Download A House of Many Mansions by Kamal Salibi PDF

By Kamal Salibi

This day Lebanon is among the world's so much divided nations - if it is still a rustic in any respect. yet ironically the faction-ridden Lebanese, either Christians and Muslims, have by no means proven a keener cognizance of universal id. How can this be? The Lebanese historian Kamal S. Salibi examines, within the gentle of contemporary scholarship, the ancient myths on which his country's warring groups have established their conflicting visions of the Lebanese state. The Lebanese have continually lacked a typical imaginative and prescient in their previous. From the start Muslims and Christians have disagreed essentially over their country's historic legitimacy: Christians quite often have affirmed it, Muslims have tended to stress Lebanon's position in a broader Arab heritage. either teams have used nationalist rules in a damaging video game, which at a deeper point contains archaic loyalties and tribal rivalries. yet Lebanon can't have the funds for those conflicting visions whether it is to improve and hold a feeling of political neighborhood. during his energetic exposition, Salibi bargains an incredible reinterpretation of Lebanese historical past and offers insights into the dynamic of Lebanon's contemporary clash. He additionally supplies an account of ways the photographs of groups which underlie smooth nationalism are created.

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Where else, in the Arab world, could one see majestic peaks capped with snow for much of the year, rising hoary above terraced mountain slopes dotted with the red roof-tops of countless villages nestIed among orchards or vineyards, set against a stark blue sky, and directly overlooking the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean? Yet another initial advantage of the country was its geographic location, which could make of it the ideal gateway from the West to the Arab world. In addition to all this, there was the experienced mercantile initiative and exceptional adaptability of the people, and the cultural tolerance which they generally exhibited, most notably in the coastal cities, and most of all in cosmopolitan Beirut.

Unfortunately for the Maronites, however, not everybody in Lebanon thought or felt as they did. There were even many Maronites who dissented and freely expressed their divergent views. After all, who could reasonably deny that Lebanon, as a political entity, was a new country, just as the other Arab countries under French or British mandate 28 A HOUSE OF MANY MANSIONS were? Certainly, Lebanon was as much a new country as the others, but with an important difference: it had been willed into existence by a community of its own people, albeit one community among others.

In addition to all this, there was the experienced mercantile initiative and exceptional adaptability of the people, and the cultural tolerance which they generally exhibited, most notably in the coastal cities, and most of all in cosmopolitan Beirut. All that Lebanon needed to be a success was political accord and an even social development among the different communities which had come to form its population and in the different regions it had come to comprise. However, for two reasons, it was exactly these conditions that proved hard to reach.

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