Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Two nations, one people

The carve up of Bilad al-Sham is now formalised in the "mutual recognition" of Lebanon and Syria.

According to the BBC, "A signing ceremony has been held in Damascus establishing diplomatic relations for the first time between Syria and Lebanon. A joint statement said Syria and Lebanon would respect each other's sovereignty and independence."

This division was put in place by the French Mandate in the early 1920s and rejected by the overwhelming majority of people both sides of the border.

But after democracy was so brutaly crushed in Syria the idea of beng ruled by the cabal of Baathists in Damascus killed any chance of unity.

The death knell, I guess, was the invasion by Syrian troops in 1976 which crush the secular democratic revolution in Lebanon. It was downhill from there.

On a personal note: my grandma, who has just turned 100, still keeps her education certificate from the "Syrian Girls College" hidden in her suitcase. It always jarred when members of my family put down "Syrians", and they usually got angry when I pointed out that technically both grandfather and grandmother were born in Syrian (before 1922). There's even a boat ticket to New York (from the 1910s) were our address is given as Berbara, Syria.

Hopefully the two countries will become one again... but only under a democratic socialist system.

I will wait patiently.


Amr said...

First we take Damascus, then we take Beirut. There is no other way. But where do you think a Syrian nation/state should stop?

I was looking up the SSNP the other day (quite scary if you ask me). Their Syrian Homeland stretches to cover Syria and Lebanon (alright, Lebanon is a mountain, not a state. I agree), all Palestine and Jordan (Southern Syria. Basically the same origin and history. Not bad), Iraq (the larger Fertile Crescent has always been one country where city/states compete, rather than one nation/state. Understandable), Sinai (That's blasphemy in Egypt, but I know very well Sinai looks Eastwards), but Cyprus and Kuwait? Hmmm.

Lebanese Socialist said...

I agree with you over the SSNP. I think they are nasty, and their vision of a greater Syria is based on another form of dictatorship (they also lay claim to Cyprus... as if they didn't have enough problems!)

I think our vision is different... its about dumping the borders. Part of this is recognising that the rich in the Arab world are not bound by these lines on the sand (what I would call the trans-Arab bourgeoisie)

We want a free movement of people... rather than the current free movment of capital. My biggest problem is that we are accepting the legitimacy of the Sykes-Picot carve up of our homelands.

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