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How Justice was done? Massacres of 1860 in Lebanon and Syria (Part 4)

How Justice was done in Damascus?

You may read Part 3https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/massacres-of-1860-in-syria-and-damascus-memoirs-of-a-french-diplomat-of-the-genocide-part-3/

Fuad Pasha, the Ottoman foreign affairs, was dispatched to head the team and the military contingent of 4,500 troops in order to restore order and security in Lebanon and Syria. He landed in Beirut on July 17, 1860 and detained the governors Ahmed and Khorshid Pasha, the officers of the garrisons in Rashaya, Hasbaya, Deir Kamar, Mekse, and the right hand of Khorshid, Vasfi Effendi, during the Beirut uprising where an innocent Christian was decapitated to appease the turmoil after the death of a Moslem.

He resumed his travel to Damascus, where the fresh massacre alerted the European nations on the fate of the Christians in the Near East.

Fuad Pasha showed zeal and unusual activities to convince the Europeans that it was not necessary of sending troops and meddling in the Ottoman affairs. He rounded up 800 from Damascus, restituted the loots and stopped two large caravans loaded with the loots to Baghdad and Aleppo.

On August 20, 1860, Fuad Pasha  hanged 57 and executed by firing squads 110 officers and soldiers, particularly those who participated in the massacres in Hasbaya and Rashaya in Lebanon.  More than 700 were sent to exile and forced labor.

Most importantly, the former governor Ahmet Pasha, Ali Bey and the commanders of the garrisons were executed. It was rumored that Ahmet Pasha, who had twice warned the Ottoman government of potential crisis in Syria, was quickly executed in order not to clarify the role of the Ottoman government in the planning of these massacres against the Christians.

(Parallel governments were at play in that period in Turkey?)

Ahmed Pasha had lived in Vienna and mastered several languages. It appears that he lacked the troops that he could rely on and the Majlis warned him that any intervention might turn the “insurgents” against the Ottoman troops.

The police chief Ali Ferhad Aga and 300 police sergeants were arrested.

Halim Pasha erased the town of Jeroud and brought to trial all its adult male inhabitants.

As Fuad pasha was speedily and actively restitution order and security, Europe got the fresh news of the massacres in Damascus. Napoleon III and Russia, pressured by public outcries, decided to dispatch a military expedition, though England was very reluctant of giving the French this opportunity to return to Near East.

The French general marquis Beaufort Hautpoul led an expedition of 4,500 troop. Beaufort had previously participated along side the French officer Seves (Sleiman Pasha) in the  many victorious battles of Ibrahim Pasha.

How Justice was done in Lebanon?

After a lengthy delay, Fuad Pasha returned to Beirut from Damascus, after he established order and hanged scores of the perpetrators of the massacre, in order to meet with the European commissions. Fuad Pasha summoned 37 of the Druze leaders to Beirut to stand trial. Only 6 showed up.  And he followed this order by destitution 37 feudal Druze lords (Mukata3tejis) from their privileges and properties

The Maronite clergy handed Fuad the list of 970 Druze that he requested and whom the Maronites claimed to have participated in the massacre.

Fuad Pasha reluctantly rounded up these 970 Druze and set up a military court in Mukhtara, just to render justice away from the intervention of the commissions staying in Beirut.

The verdicts were:

1. The Turkish former governor Khorshid Pasha, Tahir Pasha, Nourin Bey, Vasfi and Ahmet Effendi were to serve life confinement in fortresses in Cyprus and Rhodes

2. Twelve Druze sheikhs, including their leader Said Jumblat and Hussein Talhouk were condemned to death…

3. Over 33 fugitive Druze, including Hattar Amad and Ismail Atrash were condemned to death in absentia.

No public execution took place and the condemned people were exiled or sent to force labor.

Justice in Lebanon was a slap on the hands, thanks to the firm intervention of the British who didn’t want to alienate the Druze  of Lebanon. And Fuad Pasha contemplated to be designated as the Vassal of the Ottoman Empire in Syria and Palestine.

Note 1: The British commissioner Lord Dufferin  suggested that Syria (including current Lebanon) and Palestine be governed by a vassal to the Ottoman Empire, as was done in Egypt, and Fuad Pasha was the consensus name to be the new ruler.

This idea failed. Finally, a few weeks before the date of the retreat of the French expedition on June 5, 1861, the European commission met in Istanbul and decided to have Mount Lebanon governed by a outsider Christian, appointed by the Sultan. This was to be known as the Mutasarefiya consensus.

The first Moutasaref was the Armenian Christian Daoud Pasha and who was promoted to Mushir or Marechal, the first highest rank bestowed on a Christian in the Ottoman army.

 

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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