Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Syrian Nation


Remnants from an ancient Canaanite found in the Sidon excavation site. A genetic analysis found that the Canaanites survived a divine call for their extinction and that their descendants live in Lebanon. CreditClaude Doumet-Serhal/Sidon Excavation

There is a story in the Hebrew Bible that tells of God’s call for the annihilation of the Canaanites, a people who lived in what are now Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian territories thousands of years ago. (What we call the Syrian Nation, one people)

“You shall not leave alive anything that breathes,” God said in the passage. “But you shall utterly destroy them.”

But a genetic analysis published on Thursday has found that the ancient population survived that divine call for their extinction, and their descendants live in modern Lebanon (along all the eastern Mediterranean seashore).

“We can see the present-day Lebanese can trace most of their ancestry to the Canaanites or a genetically equivalent population,” said Chris Tyler-Smith, a geneticist with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute who is an author of the paper. “They derive just over 90 percent of their ancestry from the Canaanites.”

Dr. Tyler-Smith and an international team of geneticists and archaeologists recovered ancient DNA from bones belonging to five Canaanites retrieved from an excavation site in Sidon, Lebanon, that were 3,650 to 3,750 years old.

The team then compared the ancient DNA with the genomes of 99 living people from Lebanon that the group had sequenced. It found that the modern Lebanese people shared about 93 percent of their ancestry with the Bronze Age Sidon samples.


The Sidon excavation site in Lebanon. Archaeologists retrieved bones from five Canaanites that were 3,650 to 3,750 years old. CreditClaude Doumet-Serhal/Sidon Excavation

The team published its results in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

“The conclusion is clear,” said Iosif Lazaridis, a geneticist at Harvard who was not involved in the study. “Based on this study it turns out that people who lived in Lebanon almost 4,000 years ago were quite similar to people who lived there today, to the modern Lebanese.”

Marc Haber, a postdoctoral fellow at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in England and lead author on the study, said that compared with other Bronze Age civilizations, not much is known about the Canaanites.

“We know about ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks, but we know very little about the ancient Canaanites because their records didn’t survive,” he said. Their writings may have been kept on papyrus, which did not stand the test of time as clay did. What is known about the Canaanites is that they lived and traded along the eastern coast of the present-day Mediterranean, a region that was known as the Levant.

“What we see is that since the Bronze Age, this ancestry, or the genetics of the people there, didn’t change much,” Dr. Haber said. “It changed a little, but it didn’t change much and that is what surprised me.”

At first the team was not sure if it would be able to retrieve DNA from the ancient skeletons, which were recovered from the hot and humid excavation site within the last 19 years.

Dr. Haber had chosen more than two dozen bones from the site that looked promising and had them investigated for genetic material. It turned out that only five contained ancient DNA.

All of those came from the petrous part of the temporal bone, which is the tough part of the skull behind the ear, from five different individuals.


Ancient DNA recovered from bones in the excavation site was sequenced for a new study.CreditClaude Doumet-Serhal/Sidon Excavation

After extracting that DNA, the team members compared it with a database that contained genetic information from hundreds of human populations. They then further compared their results with the genomes of the modern-day Lebanese population sample, which revealed what happened to the ancient Canaanite population.

Genetics has the power to answer questions that historical records or archaeology are not able to answer,” Dr. Haber said.

He said researchers thought that migrations, conquests and the intermixing of Eurasian people — like the Assyrians, Persians or Macedonians — with the Canaanites 3,800 to 2,200 years ago might have contributed to the slight genetic changes seen in modern Lebanese populations. Still, the Lebanese retain most of their ancestral DNA from the Canaanites.

“It confirms the continuity of occupation and rooted tradition we have seen on-site, which was occupied from the 4th millennium B.C. right to the Crusader period,” Claude Doumet-Serhal, an archaeologist and director of the Sidon Excavation who is a co-author on the paper, said in an email.

She said that the archaeologists had found about 160 burials to date at their excavation site, which is in the heart of modern Sidon. They include graves and burials where a person was placed in a large jar, and they date to between 1900 and 1550 B.C. The genetic results further support the archaeological findings.

