Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘West Beirut

How West Beirut resisted to world pressures in 1982? Part 30

Kamal Nader posted on Fb his biography Amber and Ashes

February 21 at 8:29 PM

ذكريات الجمر والرماد . 30 .

عندما وصلت الحرب الى بيروت وتم حصار القسم الغربي منها ، جرى تحصينها بشكل قوي جدا وغير قابل للاختراق برغم كل القصف الجوي والبحري والمدفعي ،

وكان المدافعون عنها مصممين على الصمود الى ما لا نهاية ، ومن بين المدافعين كان هناك لواء من الجيش السوري هو اللواء 83 صمد وقاتل الى جانب القوات الفلسطينية واللبنانية المدافعة عن بيروت .

ولقد بدا واضحا لإسرائيل وامريكا وللدول العربية ان اختراق بيروت الغربية شبه مستحيل خصوصاً بعد معركة المتحف التي اشرنا اليها في الحلقة السابقة .

والجدير بالذكر ان اهالي بيروت تحملوا الحصار والعطش والحرمان من الكهرباء والنقص في المواد الغذائية وحتى الخبز والطحين ، ولم تصدر اصواتٌ تطالب الصامدين بالاستسلام والخروج من بيروت .

كانت الروح القومية ما زالت قوية ولم تتحول الى تيار يتحرك بالعصبية المذهبية والمال كما حصل بعد 1992 .كما أن القيادات السياسية والشعبية ابدت الصبر والصمود ولم تطالب المقاتلين بالتسليم لشروط العدو .

وكان فيليب حبيب يفاوض نيابة عن بيغن وشارون ، تارةً بالديبلوماسية وطوراً بالقصف الجهنمي عندما يرفض المقاتلون شروط الاستسلام والرحيل . وقد توصل اخيرا الى اتفاق مع منظمة التحرير يقضي بخروج المقاتلين الفلسطينيين من لبنان الى بلدان عربية بعيدة عن فلسطين كاليمن وتونس والسودان

، وخروج اللواء 83 السوري الى البقاع، وأن تزال الالغام والتحصينات من محيط بيروت الغربية وان تفتح الطرقات مقابل ان يتوقف القصف الاسرائيلي ، وقدمت امريكا ومجلس الامن الدولي ضمانات بعدم دخول القوات الاسرائيلية او غيرها الى بيروت الغربية وبضمان امن المخيمات الفلسطينية ،

وعلى هذا الاساس غادر ياسر عرفات وقادة منظمة التحرير ومقاتلوها ومختلف الفصائل بيروت على متن سفن قدمت خصيصا لنقلهم الى ” المنافي البعيدة ” وجرى لهم وداعٌ مؤثر جدا شارك فيه كثير من السياسيين وقادة الاحزاب اللبنانية والحركة الوطنية .

في هذا الجو الصاخب والمذهل كان قد تم انتخاب بشير الجميل رئيسا للبنان ، وهو انتخاب مصاب بكثير من العيوب الدستورية والسياسية خاصة وانه تم تحت بنادق الاحتلال وجنازير دباباته ، فقد جرى جلب عدد من النواب الى ثكنة الفياضية بواسطة ملالات اسرائيلية وجمعوا هناك وصوتوا على تنصيب رئيس يتعامل مع دولة العدو وينسق معها منذ زمن بعيد اعمالا حربية ادت وتؤدي الى قتل ابناء الوطن وتدمير عمرانه وقصف مدنه وعاصمته ،

وكل هذا يقع تحت احكام الدستور وقانون العقوبات وبند الخيانة العظمى والتآمر على سلامة الوطن .

جرى هذا الانتخاب في القسم الاخير من شهر آب 1982 ، وشعر انصاره بالنصر وبشروا بولادة “لبنان الجديد ” وتوقع الصهاينة ان يعقد بشير معاهدة صلح معهم وان يكون لبنان رأس السهم في توجههم نحو الفرات ، الخط الازرق الاعلى في علم اسرائيل ، وان يكون الخاصرة الخطيرة التي تحاصر سورية وتلتف حولها من جهة البحر ،

واعتقدوا هم والامركان بأن الشام لا بد ان تستسلم وتوقع الصلح في وقت ليس بعيداً ، وقد جرى لقاء بين بشير الجميل ومناحيم بيغن في مستعمرة نهاريا الساحلية للطلب منه والضغط عليه لتوقيع الصلح في اقرب مدة بعد استلامه الرئاسة في 23 ايلول حسب المهل الدستورية للنظام اللبناني إذ انه في هذا التاريخ عادة ما تنتهي ولاية رئيس وتبدا ولاية الرئيس التالي .

