By Kamal Salibi
This day Lebanon is likely one of the world's such a lot divided nations - if it continues to be a rustic in any respect. yet sarcastically the faction-ridden Lebanese, either Christians and Muslims, have by no means proven a keener recognition of universal id. How can this be? The Lebanese historian Kamal S. Salibi examines, within the mild of recent scholarship, the old myths on which his country's warring groups have dependent their conflicting visions of the Lebanese kingdom. The Lebanese have continuously lacked a typical imaginative and prescient in their previous. From the start Muslims and Christians have disagreed essentially over their country's old legitimacy: Christians almost always have affirmed it, Muslims have tended to stress Lebanon's position in a broader Arab background. either teams have used nationalist rules in a damaging video game, which at a deeper point comprises archaic loyalties and tribal rivalries. yet Lebanon can't find the money for those conflicting visions whether it is to increase and preserve a feeling of political group. during his vigorous exposition, Salibi deals a huge reinterpretation of Lebanese historical past and gives insights into the dynamic of Lebanon's fresh clash. He additionally supplies an account of the way the photographs of groups which underlie glossy nationalism are created.
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Additional info for A House of Many Mansions
For the duration of the French mandate in the Levant, Lebanon was adequately protected against such destabilizing Arab interventions in HOW IT ALL BEGAN 37 its affairs, The real problems of the country, however, were to come blatantly into the open as soon as the French mandate came to an end, leaving an independent Lebanon a t the mercy of external and internal forces acting in the name of Arab nationalism with which the Lebanese state, in the long run, was unable to come to reasonable terms. Thus in Lebanon, from the very beginning, a force called Arabism, acting from outside and inside the country, stood face to face with another exclusively parochial social force called Lebanism; and the two forces collided on every fundamental issue, impeding the normal development of the state and keeping its political legitimacy and ultimate viability continuously in question.
In such cases, unless a given ideal is implemented by force, or by the charisma of truly convinced and determined leadership, it can easily be eroded by the existing realities that contradict it. If the ideal is pressed hard, but not to the extent of effecting the desired change, society finds ways and means to circumvent it, and a social hypocrisy develops. Set patterns of behaviour can then remain in operation, functioning in one way or another in the name of the ideal or under its cover. Thus the ideal, whose original purpose was the remodelling of a given society according to new precepts or a new vision, with a view to the common good, is transformed into a false witness to the obstinate persistence of that society in traditional ways.
More than that, he was adamant in refusing to recognize the Jewish claims in Palestine, as approved by the British. His two sons, Abdullah and Faysal, took the more realistic view; so did his great rival in Arabia, Ibn Saud. Those were practical men who were willing to give and take, and settle for what was ultimately achievable in given circumstances. In the arrangements which the British made in the parts of the area allotted to them, or where they already wielded HOW IT ALL BEGAN 25 dominant influence, all three were readily accommodated.