Friday, 25 September 2009

Lebanon/Europe

This was written by W. M. Thompson in The land and the Book, 1870.

"Lebanon has about 400,000 inhabitants, gathered into more than six hundred towns, villages and hamlets...The various religions and sects live together, and practice their conflicting superstitions in close proximity, but the people do not coalesce into one homogeneous community, nor do they regard each other with fraternal feelings.

The Sunnites excommunicate the Shiites - both hate the Druse, and all three detest the Nusairiyeh. The Maronites have no particular love for anybody and, in turn, are disliked by all. The Greeks cannot endure the Greek Catholics; all despise the Jews. And the same remarks apply to the minor divisions of this land.

There is no common bond of union. Society has no continuous strata underlying it, which can be opened and worked for the general benefit of all, but an endless number of dislocated fragments, faults, and dikes, by which the masses are tilted up in hopeless confusion, and lie at every conceivable angle of antagonism to each other. The omnific Spirit that brooded over primeval chaos can alone bring order out of such confusion, and reduce these conflicting elements into peace and concord. [my italics]

No other country in the world, I presume, has such a multiplicity of antagonistic races; and herein lies the greatest obstacle to any general and permanent amelioration and improvement of their condition, character, and prospects. They can never form one united people, never combine for any important religious or political purpose; and will therefore remain weak, incapable of self-government, and exposed to the invasions and oppressions of foreigners. Thus it has been, is now, and must long continue to be a people divided, meted out, and trodden down."

This was written 140 years ago, and since then the population of Lebanon his grown tenfold. And so have its problems. It remains a hotchpotch of mutually antagonistic ethnic groups, mired interminably in war and conflict.

Today, regions all over Europe are heading the same way, and the numbers grow all the time. Demographic trends, if maintained, will cause these regions to become Lebanised in due course (many already are), with all the attendant problems.

And always remember friends, we brought this on ourselves.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Huge tracts of the UK are already like this. For example Bradford is split along similar lines to Lebanon, with distinct Muslim (Pakistani), black and (diminishing) white areas. Littel interaction.

W Baker said...

Savant,

Good post. I'm not a defender of Reagan, but at least he left Lebanon after the bombing on the Marine barracks. He publicly admitted that Lebanon was incomprehensible.

Let me see if I've got this right, the UK Lib Dems and Labour, Tony Blair, and Bono - and all of the other Celtic and Anglo progressives - had a rock hard, hard on for the Albanians a few years ago.

(I left the Tories out because they deserve their own special circle of hell...!)

You'd think that no matter how many historical (and modern) examples of polyglot cultures one pulls out of the hat, at least some direct and personal contact with these types of societies might rouse some common sense. For the love of Christ, can you find a more naturally dysfunctional, plagued area of the world than the Balkans?

Bottom line is that modern elites, like Blair and Bono (sorry to lump all of Ireland into that slimy toad), have this missionary zeal to remake mankind into their own effeminate image of a private, primary-school playground - with the small caveat that they, the elites, must be seen and be highly paid for doing it.

clinycavan said...

This is a valid point and rarely expressed; an effective State needs some social cohesion so that people can act in the 'national interest', at least some of the time, ie they accept 'this policy disadvantages me, but helps my ethnic group, my fellow-countrymen'.
Lose that glue, and you are finished- you're Lebanon.
The glue in Ireland has been our common Irish nationality; which long pre-dates the Irish state.
A lot of people would like that glue to be diluted, and these days have an unprecidented opportunity; may they be thwarted.

Anonymous said...

HMMMM SOUNDS LIKE THE IRISH ON A GOOD DAY. HATE EVERYONE.

Anonymous said...

yes but Lebanon sort of held it together until they insanely accepted the "palestinian" troublemakers after they were booted out by Jordan for, er, causing trouble.

Their reward: civil war.

Anonymous said...

The Irish hate everybody? Really?

Skot German said...

Is it possible that a "liberal" is primarily motivated by a desire to fight and ideology is only used to determine who shall be the enemy?

That hypothesis explains a lot of the irrationality of liberalism (the winning side in the current war). Ideology is not selected on its merits but instead because it is in opposition to enemy conservative ideology.

The youth in violent Antifa protests want to fight and they have been so conditioned to see convervatives as the enemy that the will side immigrants against them.

mat_stevens said...

Well, it definitley got worse after the Palestinians were let in, but the same problems always applied. No sense of society or unity, and you don't be seen in the 'wrong'place. Not the kind of society I want to live in.

SAVANT said...

W Baker - I agree. I just wonder somethimes tho' what really drives the likes of Blair. I dont wonder about Bono - that little prick is just burnishing his own ego and needs his lab rats - the poor - in order to do that.

Anonymous said...

Savant,

Thanks for this historic snapshot of that troubled, beautiful country. You could add terrible environmental degradation, too (deforestation). At one point "Cedar of Lebanon" not only sounded good, it's origin was in ample evidence. Now the forests are in very dire condition, as is true in much of Greece and other Med parts. Natural resources that go away forever tend to alter the subject society for the worse.

Reminds me of a pet hypothesis of mine, that mountain people are often imbued with a better-than-average share of craziness. Witness tribes of the Appalachians, Balkans, New Guinea, Caucasus, Afghanistan-Pakistan, southern fringe of the Himalaya, parts of Colombia and Mexico. Thin mountain air? Isolation? Ideal places for whacked ideologies to fester and become ingrained? Bad food? I don't know, but I'd rather put in my lot with flat-landers or hill folk.

leadpb

18 k@art said...

"all despise the Jews."

So this means then that the Jews should be the prime opponents of multi-culturalism,then.