لكن ذلك لم يحصل ففي 14 ايلول حصلت عملية حبيب الشرتوني في الاشرفية فقتل بشير الجميل وتحطمت احلام اسرائيل وامريكا فاصيبوا بنوع من الهستيريا والجنون ،

وفجأة سقطت كل الضمانات الدولية واندفعت قواتٌ اسرائيلية لتجتاح بيروت الغربية وسط ذهول الناس واحباط عام عند المقاتلين الذين خدعهم فيليب حبيب ففككوا خطوط دفاعهم وتحصيناتهم ، وهكذا اصبحت كل بيروت تحت الاحتلال وسادت حالة من الفوضى والضياع عند القيادات والشعب ،

ثم جلب الاسرئيليون ميليشيات عميلة لهم جلبوها من الشريط الحدودي وشاركتها مجموعات من القوات اللبنانية واباحوا لهم مخيمات فلسطينية طيلة ثلاثة ايام ونصف فارتكبوا مجزرة هائلة في مخيمي صبرا وشاتيلا ذهب ضحيتها اكثر من 1400 قتيل من النساء والاطفال والكهول وبعض الفتيان الذين لم ينسحبوا مع اخوتهم المقاتيلن الذين خرجوا الى المنافي ، وصحا العالم على اهوال مذبحة تعيد مشهد المذابح التي ارتكبتها عصابات الصهاينة في فلسطين ومصر وجنوب لبنان خلال كل تاريخ الصراع مع هذا العدو الذي ما زال يسفك دمنا كل يوم .

وسط هذا الجو الرهيب انطلقت اعمال المقاومة الوطنية ،

وكانت طليعتها عملية ” الويمبي ” الشهيرة التي نفذها البطل القومي خالد علوان في شارع الحمرا ببيروت حيث شاهد ضباطا اسرائيليين يجلسون في ذلك المقهى فهاجمهم بواسطة مسدس واصاب عددا منهم فسقطوا بين قتيل وجريح ليغيب هو بين الناس الذين امنوا له مجال التخفي والخروج من مسرح العملية دون ان يستطيع الصهاينة ان يعتقلوه .

كانت هذه العملية الصدمة الايجابية التي اوقفت روح الهزيمة والاستسلام واطلقت روح المقاومة والرد فتتابعت بعدها العمليات ضد الجيش الاسرائيلي وكانت ابرزها عند ” محطة ايوب ” وكورنيش المزرعة وجسر الكولا وعائشة بكّار وكلها عملياتٌ ناجحة وتشارك فيها مقاتلون قوميون وشيوعيون ويساريون جمعهم النضال ضد العدو وادت الى تدمير واعطاب آليات مصفحة ومقتل وجرح عدد كبير من الجنود الصهاينة ،

وهذا الامر ادخل الرعب في قلب جيش العدو فقرر الانسحاب من بيروت الى خلده وراح الجنود يذيعون بمكبرات الصوت نداءات يرجون فيها من الناس ألا يطلقوا النار عليهم ويؤكدون بأنهم خارجون من مدينتهم .

خرجوا اذن لكن العمليات لاحقتهم في الضاحية الجنوبية وعند تقاطع ” كاليري سمعان ” وكورنيش الحدث ، وخلده ،

وفي الجبل واشهرها عملية عاليه التي نفذتها مجموعة من القوميين بقيادة عاطف الدنف كمنت لمدة ثلاثة ايام في بستان يرتفع فوق طريق بيروت – شتورة وانتظرت الى ان وصل باصٌ محمل بالجنود تحرسه جيبات ودبابة ثقيلة فهاجموا الرتل بالقذائف الصاروخية ( آر بي جي ) وبالرشاشات فدمروا الدبابة والجيبات وامطروا الباص بالرصاص ثم انسحبوا الى قراهم الجبلية .

