A Call for Phoenicia
February 22, 2007
nation’s history becomes defined by the challenge of “We have been here
forever, but where do we go from here?”, the only
means left for that nation’s people to survive and rescue their existence is to
take the fight and expose the roots of their culture to the whole world. The
roots of a culture are the inner law that governs the instinct of survival of
Acts: 11- 19.
“Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen
traveled as far as Phoenicia,
Cyprus and Antioch,”
Acts: 15- 3.
The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been
Acts: 21- 2.
We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went on board and set sail.”
references are from the Bible and recount the journey of St. Paul and other persecuted among Christ’s
followers in early Christianity. They enlighten us to the fact that the
disciples were looking for a sanctuary in Phoenicia from which they would
spread the message of Christ throughout the ancient world. We are not bringing this study to light for a
religious purpose, but instead to use the Bible as a historic document that
reaffirms the preexistence of Phoenicia
before Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
A culture can
investigate religious texts to build the case for the originality of its
ancient roots. And the accuracy of the text will confirm the invalidity of any
claim that disputes the matter of that existence. We can dig beneath the
surface and reveal the ancient structure of a temple or a city. We can rebuild
over the original foundation a totally new structure. However, if we use the ancient text for a
religious purpose only, it is like elevating a new ceiling over an old
structure without the four standing walls. The four walls are the elements that
give its virtual shape to the new structure are: One, the remodeled old
structure has to relate to its present milieu. Two, the new structure should
recognize the history of its neighbors. Three, the new structure has to be
recognized by its historic neighbors. And four, they must renew their historic
peaceful bond with each other. These four elements will give back to the whole
neighborhood its historic and essential nature, and without them the old
foundation and the new ceiling would lay flat on top of each other.
greater once their entire population shares their belief in the history that
belongs to the legacy of their motherland.
Also, a great nation would drive itself to ruin once its population
lives at odds with the history of the motherland.
The Middle East today is in the midst of an agony that is
threatening the peace around the world. It is the pain that will give birth to
a new age in human history. Moreover, there is in Lebanon a demographic force that is
working to alter the historic culture of the motherland with a phony identity
that is being exported from beyond the region. This despicable and vile act is
hostile to the peace and tranquility in Lebanon, the region and around the
world. Hence, if the nations in the region and the world community desire
everlasting peace and harmony in the Middle East
and among each other, consequently it is time for the Lebanese people, like the
other nations, to give a free voice to their desires and wishes as well. We,
the Lebanese, should be given a chance to acknowledge the roots of our
designers that conspire to redraw the map of the region at this time have to
recognize the existence of Phoenicia.
is the doorway that will bolster the historic reason for every other nation in
the area to exist in peace and freedom.
population of our motherland Phoenicia
is like an aged garden to the farmer. The consequences of our long history have
grafted our tree population with varieties of fruits. However, even if the
grafted branches have grown tall and big, they still cannot change the nature
of the tree and the originality of its roots. Furthermore, once the grafted
branches are no longer productive organs, the farmers have to cut them down
before they absorb the nutrition and drive the tree completely to its demise.
The course of action is a major surgery but eventually it would help the tree
prosper and grow younger up from its roots again.
Likewise, it is time for
all the communities living in Lebanon
to accept the legacy of our Phoenician ancestors as their own. Even though a large number of the population
is from a different race or different religion, it would be for the benefit of
the entire nation to adopt the belief of our ancient Phoenician which is our
deepest bond and which should unite us all. This way we are all connected to
one historic glory, the glory of the motherland.
some people continue to refuse the originality and the history of our
it is a reason against their existence in the land. If a person does not admit
that he belonged to the house where he is raising his children, then he is
confirming this as a proof against himself that he does not belong where he
lives. The original owner has the right
to use every means to free and retain the ownership of his property.
In order for
our forefathers to survive the conflicts with the invaders throughout the ages,
the Phoenicians and other small nations in the Middle East
bowed to the pressure of foreign forces that repeatedly occupied their lands.
It was a tactic to survive the strength and the brutality of the aggressors. They preferred to pay tribute as long as they
were left alone to conduct their way of life. Our forefathers and over 6,000
years of our history, continually succumbed to the power of Egyptian Pharaohs,
the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs
and Turks. However, Phoenicia
outlived them all. The greatest empires of the ancient world came and went but
the Phoenician people persisted. They were always ready to shake the yoke of
foreign domination. They taught their children to be constantly prepared
whenever the opportunity allows them to reclaim their Phoenician heritage.
330 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine moved his seat from Rome
to Constantinople, a new city
that he built and called after his name. Constantinople - the Istanbul
of the present day - was more centrally located to rule the Roman
Empire that expanded over the Eastern and the Western ancient
world. We have to keep in mind that
during this period of Christianity, the Church was not divided into Catholic,
Orthodox, Protestant and the Church of England as it is divided today. Hence
the various nations within the vast Roman Empire
were still sharing the same dogma. Though a century later, when Rome was destroyed and the western part of the Roman
Empire collapsed under the attacks by the Barbarians, the eastern part of the
Roman Empire became known as the Byzantine Empire.
The Byzantine Empire survived until Constantinople
was overran by the Ottomans in 1453 A.D.
