Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘naïve co-religionists

The State of Lebanon: A string of exclamation and question marks (November 11, 2008)

I need to state my position on the socio-political structure of the State of Lebanon.

Isn’t it enough that the individual is living a lie, that I have to swallow a bigger lie concerning my “nationality”?

Lebanon is a State recognized by the UN and it has endured for over 65 years after many civil wars and countless invasions by Israel and a long Syrian mandate for over 20 years.  Is not this fact legitimate enough for us Lebanese to unite and reach an understanding of common denominator that would protect us from further senseless divisions?

Let me recapitulate.  The Lebanese society is structured around 19 self-autonomous religious castes.  The various religious castes may be grouped around three larger religious tribes: the Christians, the Moslem Sunni and the Moslem Shiaa.  Let us expound on the smaller castes.

The small Druze caste is fundamentally in its inception a Shiaa “fatimide” sect but had found it more advantageous to obey the Sunni Caliphates for several reasons.

First, when the “Fatimide” dynasty in Egypt was replaced by the Sunni Ayyubide and later the Mamelouk dynasties, then physical persecution of the Druze and the Shiaa was common place. Thus, to survive, the Druze had to pay allegiance to the Sunni monarchs. Actually, the Sunni Ottoman Caliph empowered the Druze families of Maan and then the Chehab to dominate the political life in Mount Lebanon for over three centuries.

Second, in the State of Lebanon it was far lucrative for the Druze to take umbrage under the larger harmless militarily but powerful politically Sunni tribe since the Shiaa constituted a menacing immediate neighbor for their autonomy as a caste.

The Christian tribe encloses at least a dozen castes.

The Maronite sect is presently barely more numerous than the Greek Orthodox. It is said that the State of Lebanon would not exist without its Christians; that might be true.  But to state that the State exists because of its Maronites then it is incorrect.

The Greek Orthodox are by far the most numerous Christian sect in the Near East region and spread throughout Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine (Syria has more than 5 millions).  If it was not for the heavy presence of Greek Orthodox (and supported by Imperial Russia at the time) then the State of Lebanon could not be imposed no matter how, and the Maronite caste would not have enjoyed the supremacy of its administration for over five decades.  As a matter of fact, the first two Presidents to the Republic since 1920, under the French mandate, were Greek Orthodox.  Presently, Seniora PM is reluctant to define the responsibilities of his Greek Orthodox Vice Premier.

All these civil wars in the State of Lebanon were basically the need of this caste system that viewed the establishing of a strong central government as anathema to survival of its petty interests: their respective free float interests would be jeopardized and those two dozens warlords, small feudal leaders, civilians as well as religious, would lose much of their powers over their subjects.

Sure, the various foreign State interests played a catalytic factor but the civil wars would not have been so frequent or so enduring without our caste system.

Thus, Lebanon is meant to experience a civil war every 25 years or so in order to destroy and exhaust any accumulation of energy and good will for instituting a strong government.  All the foreign powers and regional powers know these facts except the Lebanese citizens who prefer to survive on chimerical dreams of a full fledged “nation”; sometime referred to as Phoenicia, or Canaan or Arabia or Nation of Islam, or even Switzerland of the East.

Lebanon is not a “Nation”; it is a State recognized by the UN.

Can we live and unite within this definition?

Switzerland is not a nation: it is a State and its sovereignty is protected by an agreement among all its strong neighboring nations.  Among the over 190 recognized States in the UN, maybe no more than a dozen could be legitimately considered as full fledged, self-autonomous and independent Nations.

The calls for defining our origins as a “Nation”, (be it Phoenicia, Canaan, Arab, Fertile Crescent, Islam or even Switzerland of the East), benefit only the regional leaders in their respective cantons; simply because they have no viable programs to entice their youthful “subjects” but to offering them chimerical fictitious national sentiments.

Tiny Lebanon needs to unite under a State strong central government in matters of defense, finance, foreign policies, national civil register, and general planning and control.

Tiny Lebanon needs decentralized administration and State economic incentives on performance.

Tiny Lebanon needs a fair and equitable electoral law; variations on the proportional system should be seriously considered for a feasible and lasting electoral law; with minor reforms every now and then as the central government affirms its responsibilities for providing security and opportunities to all its citizens.

The State of Lebanon needs to vigorously obtain the long lasting support of its regional powers to securing its stability, sovereignty and neutrality.

If, and only if the next parliamentary election in May is not rigged to maintain a balance among the opposite political parties, then maybe some kind of hope for reforms of this caste system could be contemplated with the tacit agreement of the regional powers.

Note:  I am Christian by birth but a secular citizen; no, I am not a Greek Orthodox if you are already suspicious.

I really don’t care about all these sects and wouldn’t care one iota about their theological and apologetic differences; all these sects are fundamentally politically motivated by their clergy for closed autonomic institutions and to get a piece of the pie from their naïve co-religionists.




October 2022

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