By: Elias Bejjani*
Psalm 92:12: "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon".
There are numerous reasons behind the ongoing devastating internal and external wars that are being waged against Lebanon and his people. These reasons have varied throughout contemporary history with the changing instruments of fighting, circumstances, financiers and profiteers. However, the main reasons and targets were always and still are the privileged Lebanese distinctive identity, multiculturalism, freedoms and coexistence. Almost every nation and people in the Middle and Far East look upon Lebanon as a heaven for freedoms and as an oasis for the persecuted.
present time and since 1982, the Iranian armed terrorist militia, Hezbollah,
which was created by the Iranians with its mini-state during Syria's bloody
occupation era of Lebanon (1976-2005) imposes an extremely serious and
fundamental threat to all that is Lebanese: culture, identity, history,
civilization, freedoms, coexistence, tolerance, democracy, peace, openness,
order and law.
But as our deeply rooted history teaches us, this Stone Age armed terrorist group shall by God's will be defeated as was the fate of all invaders, tyrants, dictators and occupiers whose sick minds fooled them that Lebanon could be tamed and his people could be subdued and enslaved. They all were disappointed and forced to leave with humiliation and disgrace. The Syrian occupier in 2005 and after almost 30 years of savage occupation had to face the same scornful fate. Hezbollah will have ultimately the same end sooner or later although its armed militiamen are Lebanese.
We thank God for the ultimate failure of all savage attacks which the faithful Lebanese shattered with stubbornness, perseverance, courage and self-confidence, and remained attached to their identity, and steadfast against hatred, foreign expansionism schemes and evil conspiracies.
The distinction of Lebanon is that it is a nation of diverse religious denominational groups and civilizations living together in agreeable coexistence, without coercion or oppression or becoming a melting pot, despite transient harsh confrontations at certain periods of history always instigated and orchestrated by external forces. Lebanonís air of liberty has been made equally available to its extensive mosaic of communities to help them maintain freedom of their cultural and religious particularities and distinctions.
All Throughout history these distinctions gave Lebanon his pluralist flavor and made the majority of the Lebanese people into a homogeneous society attached heart and spirit to the one Lebanese identity that personifies their roots, cultures, hopes and civilizations.
The confessional diversity permits each of Lebanonís 18 ethnic communities to express its original goodness within its core and the sanctity of its faith. Even though the communitiesí perspective towards God may be different, they do not disagree on the truth of Godís essence, and He remains the All Mighty Creator and the source of all good to all people.
Accordingly, all Lebanese have learned that none of them should presume to monopolize Godís relationship through himself, or seek to acquire all Godís graces by eliminating others, because these others were also created by God and are also His children, and that He is the only ultimate judge.
All religions in Lebanon worship the same God, and He definitely accepts them all each according to their sincerity and trust. God knows the content of hearts and intents, and He is not fooled by the various rituals and styles of worship. The majority of the peace loving Lebanese people strongly believe that no one Lebanese community should claim that it is the best, or the closest, or the only path to God. They all trust in the fact that God knows all wants, and uncovers all intents. Hezbollah is an odd exception among the Lebanese communities.
Despite the ongoing Lebanese success of coexistence and diversity of civilizations, cultures and religions within the scope of the uniform Lebanese identify, and despite the good and civilized relationship that the Lebanese always endeavor to maintain with neighboring countries, Syria still keeps on trying by force, vicious interferences and terrorism to impose on them an alternative identity, life style, regime and ideology.
The Syrian Baathist regime has been, and still is, an actual disaster for Lebanon and his people and an ongoing annoying headache in all levels and domains. Syria has been ferociously behind all Lebanese problems, wars and sufferings for the last 30 years, including the creation of the Terrorist Hezbollah and its mini-state, as well as the status quo of havoc and disorder in the 13 Palestinian camps of which the Lebanese government has zero control.
To know Lebanon well and to understand his importance in the Middle East, one needs to review his rooted history. In this context, below are some historic excerpts that address Lebanonís "particularity", the spoken languages of his people and other related documented historical facts:
Lebanon has been known since ancient through modern times, as a crossroad of
civilizations and peoples. Since 4000 BC, waves of people settled and fought on
his land, including Kananites, Phoenicians, Aramites, Egyptians, Persians,
Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Europeans, and Syrians. Lebanon's
spoken language varied with the times. Originally, Phoenician was the mother
tongue followed by the Egyptian and Babylonian languages for commerce.
