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Chapter 8 - Implication of the Christian's decline in Lebanon
The lessons of war had taught Christians that the Muslim power brokers in the area.e.g Syria would not accept an establishment of a small Christian country. Christians now hope that the Muslims will not take the opportunity and attack them in a final assault to take total control of Lebanon.
The survival of the Christians will depend on their internal unity and on the will of Muslims to allow the existence of a Christian minority in Lebanon. As Christian numbers are falling in Lebanon, Muslims will always control the destiny of Lebanon and its inhabitants, especially the Christians. One option left for the Christians is to resist giving their remaining power to Muslims and to increase the birth rate and remain in Lebanon. Marguerite Johnson was optimistic of Christian survival:
The Christians may lose their predominant position, but whether in Beirut or among the cedars of Mount Lebanon, they will undoubtedly retain the stubborn will to survive that has made them both an asset and a menace to their Muslim neighbours for twelve centuries.
There is evidence that Christians, still have the resolve to remain influential in Lebanon. Charles Sennott said that the Maronite Patriarchate filed a suit against the Hariri government's 1995 program that naturalised some 300,000 Muslims from Syria, Iraq and other countries. The Patriarchate thought that the move would further marginalise Christians in Lebanon.
Charles Sennott considered that the death of George Saade, leader of Lebanon's Phalanges party, the largest Maronite political entity, symbolised the end of the dominant role Christians have played in government. This is an accurate description of the current Christian status in Lebanon. A majority of Christians are not optimistic of their survival in Lebanon-they simply wonder about what sort of future they will have in Lebanon.
These are anxious days for Lebanon's Christian community, now less powerful and privileged than at any time since the country was created. The Christian's privileged status in Lebanon was challenged due to the demographic shift that increasingly favoured the Muslims over them. Moreover, their status was challenged by the rise of a radicalised Muslim intellectual class who were supportive of a socio-political change and pan-Arabism.
Abbott Paul Naaman said that the Maronites today must follow in the footsteps of all those who came before and worked for centuries to accomplish this mission. The remaining Christians in Lebanon ought to remember that they must preserve Lebanon for their children. They just ought not to give more concessions to Muslims without written guarantees. Christians need to be represented by powerful Christian leaders.
Christians are now worried that Muslims, with their numerical advantage, will persist in demanding more power. However, Antoine Najm noted that a Christian scholar Reverend Jean Ducruet offers a solution for Christian problems. Ducruet said that a new political system ought to be established in which all confessions share in the making of national decisions and in which not one confession can impose on the nation what is not acceptable to the tradition of the other confession. He added that a numerical majority is not compatible with consensual democracy, which necessitates a coalition government and a mutual veto on decisions that are seen as contrary to the vital interests of any community5. It is a sensible proposal, which will protect Christians in Lebanon. However, it is not expected that the Muslim majority will agree. They hope for the abolishment of the sectarian system, so they can run the country completely.
By now, the cause of Christians is all but defunct, where their survival is uncertain.
-- Fouad Abi-Esber BA MA
For additional reading on the status of persecution of Eastern Christians, please read detailed accounts in this site "Persecution of Maronites and other Eastern Christians," "The Syriacs," "The Palestinian Christian: Betrayed, Persecuted, Sacrificed," and in the Assyrian site: "Genocides Against the Assyrian Nation" or in the "CopticWeb dedicates to the persecuted Copts of Egypt".
By Fouad Abi-Esber
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2. Akarli Engin Deniz, The Long Peace, Ottoman Lebanon, 1861-1920, (University of California Press,Los Angeles, 1993)
3. Andrews John, A War with Many Losers, The Economist, London, Feb 24, 1996.
4. Asmar Christine, Maroun Kisirwani; Robert Springborg, Clash of politics or civilisations? Sectarianism among youth in Lebanon, Arab Studies Quarterly, Fall 1999 v21 i4 p 35.
5. Barakat Halim, Toward A Viable Lebanon, Croom Helm London and Sydney, Centre for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University Washington 1988.
6. Betts Robert Brenton, Lebanon Defied, Musa al-Sadr and the Shi'a community Middle East Policy, Washington, Jan 1998.
7. Brynen Rex, The Lebanese Civil War (1975-76). Sanctuary and survival: The PLO in Lebanon Boulder: Westview Press, 1990.
