Lebanon: A Native's Perspective


To The Editors of the Crimson:

Do you know what is happening in Lebanon? To be able to understand the Lebanese problem, one must go back far in history. At the end of World War I, the French Army occupied Lebanon and Syria, and the English Army Palestine. At this moment there was not what is now called Lebanon. There was a Christian "little Lebanon," limited to the mountain. The littoral cities did not belong to it. In 1920, the French Government decided to create the "Great Lebanon," in its actual borders.

After World War II, the French Army left the Middle East, and both Lebanon and Syria (which was occupied) enjoyed real independence. All the countries of the world recognized Lebanon's independence, but Syria. It refused to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries and it always interfered with the internal affairs of Lebanon. It considered Lebanon a part of Syria.

In 1968, the United Nations created the state of Israel, and Waves of Palestinian refugees arrived in Lebanon After the other Israeli Arab wars, new waves of refugees arrived. During this period, all the Arab countries sent their undesirable Palestinians to Lebanon.

In 1969, the Lebanese Government was obliged, because of Syria and Egyptian premiers to allow the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to attack Israel from the south of Lebanon. At the same moment the other Arab countries refused this privilege to the PLO. That is how Lebanon (against its will) became the only country to be really at war with Israel, and the only country to be really at war with Israel, and the only country to receive the Israeli strikes. Every time the Lebanese Army tried to stop the PLO abuses in Lebanon. Syria threatened the Lebanese government, and sometimes invaded the Lebanese border villages.


In 1975, the PLO ignited the war in Lebanon, trying to make Lebanon a substitute homeland for the Palestinians. But the Lebanese Christians fought against this plan, and they were alone in defending their ancestral homeland.

In 1976, the Syrian Army entered Lebanon to stop (as they put it) the war. But they quickly took the side of the Palestinians and started to shell the civilian Christian areas, day after day killing thousands of innocent people. Their aim was to break to the Christian resistance, which is the only obstacle to the annexation, by Syria, of a great part of Lebanon. This non-stop shelling continued from 1976 until the Israeli invasion in 1982 (the goal of which was to stop the PLO terrorism.)

An agreement of withdrawal of the Israeli army was signed with Lebanon (May 1983). The Israelis will withdraw from Lebanon on one condition: the departure of the Syrians. But the Syrians refused to go; their dream of swallowing Lebanon was coming true, and they didn't want to leave. And, instead of fighting against Israel. Syria (which calls itself the leader of the fighting countries against Israel) turned its guns against the Christians of Lebanon!

As President Gemayel said during his visit to Washington (the Christian areas of Lebanon were savagely bombarded by the Syrian artillery), "the Syrians remain the real problem for us they assume the responsibility of the maintenance of all the foreign forces in Lebanon, and of an eventual partition of our country." Nasri Diab