By Carole H. Dagher
Lebanon is greater than a rustic, it's a message': those phrases of Pope John Paul II illustrate Lebanon's post-war activity to maintain its age-old Christian-Muslim coexistence and power-sharing formulation and to invalidate Samuel Huntington's assumption of a 'Clash of Civilizations.' Lebanon's present problem is additionally the problem of an entire quarter, the center East, the place the destiny of minorities, together with jap Christians, finds the clients of democracy, pluralism and political participation. Carole H. Dagher, a journalist for Lebanese media in addition to an instructional, offers an insightful account on how Christian and Muslim groups emerged from the 16 year-old Lebanese battle, what their issues of friction and their universal grounds are, and what the customers of Lebanon's communal illustration process and pluralistic society are. She describes the imperative function performed via the Holy See and John Paul II in bridging the distance among Christians and Muslims in Lebanon, and analyzes the influence different nations reminiscent of Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia have had at the strength video game and, conversely, the impression of Christian-Muslim interplay at the way forward for the Arab-Israeli peace approach. convey Down the partitions attracts the most important classes from the new background of Christian-Muslim relatives in Lebanon.
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Extra resources for Bring Down the Walls: Lebanon’s Postwar Challenge
But the rivalry would become all too blatant and would lead to clashes on the ground in the southern suburbs of Beirut and in some villages in Southern Lebanon on political occasions, like during the municipal elections in the spring of 1998. A veiled competition gradually extended to the persons of both Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, who has been labeled “the spiritual Guide of Hezbollah” (although lately he distanced himself from the party), and Sheikh Shamseddine. Also Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the general secretary of Hezbollah and leader of its militant group, will emerge first as a mili- Muslim Self-Assertion 37 tary, then as a political leader.
This latter point was also to be resolved in Ta‘if. And yet the controversy went on in the postwar years on how exclusive or inclusive Arabic identity could be in regard to other cultural influences, especially Western and francophone. The strains started with the stated government policy to impose the so-called “Arabization” of the school programs. They viewed that goal as an attempt to rattle the foundations of a qualitative pluralistic education, which has been the hallmark of Lebanon in the entire region.
For that reason, Lebanon is an absolute necessity, not only for Christians, but for all minorities in the Arab East. Christian presence leads to a civilizational and cultural interaction with the West, and also between Christians and Muslims themselves. 31 Mount-Lebanon bears a particular significance for the Maronites; it is their historical refuge, the birthplace of the Lebanese entity and the symbol of independence and of Lebanese nationalism. 32 MountLebanon indeed not only sheltered Christian hermits and monasteries, but it harbored some Muslim Sufis as well, and the Syriac language (the primary language of the Maronites and still their liturgical one) has historically been the contact language with Islamic Sufism or mysticism.
Bring Down the Walls: Lebanon’s Postwar Challenge by Carole H. Dagher