Lebanon and its bloody history (up to 1983) — an old essay

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The events in Lebanon since June 6, 1982, the wholesale genocide of the Lebanese and the Palestinian Muslims, deserve a closer scrutiny. According to western analysts no fewer than 10,000 Muslims were killed, about a million rendered homeless, another half-a-million awaiting death in Israeli seized city of South Lebanon. The Israelis and their savage comrades from the Maronite Christian Falangists (Phalangists) were able to forcibly evict the Palestinians from Lebanon. No one cared to remember that Palestinian refugees would not be in Southern Lebanon today hadn’t the Zionists evicted them from their homes some 35 years ago, or had they allowed them, since then, to return to their homes in compliance with the repeated U.N. Resolutions (where, as you may recall, U.N. is a body formed by the West, for the West and of the West). I deliberately use the term "genocide" here, because there is not a word in English that could more correctly represent the mass extermination of the Muslims in Lebanon.

Michael Kennedy, the L.A. Times Staff reporter, wrote, "The Christians of East Beirut have been waiting for this moment for a long time. They see the Israeli invasion of Lebanon as the solution to all their problems – the chance for them to reassert their authority and influence over their country." (L.A. Times, June 24, 1982, part 1, p. 13) What message: reassert ‘their’ authority! Are we witnessing in Lebanon a continuing crusade against the Muslims?

Let us turn to history. The history of Lebanon cannot be separated from that of Palestine (and Syria). Until the 636 CE, Palestine and its vicinity (including Lebanon) were ruled by several groups – Israelis (Children of Israel under kings Dawud and Sulaiman (AS)), Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ptolemies, Seleucids of Egypt, the Romans, the Persians under Khoshru again and later by Byzantines under Heraclius. Muslims defeated the Byzantines in the battle of Yarmuk in 636 CE. Under the leadership of Amar-ibn- al ‘As, Muslims besieged the city of Jerusalem and Patriarch Sephoronius offered the surrender the city if Khalifah Umar (R) himself would come in person to ratify the terms of capitulation. The encounter between Umar (R) and the Patriarch was dramatic. In the words of historian Anthony Nutting, "Umar taught the richly caparisoned of Christian commanders and bishops a lesson in humility by accepting their surrender in a patched and ragged robe and seated on a donkey."

In November of 1093 CE, Pope Urban II delivered an evil speech at Claremont in France. He urged all Christiana to cleanse the Holy Land of Muslims. When on 1099 CE the crusaders entered the city, they began one of the bloodiest and cruelest massacres in history. To quote again a western historian, Anthony Hutting – "No reliable figures are available of the total number of Muslims who perished, but according to Ibn-al-Athir some seventy thousand were slaughtered in al-Aqsa alone, all of them non-combatants and some of them Imams and Professors of theology who had taken refuge in a sanctuary. Christian analysts have confirmed this report and one of their Chaplains, called Raymond, exulted in print over the atrocities that were perpetrated. ‘Wonderful sights rewarded our eyes’, he wrote, ‘Some of our men, and they the more merciful, cut off the heads of the enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fall from the towers; others tortured them 1onger by casting them into the flames. Heaps of heads and hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city."

Jerusalem was forcibly transformed into a Christian city from 1099 until 1187 when Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi (R), a Kurdish Muslim, stopped the process by liberating Palestine and its vicinity from the crusaders. To compare his behavior to that of the Crusaders, Anthony Nutting writes, "Strict orders were issued to all Muslim troops to protect Christian life and property and not a single Christian was molested on account of his religion – a remarkable contrast to the atrocities perpetrated by the Franks eighty years before.” That is how merciful Muslims were to their enemies. Allah says in Surah al-i Imran, "Lo, you are those who love them though they love you not." It is reported that Sultan Salahuddin allowed the Christians to live in what is now called Lebanon. Had he treated them differently, probably, the history of the Middle East would have been different.

Excepting the periods 1229-1239 and1243-1244 when Jerusalem fell in the hands of the crusaders again, Palestine and Lebanon remained Muslim territories (as part of Greater Syria –” al Shams) through all their lives. Religious freedom and rights of worship for the Jews and the Christians were respected and protected. After the Mongol invasion of the Islamic empire, Lebanon lost its importance as a major trading center. But she was able to regain its status, soon after the Ottoman Turks reunified the territories. Lebanon was able to win limited autonomy.

As hinted above, the remnants of the Crusaders got an upper hand with the neo-colonization of the Muslim lands in the late 19th century and in early 20th century. The first organized effort to introduce the factor of "Arab Nationalism" was undertaken by Syrian Christians under American patronage in 1847 in Beirut to divide Arabs from Muslims. A more serious step was the formation of a clandestine society in Beirut by five Christian graduates of the Syrian Protestant College in 1875 (this college is now called the American University in Beirut). Its aim was to "call upon the Arabs to fight the Turks." And subsequently the British and the French used the myth of Arab Nationalism to meet their selfish desires.

