By Kamal Salibi
This day Lebanon is without doubt one of the world's so much divided international locations - if it is still 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 recent scholarship, the ancient myths on which his country's warring groups have dependent their conflicting visions of the Lebanese country. 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 regularly 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 video game, which at a deeper point comprises archaic loyalties and tribal rivalries. yet Lebanon can't manage to pay for those conflicting visions whether it is to increase and continue a feeling of political neighborhood. during his energetic exposition, Salibi bargains a big reinterpretation of Lebanese historical past and offers insights into the dynamic of Lebanon's contemporary clash. He additionally provides an account of ways the photographs of groups which underlie smooth nationalism are created
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Extra resources for A House of Many Mansions: History of Lebanon Reconsidered
Lebanon, moreover, 36 A HOUSE OF MANY MANSIONS was relatively green, and could appear lush green - a veritable paradise - by contrast with the desert which began as one crossed the eastern borders fi-om the Bekaa valley into Syria. Where else, in the Arab world, could one see majestic peaks capped with snow for much of the year, rising hoary above terraced mountain slopes dotted with the red roof-tops of countless villages nestIed among orchards or vineyards, set against a stark blue sky, and directly overlooking the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean?
In 1724, when the Melchite see of Antioch fell vacant, the Uniate Melchites, or Greek Catholics, elected their own patriarch, who was naturally a native Syrian Arab, and the organization of their church, with an entirely native Arab clergy, became complete. The Greek Catholics in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were certainly not aware that their split from the mother Melchite church was prompted by a new national consciousness among them. It was on purely ecclesiastical and religious grounds that they defended their union with Rome, which ended with their emergence as a separate church.
Yet another initial advantage of the country was its geographic location, which could make of it the ideal gateway from the West to the Arab world. In addition to all this, there was the experienced mercantile initiative and exceptional adaptability of the people, and the cultural tolerance which they generally exhibited, most notably in the coastal cities, and most of all in cosmopolitan Beirut. All that Lebanon needed to be a success was political accord and an even social development among the different communities which had come to form its population and in the different regions it had come to comprise.
A House of Many Mansions: History of Lebanon Reconsidered by Kamal Salibi