18.5.07

Are we Arabs?

Last day i was asked to join a facebook group called "We Are Not Arabs" I did not know whether to join it or not!
So the natural question would be: Are Lebanese Arabs or Not?

Your opinion is of high importance!

Thank you

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34 Comments:

At Friday, May 18, 2007 4:17:00 PM, Blogger M Bashir said...

define Lebanese first...

 
At Friday, May 18, 2007 6:08:00 PM, Blogger Hedley said...

Yes we are.

 
At Friday, May 18, 2007 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Golaniya said...

we are Arabs 2007 meaning that we are not Arabs of Yemen or KSA, we are now Arabs in a more complicated manner, we bond with each other though NOW we do not share history, traditions or habits, but unlike the rest of the world, we relate to each other when we see Israel bomb Palestine or Lebanon. We bond when U.S. bomb Iraq.
Hence I think Arabism lies in consciousness.
It is not the Arab language that makes us Arabs; Arab Diaspora may not speak Arabic, but they relate to Arab issues.
Arabism is no DNA as well.
Please take a look at my Arabism post here.

http://ya-ashrafe-nnas.blogspot.com/2007/02/my-arabism.html

 
At Friday, May 18, 2007 11:49:00 PM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Yes of course we are Arabs! We may disagree with what makes us so, but we are, like it or not. That whole bullshit about us being Phoenicians is just such a desperate attempt to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the Arabs (for perhaps very understandable reasons). But when all is said and done, we speak Arabic, or a horribly mangled variant of it, but certainly not Phoenician. Racially, we are as mixed as any good old bastards are, being there at the groin of civilizations. And the Arabs certainly have as good of a claim to us that way as any, if not better. But when all is said and done, perhaps nothing defines as who we are as much as other's perceptions of us. I didn't realize how much of an Arab I was until I came to the US. I kept on futzing with my race on those standardized test forms that tell us, Middle Easterners, that we are white. But not in the eyes of the rest of the world. We are "Other", and determinedly so. We would be better served to acknowledged that and move on. Instead of trying so hard to distance ourselves from the rest of the Arab world because we are so ashamed of it and think ourselves so much better, maybe we should just prove that, and show how wonderful it could be to be an Arab. After all, for all the shameful crap that’s in the Arab history, there is a lot more to be proud of. You don’t see Europeans trying to redefine their race because their ancient (and not-so-ancient) history is drenched in blood and barbarity. They just live as better people now. So, instead of our vacant haughtiness--because one day some of our ancient forefathers invented the alphabet or discovered the color purple--let’s just show what we, now, the living, have done. And there isn’t much to be proud of, unfortunately. We have much more to be ashamed of, we the Phoenicians, in our recent and current history than much of the Arab world. Yes, we had the Paris of the East, the Switzerland of the Orient, and look what we’ve done with it! But of course, it isn’t our fault; it’s the Arabs, and the Israelis, and the Americans, and the Syrians, and the Iranians, and the French… Ah, pity the nation!

 
At Saturday, May 19, 2007 4:58:00 AM, Blogger MarxistFromLebanon said...

Phoenician Nationalism was invented by a French scholar in the 19th century... it was indorsed by Zionism to revive a Hebrew- Pheonician nation.

You can't exclude the Arabic culture. I checked the group they are in, and personally they are highly an ethnic entity, and demanding different everything. Pheonicia as a whole never existed as a nation state, rather polis states, and mind you to those who claim Phoenician nationalism, how come they never bother to analyze the case of Feeneekia in Syria ?

 
At Saturday, May 19, 2007 1:43:00 PM, Blogger MMMMMMMMM said...

MFL and A.M,

Interesting point of view, really! I totally agree with you that we are not Pheonicians, screw DNA!
Now regarding being arabs can you please be more precise in what way we might or moght not be arabs?

 
At Saturday, May 19, 2007 4:56:00 PM, Blogger MarxistFromLebanon said...

Ok, I will start with my personal perspective and start with the overall...

For starters, people are people wherever you go, so all barriers are usually elite created or colonially imposed.

Our region has always been tagged Arabia, and the Term Arab was highly contoversial with the Mongul offensive on the middle east began. The term Arab - Non-Arab Muslim was fully active, specially when the Monguls became Muslims.

Now the modern concept of Arab Nationalism has plenty of thinkers, and leaders. It began when the Ottoman empire no longer supported the tolerance concept, and imposed Turkish Nationalism (Qanon el Tatrik). Ironically in Lebanon, according to el-Khazen's book, the first to promote Arab Nationalism to counter the Turkish inforced Nationalism were the Maronites.

The term Arab Nationalism can be summarized as follows: "It is based on the premise that nations from Morocco to the Arabian peninsula are united by their common linguistic, cultural and historical heritage." The goal is to have a singular nation.

In 1943, in Lebanon, we had the famous National Pact, which was the consolidation between the Sunnis and Christian leaders, which re-enforced that Lebanon had an Arab identity.

