Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at SPAMinea.com.ar
Thu Jun 15 06:20:40 MDT 2000
There are some very illuminating lines on Riad's posting, where he
tries to explain an essential feature of Lebanese politics.
The divide between Christian (Maronite) and non-Christian in Lebanon
is somehow difficult to grasp for someone from the First World.
National unity or national revolution, which lie behind the very
existence of each and one country now belonging to the First World,
make things like the following one look either irrelevant or archaic.
But it is in the best interest of revolutionaries everywhere to
understand them, because they are a very important tool in the hands
One of the traits of precapitalist formations that still exists in
many current Third World societies is the specialization, by
"religious / ethnic" group, in certain areas of economic activity.
Trade is the most usual one. In Lebanon, in particular, Maronite
Christians have tended to specialize in trade and in "foreign" trade
in particular. I enclose "foreign" between quotation marks because in
the vast Eastern Mediterranean Basin there was not EXACTLY "foreign"
trade until quite recently, in the sense that many different peoples
lived under Ottoman rule, trading between them within a same
political construction as if they did not belong to a single unity.
Armenians, Greek, Jew and Maronite alike shared this history, some of
the consequences of which on the Greek trading community of Romania
can be learnt from Harvey Keitel's _Ulysses Gaze_ .
Now, the well-to-do Maronites have been for a very long time good
trading partners of the West, particularly of France. Not only
trading partners, but political partners as well. Maronite culture,
as a general rule, has been a culture of subservience to the ruling
powers from abroad rather than a culture of national common struggle
with their Islamic fellow countrypeople. It is not a matter of chance
at all that Maronites manned the South Lebanon Army. It was just a
logical outcome of their history.
Quislings would be their name in the West. Now, what have the
Lebanese authorities, with agreement of the Syrian President who
brought peace to Lebanon (like it or not, that is the way things
worked out, IMHO), do? They simply allowed the Christian (Maronite)
villageers of the South to return to their own villages. That is a
great gesture of solidarity and brotherhood, which, adequately used
by Lebanese Marxists, may begin to dissolve the sectarian feelings
into a feeling of nation.
By the way, and though I know that I am getting into other people's
vegetable garden without having called in, I feel that the division
of the Great Syria into Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine (Israel)
is an artifice of imperialism. From this faraway viewpoint in South
America (and, yes, from some involvement in Middle Eastern issues, I
admit) there does not seem to be more reason for the independence of
Lebanon from Syria (and of Syria from Lebanon) as there are for the
independence of Uruguay from Argentina (and of Argentina from
Uruguay). Disjointed provinces of a great nation, they do not seem to
have a reasonable destiny in full independence of each other.
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at inea.com.ar
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