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Berbari 1 Elijah Berbari Mr.

Herman Special HGC Class 10A 11 October 2011 Nationalism in Lebanon Numerous religions, uncountable cultures, and wide-ranging nationalities all cause the lost identity of Lebanon. Our government, co-established by the French in 1942, may seem to be an independent government that is not affected by neighboring powers; however, in reality, and with the many religions affecting the politics of Lebanon, our governments decisions are most of the time overseen by Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, having their best interest at heart. The concept of nationalism, which is to be loyal to your own nation, has lost all meaning in Lebanon. Here, each religion is loyal to its own capital and center. For example, Sunnis are loyal to Saudi Arabia and even our own former Lebanese Prime Minister went to Riyadh asking for help and advice. Moreover, the Shiites, who mostly follow Hezbollahs political ideology, look to Iran for support and their greatest loyalty is directed towards Tehran. With 59% of our population Muslim and 39% Christian, which are almost halves, Lebanon cannot be said to have a dominating religion marking most of the people therefore unifying as it is shared and practiced by a big percentage of the population. In Lebanon, plenty of religions are present and practiced and so many contradicting beliefs exist today in our society, setting groups of people apart from each other. Each lives in an area, confined in their culturally similar neighborhood. Shiites live in Dahyieh whereas most of the Druze live in Aley. In addition, Christians mostly live in Batroun and the surrounding areas as well as in areas near Beirut City Centre such as Achrafieh and Rmeileh. Not only does Lebanon have religious separation, but also each has a different culture including a different way of life, dress, behavior, and ideals. Take Muslims and Christians for

Berbari 2 example. Muslims have a different method of marriage and their weddings are completely different from the Christian weddings. Muslim women are obliged to wear the hijab yet Christian women are not. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan from dawn until dusk; however, Christians fast before Easter and only from midnight until noon. Ever since the Ottoman reign, Lebanon has been divided into sectors. Each sector has a different origin than the other and not even two share the same history. When the Ottoman Empire took over Armenia, they tortured the Armenians, who then had to flee to Lebanon in search for an accepting, safe country. After which, they established the Armenian sector in Lebanon, one that included people with the same history, nationality, and language. Furthermore, Palestinians, who fled to Lebanon after being kicked out of their own territory, founded many Palestinian camps scattered in the Sunni-oriented areas. Likewise, people of the same language, history, and nationality lived there. Thirty-six years ago, the Lebanese civil war, one of the most traumatizing wars in Lebanon that changed Lebanons future, broke out and life as they knew it changed forever. Thick black smoke rose to the blue sky as buildings fell to ground. All was caused by the extremity that the Christians and Muslims had concerning nationalism. Both were being loyal to their own religion and sector as well as protecting it. Fires set a blaze when that one bus full of Palestinians went into Ain El-Remaneh, which at that time was a Christian region. In our country, nationalism has been a force of disunity, separating dissimilar cultures apart. It did and will continue to influence the Lebanese society negatively. Even though, we do all speak Arabic and have all passed under the Ottoman, Roman, and French rule; however, the differences were proved more important.