Sykes-Picot: Le Petit Liban?
Charles Jalkh (Freedom Fighter)
Historically, 3 widely different nationalisms
have clashed for control over Lebanon’s identity and direction.
These nationalisms include: Partitionism (or le Petit Liban), Pan
Arabo-Islamism, and Lebanese Nationalism (Le Grand Liban of 1920).
During the civil war, the Christians favored a
partitioned Lebanon, or “Le Petit Liban”, a smaller
Christian-dominated state/canton, allied with the west, and designed
to answer the national and cultural aspirations of the Christians
for an independent, sovereign, and Free Lebanon. They were pushed
into that corner by waves of assaults from a myriad of
Islamo-Palestinian-Leftist militias supported by the Syrian
dictatorship, which ganged up to destroy the first republic and
political Maronism. The partition did not occur.
The Arab-Islamic nationalism is the second
force that fought on Lebanon’s soil to merge it with Arab neighbors
or to establish an Islamic state on the Iranian model. This model
also failed and “Le Grand Liban” persevered through the Taef second
republic, albeit under full Syrian occupation.
The third Nationalism; the founding current of
“Le Grand Liban”, the 10452 square kilometers, the dream of a
multi-ethnic, independent, and sovereign state with progressive and
humanistic policies towards all its citizens, has been on the
defensive and had lost the battle of the last 30 years to the Syrian
occupation and the on-going Syrian-Iranian assassinations, sabotage,
and proxy wars.
The forces of “Le Grand Liban” have however
rebounded since 2004 under the Cedars Revolution, uniting under
their banner; the Christians, the Sunnis and the Druze, and a small
but growing number of Shiites. However, the Cedars Revolution has
not yet achieved total success due to Hezbollah’s state within the
Since 1920, these 3 streams of Nationalisms
fought wars of identity, ideology, and survival, and shredded us in
different directions. So will there ever be a sense of nation in
Lebanon? Nationhood has historically been based on at least one of
three tenants: common race, common history, or common vision of the
future. Since the Lebanese are multi-ethnic, and since they have
relatively disparate historical and cultural roots, our last
alternative is to build a nation with a common humanistic vision of
the future and a compassionate concept of the modern citizen. In
this area again; the Druze, Sunnis, and Christians are united in
their determination to achieve total independence and build the
nation of institutions and laws where freedom and democracy reign.
The Shiite community however, has regrettably followed other agendas
under 24 years of Syrian-Iranian indoctrinations. No people can be
forced to be citizens of one nation when they pledge allegiance to
another. And it is also unfair to force unto the rest of loyal
citizens, a grouping that has little loyalty to the nation.
Dory Chamoun, a Lebanese Christian political
leader has reportedly re-opened this week the debate over the future
political structure(s) of Lebanon, one-or-many, that best satisfy
its peoples’ national and cultural aspirations. There is nothing
wrong with redefining nations and their sovereign status, the
important goal however must remain that whatever nations emerge,
they must adhere to global standards of democracy and human rights,
be in the peace camp, and cede no territories to terrorists. However,
the international order seems hesitant to decide whether the global
war on terrorism is best served thru smaller, strongly allied states
that meet the national aspirations of their people, or centralized
multi-ethnic weak governments with a theoretical legal claim over
the totality of the land, but in reality with partial control on the
The Lebanese can evolve, and live under varied
scenarios of federalism or even complete separate states but there
is no reason to achieve such objective thru violence. Look at the
civilized example of Czechoslovakia’s split into the Czech Republic
and Slovakia. Not one bullet fired, not one drop of blood spilled.
The people voted in a peaceful national referendum to create two
states from a single one. Today both nations live in peaceful,
friendly and civilized relations. The Lebanese and all people of the
Middle East can achieve such results as well. Redefining Sykes-Picot
is a possibility as we now see the birth signs of an independent
Kurdish state in Iraq. This path does not have to be in wars, rather
in civilized peaceful parting, and delineation of new nations and
borders. In this manner, the Lebanese can achieve their legitimate
right to “distinctiveness”, while protecting themselves from future
Hezbollah wars which are certain to come if they remain within us.
The Lebanese Shiites have an uphill struggle
to convince the rest of the Lebanese of their desire to be part of
our Lebanese nation. There are signs of hope lately, but we cannot
have a common future with the likes of Hezbollah and Amal.
The real borders of Free Lebanon are as far as
Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights can reach..