Author Topic: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...  (Read 1708 times)

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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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"Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« on: January 30, 2012, 06:48:43 PM »
 ???

My dad has lately been making very derogatory statements about Arabs that have been getting to me...

Today he said that in Lebanon, every Christian knows their way around a gun, because their under constant attack by Muslim extremists.


I would believe this about Egypt or Syria, but Lebanon?  Is it really that dangerous in Lebanon for Christians?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 06:49:37 PM by trevor72694 »

Offline vamrat

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 06:56:06 PM »
There was a war there back in the 80's.  I don't know too much about what happened.  I know there were Christian militias that fought.  Here's the wikipedia article, prolly a good place to start research: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Civil_War
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Offline 88Devin12

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 07:19:16 PM »
???

My dad has lately been making very derogatory statements about Arabs that have been getting to me...

Today he said that in Lebanon, every Christian knows their way around a gun, because their under constant attack by Muslim extremists.


I would believe this about Egypt or Syria, but Lebanon?  Is it really that dangerous in Lebanon for Christians?

I dunno, but I can tell you, that was true for Greece during its fight for independence from Turkey... Sadly, even Priests and Monks participated in the revolution...

Offline William

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 07:24:09 PM »
Wow, not even close. Lebanon is probably more tolerant of its enormous Christian population (40%) than any of Middle Eastern country. Including Israel.

My parish is Lebanese. I've heard people complain of Syria, but never of Lebanon. In fact, one Syrian fellow said that he fled from Syria to Lebanon.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 07:25:26 PM by William »
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Offline dzheremi

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 08:03:06 PM »
It depends on who you ask, I guess. The majority of my Lebanese friends of any political persuasion are either hard left (PLO) or hard right (Ouwet), and you can assume that most of them do know their way around weapons. In the war, they say, most everybody who didn't immigrate (the majority of Christians immigrated, hence today Lebanon is Muslim-majority) did fight, not necessarily out of hatred for Muslims/Christians (whichever one is the "other side") who had previously been neighbors, but because when everyone has a gun and X militia rolls into town, you want to be able to protect your family, or at least buy them some time to flee before the Israelis or the Syrians or whoever come in with their arms to demolish your village. This happened in Christian villages (Damour) and majority-Muslim refugee camps (Sabra and Shatila) alike, so no one is really innocent unless you didn't side openly with anybody (so, basically, unless you are Fairuz). See the documentary film "We Loved Each Other So Much" (website) for a very balanced and revealing look at the war and its aftermath on ordinary Lebanese of a multitude of confessions (interviewees are Maronite, Muslim, Armenian, etc.) and political views, as well as a little peak into the Lebanese soul. There are also more artistic (non-documentary) films out there about the same territory, like "West Beirut" (young Christian-Muslim friendship in a primarily-Muslim part of the city at the start of the war) and "Under the Bombs" (about the 2006 war, not 1975-1990, but still very good).

For the point of view from the mind of the leader of the largest of the Christian militias (the Lebanese Forces/Ouwet al-Lubnaniye), assassinated president-elect Bashir Gemayel (d. 1982), read Rani Geha's "Words from Bashir", which translates some of his most important speeches. This is probably the only place you can find this material in English. Fortunately, both the book and the aforementioned movies are available via Amazon (though I think you can only get "West Beirut" in region 2/PAL).

Lebanon is a very complex place.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 08:04:07 PM by dzheremi »

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 08:04:28 PM »
???

My dad has lately been making very derogatory statements about Arabs that have been getting to me...

Today he said that in Lebanon, every Christian knows their way around a gun, because their under constant attack by Muslim extremists.


I would believe this about Egypt or Syria, but Lebanon?  Is it really that dangerous in Lebanon for Christians?

I know a lot of Lebanese insist that they are not Arabs ...
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline genesisone

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 08:09:59 PM »
???

My dad has lately been making very derogatory statements about Arabs that have been getting to me...

Today he said that in Lebanon, every Christian knows their way around a gun, because their under constant attack by Muslim extremists.


I would believe this about Egypt or Syria, but Lebanon?  Is it really that dangerous in Lebanon for Christians?
Is your father aware that those Christians are, most likely, Arabs? It irks me to hear Arab = Muslim, as though the terms are interchangeable. Of course, being in an Antiochian parish with fellow worshippers who (or whose parents) were born in Lebanon, Syrian, and even Palestine has opened my eyes to these things. (Unlike the Lebanese known to akimori makoto, the ones I know are quite insistent that they are Arabs  :))

The statement about a gun may be a bit of hyperbole, but...  if extremist groups take control of Syria and Egypt, where does that leave Lebanon? Undoubtedly there is plenty of fear and concern about the future.

All Christians in the Middle East need our prayers. Please encourage your father to investigate the claims and to pray.

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 08:13:44 PM »
(Unlike the Lebanese known to akimori makoto, the ones I know are quite insistent that they are Arabs  :))

I have met those types, too. It is all rather confusing.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 08:16:17 PM »
???

My dad has lately been making very derogatory statements about Arabs that have been getting to me...

Today he said that in Lebanon, every Christian knows their way around a gun, because their under constant attack by Muslim extremists.


I would believe this about Egypt or Syria, but Lebanon?  Is it really that dangerous in Lebanon for Christians?
Is your father aware that those Christians are, most likely, Arabs? It irks me to hear Arab = Muslim, as though the terms are interchangeable. Of course, being in an Antiochian parish with fellow worshippers who (or whose parents) were born in Lebanon, Syrian, and even Palestine has opened my eyes to these things. (Unlike the Lebanese known to akimori makoto, the ones I know are quite insistent that they are Arabs  :))

The statement about a gun may be a bit of hyperbole, but...  if extremist groups take control of Syria and Egypt, where does that leave Lebanon? Undoubtedly there is plenty of fear and concern about the future.