“We were delighted by the findings,” Dr. Doumet-Serhal said. “We are looking at the Canaanite society through 160 burials and at the same time uncovering a common past for all the people of Lebanon, whatever religion they belong to.”

Note 1: Lebanon and Syria were the crossroad (carrefour) of all people fleeing persecution and occupation by warrior nations or extremist radical religious sects since antiquity, the temporary melting pot until many transferred again to greener pasture. I won’t be surprised if most European people have many Canaanite genetic traces.

Note 2: One hundred years later, Israel could Not find any trace of their presence in Palestine: they were at best nomadic people who never settled near cities or by the seashore



Zionism vs. Arabism or islamism Or mainly the existance of Syrian Nation?

What is the frequent and successive preemptive wars on Gaza all about?  And how are the main actors performing?


Rami G. Khouri published this August 09, 2014

We should keep in mind two important elements of the frustrating continued uncertainties surrounding the situation in Gaza:

What is this war about, and how are the main actors performing?

First,  this is not just about Israel vs. Hamas in Gaza, as mainstream Israel-American media and politicians depict it, but rather about the deeper rights and demands of both Palestinians and Israelis.

Most analysts and politicians have focused on whether either Hamas or Israel have “won,” “lost,” or come out of this latest round of fighting in a tie.

That kind of very short-term analysis is useful in the span of days or weeks at a time, but the actual determinants of the ongoing clashes will likely remain the longer term drivers that have shaped this conflict for some 4 generations, effectively since the 1930s, when the conflict between Zionism and “Arabism” first ignited in Palestine.

Events are moving quickly. I write this a half hour after the Friday 8 am deadline for the 72-hour ceasefire to expire, and all kinds of possibilities are likely to occur.

These include renewed low-level fighting, all-out warfare, or an informal continued ceasefire followed by more negotiations, after both sides show their determination to kill each other until their demands are met, while Israel bizarrely refuses to acknowledge that repeated warfare has not achieved any of their key demands.

The attempt by Israelis-Americans mainly to focus only on Hamas’ options, tactics and aims is a mistaken diminution of the entire Palestinian national struggle for self-determination, rights and statehood.

They do this probably because it is easier for American-Israeli propagandists to highlight Hamas’ militancy rather than to grapple with the fact that all Palestinians — and most of the world, actually — support the demands that Hamas has articulated and that have been negotiated by the all-inclusive Palestinian delegation in Cairo.

So the next time you hear or read an Israeli-American journalist or politician talk about the position or demands of “Hamas,” simply substitute for “Hamas” the term “the Palestinian people” and you will get a more accurate reading of the situation.

Hamas receives disproportionate attention because it and its militant colleagues are the last Palestinians standing who use armed resistance to fight back against Zionist colonization, siege, assassination and savage attacks.

Hamas’ militancy sets it apart from Mahmoud Abbas’ Fateh and others who have acquiesced to Israeli occupational demands, but Hamas’ political demands are shared widely by all Palestinians. Those demands, especially lifting the siege of Gaza, releasing prisoners and ending the Israeli occupation and Palestinian refugeehood, are the core issues that must be resolved for the Palestinians to coexist with an Israeli state.

This is where the focus must remain, not only on whether Hamas does this today or that next week.

The second important aspect of the current situation — spanning both the last month and the last two decades — is that the defining characteristic of the six major political actors has been resounding and repeated failure, i.e., the Israeli government, the centrist and leftist Israeli political camps, the Fateh-led Palestinian government under Mahmoud Abbas, the armed resistance movements led by Hamas in Gaza, the United States, and the European Union.

In the four critical domains of war, peace, diplomacy and development, these six actors have generated a track record of collective incompetence that is as stunning as it is sad.

The default condition in the West Bank-East Jerusalem thus remains Israeli occupation and colonization alongside Palestinian acquiescence, and in Gaza it is Israeli siege alongside Palestinian armed resistance.

Neither of those situations is sustainable or desirable, but current approaches to conflict resolution have failed to achieve any long-term breakthrough — primarily, in my view, because the Israeli-American view of the conflict favors Zionist colonial supremacy over equal rights for both peoples, which prohibits Israel from acknowledging legitimate Palestinian rights and the United States from acting as an effective mediator or even just a credible facilitator.