W Baker said...

I'm not sure what drives Blair beyond some twisted notion to be seen and heard, and of course, to be paid handsomely for his presence. Last I heard he had converted to RC, is the Peace Envoy (sic) to the Middle East, runs around the globe (on private jets, of course) lecturing at universities on religions and how we all just need to get along.... He's done some lobbying work for JP Morgan in the UK to the tune of 500,000 pounds. I'm sure he's getting kick backs from BAE and/or the House of Saud for preventing the investigation into the Saudi arms deal, etc., etc., and is ultimately gunning for some type of EU presidency.

He desperately wants to be in the big leagues with his American sociopath colleague, Clinton (he -- she's just plainly certifiable), but I don't think he's quite as charismatic or ruthless - but I could be wrong on the latter.

In any other life, Tony would be your atypical bright boy from the north of England who made the right contacts and grades at university and now heads a union or mob in London and extracts small, but comfortable, sums from its members.

In this life, he's just had the cover of state....

W Bakerr said...

Re: Anonymous' interesting hypothesis on mountain cultures. While you have the preponderance of evidence (and I can back you up for the Appalachian bunch as I live on the very last, southernmost foothill in the chain), the Swiss sort of blow this idea out of the water. They're pretty quiet (oftentimes dull) and seem pretty occupied with cows, little tiny mechanical things, and some sort of weird wrestling where they go around grabbing each other by their trousers in barns!

A far cry from medieval goatherders on a moonscape in the shadows of the Himalayas. What kind of insanity has caused multiple white empires (Alexander, the Russians, the British, the Soviets, and now the US) to want that godforsaken tract of land?

Anonymous said...

W Baker--

Point taken. I had to think carefully about the mountain grown business. So what is "the very last, southernmost foothill in the chain"? Is that in the West Indies or something?

There are of course numerous montane areas about the globe whose denizens seem well-adjusted. Maybe it has more to do with brisk trade and proximity to *real* civilizations (e.g., your Swiss example). But the isolation factor is probably greatest.

I have heard that tribes only a knife-edge ridge away from one another in New Guinea had *never* had contact with each other. Totally different languages. Similar situations obtain in Burma, where numerous tribes all have a common animosity and of course hatred for the central government. Again, the remoteness factor comes in.

I think individuals who manage to remain isolated even in a metropolis are somehow of the same ilk.

-- leadpb

W Baker said...

"So what is "the very last, southernmost foothill in the chain"? Is that in the West Indies or something?"

Eastern Alabama, USA....

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Highland Scots are a prime example...and they were the shock troops for the British Empire.

Potgieter

bacchus said...

I think you're stretching this way beyond what it can take. You can find such similarities in any such groupings.

Israelieejit said...

Just adding my tuppenceworth -

Lebanon was originally part of the French mandate of Syria following the collapse of the Ottoman era. Britain controlled the mandate of Palestine.
As there were mainly Maronite Christians in the area, France decided to make Lebanon into a separate enclave.
Therefore the whole area was supposed to have been a country for Christians (Lebanon), a country for Arabs (Syria) and a country for Jews (Palestine). The druze are great people who are usually loyal to whoever's running the country.
In 1982, the Israelis teamed up with the Maronite Christians in Lebanon to fight the Muslims who were causing a lot of internal strife and also continually rocketing Israel.
There are only about 200 Jews left in Lebanon after they were forced to flee when Israel was established. My brother-in-law's wife is Lebanese and left when she was four. Her family had to keep their departure secret out of fear for their safety. Therefore they couldnt sell their home or belongings. They stole out in the middle of the night and sailed to Cyprus, then onto Israel.
Incidentally, Palestine was eventually split into two with the land east of the Jordan river becoming Transjordan (later Jordan) and the land west of the river becoming Israel. The UN presented a partition plan to split would-be Israel again - half for the Jews and the other half for the Arabs. The Jews agreed but the Arabs rejected it.
It is ridiculous for Tony Blair to be pussy-footing around this region. He hasnt a clue about the different sects, clans, cultures, mentalities, customs etc that come into play.

chapinsteve said...

The experience of Lebanon shows that Muslims will always outbreed Christians and Jews. In time this will inevitably lead to a fundamental change of the nation's character. Invariably with disastrous results.

That's why I think Israel is crazy to keep grabbing more land. It's just building up a demographic time bomb which will eventually become uncontrollable.

Israelieejit said...

To chapinsteve,

Land-grabbing is a propaganda term as no actual border has ever been established.
The biggest problem is security.
Israel fully withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 expecting the Palestinians to take over control of their destiny. All the Jews living in Gaza were evacuated with those refusing to go willingly being literally dragged out of their homes kicking and screaming.
Some settlements in Samaria were evacuated and the next phase was meant to be further evacuations in Samaria and Judea.
However, instead of improving their lives, the Gazans increased their rocket fire into Israel which paralyzed the lives of all the residents in close proximity.
Most Israelis are willing to give up land for peace but are very cynical of the Palestinians' future plans. Since Judea and Samaria are the "hill-tops", their evacuation would leave all of Israel's densly populated coastal region wide open to rocket attacks and mortars. I'm talking about Iranian Grad rockets, not home-made ones.
Following our experience with Gaza, its hard to convince us that evacuation will lead to peace.

Anonymous said...

I can see where you're coming from isrealieejit, but to my mind there's more to these land grabs, call them what you want, than just security. Forcing Palestinians out of their homes in Hebron for instance, and insulting and abusing them does nothing for security. On the contrary.

Also Israel simply cannot remain a democracy if it keeps taking over more and more land as they'll soon be outnumbered by Palestinians.