In the mid-19th century, many Christian business and missionary organizations started settling in Syria, and especially in Lebanon, which led to increased tension between the Maronite (Catholic) Christians and the Druze people. In 1880, taking advantage of a weaker Ottoman empire, France (a Catholic country) intervened and forced to appoint a Christian governor for Lebanon. In 1918, General Allenby of Britain entered Palestine after the Turks were defeated in the World War I. After entering the city of al-Quds, he declared, "Now the Crusade comes to an end." In fact, modern crusade began with the infamous Balfour Declaration of 1917 by Britain promising the Zionists in Europe that a Jewish homeland would be established in Palestine. That was the beginning of the troubling times for modern Middle East.

After World War I, France got the Mandate from the League of Nations to rule Syria, which included Lebanon. In 1920, when the French curved up the Ottoman Empire and formed the Lebanon, much to the discontent and opposition of Muslims, the idea was to ensure the continuance of Christian influence over the Muslim Arabs so as to make the country a permanent dependency.

On January 1, 1944, amid much controversy, Lebanon became an independent state. In spite of the vast Muslim majority (which is now close to 70%), the French desire to retain Christian dominance, even after the independence, led to a form of government that is simply undemocratic and imbalanced. Lebanon’s 1926 constitution, dictated by the French, stipulates that the position of President, wielding real power, goes to a Maronite Christian (named after St. Maro, who died in 410 CE). The National Assembly has equal number of members from Christian and Muslim communities, and is elected every four years by universal adult suffrage. Under the constitution, the president, who appoints the Sunni prime minister, is elected by the legislature for a six-year term and cannot serve consecutive terms. The vast majority Shi’a Muslims (representing almost half the population) are relegated to the less important Speaker of the Assembly position. Important cabinet ministers and the position of Army chief of staff are all held by the Christians. In the years that followed, the Christians of Lebanon looked west, instead of east, for their allegiance. So, it is not difficult to understand why the minority Christians today crave for keeping their privileged status-quo.

As I said earlier, the modern problem in the region goes back to the period of conspiracy against its Muslim population. It was a conspiracy to uproot a people from their ancestral lands and implant outsiders, thereby creating a permanent outpost for occupation and oppression, humiliation and hypocrisy, death and destruction. That is why, we need to understand what these outsiders were conspiring.

In 1919, the World Zionist Organization submitted to the Versailles Peace Conference, held near Paris (after the western civilization war I, the Allied forces enacted Versailles Pact to economically and militarily penalize Germany) its official plan for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. The submitted map included the southern part of Lebanon to the Litani River, the Syrian Golan Heights, the West and East banks of the Jordan River. No wonder that we see today the Zionists of Israel have fulfilled their forefather’s dreams to almost 90%. The stated objective of the ruling Herut Party (later called the Likud Party) of terrorists Begin-Shamir is that of "Eretz Israel” (Greater Israel) extending to the Litani River of Lebanon!

Theodore Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, said of his negotiation with the German Chancellor: "He asked what territory we wanted to have, whether as far north as Beirut or even beyond that. I said: We will ask for what we need – more immigrants, the more land." (The Complete Diaries of Theodore Herzl, p. 701) That was probably in late 19th or early 20th century, before his death. Now let us see what the founder of Zionist state of Israel, Ben Gurion, wrote in his diary on May 21, 1947: "The Achilles heel of the Arab coalition is the Lebanon. Muslim supremacy in this country is artificial and can be easily overthrown. A Christian state ought to be set up there, with its southern frontier on the river Litani. We would sign a treaty of alliance with the state. Thus, when we have broken the strength of the Arab legion and bombed Amman, we could wipe out Trans-Jordan; after that Syria could fall. And if Egypt still dared to make war on us, we would bomb Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo. We should thus end the war and would have paid to Egypt, Assyria and Chaldea on behalf of our ancestors." Well, the Zionist usurpers have already forced the Egyptian government under its dictators –” (late) Anwar Sadaat and Hosni Mubarak – to surrender to Israel. [With this bunch of dictators and clowns in power, the Zionists of Israel can have an easy, uninterrupted slaughter of Muslims in the rest of the Muslim world.]

Moshe Dayan told the Times of London (June 25, 1969) that, "Our fathers had reached the frontiers which were recognized in Partition Plan. Our generation reached the frontiers of 1949. Now the Six-day generation (referring to those who participated in 1967 war) has managed to reach Suez, Jordan and the Golan Heights. This is not the end. After the present cease-fire lines, there will be new ones. They will extend beyond Jordan – perhaps to Lebanon and perhaps to Central Syria as well."

Is it a mere coincidence today that we witness Israel’s blood-thirsty, savage, invading army sitting near the Litani river (after grasping the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the area up to the Litani River), or is this the fulfillment of Zionism’s long standing expansionist policy?

Yet, we see the indifference on the part of the Arab leaders who like to fill their armory with sophisticated AWACS, F-15 and F-16 planes (bought from the USA) only to be rusted in the desert and hence abandoned. The future of the Muslims in the hand of these emasculated, useless, self-appointed leaders is one of more shame and humiliation.

