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Chapter 9 Throughout all of this previous history Beirut survived as a small city, with a population being reported less than 10,000 citizens – and it is also written that no matter who controlled the region that it was locally ruled by the “Druze” emirs. The “Druze” is a distinct religious community and is an “offshoot” of Islam, also being influenced by other religions and philosophies (including Greek Philosophy). They consider themselves “theologically” as an Islamic Unist, reformatory sect, although they are “not” considered Muslims by “most” Muslims in the region. They call themselves “Ahl al-Tawhid” (People of Monotheism) or “al-Muwahhidun” (Monotheists) – the origin of the name Druze is traced to “Nashtakin ad-Darazi1”, one of the first preachers of the religion. The Druze religion, founded by “Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad” (a Persian), developed out of the Ismaili sect, a sub-group of “Shi’a Islam”. In its founding it did not attempt to change mainstream Islam but to create a whole new religious body influenced by Greek philosophy and Gnosticism2. Even today they keep their actual theology secretive, we do know that they believe in one God, and seven of his prophets, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad & Muhammad bin Nashtakin ad-Darazi – and that they also “revere” Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, where some make an annual pilgrimage to his tomb at the “Horns of Hittin”3. Under order of conquest Beirut came under the rule of the Mamluks. The Mamluks were a combination of “Turkoman” and “Circassian” slaves, respectively from the area east of the Caspian Sea and from the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. They were originally trained as bodyguards by the Muslim “Ayyubid” sultans of Egypt – one of them; “Muez-Aibak” assassinated the Ayyubid sultan, “Al Ashraf Musa” in 1252 and founded the Mamluk sultanate which ruled Egypt and Syria for more than two centuries. From 11th century to the 13th century, the Shi’a Muslims migrated from Syria, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula, to the northern part of the “Beqaa” and to the
It is said his name, al-Darazi, associates him as being a tailor Gnosticism (from Greek gnosis, knowledge) is a term created by modern scholars to describe a diverse religious movement often associated with Christianity, although textual evidence for the movement contains distinctly non- and anti-Christian elements, as well as anti- Judaic
elements 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattin
“Kasrawan” region in the mountains northeast of Beirut.
They and the Druze
rebelled in 1291 while the Mamluks were busy fighting the later European Crusades and Mongols. After repelling the invaders, the Mamluks crushed this rebellion in 1308, and to escape repression and massacres the Shi’as tucked their tail between their legs and ran to southern Lebanon. The Mamluks indirectly fostered relations between Europe and the Middle East, even after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire. Beirut, favored by its geographical location, despite religious conflicts, became the center of intense trading activity, with the economy and its intellectual spirit expanding until the Mamluk rule was ended by the Ottoman Turks. The “Ottoman Turks” were a Central Asian people, who had served as slaves and warriors under the “Abbasids” --Note: It seems as a strong reference that down through history it usually the oppressed that rise above their masters and in some manner or form take over the realm and rule the palace – you’d think that ruling party or force would learn that oppressing people is not really a wise move, look at present day Iraq and the Shi’a / Sunni relationship. Because of the discipline, courage and last but not least their cunning they became masters of the palace in Baghdad during the rule of the caliphate, “Al Mustasim4” – 833-842 CE. Rising to power the Ottoman sultan, “Salim I (1516-1520 CE) after defeating the Persians (1514 at the Battle of Chaldiran [midway between Erzinjan & Tabriz] – defeating Shah Ismail), conquered the Mamluks at Marj Dabaq, north of Aleppo in 1516. During the conflict between the Mamluks and the Ottomans, the “emirs” of Lebanon linked their fate to that of “Ghazali”, the pasha of Damascus, who during the conflict won the confidence of the Ottomans by fighting on their side during the Marj Dabaq campaign. He introduced them to “Salim I” (son of the Ottoman Sultan Bayazid II – 1448-1512)” who was impressed with the eloquence of the Lebanese ruler “Amir Fakhr ad Din I al-Maani”, made a decision to grant the Lebanese emirs a “semiautonomous” status – the Ottomans, through this arrangement and two Druze families (Maans and Shibabs) ruled Lebanon until the middle of the 19 th century. It was during Ottoman rule that the terminology “Greater Syria” was designated as the approximate region which includes today, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel.