كانت حصيلة العملية باهظة جداً على اسرائيل وتبعتها عمليات عديدة في قرى بعلشميه ورويسة البلوط وراس المتن ،

الى درجة جعلت وزير حرب العدو ارئيل شارون يأتي شخصياً ليعاين هذه القرى التي كان يفترض من الناحية المذهبية بأن تكون موالية له او على الأقل مسالمة مع قواته .

ويروي القوميون في الرويسة انهم اثناء وجود شارون وجدوا أن من الممكن الاغارة عليه وعلى موكبه وقتله لكنه غادر بسرعة قبل ان تكتمل خطواتهم لضربه ونجا من موت شبه مؤكد .

لكن وبكل اسف كان هناك عملاء لهذا العدو وشوا بالمقاومين فجرى اعتقال البطل عاطف الدنف وسجنوه مع رفاقه في معتقل ” انصار ” حيث كان هناك ايضاً سمير خفاجة وامين الاحمر وفيصل الحلبي وهم الذين كانوا في 21 تموز 82 قد نفذوا عملية بارزة سموها ” اسقاط سلامة الجليل “ وهو الشعار او العنوان الذي اعطاه الصهاينة لحربهم واجتياحهم لبنان .

ففي ذلك التاريخ 21 تموز تمكن القوميون من توصيل ثلاثة صواريخ ” غراد ” بواسطة شاحنة بيك أب محملة بالخضار من البقاع الى حاصبيا ، ثم نصبوها عند نقطة ” سوق الخان ” واطلقوها على مستعمرة كريات شمونة في الجليل ليقولوا لبيغن وشارون إنكم لن تكونوا بمأمن لا انتم ولا مستعمراتكم في ارضنا المحتلة .

كان بيغن قد تباهى امام اليهود والعالم قبل يومين من العملية بأن قال ” إنه بتعهد بان لا يسقط اي صاروخ او قذيفة على الجليل طيلة اربعين سنة “ ، فجاءه الرد ليس ببيان كلامي بل بالنار والارادة والشجاعة ،

ويقوم حالياً نصبٌ تذكاري في النقطة التي اطلقت منها الصواريخ في سوق الخان … والمؤسف انه كان هناك ايضا عملاء وشوا بالمقاتلين فتم اعتقالهم وسجنهم في معتقل ” انصار ” وهناك التقوا مع رفاقهم ليخططوا لعملية الخروج الكبير من المعتقل في 8 آب 1983 . وهي عملية اذهلت اسرئيل وترقى بمستواها لتشابه عملية ” الفرار الكبير ” في الحرب العالمية الثانية والتي يتفاخر بها الامريكان ووثّقوها في فيلم سنمائي يحمل هذا الاسم .

طال النص فالى اللقاء واسلموا للحق والجهاد لأجل بلادكم الجميلة والعظيمة والكريمة .

“Escaping Beirut”, the Elizabeth Taylor of cities, and An Unnecessary Woman

In a passage of the Lebanese writer Rabih Alameddine’s first novel Koolaids (1998), one character says:

I fucking hate the Lebanese. I hate them. They are so fucked up. They think they are so great, and for what reason?

Has there been a single artist of note? A scientist, an athlete? They are so proud of [Lebanese novelist Khalil] Gibran. Probably the most overrated writer in history. I don’t think any Lebanese has ever read him. If they had, they would keep their mouth fucking shut.…

The happiest day in my life was when I got my American citizenship and was able to tear up my Lebanese passport. That was great. Then I got to hate Americans.…

I tried so hard to rid myself of anything Lebanese. I hate everything Lebanese. But I never could. It seeps through my entire being. The harder I tried, the more it showed up in the unlikeliest of places. But I never gave up.

Robyn Creswell published in the NY Review of Books on March 25, 2014
Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum Photos
Beirut, 1972

Many of the funniest moments in Alameddine’s work—and he is essentially a comic writer—revolve around the difficulties of trying to escape the past.

The heroes of his fiction are all misfits of one sort or another. They rebel against what they take to be the tyrannical conventions of Lebanese society—its patriarchy, its sexual norms, its sectarianism.

In most of Alameddine’s novels this revolt takes the form of flight to America, what one character calls an escape “from the land of conformism to the land of individualism.” (Alameddine is from a prominent Lebanese Druze family and has lived much of his life in San Francisco.)

