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.