The Palestinian side, with the sleep-walking Arab regimes competing for the Docility Award of the century, has been incompetent in mobilizing the enormous support and goodwill for their cause that exists in the world, and channeling it into an effective diplomatic process.

When these two dominant realities converge — focusing on Hamas instead of wider Palestinian national rights, while all the principal actors pursue their certificates in diplomatic incompetence — the result is the current narrow focus on military action by Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Until all parties move out of this constricted and distorted view of the conflict and tackle the wider conflict between Zionism and Arabism, we should only expect more bloodshed, destruction, suffering, and political failures.

Rami G. Khouri is Editor-at-large of The Daily Star, and Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, in Beirut, Lebanon. On Twitter: @ramikhouri.

Copyright © 2014 Rami G. Khouri—distributed by Agence Global

Note: In the fundamental and longer-term problem is the fact that the Colonial mandated powers of France and England foiled the aspirations of the people of the Syrian Nation ( constituted of the current states of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq).  The colonial powers decided to implant Israel in our midst in order to keep this people fragmented and divided according to UN faked borders and prevent effective integrated internal market.

Currently, Da3eshor ISIS has demonstrated that the borders between Iraq and Syria are fictitious and their troops are advancing on all fronts and from all directions.



The devil is NOT in the details; (October 16, 2009)


            Details are what bring people together to communicate, dialogue, and negotiate to reach compromises.  The main wall that separate among communities is the concrete wall mixed with myths, general concepts, and abstract notions.  Strong with draft details each organization can start to sort out the differences and comprehend the big picture; it is never the way around in social behavior. I will discuss two cases, one religious and the other of political nature.

            After the crucifixion of Jesus many Christian sects were born in the Near East in the first four centuries.  Fundamentally, these sects were almost identical in applying the Jewish daily rituals or the Jewish 650 laws of “correct” conduct. What separated these sects were abstract concepts that did not harm their peaceful coexistence in separate communities of believers: they never attacked by force one another; military persecutions started when the Church acquired central power in Constantinople; whole “heretic” sects and entire communities had to flee to safety. 

            Thus, The Mighty Wall was erected after 325 AC when Byzantium Empire decided to adopt Christianity as the main religion of the Empire.  Thus, the central power concept of the Empire dictated that church should be centralized.  Instead of focusing in negotiating on the details that split the various sects an upper abstract super-structure on concepts was imposed; concepts such as the dual nature of Christ, the deity of the threes (the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit), the virginity of the mother Mary and on.  This time around, the sects were to join the Orthodox Church by force if need be: a central Empire cannot permit disunity, even on totally nonsense abstract conjectures!

            Consequently, the labeled “heretic” sects had to flee beyond the eastern shores of the Euphrates River (to the Persia Sassanide Dynasty).  The Nestourian sect reached China and translated “their” Bible into the Chinese language. Many other “heretic” sects settled in the Arabic Peninsula; the Christian-Jewish “Ebionite” sect was firmly entrenched in Mecca; the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Ain Warkat, was the Patriarch of this sect and Muhammad learned to read in the Aramaic Ebionite Bible; Muhammad aided his uncle in the translation of this specific Bible into the Arabic slang of Mecca.  Thus, Islam is originally a common denominator “heretic” Christian sect, one of many Christian sects in the Arabic Peninsula; the Prophet had to delete all the abstract notions to unite the sects; it was named Islam or the belief in the One and only God.

            The strong animosity of the Catholic Church of Rome against Islam was not directed at a religion such as Buddhism or Mazdean but at a new “heretic” Christian sect usurping its central power in the Near East. The Orthodox Church in Constantinople was more lenient with Islam because it understood its genesis and the causes for the need of this new “heresy”; for Constantinople Islam was the oriental counterpart of Protestantism to Rome when Islam became the dominant religion in the region. 

