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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lebanon's "Modern" Christians


The Greek Orthodox Christians of Lebanon love Vladimir Putin.

The Maronites of Lebanon love Donald Trump. None other than Lebanese right-wing Christian fundamentalist thinker Walid Phares is providing advice to Trump on the Middle East.

Racist Fascist French politician and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was welcomed yesterday in Beirut by Lebanese President Aoun, former Christian militia warlord and leader Samir Geagea, and by the head of the Maronite Church. While I applaud her refusal to wear a scarf as a condition of meeting the Sunni Mufti of Lebanon, she remains essentially the Donald Trump of France with all the xenophobia, hatred, and racism that they share.

When then-exiled Lebanese Christian leader Michel Aoun visited the US in 2002, then again in 2005, the only interviews his idiot Lebanese-Americans handlers got him is with the Fundamentalist Christian charlatan Pat Robertson. Look up these interviews in which Aoun agrees with Robertson's depiction of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization which ironically got Aoun elected President.

Why do Lebanon's Christians gravitate towards the extreme right-wing is a mystery. Within the Christian Lebanese Maronite community there are essentially 4 - 5 poles of power, all disguised as political parties. They share the exact same ideological foundation, namely subservience to the Church and a monolithic view of the world from the perspective of a persecuted minority. Not unlike the Zionists. There are no ideological differences between the traditional Kataeb of the Gemayel clan, the Marada of the Frangiyeh clan, the so-called liberals of the Chamoun clan, and the two new clans of Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea whose advent into the political class was propelled by their wartime exploits and internecine fighting.

There are other smaller Christian political groups... What separates these groups from one another is political greed, corruption, clientelism in their respective regions, etc. While they do not disagree on ideology, they compete with one another on the mechanics of corruption, the pilfering on national resources, their degree of subservience to foreign countries, etc. They fight with one another for political power, often allying themselves with non-Christian groups and foreign countries to arrive at their objectives. But none of them cares for the welfare of their constituents, engaging the latter only to the extent that they ensure their grip on power. And when they reach power, nothing changes in the lives of their constituents: Same corruption, same Mafia practices, same client-boss relationships, cronyism (sons, daughters, wives, sons-in-law... suddenly become members of parliament and ministers), all of this blessed by the overarching supremacy of the Bronze Age religious bosses, the Maronite Patriarch leading the pack of other Patriarchs, each claiming to be the original and true vicar of Christ on earth.

Why isn't there an ideological progressive left within the Christian community? A modern political movement that transcends narrow, Bronze Age vintage thinking, that strives to achieve social justice, fairness and equity, distribution of wealth, concern for the environment, and yet whose patriotism can still be grounded in the identity of a Christian community. Why can't the Christian community of Lebanon be proud of its past, teach Aramaic as its language in its schools, promote its Phoenician past... yet modernize itself by adopting such ideals as defending the environment, upholding human rights, and ceasing to promote cheap mercantilism and greed for money as the highest of pursuits?

The Lebanese Diaspora is widespread across the globe. It is one of the richest communities. And yet, nothing of worth is ever achieved here at home with all this wealth, other than building themselves palaces, and paying for political access to embark on more and more destructive projects, like the construction business that is completely unregulated, that has disfigured the mountains by digging quarries in mountainsides to make sand and rock for more construction, that has devastated the country in the absence of any sense of a balanced urban development.

I am not singling out the Christian community; I can say pretty much the same things about the Muslim communities of Lebanon. It was laughable yesterday to hear Walid Jumblatt, the Druze community leader criticize Marine Le Pen's visit. Now Jumblatt claims to be a "Progressive Socialist" (That's the name of his party anyway). His party is made up exclusively of his Druze tribal followers. Don't you think it strange that Socialists and Progressives in Lebanon are all of one religious community? In any case, Walid Jumblatt is a feudal leader par excellence, living in a Palace high in the Shouf hills. He inherited his leadership from his father Kamal, and is - as we speak - bestowing that same leadership to his son Taymour. He holds assemblies just like feudal lords of the Dark Ages used to do, and people come in and present him with their grievances and requests. The more of these he can address, the more of them will vote for him at the next elections.

Back to the Christian community. This community constantly claims to be "better" than the Muslims, more educated, more modern, as if believing in Jesus is a higher form of religiosity than believing in Mohammed. The following is a list of Christian political parties and groups in which political power has been, or is being, bequeathed from father to son, nephew, daughter, wife, or son-in-law... They all have titles, often from medieval or Ottoman times (Sheikh, Bek, Amid, Rayyis, etc.), or of modern (even if fake) origin (General, Doctor,...).
- Gemayel
- Mouawad
- Frangiyeh
- Chamoun
- Aoun
- Skaf
- Geagea
- Lahoud
- Murr
- Edde

Among the Muslims, similar though less diverse transfer of political power (because of more monolithic social structures) with names like Hariri, Jumblatt, Arslan, Assaad, Karami, etc...

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