By Kamal Salibi
At the present time 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 ironically the faction-ridden Lebanese, either Christians and Muslims, have by no means proven a keener attention of universal id. How can this be? The Lebanese historian Kamal S. Salibi examines, within the mild of contemporary scholarship, the historic myths on which his country's warring groups have dependent their conflicting visions of the Lebanese state. The Lebanese have constantly lacked a standard imaginative and prescient in their earlier. From the start Muslims and Christians have disagreed essentially over their country's ancient legitimacy: Christians traditionally have affirmed it, Muslims have tended to stress Lebanon's position in a broader Arab background. either teams have used nationalist rules in a harmful online game, which at a deeper point consists of archaic loyalties and tribal rivalries. yet Lebanon can't manage to pay for those conflicting visions whether it is to increase and hold a feeling of political neighborhood. during his full of life exposition, Salibi deals a tremendous reinterpretation of Lebanese heritage and offers insights into the dynamic of Lebanon's contemporary clash. He additionally supplies an account of ways the photographs of groups which underlie glossy nationalism are created.
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Additional info for A House of Many Mansions
First, there were the ordinary Muslims and Christians of the patriotic and civically-minded urban middle class, to whom Arab nationalism was the valid and proper expression of their sense of patriotism and civility. Among those were the intellectuals, in most cases Christian academics or quasi-academics, who tried to provide the idea with a body of historical and philosophical thought. In the works of two intellectuals, Constantine Zurayk and Nabih Amin Faris, Arab nationalism found its purest articulation.
Moreover, it meant different things to its Muslim and Christian adherents. Although Muslim Arab nationalists, usually with great sincerity, spoke of Arabism a s being secular, they could not dissociate it from Islam: if for no other reason, because Arab history is difficult to dissociate from Islamic history. The Christian view of Arabism could only be secular; but the Christian Arab nationalists could not deny that the central fact of Arab history was the mission of Muhammad, who was not only the F'rophet of Islam but also the first leader to give the Arabs political unity under its religious and political banner.
Meanwhile, the revolt itself provided Sharif Husayn a s its focus, and his son Faysal as its first hero. By the time Faysal entered Damascus to establish his Arab government there, it was already understood by all that the Ottoman empire was gone, never to return, and it was pointless to remain loyal to something that no longer existed. Following the lead of the Muslim and Christian Arab nationalists, increasing numbers among the Muslims in Syria, along with many Christians including a number of Maronites from Mount Lebanon, declared themselves openly for Faysal and for Arabism.
A House of Many Mansions by Kamal Salibi