It was the “Maan” family, immigrants from Northern Arabia that threw its allegiance to the sultan, in doing so was promoted to the supreme emirate around 1517. One of their members born in Baaklin (1572), after the death of his father (Prince Qurqumaz assassinated by the Ottomans), the 12-year-old “Fakhr-al-din II” was rushed to “Kisrwen - Ballouneh” by his mother where he was raised by a “Maronite” family, the (Al-Kazins – Sheikh Nader El Khazen). It is then in his early childhood that he grew with the belief in the diversity and pluralism of Lebanon. As he matured he eventually was entrusted with his domain in the Shouf5 - he felt he could finally realize his childhood dream of uniting the Lebanese people and gaining full independence for the country. For fifty-years, 1585-1635, using the means of marriage, bribery, intrigue, treaties and war he begins the consolidation of his kingdom. On the local level he had three strong motives; security, prosperity, and unity. For a local militia he had over 40,000 professionally trained and disciplined men led by a Maronite General Khazim, with another Maronite his chief counselor. In 1611 he sent a Maronite bishop on a confidential mission to the Pope and the grand duke of Tuscany – a secret treaty was endorsed between Lebanon and Florence. In 1613 the sultan of the Ottoman Empire moved against him with over 50,000 troops and a naval fleet of over sixty ships --- prudence and I imagine the fear of inflicting more misery and damage on his country, he escaped on a French vessel to a warm welcome at the court of the Medici's6, leaving his younger brother “Younes” and his son “Ali” in charge. He was received in grand style by Cosmo II 7 of Tuscany. In the meantime, his departure did not prevent the Lebanese army from refusing to surrender to “Hafez’s army”, thus maintaining its positions while the military
Located in the south-east of Beirut, the historical region comprises a narrow coastal strip with notably the Christian town of Damour and the valleys and mountains of the western slopes of Jabal Barouk, the name of the local Mount Lebanon massif. Chouf is the heartland of Lebanese Druze community, and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has its residence in the Jumblatt palace in the town of Moukhtara. 6 The Medici family was a powerful and influential Florentine family from the 13th to 17th century. The family produced three popes (Leo X, Clement VII, and Leo XI), numerous rulers of Florence (notably Lorenzo il Magnifico, patron of some of the most famous works of renaissance art), and later members of the French and English royalty. The family also helped to spur the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. 7 Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (12 May 1590 – 28 February 1621) ruled as Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1609 to 1621. He was the oldest son of Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Christine of Lorraine.
campaigns raged on and on, Younes managed through negotiations and persuasion to bring an end to the conflict, securing Hafez’s armies retreat. From Tuscany he wrote to the people he left behind, “Having set before your eyes a goal toward which we shall unswervingly move – the goal being full independence of our country and its complete sovereignty – we are resolved that no promise or reward or threat of punishment shall in the least dissuade us.” In 1618 upon his return to Lebanon amidst much fanfare and rejoicing, during one ceremony the people offer him expensive gifts as their token and loyalty. “Itr Allayl”, a young girl from “Antilias” presents him with a sword of gold. Her accompanying song and message effect him so deeply that he asks her to continue to sing the song as an inspiration to himself and to all the citizens of Lebanon, her message becomes a symbol for the rebuilding of Lebanon. In his absence his rival “Yusuf Sayfa” had attacked his seat of power at “Dier al Qamar”; he swore vengeance and lost no time in making his oath a reality. His men captured the “Crac des Chevaliers”, demolished the Sayfa places in Akkar and Tripoli and removed the stones so as to rebuild “Dier al Qamar”. He then turned his attention to the pasha of Damascus, in the ensuing battle of “Anjar”, 4000 Lebanese captured the pasha (Mustafa Basha) and killed over 12,000 of his men. He later releases the pasha explaining he only wants peace. Lebanon, Syria and Palestine were