Looming behind these singular stories is the larger history of dislocation caused by the civil war, when many Lebanese—the ones who could—left. In America, Alameddine’s characters discover that the pleasures of individualism often turn out to be empty, and their host country’s foreign policy, particularly its support for Israel, is a constant irritant. So their emigration is only ever partial; the old world haunts all their attempts at reinvention.

In Alameddine’s new novel,  An Unnecessary Woman, the narrator, Aaliya Saleh, is a septuagenarian literary translator who has stayed in Beirut—“the Elizabeth Taylor of cities,” as she calls it, “insane, beautiful, tacky, falling apart.”

But Aaliya does not feel at home in her native city. For most of the novel, she walks through her neighborhood in West Beirut, remembering how it used to be, before “the virulent cancer we call concrete spread throughout the capital, devouring every living surface.” She recalls past lovers and favorite books, as well as the bitterness of her family life.

In Aaliya’s case, estrangement from her relatives and from the city she lives in has led to an internal emigration. “I slipped into art to escape life,” she tells us. “I sneaked off into literature.”

When not wandering Beirut’s streets, she remains in her apartment, communing with tutelary spirits—every New Year, she lights two candles for Walter Benjamin. In her old age she has become more and more devoted to her art and the pleasures of her own mind, a latter-day version of modernist mandarins from Valéry’s Monsieur Teste to Canetti’s Professor Kien. Aaliya’s name, as she likes to remind us, means “above,” or “the one on high.”

Aaliya is a childless divorcee in a country where social life revolves around the family. But the deeper source of alienation is her “blind lust for the written word.” Her day job is at an independent bookstore with no clientele.

And as a translator, Aaliya is not just a reader, but a reader in extremis. Her tastes run to what we now call “world literature”: W.G. Sebald, José Saramago, Javier Marías, and Danilo Kiš (she works from the French or English versions). This is a lonely passion. “Literature in the Arab world, in and of itself, isn’t sought after,” she informs us. “Literature in translation? Translation of a translation? Why bother.” Aaliya has translated 37 books into Arabic; none have been published. She’s never bothered to try.

Aaliya is not a very convincing translator. With no hope of publishing her work, she claims to be driven only by her esteem for the great writers and the joy she takes in the activity itself. This is already a little sentimental, but her description of her work is simply implausible:

My translating is a Wagner opera. The narrative sets up, the tension builds, the music ebbs and flows, the strings, the horns, more tension, and suddenly a moment of pure pleasure. Gabriel blows his golden trumpet, ambrosial fragrance fills the air sublime, and gods descend from Olympus to dance—most heavenly this peak of ecstasy.

Whatever she’s doing, it isn’t translating. Not because the job is joyless, but because its satisfactions come from the experience of obstacles faced and overcome, or skillfully finessed.

In Aaliya’s account, it is one moment of bliss after another. This is typical of her relation to literature in general. An Unnecessary Woman is a kind of commonplace book, stuffed with citations from Aaliya’s favorite novels and poems. Everything that happens to her provokes a literary reminiscence: an unwelcome neighbor makes her think of Sartre (“Hell is other people”), which makes her think of Vallejo (“the torment of Hell is noise”); feeling lonely makes her think of Camus (“the weight of days is dreadful”); Beiruti garbage collectors are so many Sisyphuses.

We get it: this lady has read a lot of books. But in fact Aaliya is less a devotee of literature than a gourmand. She “salivates” over the “beautiful sentences” of Claudio Magris; Marguerite Yourcenar’s versions of Cavafy are “like champagne.” (Constance Garnett’s translations of Dostoyevsky, on the other hand, are “milky tea.”)

Reading a good book for the first time is “as sumptuous as the first sip of orange juice that breaks the fast in Ramadan.” And it isn’t just literature: “When I first heard Wagner, Messiaen, or Ligeti, the noise was unbearable, but like a child with her first sip of wine, I recognized something that I could love with practice.”

Most of the time, however, Aaliya’s devotion to literature is taken seriously. Her passion for translation is the prime source of the novel’s claim on its readers’ sympathies. The loneliness of this passion—and therefore the strength of our sympathies—is heightened by the idea, which Alameddine insists on, that Aaliya is pursuing her vocation in a cultural desert.

