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Posts Tagged ‘The Druze

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.

The Druze of Lebanon and Syria: Esoteric sect?

The Unitarian sect, the “Muwwahhidoun” (among themselves and excluding the Ignorant Juohhal)

The Druze religious sect constitutes one of the most extravagant of sects. The adepts, persecuted by the majority of Moslems, began to keep their distance from Islam to the point of having nothing much that links it to Islam.

The Druzes took refuge in the center of Mount Lebanon and in the surrounding high plateau in south of the Bekaa Valley, in Hasbaya and Rashaya, and in the Houran plateau in adjacent Syria and the Golan Heights.

The Druze adepts formed a distinct community and counted about 30,000 in 1860 when the mass massacres between the Druze and Maronite spread into Syria and Damascus and harvested thousands of civilians.

This peculiar religion appeared around the year 1,000, during the reign of the Fatimid Caliph Al Hakem (985-1018) in Egypt. (Read Note 2)

The Fatimid Caliph Al Hakem (985-1018) was a bizarre and complex person. He assassinated his tutors, gave order to kill all the prisoners in Cairo, and organized bloody combats as the night fell.

He drowned all his favorite women and his spouses in the Nile River, and ordered women never to leave their homes.

El Hakeem forbade eating the main food Mloukhia and many other ingredients, prohibited fishing and to sell fish with no scale…

He was a grand persecutor of Christians and burned their churches in Egypt and Syria…

El Hakem was claimed to have disappeared in 1021, to return at the End of Time.

This Caliph is believed to be God incarnate on earth by the Druze, and he is to be the last incarnate God.

The real founder of the Druze is Hamzeh, of Persian origin who settled in Cairo and was one of the closest to the caliph. Somehow he managed to be spared assassination by el Hakem.

Hamzeh began proselytizing in 1018 and proclaimed the divinity of his master el Hakem. Hamzeh dispatched his emissary Darazy to preach in Lebanon, in the regions of Hasbaya and Rashayya, close to the current Syrian borders with the Golan Heights.

Darazy ended up proclaiming to be divine and was assassinated, but the adepts had taken the name of Druze.

Hamzeh wrote 111 letters called “The Wise Letters”, which constitute the saint book for the Druze.

One of the letters attacked all the prophets and lambasted Prophet Mohammad as the calf, the devil, the bastard and the immature

The first dogmas is Metempsychosis, the soul is reincarnated into another mankind body  in order to resume its purification… This process continues until the Coming of Al Hakem.

The second main dogma is to rally the most powerful empire dominating the region and the most dominant of religion.

Since the dogma is of a high level rank that even the initiates have difficulty understanding, the Druze adepts must hide the mysteries, refrain from discussing the religion, and externally profess the dominant religion at the time...”. This attitude is referred to by “Takiyya

Actually, the Druze behavior was to adhere to the foreign missionaries religion who represented the most powerful nation at any period, studies in their schools and worked for them…

At the time, Islam was the dominant religion and they claimed to be Moslem.  The domination of Islam lasted too long in the region to be able to shift allegiance to another major religion.

As power shifts, the Druze shift allegiance. (Read Note 3)

A third dogma is to practice “Revenge” as a sacred responsibility against any one who kills a Druze.  The revenge should be dealt in a surprise manner, after a long time has elapsed to the killing, so as not to divulge the main perpetrator and why the target was killed…

The non Druze are called the Ignorant (as is the case in every religion), and the highest in the clergy are called the Wise (Okkal).

The Sheikh Akal is but the symbolic highest clergy or the main speaker in the name  of the sect: The real power resides in the highest group located in the saint place in Bayyada (the Hasbaya region). This assembly is the power who decides politically, militarily, socially, and religiously for the Druze… (Read Note 4)

Note 1: From the book “Memoirs of Syria: French expedition of 1860 to Lebanon and Damascus“, written by a French diplomat who attended all the negotiations to end the series of secular massacres between the Maronites and the Druzes

The first western published book on the Druze sect (1838) was by Sylvester de Sacy  in “Exhibit of the Druze religion”. The book is objective in the description and analysis, but lack the Orient comprehension of the deeper reality of this religion.

Sylvester de Sacy accompanied Bonaparte in his Egyptian campaign and stayed in Egypt for 40 years. 

One of the more recent books on the Druze sect was published in Paris in 1980 by 3 anonymous (non-western) authors and titled “Between the Logos (reason) and the Prophet” (Bayn al 3akl wa al nabi)

Note 2: Mind you that it was about this period that Byzantine Empire in Constantinople started another round of major persecution of the “heretic” Christian sects that opted to pay allegiance to the Pope of Rome. Among those persecuted Christian sects was the Maronite sect which fled and took refuge in the northern parts of the mountainous Mount Lebanon.

The Melkite (Royalist) Christian sect, later called the Orthodox Church, was the main persecutor of the Maronites and not any Moslem sect.

It is at the turn of this first millennial that many mysterious and underground religious sects were created and prospered. The Alawit sect spread at this period too.

The people were fearful and apprehensive of the coming calamities, but the extreme zealot people took advantage of people emotional weaknesses

Note 3: When the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser was dominating the politics of the Arabic World, the Druze sided with Nasser.

In 1975-76, the Druze, represented by the leader Kamal Jumblat, sided with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) that dominated Lebanon and headed by Yasser Arafat.

In 1976-82, the Druze, headed by the son Walid Jumblat, sided with the Pro-Syrian political factions

In 1982, the Druze sided with the invading Israeli troops and facilitated their advances and refused to confront them…

Note 4: The Takkiya is performed not just on the non-Druze, but this habit applies on their political leaders. For example, the Okkal Assembly were very displeased with Kamal Jumblat alliances with the PLO and communist Soviet Union. They gave Syria dictator Hafez Assad the green light to assassinate Kamal in 1978.

Note 5: The son Walid Jumblat got the message loud and clear and never ceased to obey the Okkal Assembly orders and decisions. Every season, Walid changes his position to coincide with the perceived strength of local and foreign powers. Walid keeps apologizing for his frequent “momentary lapses in judgments“.  But Walid doesn’t care, as long as the Druze believe that he is exercising wise intelligence.


adonis49

adonis49

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