Fitzgerald: The end of Lebanon

* Lifted from JW

The end of Lebanon dates from that day, in 1982, when Bashir Gemayel was blown up — the same day he, in a speech, first used the word “dhimmitude.” Lebanon was always the redoubt and refuge of Christians, who found in the mountainous region, the Mountain of Lebanon, Mont Liban, a place where, far from the centers of Islam, they could survive. But they didn’t reproduce enough, and the Muslims outbred them. And the Muslim Arabs known as the “Palestinians” contributed to the demographic degringolade.

However, proximity to those Christians did raise the level of the local Muslims, or at least some of them. In the case of Lebanon, it was the Sunni merchant class.

And power, which had been carefully distributed between Christians, Sunnis, and Shi’a (with the Druse also not being forgotten) according to the census of 1935, remained intelligently split. However, after World War II, slowly but surely, the French withdrew as protectors of the Maronites. The Maronites were the most self-assured and least “Arab” of the Christians. They knew that their presence in the area predated the arrival of the Arabs and of Islam, and they did not make the mistake of thinking that the linguistic and cultural imperialism of the Arabs, a natural accompaniment of the arrival of Muslims, made them into Arabs — that is, into more than “Arabic-using” Lebanese.

And then the Americans came in, in 1956, to rescue the old order, but that was it. The “Palestinian” Arabs kept multiplying, and in their villages (called, quite inaccurately, “refugee camps”), where their needs were met by UNRWA, they had time to plot and plan. They destabilized and they threatened, now the Christians here, now the Shi’a there.

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