“I understood from the beginning that what I do isn’t publishable. There’s never been a market for it, and I doubt there ever will be.” In the same spirit, when Aaliya steals some titles from the bookstore where she works, she is doing a public service:

Had I not ordered some of these books, they would never have landed on Lebanese soil. For crying out loud, do you think anyone else in Lebanon has a copy of Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood? And I am picking just one book off the top of my head. Lampedusa’s The Leopard? I don’t think anyone else in this country has a book by Novalis.

In passages like this, Aaliya becomes a more problematic narrator than Alameddine seems to intend. She is soliciting our sympathies—the sympathies of non-Lebanese readers, who are clearly the novel’s intended audience—by flattering our prejudices. For in reality, Beirut is no literary desert.

Beirut is the publishing hub of the Middle East and has been for a long time. Bookishness is central to Lebanon’s self-conception, as the response to the recent burning of a bookstore in Tripoli attests. Nor is it hostile to literary translation. To the contrary. In the late Fifties and Sixties, when Aaliya would have been in her mid-twenties, Beirut was home to the best literary magazines in Arabic, which were full of translated fiction and verse.

Perhaps the most influential of these journals was Shi‘r ((She3er, Poetry), a modernist quarterly modeled on Harriet Monroe’s little magazine of the same name. Between 1957 and 1964, Shi‘r published translations of Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Paul Valéry, Saint-John Perse, Antonin Artaud, Henri Michaux, Yves Bonnefoy, Federico García Lorca, Octavio Paz, Salvatore Quasimodo, Rainer Maria Rilke, and many others. The magazine’s chief critic was Khalida Said, wife of the Syrio-Lebanese poet Adonis.

Other journals during the same period translated leftist intellectuals such as Sartre, Nâzım Hikmet, Paul Éluard, Pablo Neruda, and Louis Aragon. Somebody may even have had a copy of Lampedusa.

Is it conceivable Aaliya would have no knowledge of this history? She tells us she started translating at the age of twenty-two, in 1959, just as the Beiruti rage for translation was in full swing. Most literary magazines were published in Hamra, Aaliya’s own West Beirut neighborhood.

And they were published by her kind of people—cosmopolitan misfits, some of whom, like the poets and critics of Shi‘r, argued for a version of artistic autonomy that mirrors Aaliya’s own. Maybe it is conceivable she would know nothing of all this; maybe Aaliya is simply a recluse whose greatest pleasure happens to come from translating literary fiction. Maybe, but then her rhetorical question about Nightwood sounds less like a cry of anguish than ignorant snobbery. And the thirty-seven moldering manuscripts, whose fate turns out to be central to the plot, seem less like a rare and precious archive than a monumental quirk.

Alameddine’s own relation to the Lebanese literary history is similarly fraught. He belongs, and yet he does not want to. Alameddine’s recurring focus on the experience of emigration, the opportunities of self-creation offered by leaving home, his interest in questions of language and identity, and his mixing of Arab and European forms—all this places him squarely within the Levantine tradition of mahjar literature (mahjar is Arabic for “the place of emigration”).

This is a tradition that begins in the late 19th century and includes contemporary writers such as the novelist Rawi Hage and the playwright Wajdi Mouawad. The best-known and by far the best-selling member of this group is Gibran, though in the United States he tends to be viewed as a New Age parabolist of indeterminate origin rather than as a specifically Arab writer.

Alameddine, of course, wants nothing to do with this inheritance—for him, Gibran is “the most overrated writer in history”—and his way of telling stories stages its own kind of revolt.

Each of Alameddine’s first three novels upsets realist conventions in its own way.

Koolaids flits back and forth between wartime Beirut and San Francisco during the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s; it is a montage of voices and stories, a form Alameddine credits to Jean Said Makdisi’s memoir, Beirut Fragments (1990), though Elias Khoury’s pioneering novel of the civil war, The Little Mountain (1977), is probably the ultimate source for this technique.

Alameddine’s second novel, I, the Devine (2001), is narrated by a Beiruti Druze woman who struggles to maintain stable relationships after emigrating to the US; it is told in the form of first chapters—the narrator keeps trying and failing and trying again to write her memoir.

In The Hakawati, (2008), Alameddine borrows from the fabulist Arabic oral tradition to construct an interlocking series of tales framed by the story of a Lebanese man who returns from Los Angeles to keep vigil at his father’s deathbed.

