By Kamal Salibi
This day Lebanon is without doubt one of the world's such a lot divided nations - if it continues to be a rustic in any respect. yet satirically the faction-ridden Lebanese, either Christians and Muslims, have by no means proven a keener awareness of universal identification. How can this be? The Lebanese historian Kamal S. Salibi examines, within the gentle of recent scholarship, the ancient myths on which his country's warring groups have established their conflicting visions of the Lebanese kingdom. The Lebanese have regularly lacked a typical imaginative and prescient in their previous. From the start Muslims and Christians have disagreed essentially over their country's historic legitimacy: Christians most of the time have affirmed it, Muslims have tended to stress Lebanon's position in a broader Arab background. either teams have used nationalist principles in a damaging online game, which at a deeper point contains archaic loyalties and tribal rivalries. yet Lebanon can't manage to pay for those conflicting visions whether it is to improve and preserve a feeling of political group. during his full of life exposition, Salibi bargains a massive reinterpretation of Lebanese background and offers insights into the dynamic of Lebanon's contemporary clash. He additionally supplies an account of the way the pictures of groups which underlie sleek nationalism are created.
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Extra info for A House of Many Mansions
Unfortunately for the Maronites, however, not everybody in Lebanon thought or felt as they did. There were even many Maronites who dissented and freely expressed their divergent views. After all, who could reasonably deny that Lebanon, as a political entity, was a new country, just as the other Arab countries under French or British mandate 28 A HOUSE OF MANY MANSIONS were? Certainly, Lebanon was as much a new country as the others, but with an important difference: it had been willed into existence by a community of its own people, albeit one community among others.
For a brief term, they had had an Arab kingdom, with its capital in historical Damascus, once the seat of the great Umayyad caliphs and the capital of the first Arab empire. The French had destroyed their kingdom and established statelets on its territory, among them Lebanon. The Maronites, they argued, were perhaps entitled to continue to enjoy the sort of autonomy they had enjoyed since the 1860s in the Ottoman Sanjak of Mount Lebanon, although they had no real reason to feel any different from other Syrians or Arabs.
It did not reach the masses, and it only gained little headway among the Shiites and the Druzes. Similarly, when Arab 48 A HOUSE OF MANY MANSIONS nationalism reached Iraq, it made more headway among the urban Sunnites than among the largely rural or tribal Shiites. During the first world war, however, the movement was given a tremendous boost by the Arab Revolt in the Hijaz. In Beirut and Damascus, Arab nationalist activists who were in sympathy with the revolt, and who were in secret contact with the Allies who backed it, were tried and executed as traitors by the Ottoman military authorities, giving the movement its first martyrs.
A House of Many Mansions by Kamal Salibi