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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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24. Kolvenbach Peter-Hans, Maronites between two worlds, http://www.stmaron.org/twoworld.html , 6/6/2001
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28. Navalpotro Jose, Destiny (In Danger of Extinction), Palabra magazine, Madrid July 2000.
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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
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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.
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Also, see interview with Brigitte Gabriel – American Congress for Truth http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3928169851397891989#
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