All Christians in the Middle East need our prayers. Please encourage your father to investigate the claims and to pray.

I will do this.

I have many, many Arab friends, Lebanese and Palestinian, Christian, Muslim and Druze.  They are all wonderful. 

What irks me is this.  Last night we were speaking about some sort of war, then the middle east came up.  He said, very confidently "I can't stand those Muslims!"   What he meant was that he couldn't stand Arabs.  I asked him further questions.  I kid you not, he literally doesn't like Arabs. 

He says he knew "Muslims" in college, and they were very elitist.  How did he know they were Muslims?  He heard them speaking Arabic on the phone. 



Part of me has to chuckle at what my dad thinks.  He blames all Arabs for 9/11.  He also hates how "Arabs are terrorizing Orthodox Christians in the middle east".



With him, 1 + 1 = fish.   

This is something that's sparked heated fights between us. 


He's never met an Arab in person.  We have a Lebanese couple at my Church, and I'm eager to get them and my dad together for a nice chat :)
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 08:17:31 PM by trevor72694 »

Offline vamrat

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 08:16:58 PM »
(Unlike the Lebanese known to akimori makoto, the ones I know are quite insistent that they are Arabs  :))

I have met those types, too. It is all rather confusing.

Isn't everything in the Middle East?   ;)
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Offline dzheremi

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 08:21:10 PM »
I know a lot of Lebanese insist that they are not Arabs ...

Indeed. Alarab - jarab! Ana Lebnanye, Finiye! ;)

I know a lot of Lebanese who subscribe to that. More power to them, I suppose. Out of all the populations who eventually lost it, they did keep Syriac as an everyday spoken language for the longest time. And the Syriac substrate in Lebanese Arabic is a matter of linguistic fact. That, combined with the fact that the Arab identity was (according to this view) more or less forced on them at Ta'if in 1989...well, there's still considerable resentment there. As a Lebanese friend once put it to me: "Jeremy, YOU are older than the so-called Arab identity of Lebanon!" Now that's not exactly true (it's not as though there were no Arab-identifying people in Lebanon before the Ta'if Accord was signed), but I knew what he was getting at. :)

Offline serb1389

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2012, 10:25:28 PM »
there are a lot of serbs do.  It was part of the elementary school training back in the communist days.  the kids thought they were toys they were assembling.  Met a few priests who had them in the altar too. 

Offline Samn!

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2012, 11:09:58 PM »
Among Lebanese Orthodox (and to a lesser extent Greek Catholics), Arab identity is historically quite strong. The Orthodox in Palestine, after all, were the first Christian group after the Muslim conquest to switch their liturgy over to being mostly or entirely in Arabic and those in Lebanon and Syria have been doing so for at least 1000 years. Politically too, in the 20th century Orthodox were at the forefront of pushing pan-Arabism as a counterweight both to pan-Islamism and Maronite "nous sommes  phéniciens" particularism. Which is why in the first half of the 20th century Orthodox were some of the main proponents of secular nationalist ideologies, such as  Michel Aflaq founding the Baath Party and Antoun Saadeh founding the Syrian Socialist-Nationalist party and in Palestine Georges Habash founding the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Of course, the star of Arab nationalism has dimmed since the fall of the Soviet Union, but it's still relatively uncommon to meet Lebanese Orthodox who would claim, say, that they're Phoenician and not Arab, unless they grew up in a mostly Maronite environment. Still, though, the political movements (and thus war-time militias) that the Orthodox are most typically associated with in the minds of other Lebanese are the strongly secularist groups-- the SSNP, the Communist Party, and the leftist Palestinian groups-- even if now most Orthodox political figures, such as those in the Murr and Tueini families or Tarek Mitri, are of a rather different political bent. During the Lebanese Civil war, such secularist groups included both Christians and Muslims, and fought alongside the Palestinians against the Maronite militias.

Arab identity, as a common bond between Christians and Muslims, has long been a point stressed by some Orthodox hierarchs in Lebanon, most famously Metropolitan Georges Khodr. For examples of Sayyedna Georges' thinking on Arab identity, look at:

http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/2010/03/georges-khodr-on-orthodox-in-lebanese.html

http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/2011/03/fr-georges-massouh-towards-new-muslim.html


As for Syrian Christians' facility with guns, those in Lattakia seem to prefer street sweepers and handguns to AK's----

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwLbgmYdMKg&feature=player_embedded

Bear in mind that the video is from 2010, and so such a public display of firepower could only have happened with government approval......
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 11:10:42 PM by Samn! »

Offline scamandrius

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2012, 11:27:18 PM »
Wow, not even close. Lebanon is probably more tolerant of its enormous Christian population (40%) than any of Middle Eastern country. Including Israel.

My parish is Lebanese. I've heard people complain of Syria, but never of Lebanon. In fact, one Syrian fellow said that he fled from Syria to Lebanon.

Lebanon once had a majority Christian population. Constitutionally, the President is required to be a Christian.  However, this once majority has now slipped into a plurality, mainly with the continued influx of Shia Muslims in the south and the departure of the Christians who are generally wealthier and have the means to leave.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: "Every Christian in Lebanon knows their way around an AK-47"...
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2012, 11:29:16 PM »
ng the Syrian Socialist-Nationalist party and in Palestine Georges Habash founding the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Of course, the star of Arab nationalism has dimmed since the fall of the Soviet Union, but it's still relatively uncommon to meet Lebanese Orthodox who would claim, say, that they're Phoenician and not Arab, unless they grew up in a mostly Maronite environment.

That's interesting.  The local group of Lebanese expatriates (Muslim and Christian alike), including some of the Lebanese in my church, belong to an organization called the Phoenician Club.  I'll have to ask about why they use that particular name.
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