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Massacres of 1860… Part 2

You may read part 1 first https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/massacres-of-1860-between-druze-and-maronite-eye-witness-account-of-french-diplomat-on-the-field-part-1/

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: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/the-druze-of-lebanon-and-syria-esoteric-sect-claiming-to-be-islam-and-tacitly-cursing-prophet-muhammad/

Massacres of 1860 between Druze and Maronite: Eye-witness Account of French diplomat in the field

In 1860, Mount Lebanon was composed of:

1. About 120,00 Christian Maronite

2. 30,000 Druze, claiming to be Moslem

3. 40,000 Christian Orthodox who were called Melkite or Royalist affiliated to Byzantium instead of Papal Rome

4. A few thousand of Shiaa called Metwalis

After the animosity of 1840 between Druze and Maronite, as the Egyptian occupying troops, headed by Ibrahim Pasha, vacated Lebanon and Syria and Emir Bechir II was sent to exile to Malta by the British, Mount Lebanon was wrecked with violence and massacres.

The resolution of the situation ended up dividing Mount Lebanon in two Kaemmakam, or two cantons, self autonomous: One canton administered by the Druze and the second one by the Maronite.

The dividing line was the Beirut-Damascus road. This line was somehow arbitrary since many villages in the Druze cantons were mixed. The Maronite canton was not mixed.

The Ottoman foreign minister, Chekib Effendi was sent to Beirut in 1845 to execute the resolution.

The Druze were not happy with the privileges that Emir Bashir II extended to the Maronites during his over 40 years of reign and were ready to have the Christians pay back as Bashir was exiled to Malta by the British.

Before Egypt Ibrahim Pasha retreated from Syria in 1840, he summoned the Moslem clerics and leaders of Damascus and gave them this warning:

“I have protected the Christians. If I learn that you are back to persecuting and harassing them, I will be back with my army and will take revenge…”

All the while the Maronite exacerbated the Ottoman administrators for demanding the acquired rights and privileges after Ibrahim Pasha vacated Lebanon.

In 1940 and again in 1845, the Maronites launched two offensives in the Druze canton and were smashed hands down.

The Druze warlords and chieftains behaviors were close to Medieval tradition: The Maronite were laborers at the sold of the Druze feudal lords and treated as chattel.

The village of Deir al Kamar was the largest Maronite conglomerate, smack within the Druze canton, followed by Jezzine (on the south) and Beit Merry (at the north and within the Metn district). Zahleh was the far away Christian main town in the Bekaa Valley.

Hasbaya, in the southern part of the Bekaa, was mainly mixed with Christian Orthodox who were very industrious and amassed wealth.

In 1857, the Christian Kaemmakam Bechir Ahmed Abi Lema3 was kicked out of office by the Christians, leaving a serious void in the administration. The Ottoman administration wanted to bring back this Kaemmakam to his post.

At the same period, the Christian feudal Khazen clan in Kesrouan had been chased out of the district for serious egregious mistreatment of the peasants, trying to abuse of them as chattel. Consequently, the Maronite canton had no one to administer it: The Maronite clergy was the sole power remaining to keep the peace.

The peasant appointed the illiterate Tannous (Tanios) Chahine as leader of the peasant revolt. They gathered in Antelias and promulgated the human rights for the peasants and work ethics.

The Maronite peasants in the Druze canton got contaminated by the spirit of the revolt in the Maronite canton and started demanding basic rights.

This revolt lasted two years until the Maronite clergy felt the heat and reversed the objectives of the revolt. A year later, the Maronite clergy appointed the young Youssef Karam from Bsherri (up north) to militarily lead the Maronites. Karam was closely linked to the clergy and France and welcomed the Europeans visiting the Cedars and gave them lodging and dinner.

The Druze Kaemmakam Roslan was very young and basically this canton was administered by Said Jumblat, residing in Moukhtara, and the assembly of Okkal in Bayyada.

Said Jumblat was filthy rich and had acquired vast properties. He was a bastard, very short, ugly, and wore Turkish attire instead of the Druze traditional sherwal.

In 1960, a row took place in Beit Mery, where the European traders and consuls lived for the summer season. This fight spread and the Druze assassinated a few Maronites and burned property.  In general, the Druze men do the killing and their women follow them to burn properties that have been vacated.

The first blood was shed. The European vacated the town, back down to Beirut, a couple hours of horse ride.

Beit Mery was legally in the Maronite canton, but the Metn district was tacitly considered a buffer zone. Consequently, the Nahr el Kalb (Dog River) was the Lebanese Rubicon river not to cross by either parties in period of military upheavals.

The Druze committed another massacre in Jezzine and calmly went back to harvest the silk worms.

The winter of 1961 was spent in both cantons in war preparations.

In Beirut, the Maronite bishop Tobia was the most active politically and harangued the Maronite for revenge.

The Druze attacked Deir al Kamar and the villages of East Saida. The Christians around Saida, fleeing the massacre, were denied safe entry to the city by the Moslems and more Maronites suffered this calamity. (Story to be followed)

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


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adonis49

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