Bloodshed in Beirut reminds Christians in the region have been betrayed


Bloodshed in Beirut reminds Christians in the region have been betrayed

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern times of Tokyo

Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East to have a significant Christian population, although Coptic Christians are more numerous in Egypt. However, regional nations and ethnic groups have used Lebanon for their own geopolitical ambitions. This applies regardless of Israel, Iran or Syria – or whether they are ethnic Palestinians. Consequently, Christian emigration and a feeling of abandonment persist in some Christian neighborhoods.

Israel and the Palestinians did not care about the Lebanese, apart from Christians, Shiites, etc. Instead, Israel and the Palestinians played a conflict in Lebanon decades ago. Likewise, Iran is entrusting the anti-Israel mantra to its Shia Hezbollah co-religionists.

Syria’s role is (was) extremely complex – as Syria first sent its armed forces to Lebanon in the mid-1970s to aid Maronite Christians against the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and other anti-Maronite forces. However, the utter chaos of sectarianism, outside interference, the horrific negative impact of the PLO, politico-ideological splits and other factors made Lebanon a nightmare between 1975-1990. Now the events in Syria today (despite many internal differences) are like a mirror of what happened in Lebanon in the past. This concerns external interference, sectarianism, the depot of foreign armies in Syria (just as Israel, Syria and the Palestinians had armies and proxies in Lebanon), and other negative factors that stem from Lebanon’s nightmare between the 1975-1990 civil war period.

Thus, the murder of six people today in Beirut is a grim reminder of the fragile nature of Lebanon. Especially with the horrible economic crisis and the high number of refugees which are changing the religious dynamic in Lebanon.

The Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, Cardinal Bechara Rai, said: “As a result, we have half of the Lebanese population as refugees. Instead of 4 million, we have 6 million, and 2 million are not Lebanese but add to the needs of the country, the economy and education.

Cardinal Rai also noted that the vast majority of the refugees are Sunni Muslims. Thus, it changes the religious dynamic – concerning Christians, Shiites and Druze.

Meanwhile, while Israel never cared about the Palestinians fleeing Palestine and moving to Lebanon in large numbers. The same can be said of the Sunni-dominated Gulf nations and mainly Shia Iran. After all, how many Christians have obtained citizenship with full religious rights in Iran or Saudi Arabia in the past 50 years? Therefore, it appears that Christians in Lebanon – despite the diverse nature of many Christian sects and different political thinking in Lebanon – seem to be abandoned internationally even though France raises concerns.

Lebanon was the crown jewel of the Levant, regardless of religious affiliation. However, today this nation is in economic and political crisis. In addition, Lebanon is beholden to internal political interests and external geopolitical forces. As a result, Christians are smothered more inside – while ordinary Christians, Druze, Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims and secularists all feel abandoned by the current political system.

Lebanon must be free from the outside interference – and the same goes for Syria. If stability returns to Syria, then the Syrians can mainly go home. Likewise, it is high time for Israel to recognize that the Palestinians in Lebanon emanate from what is today today’s Israel or the West Bank. Thus, Lebanon (same for Syria) must be sovereign over the region’s convulsions and the geopolitical ambitions of Israel, Iran and Turkey.

If Lebanon recovers its national sovereignty, then this nation will be able to fight endemic political corruption. Therefore, the European Union (EU) should support Lebanon in its efforts to become a sovereign nation, free from the shackles of negative external power games.

All Lebanese are suffering – whether they are Christians, Druze, Muslims or lay people.

From now on, the recent killings that have taken place must not get out of hand. Instead, negative internal political factors and external interference – as well as the refugee angle – must be combated. If so, new hope for the Lebanese people may arise despite the extremely difficult road ahead.

The alternative is too shocking to consider!

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