One motive for this style of storytelling may be the fractured state of Lebanon, whose social landscape often seems to lack any common ground. “What if I told you that life has no unity?” says a character in Koolaids. “It is a series of nonlinear vignettes leading nowhere.” But it is also a way to resist, without entirely foregoing, the realist commonplaces of class, religion, and locality. Alameddine doesn’t want his characters to be defined by their sectarian identities any more than they do. It is this tussle between the claims of home and the attractions of flight that run through his fiction.

This is nicely suggested in a vignette from Koolaids. One of the book’s protagonists is a Lebanese abstract painter living in San Francisco (Alameddine was a successful painter before he turned to writing). A countryman is shown one of the canvases, which consists of irregular yellow rectangles, and becomes puzzled when a salesmen calls it abstract art. “But they are the sides of our houses,” the Lebanese man says. “That’s how the stones look back home. Exactly that yellow color.” The painter wants to escape into the purity of form but his content remains stubbornly local. Likewise, in I, the Divine the expatriate narrator speaks for many characters when she complains to a friend,

Here I am, the black sheep of the family, yet I’m still part of it. I tried separating from the family all my life, only to find out it’s not possible, not in my family. So I become the black sheep without any of the advantages of being one.

You can never go home, but you can’t entirely leave it, either.

An Unnecessary Woman marks a departure from the style and themes of this earlier work.

The story is told from a single point of view and, aside from a few flashbacks, it proceeds in straightforward fashion. And yet Aaliya is no more at ease in in Beirut than the characters who actually leave. This may reflect a common feeling among Beirutis that the city rebuilt after the civil war is a bewilderingly different place from the pre-war version. But it also comes from Aaliya’s sense that Lebanon is a deeply parochial country, which she can only escape by reading Sebald and Saramago. “Literature is my sandbox,” Aaliya explains early in the novel. “In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time. It is the world outside that box that gives me trouble.”

The most convincing passages in Alameddine’s novels, however, are not his paeans to literature but those moments when he represents his characters at their worst.

Koolaids includes a playlet featuring two upper-class Lebanese women meeting in a café in Paris to gossip about their friends: “The Ballan girl is incredibly ugly. I can’t imagine what [her husband] saw in her.” “As ugly as the Bandoura girl?” “No, my dear, that one is really ugly. This one is close, though.” “That one was so ugly. I couldn’t believe she found a husband.” “Money, dear, money. Daddy has money.” This goes on for ten pages; the whole thing is wicked and pitch-perfect.

Another memorable episode occurs forty pages into An Unnecessary Woman. Aaliya tells the story of Ahmad, a bookish young Palestinian who once helped her at the store and sought her reading recommendations. As soon as the war starts, he joins a militia and quickly rises through the ranks. Rumors suggest he has become an expert torturer. Now Aaliya wants him to get her a gun. Her apartment was burgled—the city is slipping into anarchy—and she needs it for self-defense. She meets Ahmad at his well-appointed apartment and finds a very different man from the one who helped her stock the shelves:

“Slacks pressed and tailored, the white shirt fitted and expensive, the face smiling and clean-shaven.” Aaliya, on the other hand, hasn’t showered in many days—running water has become a luxury—and wears a pink tracksuit with sequined swirls. Ahmad says he will give her a gun (and a hot shower) in return for sex. She agrees.

During intercourse, on her hands and knees, Aaliya feels Ahmad’s fingers squeezing spots on her lower back and suddenly realizes that he is removing her blackheads. He apologizes, “It had been unconscious. He couldn’t see a blackhead on his own skin without removing it and didn’t realize he was doing the same with me. I asked him not to stop.” Here is moral capitulation, erotic pleasure, vanity, and surprising tenderness—fiction that matches the complexity of history. All the rest is literature.


Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman is published by Grove Press.

In hindsight: “What could have happened if Beshir Gemayel was not assassinated in 1982?”

Beshir Gemayel was assassinated on Sept. 14, 1982 along with scores of other people who came to the meeting in Achrafieh.  Beshir was elected President of Lebanon under the bayonets of the Israeli army that occupied the Capital Beirut. He was to officially take on his duties the next day as President.