now under the rule of Fakhr-al-din II – nothing was left but to declare himself Sultan --- but, he preferred the title of “Emir of Mount Lebanon, Sidon, and Galilee”. During this period of his leadership printing presses are introduced into Lebanon, along with his encouragement to the Jesuit priests and Catholic nuns to open schools across the territory. Leading up to this point his life (upon his arrival in Lebanon) he had been exposed to all different kinds of palace intrigue (so-to-speak), where a certain “Koujok Ahmad”, and Osmanli protégée raised in the place, was now an officer in Fakhr-al-din II army. He requested an important position within his realm and was turned down; Koujok dissatisfied with the decision seeks the aid of “Princess Mountaha”, a daughter of an influential family in the region, which has been overshadowed by Fakhr-al-din II. Through all of this Koujok succeeds in gaining the attention of the Sultan and when he informs him that Fakhr intends on building a powerful Lebanon and endangering the interests of the Empire (another result of his voicing his opinion –
Ahmad Koujak was named Lord of Damascu) – the Sultan makes an offer to Fakhral-din II by endowing with the title of “The Sultan of Al Barr”, this in exchange he asks Fakhr-al-din II to give up his projects for the buildup of Lebanon. He turns the appointment down under the pretext that he only doing what he’d doing to consolidate his friendship and loyalty with the Ottoman Empire. After his victories, they only add to the grudge of Koujok and Princess Mountaha – whereas Koujok wants to run off to Istanbul to convince the authorities that they should attack Fakhr before he becomes too powerful. The Princess Mountaha believes in a different approach, staying and fighting him politically, thus saving blood on both sides. Disregarding her concern, Koujok flees to Istanbul. In the meantime the Princess Mountaha happens to meet “Itr Allayl” (the young girl with the golden sword) and through a discussion is unable to justify her grudge and regrets her mistake. News arrives in 1633, amongst the prosperity sweeping the country that Istanbul is sending a huge army of 80,000/100,000 men from Syria and 22 ships converge on Lebanon. Even though the Lebanese army only consists of 25,000 men, they prepare to defend their country. The citizens hope and pray for an early rainy He season, which would block the passes and slow or stop the invasion. Itr Allayl, now a confident of Fakhr, is very anxious of the coming war. consoles with her and explains that the issue is a worthy one since it concerns the building and uniting of a county and a nation. He says, “I must personally prove to my people and the enemy that Lebanon is made to live and can live forever!” Her father tries to calm her by telling her that great men have great dreams, he says, “The fate of Fakhr-al-din II is the fate of Lebanon.” After winning some minor skirmishes, Fakhr-al-din II seeks and finds refuge in a cave in “Jezzine” with a few of his loyal friends. Itr Allayl seeks and finds him. In the meantime a mercenary soldier discovers his location and sends word to Ahmad Koujok, who assembles some of his group and surrounds the cave – demanding that Fakhr-al-din surrender. His friends sit patiently by awaiting his orders to fight the “Osmanli” traitor – his reply is – “What has happened is enough; we should not destroy what we have built. We did what we had to do and this is our fate. The enemy wants only me; the bargain is for me alone.” Itr Allayl refuses to believe that Fakhr-al-din II must leave Lebanon. When she asks, “It is true that you are surrendering?” He replies, “Did the people build the
country and did they plant the land and did they erect the bridges?” She replied that all had been accomplished. Fakhr-al-din II then replied, “My girl, my departure is not important, the important issue is that Lebanon exists now and forever.” that Lebanon will live on forever. He and three of his sons are taken to Constantinople tried before the Sultan and on April 13th, 1635 – all three were beheaded. This brought to an end an era in Lebanon, a region of the world that would not regain its natural and current boundaries the “Fakhr-al-Din” once ruled until Lebanon was proclaimed a republic in 1920. He surrenders, and Itr Allayl in her grief begins to sing --- her grief changes to happiness when she realizes
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