The person who countered this speech was probably Bashir Gemayel, in his speech which never got delivered for his Presidential Oath was that Lebanon is a "Mashriq Nation" (refering to the era prior to the Islamic Conquests).

In 1919, almost 70% voted that they want to be part of the Syrian Arab Kingdom of Faysal's (results obtained from the results of the King - Crane commission assembled by Woodrow Wilson).

Personally, nothing is static, Arab versus Lebanese Nationalism clashed drastically in 1958... and one of the several theories that Arab Nationalism was developped to contain the extreme Islamist tides, which ironically in Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine, re-inforced the Muslim Fantacism and doubted Arab Nationalism.

The Arab Identity was re-confirmed with the Taef Accords. Now, Arabism is rather relative, you got different definitions of Arabism, while it started as a reform movement in the face of "Turkisization" of the rumps of the empire, currently it defers between a unified arab front, economic business deals, and of course have a say in the Arab League, which is a waste of time.

Another tag for Arab Nationalism is adopting the cause against Israel. The Palestinians till the mid-1930s adopted Arab Nationalism to face the Zionist expansion under the British blessing. In Lebanon Arab Nationalism was of High priority between 1967 - 1975 (again) when the pro-Palestinian cause in Lebanon clashed with isolationist Lebanese "cause". End result, all forms of Nationalism are valid when they are constitutional when they are legitimate in the eyes of the majority of the nation from an academic perspective. Main authors were: Amin al-Rihani, Constantin Zureiq, Zaki al-Arsuzi, Michel Aflaq and Sati' al-Husri... Arab Nationalism had to compete with Islamic Ideologies and Local nationalism.

Lebanon was one of the co-founders of the Arab League...

To say the truth, that is a summary of a summary of a summary of a zillion summary. I shall write a huge 3 part post on the topic when I have the time for it...

 
At Saturday, May 19, 2007 4:58:00 PM, Blogger MarxistFromLebanon said...

damn, I just noticed I skipped a lot of things, khalas when I finish with my deadlines, I will do that big post on the topic

 
At Saturday, May 19, 2007 5:04:00 PM, Blogger MarxistFromLebanon said...

ooops, I just remembered this link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab#Who_is_an_Arab.3F, it provides a good discussion.

(sorry for the long and many posts :)

 
At Saturday, May 19, 2007 7:37:00 PM, Blogger Maverick said...

Interesting points...i just want to add it all depends on perspective.Its all in relation to where you stand at a given time.I mean ,if your looking at this from a humanistic angle,and i think Marxist from Lebanon might agree,that in the end the individual is also a unit for expansion like the universe he resides in.So you can be lebanese,an Arab,Middle easterner,from the East and finally universal.Or in the opposite direction,you can be from a certain sect,a region,a clan,a family.i think its up to the individual to transcend boundaries to realize his full potential as a universal Human.Lebanon is a great example of how conflict occurs through isolationism and devolution.In this cultural/spiritual quest the late Kamal Joumblatt comes to mind for he carried many labels yet he couldnt be labelled.So here i say that even that im proud to be Lebanese even to the point of insanity,im also proud of being Arab,Middle Eastern,and eventually a universal being.

 
At Sunday, May 20, 2007 1:44:00 PM, Blogger Fadi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At Sunday, May 20, 2007 1:48:00 PM, Blogger Fadi said...

Yes and No.. Or should I say No and Yes. Ethnically, that 25% of the Lebanese can be traced to Phoenician ancestry, and the same percentage I guess to Arab Origin (forgive the numbers, these are approximate according to Dr. Pierre Zaloua study), but then again, they are as Arab as Phoenicians. The second questions, who are the Phoenicians? Some studies indicate that the Phoenicians emigrated from the southern Arabian Peninsula a few thousands years ago. Let’s not waste time on finding differences: An ancient Phoenician resurrected can and will understand, with difficulty though, our Arabic Dialect. Phoenician, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Syriac share grammar, letters, and more. So, let us not waste time with the Arab/Phoenician dichotomy, for that will lead to more surprises for those who cannot be bothered to think outside the box.
Read this interesting Article: http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0410/feature2/index.html
Geography and topography affect inhabitants. In other words, inhabitants of a certain geographic region will display certain social and intellectual features eventually similar to previous inhabitants. Living in a coastal strip surrounded by mountains, what are your options, really? Yes, you build a boat, and travel around, you trade, and eventually you grow rich, and buy a car to tshabe7 on others who eventually travel and buy their own cars (or horse carriages, depending on the century).. Another theory, people do not really disappear, people interact, intermarry, and adopt new languages and news ways of life. If we were only Phoenician, we would have had to give up the Kibbeh for example, for that is a Turkish introduction. What a waste!
So, No we are not genetically Arab. Then again, none of the 200 million Arabs are, with a few exceptions of the original inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula. Keep in mind that we are a strange mix of Phoenician, European, Eurasian, Arab, Asian, Armenian, North African. We are culturally Arabs, and an Arab does not have to be a camel rider or a tent dweller. Arabic has been the language of this terrain for over 1400 years, and previous dialects were Semetic derivatives. But most conclusively, we are Arabs for many reasons, we speak in Arabic, sing in Arabic, and swear in Arabic, and a “kiss… me again…” does not really sound as good in any language but Arabic.. does it?

