A House of Many Mansions: History of Lebanon Reconsidered by Kamal Salibi

By Kamal Salibi

This day Lebanon is without doubt one of the world's such a lot divided international locations - if it is still a rustic in any respect. yet sarcastically the faction-ridden Lebanese, either Christians and Muslims, have by no means proven a keener realization of universal id. How can this be? The Lebanese historian Kamal S. Salibi examines, within the mild of contemporary scholarship, the ancient myths on which his country's warring groups have dependent their conflicting visions of the Lebanese kingdom. The Lebanese have consistently lacked a standard imaginative and prescient in their previous. From the start Muslims and Christians have disagreed essentially over their country's historic legitimacy: Christians quite often have affirmed it, Muslims have tended to stress Lebanon's position in a broader Arab heritage. either teams have used nationalist rules in a harmful video game, which at a deeper point comprises archaic loyalties and tribal rivalries. yet Lebanon can't come up with the money for those conflicting visions whether it is to improve and preserve a feeling of political group. during his energetic exposition, Salibi deals an important reinterpretation of Lebanese heritage and offers insights into the dynamic of Lebanon's contemporary clash. He additionally offers an account of ways the pictures of groups which underlie sleek nationalism are created

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Apart from a few towns and small clusters of villages scattered along the highlands east of the Jordan valley, and some pastoral areas and grainlands here and there, this Arab emirate consisted mostly of open desert. Even its founder, Emir Abdullah, did not regard it as a real country. To him it was no more than historical Arab territory salvaged for the cause of the Great Arab Revolt, to serve one day a s a base for the re-establishment of a Greater Arab Syria. Significantly, Emir Abdullah called his army not the Transjordanian, but the Arab Legion.

To begin with, in addition to Lebanon, they established four Syrian states: two of them regional, which were the State of Aleppo and the State of Damascus; and two of them ethno-religious, which were the State of the Alouites and the State of Jebel D r u m In response to strong nationahst demands, the states of Aleppo and Damascus were subsequently merged to form the State of Syria, later reconstituted as the Syrian Republic, to which Jebel Druze and the Alouite country HOW ITALL BEGAN 27 were ultimately annexed.

A11 things considered, all five of these countries were artificial creations established and given their initial organization by foreign imperial powers. Of the five, however, common Arab opinion singled out Lebanon as being an artificial creation of foreign imperialism in a special way. No one denied that the other four countries were equally artificial; 32 A HOUSE OF MANY MANSIONS the point lay elsewhere. Among the Syrians, Iraqis, Transjordanians and Palestinian Arabs, no one seriously advanced a thesis in support of the national validity of the given country.

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