2. The Maronites: Their Present and Future Challenges
Instructor: Antoine Saad
Click HERE to get the text written in Arabic by Mr. Saad.
Click HERE to go to Section I.
The Challenges that the Christians Face in Lebanon
Translated into English by Najwa Nasr
B. The interference of Iran and the Gulf states in the Lebanese affairs, and the lack of attention on the part of the Western world
Even long before the Sunni-Shiite conflict intensified at the level of both the Near and the Middle East, a strong hidden dispute erupted between the Sunni countries on the one hand and the Shiite Iranian state allied with Syria controlled by the strong Alawite grip on the other. That was regardless of the fact that the Alawite sect, historically a Shiite branch, is a small minority compared with the Syrian Sunni population. That dispute reflected in a competition between them to promote and fortify their positions waiting for the confrontation that today, it seems, they had both expected and prepared for one way or another. Notwithstanding that both parties realize they could not escape it for ever.
Since the beginning of the eighties at least, Lebanon has been one of the major areas contested over. In preparation for the major immanent conflict, both parties started to compete over both of the basic strategic factors: encourage childbirth rate among the corresponding sects and buy land lots in Lebanon owned by the Christians who were first considered to be the major landlords, and second because the Christians were suffering from weight loss due to displacement, destruction, and internal strives among their leaders, and third because they were neglected by all countries in the world basically the Western world whose countries couldn’t care less about Lebanon but were concerned more about their interests with the oil countries and with Israel thus neglecting all what might have negative repercussions on those two files. Within this framework, it is important to emphasize that in contrast a high concern, was and still is, expressed by the Sunni and the Shiite countries towards their Lebanese allies at the political, military, financial, economic, and social levels, in addition to the huge budgets that exceed one billion dollars that have been donated annually to each of the two parties over the past thirty years. The Western world, on the other hand, totally ignores the Lebanese Christian issue and the Lebanese Christian community because those are complex issues which require major efforts and probably at a high cost, resulting perhaps in some embarrassment towards the oil countries that feel absolutely no embarrassment when they offer all kinds of support and assistance to one single Lebanese community.
Within this context, there is a dire need to highlight the fact that the percentage of land sales has reached a serious level. Some Christian owned land lots in the southern suburbs of Beirut, regions east of Sidon, in addition to some regions in the North have been confiscated then bought. The confessional identity of all those regions changed from having been one hundred percent Christian to ninety percent non-Christian within few years. Furthermore, buying out Christian owned land lots by oil countries expanded to reach regions that have so far been inhabited by a Christian majority. Construction sites have already begun in Furn al-Shebbak, Ayn al-Remmaneh, Achrafieh, and other Christian suburbs of Beirut, and apartments in those new construction projects are being sold to non-Christians after the contractors bought the land from the original owners at fanciful prices compared to the rates current in those regions.
The Sunni and the Shiite oil countries are deeply involved in financing the operations of buying Christian owned land lots while the Western world totally neglects the Lebanese cause altogether. Those oil countries also continue to offer substantial financial assistance to social, educational, and health organizations. All that is reflected on the purchase capacity of the non-Christians after massive amounts of money have been pumped into the economic cycle of the non-Christian communities in Lebanon, which explains the escalation of the economic crisis that the Christians in Lebanon suffer from, and which eventually leads to the continuous emigration of the Christian youth from Lebanon, in addition to other social crises.
GRADING SCALE FOR EACH SECTION OF EACH SESSION
0 ; 1 ; 2 ; 3
0 (Not Submitted);
1 (Poor: little effort; little work done; not very relevant -- Good, but Late)
2 (Good: good effort; answered questions appropriately; relevant -- Very Good, but Late)
3 (Very Good: great effort; answered questions very well; answers based both on text and on relevant (listed) outside sources,
and they demonstrate higher order thinking skills)
TOTAL: 100 Points
20 %: Session 1 || 20 %: Session 2
20 %: Session 3 || 20 %: Session 4
20 %: Participation [Engagement and Motivation],
Attitude, & Aspirations
(Interactions on Facebook Group + Page play a big role)