On the other
hand, Phoenicia stayed under
the rule of the Byzantine Empire until the 7th
century A.D. Once the Byzantine Empire began
to fall apart, the Phoenicians were ready for liberation and declared their
independence again. The opportunity came when the Byzantine
emperor Maximus refused to recognize the election of
John Maron as Patriarch of Antioch and the entire
East. The Emperor considered the election that took place in the absence of a
delegation from him as a breakaway from his authority. John Maron,
the elected Patriarch forfeited his seat in Antioch
and fled to Mount Lebanon in Phoenicia.
The Emperor sent his army into Phoenicia
to capture the Patriarch. The Phoenicians raised an army of 30,000 men under
the command of the John Maron’s nephew. The two
armies met in Madfoun, in the vicinity of Batroun, 30 miles north of Beirut. The Byzantine army was defeated which
gave way for the Phoenician people to establish their independent kingdom.
the Phoenician kingdom was short lived because soon after, the whole Middle East and the history were about to change due to
the Arab invasion. The Phoenician people could not defend their kingdom before
the flood of the Islamic army. It was safer to apply the old tactic of survival
and yielded to the Arabs in the hope of surviving this new phase of their
history. Unfortunately, it was an episode of history where the varieties of
cultures were no longer allowed to acknowledge their existence in the Middle East. The Islamist-Arab conquerors pressured the
Phoenicians and all other subjected nations to convert to Islam.
essential to understand that converting to Islam was the practical option that
the subdued population in Phoenicia
and elsewhere had to choose. It was an alternative to enslavement or death.
However, some of the Phoenicians chose a totally different option. They chose
to flee to Mount Lebanon, Phoenicia’s sanctuary, where their
ancestors survived and roamed free throughout the ages.
forefathers who fled to the mountains and preserved their Phoenicia heritage were not more loyal to the
legacy of Phoenicia
than those who stayed behind and accepted the conquerors’ harsh term of
surrender. They continued to be the same people and we are their children and
equally honor them throughout our mutual recognition of our Phoenician roots.
This was a
brief and romantic overview of the historic facts of our motherland, Phoenicia. The
intention is to awaken our consciousness before our children and before the
whole world, that we are the offspring of the Phoenician heritage. We can still
believe differently but then we have to come up with a logical explanation of
what happened to the Phoenicians people who were living in Phoenicia
before the Arab invasion.
is repeating itself. Freedom is knocking at our door and it is time to reclaim
our Phoenician heritage before the whole world. It is our accountability before
the ages and before our generations. It is our responsibility to provide our
children everlasting peace and freedom.
subject begs itself: “Why Phoenicia should be a kingdom?”
sovereign nation whether it was a modern country or a classical kingdom should
have a ruler, a head of the state, who represents the nation before the whole
world. Whether the rulers were elected to a limited term or if they inherited
the position through a bloodline, they should embody the dream of the public
and help them make their vision of the future a reality. The rulers are the
symbol that bonds the citizens under one command, where they would share the
good time and face the difficulties together.
we study the modern history of our nation since 1920, we realize that the
President, the highest executive office in the government, was never a source
of unity among us all. To the contrary, the presidency was the reason that kept
our nation divided and weak. We were weak because we were divided, and we were
divided because the presidency post could never make us one nation. The post of
president divided the population between Christian people, Muslim people and
Druze people. It divided the Christian people between a Maronite
community and other Christian communities. And the worst of all, it divided the
Maronites amongst themselves, where every Maronite politician wanted to be a president for life and
pass the leadership to his offspring.
And this situation is creating an endless conflict within the individual
themselves, and between the various communities. The sentiment at the level of
the individual is one of indignation: Why he/she is being robbed of their right
to be a president? Moreover, every community of our people is offended by the
fact that its children are not entitled to run for president.
the Lebanese people should work out a solution now to eliminate the source of
conflict among our children in the future. Let’s take the United Kingdom
for example. The British people were divided among several warlords who fought
each other over who should be the king that rule the whole territory of England.
They did not become a great nation until the warlords realized that they should
yield their power to one king. It is time for the Lebanese warlords who led our
people into division and war more than to unity, to yield their power to one
person. Let’s yield our personal gain now and pass on to our children a
peaceful and great nation or let’s continue to be several warlords and pass to
them our endless warfare.
this reason, let us raise the kingdom
of Phoenicia together on
the heritage and the glories of our forefathers. Let us yield to one king and
let the rule of democracy give every individual the equal opportunity to
perform their duty toward our nation, where our children would live, grow and
prosper in peace and freedom.
my brothers and sisters in Phoenicia
and abroad, all the options were downplayed for the sake of our entire nation.
And as our ancestors were several kingdoms – Tyre,
Sidon, Byblos and Arwad – that willed to share the
principle of life, prosperity, mutual destiny and the legacy of freedom together,
every community could will today to share the same desire under the banner of
one united kingdom, Phoenicia.
not belong to one sect or community alone. Phoenicia belongs to its free
children who believe in the history and the legacy of their Motherland. Hence, Phoenicia need not compromise its
existence anymore, nor should it be condemned by some of its inhabitants.
That is why Phoenicia
should be a kingdom. It is the call of our Motherland to restore its heritage
where its children will continue to be in peace and freedom.
Author of “The Tomato War and Theomachy”. He lives in Texas and welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org