Thursday, 13 January 2011

A look at yesterday

Like everybody else on the Lebanese blogsphere, I will comment about what just happened.

In order to understand why is Lebanon so messed up today, we have to understand historically what happened. Do you know what happened?

During the Ottoman empire there was no Lebanon, it was part of Greater Syria - but the region of Mount Lebanon always benefited from a certain "autonomy" because it was different - it had Maronites in it (you know, the Christians that are ruled by this loser). When the Turks left the region, Lebanon and Syria were placed under French mandate and Jordan and Palestine under British mandate.

Several years after that agreement, there was still no country called Lebanon; until on day the Frenchies noticed that Mount Lebanon was different religiously and culturally. They decided to seperate it from Syria (which explains why Syria is so eager to win it back) and create Lebanon.

But limiting the country to Mount Lebanon only wasn't very wise since there isn't a lot of agricultural land in the mountains. So Paris decided to expand a little bit to the North, the East, the South and take Beirut along the way - Beirut is originally Sunni and Orthodox, not Maronite. The Maronites are kind of like the Incas - they stayed in the mountains and hated the seaside.

In that process, the French not only integrated agricultural land to the newly formed country, but also included many Muslims which they first considered as cheap labor that the Christians could use on the farms.

Beirut grew to be a major cosmopolitan city gathering - in different neighborhoods - all of the Lebanese sects. The rest of the country is similarly shaped and the everlasting clan leaders (Frenjieh, Mouawad, Jumblat, Gemayel, etc. - basically the same crap we still have today) who made it to the government as regional representatives did not understand that it wasn't a big "clan reunion" but a democratic country. And they still don't understand that now - they fight for their seat, their image and their presence more than they fight for the country itself.

Overall, Lebanon is screwed up as a democracy because we are made of many different religions and cultures. And as much as everybody denies it: christians don't care much for muslims, muslims don't care much for christians and sunnis and chiia don't care much for each other. So how can you run a country on this basis?

So a confederation seems to be the closest thing to a possible outcome for Lebanon. Different regions would be managed individually, and the people would be responsible for the guys they elect in their canton. The only thing I would be afraid of would be that once we get divided into cantons, the clan leaders d'antan would come back and dominate their respective regions like their ancestors did - but it's a risk I'm willing to take.


  1. Only if we get to keep Hamra or Monot or some other street as an Atheist Republic :p

  2. I'm willing to take that risk as well! But I'm from North, so I'm afraid if we divided the country, God knows which canton I will have to follow!