During the Persian rule (539-332 BC), Aramaic was the official language of the empire, in addition to Phoenician in Lebanon. During Greek rule (322-63), ancient Greek became the official language equivalent to the Aramaic mother language. With the Roman rule, Latin became the language of law and administration, in addition to ancient Greek as the language of culture next to Aramaic which remained the mother language.
With the Arab conquest (625 AD), Arabic imposed by the Amawites rulers started to compete with the Aramaic/Syriac variations and replaced them. Then the Ottoman Turks taught Turkish, while schools of the era taught and continue today to teach French, English, and Armenian. Lebanon's current official language is Arabic, although the Lebanese dialect language spoken is a combination of many languages, especially Aramaic and Syriac.
Union with diversity within the distinct Lebanese identity is Lebanonís civilization and the choice of its multi-ethnic-religious people. This diversity is known as the "Lebanese particularityĒ and as Lebanonís humanistic message to its neighbors, as well as to the whole world, and if it is lost, God forbid, Lebanon would lose the reason of his existence (his raison díetre).
Lebanonís "particularity" yielded his national covenant and his political system. The covenant is coexistence amongst Christians and Moslems. The Christian Lebanese adhere to it by abandoning their tendency for Western style secularism and by renouncing the protection of any Western nation, and the Lebanese Moslems, in turn, abandon their tendency to Islamic theocracy and cease their quest for protection under any Arabic or Islamic nation.
The National Covenant specifies the principles of "coexistence" from Independence and President Becaharra Khoury on the day of his election on September 20, 1943, as well as the first Governmental Communiquť issued by Prime Minister Riad Solh on October 7, 1943. The most important clauses of the Covenant are:
*Lebanon is an independent republic, with complete independence, and a final
homeland for all his children, sovereign, free and independent in his
internationally recognized borders.
*Lebanon is a founding active member of the Arab League and is adherent and committed to its principles. Lebanon is also a founding and active member of the United Nations and committed to its principles and to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
*There would be no hegemony requested, no protection sought, and no special privileges granted to any other nation, and no union nor unification with any other nation.
*Maximum cooperation with the Arab countries, by maintaining equilibrium with all of them, and maintaining friendship with all foreign nations that recognize Lebanonís total independence and respect it. There will be no legitimacy to any authority that contradicts the covenant of national coexistence. It was on the basis of this covenant that the political system in Lebanon was conceived distinctively from all other political systems in the Arab and Western nations, and it is on this same basis that all Lebanese ethnicities agreed to unite within the scope of the Lebanese identity. This political system produced special attributes that distinguished Lebanon from its neighbors and they are:
*The democratic parliamentary system;
*the National Concord;
*the public liberties and most significantly the freedom of opinion, religion, and free enterprise. The system also yielded a dialogue without duress (conciliatory dialogue) about the affairs and politics of the nation as specified in the constitution, such as the modification of the constitution, war and peace and treaties with other nations.
This Lebanese civilization which constitutes the heritage of Lebanon, and which is the result of existential living and political dialogues among all successive cultures and civilizations on his land, has continued to allow the Lebanese to remain steadfast in the face of conspiracies of partition and settlement and regime change, and to survive his most critical stages during years of fierce wars.
"Lebanon First"", is the patriotic emblem under which the "Cedars Revolution" united the majority of the Lebanese people in 2005 against the Syrian occupation and liberated the country. The Lebanese identity which distinguishes Lebanon has held steadfast in the past and will prevail and be ultimately victorious. It will also firmly endure in the protection of our forefatherís inheritance, God willing. All the forces of hate and evil including Syria, Iran and Hezbollah shall fail to marginalize it or replace it with another identity.
conclusion, for Lebanon, the land of the holy cedars to be victorious in the
face of the Axis of Evil powers dirty and evil wars against his existence, Each
and every Lebanese in both Lebanon and Diaspora has a patriotic and ethical
obligation and a holy duty to
preserve by all means Lebanon's graceful identity and solidify its implantation in
the conscience, hearts and souls of the new Lebanese generations
and to root it in their awareness, as well as in Lebanon's blessed soil.
*Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
*Web sites http://www.10452lccc.com & http://www.clhrf.com
*Mailing phoenicia group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Phoenicia/.