On April 13, 1975, the civil war started in Lebanon and lasted 18 years: It was a Palm Sunday. This year Palm Sunday was on April 13, and even the people in the second largest city of Tripoli celebrated in the streets, after 20 street battles last year.

This coincidence got me into thinking:

“what could have happened if Beshir Gemmayel was not assassinated in September 14, 1982, a single day before the official ceremony inducting him as President of the Republic of Lebanon?”

What if he governed for at least a year before being assassinated?

Probably:

1. Israel would not have entered West Beirut and sacked the city and stole all kinds of documents and artifacts…

2. The genocide in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila might Not have taken place. Over 3,000 elder people and children (Palestinians and Lebanese) were slaughtered in 2 nights, under the watch of a Lebanese army stationed in the nearby and claiming to be helpless.

3. Israel would have retreated to the 40 km “buffer zone” in the south, far quicker than it did, after the fighters of the Palestinian Resistance Movement (PLO) were evacuated from Lebanon.

4. The massacres in the Chouf province between the Christians and the Druze would not have happened (Samir Geaja and his militias The Lebanese Forces entered the Chouf at the instigation of Israel)

4. The massacres in East Saida between the Christians and the Sunnis would have been spared (Samir Geaja militias entered the Saida province at the instigation of Israel)

5. The thousands of new Christian refugees to the Christian canton would not have fled their towns and villages, at least not in such a hurry

6. The division of Lebanon into sectarian cantons would have been slower in the formation

7. The regular army would have assisted the UN forces in the south and the militias associated with Israel would have been disbanded.

8. A “peace treaty” with Israel would have been ratified with better terms than what was written during Amine Gemmayel tenure, and which failed to be ratified any way.

9. The Syrian troops would have stayed in the Bekaa Valley and refrained from approaching Beirut.

10. The sieges and massacres perpetrated against the Palestinian camps by the Amal militias of Nabih Berry (instigated by Syria) would have been delayed, at least.

11. The civil war would have taken another turn and saved Lebanon further deeper chasm among the sectarian forces

12. The Druze militias of Walid Jumblat would not have invested Mazra3a in Beirut with their tanks

13. Amine Gemmayel would not have been elected president and the Lebanese currency would not have devalued quickly to 1,500 times less

14. The second largest city of Tripoli would not have turned extremist Islamist, and the secular parties of the Communists and Syrian National Social would have retained stronger presence in that city

15. Yasser Arafat might not have returned to Tripoli and re-armed the Palestinian camps and cause thousands to be killed during two months of siege.

16. And most likely, Samir Geaja would not have ended up leader of the Lebanese Forces militia and left trails of calamities for the Christian population everywhere he got engaged militarily

In hindsight, which governments or political organizations were behind the planning of the assassination of Bashir Gemmayel? Israel, Syria, the Palestinian Resistance, any of the Lebanese resistance factions… All of them had a reason for this assassination

Mind you that Islamic Iran was engaged in a protracted war with Iraq of Saddam Hussein that lasted 9 long years of savage fighting.  The cease fire for that war was decided by Ayatolla Khomeini as he learned that he had a few months to live: He decided to extend a survival breathing space for his Islamic regime that was on the verge of collapse.

Question: Would Hezbollah be created?

Yes.

1. Hezbollah would have been instituted simply because the question of Palestine opens the door wide to Islamist Iran to tamper with our internal affairs. The peace treaty would have been an excellent excuse to rally the Shiaa around Iran positions.

2. The frequent tampering of Israel in South Lebanon would have inevitably alienated the Shiaa against the Israeli occupiers.

Note 1: In hindsight, the administrative institutions would have been re-structured and a semblance of a State re-constituted for a while, instead of the current militia/mafia political system

Note 2: Most probably, the Lebanese based “Syria National Social Party” took seriously the decision of Bashir to target their members and responded in kind.

Note 3: Israel tasted the spirit of resistance of the National coalition to any invaders and occupiers of Lebanon, after the Shiaa in the south welcomed Israel army with rice and flowers to get rid of the Palestinian “resistance” forces of Arafat. Arafat didn’t care of fighting Israel: He was content on settling in Lebanon and control it politically. This warmonger Sharon aided the Lebanese of ridding them from a Palestinian army and helped us breath more freely.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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