews of the “shtetl” in poor rural Eastern Europe and within non-advanced cultural regions; and you had the Jews of ghettos or tribes close to urban centers.

Obviously, there were Jewish tribes in harsh mountain regions in the Caucasus and other tribes in Northern Africa and the Middle East.  You had cosmopolitan Jews in Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Ottoman cities.

The Jews of the shtetl tended to accept the German ideology of the “volkish” or pure tribal blood with creative minds.  The volkish was a romantic notion that required to be settled on a piece of land for many centuries that conserved the folk spirit of the rural life style.

Thus, the various Zionist factions finally agreed on two fundamental notions:

First, the spirit of Judaism is rooted in the Orient and the Jews have to become the mediators between the Western and eastern civilizations.

The second principle was to finding a land and occupy it in order to satisfying the German per-requisite of the volkish ideology.

As Zionism settled in Palestine, it applied the two worst social and political structures of both civilizations.

First, it applied the apartheid and racist Western European ideology of “Teutonic vital space” (camouflaged under Biblical myths) by the sword and blood of utmost cruelty.

Second, Israel society was transformed into a caste system among its Jewish sects, for example Ashkenazim “European” sects and Sephardi Arab-Jew sects (and more blatantly with Palestinian minorities) in all its administrative and governmental services.  So much for Zionism mediation among civilizations.

Note 1: Antoun Saade proved that Islam-Muhammad was almost identical to Islam-Christ in the first 13 years of its proselytizing in Mecca.  It is after Muhammad settled in Medina (Yathreb) that Islam-Muhammad changed and had to institute laws governing the City -State of Medina.

To Saade, Jesus had no need for religious laws governing people, since Roman civil laws were the laws of the Land and because Jesus was against the 650 laws of the Pharisee sect, shackling people in restrictive daily life behavior and obliterating free reflection and liberty in thinking.

Note 2: The “conveyor belt” tribes close to major urban setting (Damascus, Aleppo…) were mostly of the kind of “heretic” Christian sects that refused central religious power. They had suffered from the frequent changes in religious belief of Byzantium Emperors…

Note 3:  This anecdote is reflective of the sameness in belief system at the beginning of Islam. Prophet Muhammad told his most beloved wife Aicha: “I know when you are happy and when you are angry with me.  When you are happy you say: “God of Muhammad” and when angry you say: “God of Jacob”

International Court Tribunal for genocides: do execute! (November 17, 2008)


Note: The recurrence of civil wars and genocides in a cyclical pattern in the Congo Zaire, Somalia, and Palestine/Israel required the courage to come forward.


We need to discriminate among the categories of mass murderers in genocide cases; those who gave orders to kill and maim, those who followed ordered under duress of being executed on the spot, those who followed order under duress of facing court martial and execution, and those who followed orders simply for fear of career, material and financial losses.  I would like all those who gave orders to kill and maim, from the highest to the lowest ranking, politicians and military men, to be executed. I would like the last category of murderers, who had choices not to follow orders, but did it for material benefits, to be executed in the International Tribunal. The two categories of murderess of those who barely had choices unless they die need to serve prison terms; the confinement in special prisons is for their own benefit: they would be able to focus on their deeds and then pay their dues to society and thus avoiding personal revenge from a “legitimate” point of view.

Sure, no prison terms would eliminate the nagging conscious for the rest of a life but it might be helpful to permit convicts of moving on, change behavior and participate within society instead of living on the fringes.  Of the four categories of murderers I am inclined to select the first category as the most vile and degraded human beings; at least instead of giving orders the officer should do the killing or maiming then he could be included in the prison terms categories and he would have avoided spreading cowardice and immoral behavior among his soldiers and subordinates.

In just the last two decades, over one hundred military conflicts were being waged around the world; most of them were hate conflicts among tribes, races, ethnic groups and sectarian sects.  Over 30 millions were displaced and more on the run.  Famine and diseases and under-development followed, killing millions more. The European States and the USA have enacted stringent regulations to limit the flow of political refugees.  Lebanon was a prime example in the eighties, Cambodia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Algeria, Yugoslavians, Bosnians and Croatians in Eastern Europe, and then Rwanda in Africa, Congo, Chechnya, Armenia, then Nigeria, Liberia, Sera Leon, then Ivory Coast, then Chad, then Afghanistan, then Iraq and now Pakistan and the cycle returns with Lebanon, Georgia, Congo, Somalia, Sudan, and Turkey against the Kurds.

All the militias in all these conflicts harbor the same behavior and attitudes; they raise high their Kalashnikov, they show their cigarettes in the same manner, they take nonchalant breaks, and then they are up to resume their dirty immoral killing and maiming as regular jobs. They all claim to follow orders from superiors and they are not that worried of being persecuted in justice. Most of the militias are barely over 16 and in Africa 10-year old were recruited (the most lethal and scary midget assassins).  In some countries almost a fifth of the population participated in the war, directly or indirectly, and they all got used to observing the massacres and blood shed and humiliations.

