ArDO: Yes we want Lebanon to be the Switzerland of the East and Beirut the Paris of the East


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Redefining Sykes-Picot: Le Petit Liban?

By: Charles Jalkh (Freedom Fighter)

September 18/06

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 state.

 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 ground.

 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..

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