By Kamal Salibi
This present day Lebanon is among the world's such a lot divided international locations - 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 attention of universal id. How can this be? The Lebanese historian Kamal S. Salibi examines, within the gentle of recent scholarship, the historic myths on which his country's warring groups have established their conflicting visions of the Lebanese state. The Lebanese have continually lacked a typical imaginative and prescient in their prior. From the start Muslims and Christians have disagreed essentially over their country's ancient legitimacy: Christians customarily have affirmed it, Muslims have tended to stress Lebanon's position in a broader Arab heritage. either teams have used nationalist rules in a damaging video game, which at a deeper point comprises archaic loyalties and tribal rivalries. yet Lebanon can't have enough money those conflicting visions whether it is to increase and retain a feeling of political group. during his energetic exposition, Salibi bargains an incredible reinterpretation of Lebanese background and gives insights into the dynamic of Lebanon's fresh clash. He additionally offers an account of ways the pictures of groups which underlie smooth nationalism are created
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Extra info for A House of Many Mansions: History of Lebanon Reconsidered
A number of resident Melchite families consequently became rich and influential and began to show impatience with the Greek dominance over their church, and the Jesuits encouraged them. Under the influence of these Jesuits, increasing numbers of the local Melchites were attracted to the idea of union with Rome, whereby they would become a Uniate Roman Catholic communion as the Maronites already were, with a church organization a11 to themselves. Matters came to a head in 1683 when a Melchite cleric of Aleppo, Euthymius Sayfi, newly appointed Archbishop of Tyre, recognized the supremacy of the Roman pope, which had the immediate effect of splitting the Melchites of Syria into what came to be called the Greek Catholics and the Greek Orthodox.
Why this occurred in Syria rather than elsewhere may be attributed to two causes. In Syria there was the example of the Christians which the Muslims could now follow. Moreover, leading Syrian cities such as Beirut, Damascus and Aleppo already had the prerequisite degree of social development to encourage the growth of nationalism, as well as an evolving and politically ambitious class of Muslim city notables who were willing to drop old ideas and adopt new ones, and so set the example for others.
Moreover, those among its people who had willed it into existence were fully satisfied with what they got, and wanted the country to remain forever exactly as it had been finally constituted, without any territory added or subtracted. The Syrian Republic, it is true, had also been finally put together in response to nationalist demand; in fact, following a nationalist uprising which lasted more than two years (1925-7), provoking a French bombardment of Damascus. In Syria, however, the nationalists were only partly satisfied with what they got, and continued to aspire for much more.
A House of Many Mansions: History of Lebanon Reconsidered by Kamal Salibi