            It is said: “the enemy of my enemy is my ally”; this Machiavellian principle was lost to obscurantist Catholic Church. Rome was too far away and fought Islam with the ignorance of abstract concepts. For the Catholic Church in 1,000 AC, Islam was doubly “heretic” instead of just the counterpart to the central Orthodox Church of the Byzantium Empire: it failed to realize that if Islam spread so fast and so widely it is mainly because most the labeled Christian heretic sects quickly converted to Islam as representing their system of belief against the monopole of Constantinople.


            The other case is the concept of a Syrian Nation with well delimited natural borders including Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and part of Iraq to the west of the Tiger (Dujlat) River. This concept was highly widespread among the people of the region as the Ottoman Empire was dying during WWI.  It was still even more alive during the mandate of France and Britain to the region (Near East) after WWI. The people in the Syrian Nation speak one language and have the same customs and tradition.  This nation was as natural as ABC; the immigrants were first called Turks during the Ottoman Empire and then they were all called Syrians regardless of location or religion.

            The main problem is that the political parties spent two critical decades proving the evident (according to the newer definitions of the West for a Nation) instead of making the effort to developing draft detailed programs on the type of political administrative structure for this nation, the social representation, and election laws; (for example, is it a Federal structure like the USA where each mandated State is fully autonomous with local government and local parliament, or provinces tailored made to religious, ethnic, and sectarian majorities, or loosely united States with open borders, common money, central army, or centralized foreign affairs; is Syria to be a monarchy and what kind). 

            Instead of discussing detailed programs, political parties mushroomed with abstract concepts not based on facts or pragmatic long-term goals. The colonial “mandated powers” of France and England had field days of “dividing to rule”.  Every sect established its political party in every potential State claiming either total independence, or seeking a pan-Arabic Nation of Arabic speaking majorities in States, or Islamic Nation.  We watched the emergence of communist parties disclaiming the notion of affiliating to a nation, to sectarian parties claiming democracy, socialism, and progressive. The worst propaganda that was encouraged by the colonial powers is to incite citizens against the Syrian people with the objective of discrediting the word Syria and giving it a bad connotation.

              Natural borders of chain of mountains, desert, or large rivers do not necessarily protect from invasions; natural borders certainly encourage people to trade and interact inside the borders.  It is the internal rough geography and terrain that protects from outside military incursions.  Once a force crosses the border then Syria is an open land all the way to Egypt. Syria, or the Near East, was continuously occupied by foreign armies: these foreign invaders had to retreat quickly or get absorbed culturally. Whatever monuments, constructions, temples, sport arena, or scholarly works that were attributed to invading nations (Persia, Egypt, Greek, Rome, or Arab) are basically the work of the Near Eastern civilization, their scholars, their craftsmen, and their adventurous business acumen.

            The City-States in the Near East (Tyr, Sidon, Byblos, Ugharit, Mary …) competed in commerce and trade but never attacked one another militarily.  In Greece, City-States frequently waged military wars against one another.  The Near Eastern people adopted defensive strategy; even Carthage in its apogee refrained to antagonize Rome militarily.

            Egypt and Persia frequent invasions in the Near East did not last long.  The Greek were absorbed: what Europe claim as Greek civilization is nothing less than the civilization of the Greek writing Syrians who spoke Aramaic.  Rome was finally absorbed: the Roman Laws are of the legal minds from the school of Beirut and the latest Emperors were born, raised, and educated in Syria. The Byzantium Empire was fundamentally a Near Eastern Empire.  The Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula were absorbed when Damascus was selected as Capital during the Umayyad Dynasty; the Arabs were absorbed by the Persian civilization when the capital shifted to Baghdad.  The Mogul retreated quickly but established long lasting Empires in India and Afghanistan. The Ottoman conquered this land and could not be absorbed: the Syrian people were already exhausted from many years of successive invasions, religious obscurantism, and immigration by scholars to greener pastures.  France and England retreated within two decades.  Israel failed to retreat on time and is now being absorbed as Near Eastern regardless of Israel attempts to seeking European image.

            Consequently, failing to writing a draft on a possible administrative program for the Syrian Nation opened the door to abstract concept instead of working out negotiation and dialogue on pragmatic matters that concerned the people.




February 2018
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