8. Ellis C Kail, Lebanon: The Struggle of a Small Country in a regional context, Arab Studies Quarterly, winter 1999 v21 i1 p 5, 1999
9. George Alan, Lebanon militia leader is easy scapegoat, Jane's Intelligence Review; Coulsdon; Aug 1, 1997
10. Gerges A Fawaz, The Lebanese conflict:Looking Inward; Political Science Quarterly, New York, Fall,1999.
11. Gordon C David, The Republic of Lebanon, Nation in Jeopardy, boulder,Colo:London:Westview Press, Croom Helm 1983.
12. Haddad Simon, Sectarian attitudes as a function of the Palestinians presence in Lebanon, Arab Studies Quarterly, Summer 2000 v22 i3 p81
13. Hage Ghassan, Nationalist anxiety or the fear of losing your other, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, Sydney 1996.
14. Halsall Paul, Internet Modern History sourcebook http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1957eisenhowerdoctrine.html,7/7/2001
15. Hanf Theodor, Coexistence in wartime Lebanon Decline of a State and Rise of a nation, translated from Germany by John Richardson, the centre for Lebanese Studies in association with LB Tauris and co Ltd publishers London, 1993.
16. Harb Tom, American Maronite union to Powell:Jebran is Lebanese not Arab, Lebanon Bulletin, Press Release, May 9th, 2001.
17. Harik P Judith, Khashan Hilal, Lebanon's Divisive Democracy: the Parliamentary Elections of 1992, Arab Studies Quarterly, winter 1993 v15 n1 41.
18. Harris William Faces of Lebanon, Sects, Wars, and Global Extensions, Markus Wiener Publishers Princeton, 1997.
19. Irani Emile George, the Breakdown of the State in Lebanon. 1967-1976, book review, The Middle East Journal, Spring 2001 v55 i2 p 320, 2001.
20. Jehl Douglas, Troubled Christian Minority awaits the Pope in Lebanon, New York Times, New York, May 9, 1997.
21. Johnson Marguerite, Arabs who look to the West; with guns and crosses, Lebanon's Christians try to survive, Time, March 5, v123 p 29, 1984
22. Khalaf Tewfik, The Phalanges and the Maronite community, in Essays on the Crisis in Lebanon edited by Roger Owen, 1976.
23. Khashan Hilal, Arab Christians as Symbols, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2001 v 8 i1 p5, Transaction Publishers, Inc.
24. Kolvenbach Peter-Hans, Maronites between two worlds, http://www.stmaron.org/twoworld.html, 6/6/2001
25. Library of Congress, The opposing Forces in the Lebanese Civil war, Federal Research division http://rs6.loc.gov/frd/cs/lebanon/lb_appnb.html,6/6/2001
26. Naaman Paul, Church and Politics in the Maronite Experience (1516-1943), The Journal of the Maronite Research Institute, The Journal of the Maronite Studies (JMS), January 1998 http://www.mari.org/JMS/january98/, 6/6/2001
27. Najm Antoine, Envisioning A formula for living together in Lebanon in light of the Apostolic Exhortation, The Journal of Maronite Studies, the Maronite Research Institute April 1998. http://www.mari.org/JMS/april98/,8/6/2001
28. Navalpotro Jose, Destiny (In Danger of Extinction), Palabra magazine, Madrid July 2000.
29. Ofeish Sami, Lebanon's Second Republic: Secular Talk, Sectarian Application. Arab Studies Quarterly, Winter v21 i1 p97, 1999
30. Rabinovich Itamar, The war for Lebanon 1970-1983-Ithaca And London, Cornell University press, 1984.
31. Sachs Susan, Syria Frees about 50 of Its Lebanese prisoners, New York, Times, New York, N.Y, Dec 12, 2000
32. Seaver M Brenda, The regional Sources of Power-sharing Failure: The case of Lebanon, Political Science Quarterly, Summer 2000, v115 i2 p247.
33. Sennott M Charles, Christians in Decline in Lebanon, The Boston Globe, City edition 1999.
34. Spagnolo P John, France and Ottoman 1861-1914 London:Ithaca Press, 1997.
35. Tomass Mark, Game theory with instrumentally irrational players: A Case Study of Civil War and Sectarian Cleansing, Journal of Economic Issues, Lincoln; June 1997.
36. Yeranian, Edward, Christians in Lebanon see hopes, numbers diminish, Christian Science Monitor, vol89 Issue 115, p7-10, 1997.
37. Zamir Meir, The formation of modern Lebanon, London, Dover, H, Groon Helm, 1985.
38. Zisser Eyal, The Maronites, Lebanon and the State of Israel: early contacts, Middle Eastern Studies, October 1995 v31 n4 p889.
Also, see interview with Brigitte Gabriel – American Congress for Truth http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3928169851397891989#
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