Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sectarianism in Lebanon

Hasan Dawud, the culture editor of the Hariri family rag, Al-Mustaqbal, rarely (fortunately) writes on political matters.  Here, he does:  "In response to a question about the West’s role in promoting sectarianism in Lebanon, Daoud unequivocally said that the West or Orientalism “did not make us sectarian—we ARE sectarian. Our history is a history of conflict and you can feel that, touch that every day in your daily life.” He mentioned once going to a book fair in the Shiite-dominated town of Nabatieh in the south of Lebanon. He was startled to find that as many as two-thirds of the books on show were about the Mahdi, and there was next to no modern literature represented in the entire fair."  Mr. Dawud has not read Ussama Makdisi's book, The Culture of Sectarianism, and has not heard of foreign embassies and their relations to sect from the 19th centuries.  He has no knowledge whatsoever how France took it upon itself to "protect" Maronites, and how Britain took the Druzes, and how Russia took the Greek Orthodox, etc.  Mr. Dawud does not know how France founded the sectarian system of the Lebanese entity.  But say what you want: the "culture" section of Al-Mustaqbal rage has published plenty of tears for Rafiq Hariri.  That counts.