Let us now look at the history of the Falangists of Lebanon. The Falange was formed in 1936 by the Christian Patriarch, Pierre Gemayel (who was influenced by the Hitler Youth Movement in Germany and Franco’s Fascism in Spain). Initially, the Christians accepted the presence of Palestinian refugees. But in 1970, the first clash between the Christians and the Palestinians took place, when Christians of the village Kahaleh ambushed a Palestinian funeral procession traveling Damascus. As the tensions increased, the civil war of 1975-76 took place. In Dec. 1975, a group of Falangists killed about 200 Muslims in a reprisal attack for the deaths of four of their own men. That is generally seen as the event that sparked the civil war. Lt. Khatib defected from the Christian-dominated Army and led the Lebanese Muslims in its fight against the Falangists, while the Palestinians living in Lebanon strengthened him. Subsequently, the Hafez al-Asad’s Syrian forces moved in on the side of the Christian forces and disarmed the Palestinians and the Lebanese Muslims when the latter were in a position to overrun the Falangists.

Then came the sorrowful event in the Beirut refugee camp of Tel-al-Zaatar, inhabited by some 20,000 Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which fell to the Maronite militias on August 12, 1976. Some 3,000 Palestinians were killed by the Falangists while the Syrians watched (or allowed) the slaughter. Israel, as expected, actively supported the marauding Falangists and Saad Haddad’s Christian militia forces. Their motivation was to create a Maronite Republic in the south so that it would act as a buffer zone with Haddad’s militia acting as a proxy force, and thereby help turn Lebanon into a puppet state in the Arab world. Obviously, this idea still has tremendous appeal for the West, and the current support by the Christians in and around U.S. gives strong credence to such a hypothesis.

Afterthought:

What was a hypothesis in my writings of 1982 (above) has sadly become a reality now in 1983. We saw that after Israel had partially evacuated from occupied Lebanon, multi-national Christian forces entered into the arena so that the remaining strength of the silent majority could be completely wiped out. They started pressuring the Lebanese government to accede to Israel’s haughty demands.

History has repeatedly shown that lasting peace cannot be expected from negotiators that are hypocritical and unjust. And that is why we found these so-called western-Christian "peace keepers", instead of really preserving and working for peace, kept their eyes closed when thousands of Palestinian Muslims were slaughtered by Israeli-supported Falangists in the Sabra and Chatilia refugee camps last year (September, 1982), and more recently they took the side of invading Israel, gunning Muslim positions inside Lebanon. Instead of behaving like a neutral arbiter, the US and its Sixth Fleet killed Muslim civilians, destroyed villages, towns and mountains that were lived by the Shi’a and Druze.

Is it a crime for the overwhelming Muslim majority to ask for greater share into running of the government in Lebanon? Surely, not. But to the so-called bastions of democracy – the Christian West – it is a crime. And thus in pure violation of their brainchild "western democratic" values, we witnessed how they colluded with a minority Maronite regime so that the minority right is given precedence over that of a butchered majority. It is also painful to see how a vicious segment within the minority Maronites and Armenians has been celebrating the day-to-day massacre of Muslims. Simply sickening!

Just a few days ago, we also witnessed how the U.S. and French Army headquarters in Lebanon were attacked by members of victims’ family that killed nearly 300 soldiers. This has once again shown that when you choose to take the side of the invader, there is a price you may have to pay for your crimes. There will always be a group of resistance fighters who will be willing to fight back, for humiliation is worse than death. The dismantling of these centers of crime and conspiracy against Lebanese and Palestinian Muslims has caught many Americans in a shocking way. They did not expect this to happen to their marines. But was the event too unpredictable? Not, really! President Reagan had to promptly okay the invasion of tiny Granada so that ‘patriotic’ Americans can at least amuse themselves with the conquest there and forget about the fate of their fellow pirates in Lebanon. So much so for the mesmerization of the American public!

What the one billion Muslims of today are facing is nothing new. It is a continuing crusade against the Muslims. Muslims do not have any friend to turn to. Their own governments have completely surrendered to either superpower. That is why we find that when the Russians are killing Muslims in Afghanistan, a section of our leaders keep silent, while when the Muslims are annihilated in the Middle East, the other section is silent. What hypocrisy! How deplorable! Muslims must reflect on the fact that they do not need either the East or the West, because these two are the two edges of a scissor that cuts the Muslims in the middle. Muslims need to wake up to the reality of our time and work towards bettering their condition in the world that they live.

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[ Author’s note: This lecture was originally written in late June, 1982; later delivered as a lecture at University of California, Santa Barbara in 1983. While another 23 years have passed by the current events show that history is repeating itself. The villains and victims remain the same. What was true about western complacence back then and impotency with Muslim leadership, sadly, still remains so. Thus, once again we see calculated slaughter and cleansing of Muslims in that part of the world, in which America and its western allies sanction the war crimes of the rogue and savage Israeli government.]

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