 
At Sunday, May 20, 2007 2:50:00 PM, Blogger JoseyWales said...

Sorry guys,

IRRELEVANT question (beaten to death on blogs and elsewhere).

It's also a loaded question: if you say "yes" you are x, if you say "no" you are z.

Who cares?

Tripoli is burning, the country is at a dead end...

The question is "how does the country get out of its short/long term problems?".

AND NO, I don't need an answer to the Arab question to look for a solution.

 
At Sunday, May 20, 2007 7:07:00 PM, Blogger The Lebanese said...

I have to say that Bashir's first comment is the most thought of and the sanest between all of the answers. I second the question:

Define Lebanese.

Ethnically: Not all are Arabs
Genetically: Not all are Arabs
Culturally: Not all are Arabs
Linguistically: Definitely not all are Arabs

Not all are Phoenicians, Greek, Syriac, Aramaic, etc.. etc..

We are a multi-ethnical, multi-cultural society. Please stop trying to tag us with one term or another. It is a crime against diversity and tolerance.

The best term to describe us is: "Lebanese".

Some people think this word is a form of avoiding an answer, whereas it is "THE" only possible answer.

Start accepting each other as "Lebanese" instead of tagging yourselves with all other terms.

 
At Sunday, May 20, 2007 9:08:00 PM, Blogger Fadi said...

I agree with the Lebanese. We are all Lebanese. First, formost, and forever, but that does not change the fact that we should be confident enough to look into our roots, and at least to engage into a debate. Does "the Lebanese" have to be Arab, of course not, what if he's Armenian or Syriac? Being Arab or not is not a discriminatory question, it is a question which we have to face one day, and which we strive to answer every day. Do we have to agree, certainly not, we're Lebanese, how could we agree?


Joseywales - you are right - Tripoli is burning, our hearts are bleeding, and we stand united with our army. Still, we should never forgo the basic principle of our existence: tolerance, and communication, and an open door for anyone to place an argument for debate.

 
At Sunday, May 20, 2007 9:50:00 PM, Blogger JoseyWales said...

Yes Fadi,

a debate, but a debate of significance. The answer to the question at hand makes no difference.

That stupid question is a substitute for "how much are you willing to sacrifice for Palestine" or "if you are an Arab, can you say "screw Palestine""?

Let's be honest. These are the questions that matter, let's ask them openly. Let's skip idle parlor games, with people trying to display their knowledge of history and archeology.

 
At Monday, May 21, 2007 2:16:00 AM, Blogger Gilad said...

Sorry to butt into an interesting debate that is clearly intra-lebanese and is none of my business. I wouldn't have if I wasn't mentioned but now I must ask:
How come a question dealing with lebanese identity depends on external issues, JoseyWales?

If tomorrow Israel disapperas or conversly sign a peace treaty with all the Arab states, how would that affect whether you are Arab or not?

 
At Monday, May 21, 2007 3:18:00 AM, Blogger JoseyWales said...

gilad,

I am the last person to ask since I don't care about the question.

You ask:...how would that affect whether you are Arab or not?

For me it does not now and it won't then. It's about the kind of society you want to live in and the values you want to uphold.

Whether I am 5% Arab or 92% Arab is irrelevant and my next door neighbor will have a different answer. So what? Do we want to build a common future for our kids or not?

As to:How come a question dealing with lebanese identity depends on external issues, JoseyWales?

Hahaha my friend, everything in Lebanon UNFORTUNATELY has to do with external issues, which is why a solution won't be reached. Job one is to frame the issue in internal terms BEFORE you can solve your problems...

tata

PS Notice that the following 2 posts garnered 1 comment, while "are we arabs", that old (irrelevant) favorite, has over 15 comments.

 
At Sunday, June 10, 2007 1:58:00 AM, Blogger Rampurple said...

i know i am late to comment on this post and I always hated this topic. Why should we be categorized? There are no other countries in the world who have this debate besides our region! Several countries always question if their countries are Arabs or not, and most especially the Lebanese!

We are Lebanese. A Middle Eastern country. Just like people in Germany are Germans, a European country... not an English/French/Polish... whatever country.

 
At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 9:35:00 PM, Blogger NADIM N said...

You only have to look at our common weaknesses and errors or at our common enemies to determine the answer

 
At Friday, July 13, 2007 3:14:00 AM, Blogger ʔʊweɪs's blog said...

The Arabic language revival movement was spearheaded in the Levant. So I would say the Lebanese in some ways define what Arab is - more so than the Arabian Peninsula does. :-)

 
At Friday, October 05, 2007 2:05:00 AM, Blogger tiredofthis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
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