Gunter Grass mentioned that over 20,000 German deserters were executed because they refused to follow orders for the mass killing.  Why these real heroes have been forgotten and not commemorated every year? Ironically, these heroes are still considered as cowards and traitors by the German Army and most German civilians! Why only a sample, if any, of the perpetrators of genocides are brought to trial?

I can comprehend the example of South Africa for general amnesty as long as the guilty admits and clarify his deeds: you cannot imprison the fifth of the population because they willingly and ideologically participated in the apartheid system.  Argentina followed suit so did Chili but they should not have voted amnesty because only select circles in the army performed the genocides.  Lebanon voted amnesty to all, except those who killed clergymen, but went much further in the ignominy: the militia leaders were all appointed ministers for recompense and their subordinates elected deputies in the Parliament!

Not by the bread only…Stop all arms shipment to Africa! (November 25, 2008)


Note: The recurrence of civil wars and genocides, in a cyclical pattern, in Africa and recently in the Congo (Zaire), Somalia, and Sudan required the courage to come forward.


The general state of under nourishment, disease plagued, and horror mass killing patterns in most of Africa is the result of States getting their independence from Colonial Powers after their traditional social and political structures were obliterated without establishing alternatives that suited the majority of the people or were trained to practice it on their own for any duration.  The tendency of attributing the under-development of the African States on the basis of their GNP or other economic production criteria are shot-cuts to avoid investigating the sources of this under-developed condition because they do not honor the “civilized nations” who dominated these States for centuries.

In just the last three decades, over one hundred military conflicts in over 30 States were being waged around the world; most of them were hate conflicts among tribes, races, ethnic groups and sectarian sects.  Over 30 millions were displaced and more on the run.  Famine and diseases and under-development followed, killing millions more. As a consequence, the European States and the USA have enacted stringent regulations to limit the flow of political refugees.  Let us focus and recall the African States that experienced genocide on regular basis: South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Namibia, Algeria, Rwanda, Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Liberia, Sera Leon, Ivory Coast, Chad, Somalia and other smaller States and the cycle resumes its horror stories with no fundamental resolution for even medium-term period.  You will also recognize that most of these vast States are rich in precious raw materials such as oil, Equatorial Forests, diamond, gold, uranium and other metals.


I am inclined to believe that main factor of under-development is fundamentally a socio-political structure or an amalgamation of “juntas’ theocratic caste” systems taking control, governing, and running States.  I insist on the term theocratic because whatever predominant religions they claim to legally recognize these religions sects are at best skin deep.  The true religions and sects in under-developed States are variations on “paganism” (I am not offering a bad connotation for the term pagan but a description for the fundamental differences with the religious monotheist system in developed States, including atheism as a right).  Thus, the various tribes are attached to ancestral system of beliefs that are not officially or publicly stated.  These tribes or castes are closed autonomous communities that tend to regard the other tribes as enemies to the survival of their autonomies. The frequent occurrences of modern day genocides are fundamentally based on deep rooted theocratic caste systems.  Governments in under-developed States are formed of select castes and the rebellions, revolutions and genocides are outlets to re-shape the institutions according to the victors and governing under a different set of theocratic castes.

Most of the under-developed States that are not predominantly dominated by one recognized religion or sect will be facing recurring civil disturbances and thus lost opportunities for economical stability and development regardless of the magnitude of foreign infusions of money. Late Mai Ghoussoub mentioned the case of Ngoyambi, a 17-year old of the Hutu tribe in Rwanda, who is facing trial for mass genocide against the Tutsi tribe. Ngoyambi has no remorse and claimed that he won’t be afraid “if the judge is from the Hutu tribe because then he would not be wrongly found guilty”

Before the colonial mandates in Africa there was many skirmishes among the “tribes” but they were governed by social rules and very localized and of countable casualties.  Nowadays, these frequent skirmishes have acquired large scale magnitude in horrors and efficiency because of the despotism of theocratic juntas of castes after the “independence” of these States and the availability of efficient killing equipments sold by arm merchant connections that are themselves subsidized and managed by the superpower central States.

All the militias in all these conflicts harbor the same behavior and attitudes; they raise high their Kalashnikov, they show their cigarettes in the same manner, they take nonchalant breaks, and then they are up to resume their dirty immoral killing and maiming as regular jobs. They all claim to follow orders from superiors and they are not that worried of being persecuted in justice. Most of the militias are barely over 16 and in Africa 10-year old were recruited (the most lethal and scary midget assassins).  In some countries almost a fifth of the population participated in the war, directly or indirectly, and they all got used to observing the massacres and blood shed and humiliations.

I would like all those who gave orders to kill and maim, from the highest to the lowest ranking, politicians and military men, to be executed by specialized tribunals (not this puny International Court Tribunal that selects a very few samples of criminals).  I would like the arms merchants and those officially subsidized by the superpower States and their officials to be executed.


The liberal press and TV networks, in the Western “civilization”, loath to pinpoint the causes of these genocides; they claim that they don’t comprehend how human kind can reach such a low level of behavior.  What don’t you understand?!




March 2023

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