Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Secular Lebanon

The general purpose of the presentation is to inform people about secularism and persuade them that secularism is the only means for political and social progress.

The specific purpose of the presentation is to persuade people that secularism must be implemented in Lebanon, because it is the only means for peace, prosperity, and stability in Lebanon.

I.                   The dictionary definition of secularism, atheism and sectarianism will be given during the introduction, and the various repercussion of each school of thought will be previewed.
A.    Secularism is a movement derived from the word secular, which means either of three things according to the online dictionary:
1.      Of or relating to worldly as opposed to sacred things; temporal.
2.      Not concerned with or related to religion.
3.      Not within the control of the Church.
B.     Atheism is a movement derived from the word Atheist, which has the following dictionary definitions:
1.       Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
2.      The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
C.     Sectarianism is also a school of thought, but is derived from the word sectarian, which according to the online dictionary means:
1.      Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sect.
2.      Adhering or confined to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination; partisan.
3.      Narrow-minded; parochial.
D.    A preview of what will be discussed in the body will be quickly shown on the PowerPoint presentation aid.

 Now that you know what secularism and sectarianism really means, a detailed comparison between them and their diverse repercussions will be discussed.


II.                The reasons that make the Lebanese refute the idea of secularism and its implementation are various. The following is a list of those reasons:
A.    People are not aware of the difference between secularism and atheism; hence the idea of a secular society becomes blasphemous.
B.     Contrary to the shared myth that Lebanese are highly educated people, they are not. Therefore their ability to interpret politics correctly is hindered, and instead of using reason they use indoctrinated beliefs to back up arguments.
C.     Lack of transparency in the Lebanese society among commoners and politicians alike is an indicator of lack of morality and self-control. Having a secular society requires people to restrict themselves to the laws, which at the moment they are not.
D.    Sectarian people fear the idea of being ruled by the other sect, and therefore believe that if Lebanon becomes a secular nation the majority which is the Shiite will rule all other sect, which in turn is a logical fallacy.

 Now that you know the main reasons why secularism is currently refuted in Lebanon, a Sign Post:preview of what sectarianism has done to Lebanon.

III.             Sectarianism has claimed the lives of millions of people throughout the history of Lebanon, and hindered social, educational, economic, and political growth.
A.    The history of Lebanon is mainly a history of sectarian violence  that has produced the following casualties:
a.       Between 1840 and 1860 sectarian violence between the Druze and the Christians of Mount Lebanon left more than 380 villages destroyed.
b.      1958 Conflict between the Government (Christian) and the Opposition (Sunni and Druze) produced 4000 casualties.
c.       1968, 1975-1990 Civil war between all sects of Lebanon produced 150,000 deaths, 200,000 wounded, 900,000 displaced, and 400,000 missing.
d.      More recently in 2008, civil unrest which started in May 8, and extended till the end of that year resulted in battles between the Sunnis, Shiites, and Druze, which in turn produced 104 casualties and 85 wounded.
B.     Sectarianism’s effect on the economy is very clear, and can be deduced from the negative GDP growth of -57% during the 1975-1990 Civil War and 75,000% devaluation on the Lebanese Lira.

After discussing the effects of sectarianism, the effects of secularism on different cultures including diverse cultures will be discussed.

IV.             The application of secularism on culturally diverse societies in the world and the Middle East.
A.    The UNDP has developed a cool called Human Development Index (HDI) for countries to measure which are the best, and which are the worst countries to live in. The top 10 countries with the highest HDI are all secular nations: Norway, Australia, Netherlands, and U.S.A. New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Germany, and Sweden.
B.     Turkey which is a conservative country and shares a large amount of cultural identifiers with Lebanon has turned secular more than 80 years ago, and since then it is experiencing steady growth on all levels including HDI.
C.     The USA is one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth, home to more than 30 different religious sects, yet maintains a superpower status and rank 4th on HDI. This was made possible due to the fact that politics is separated from religion.
The sectarian status of Lebanon has defined us as a third world developing nation, which has constant political and economic instability due to sectarian violence. Lebanon is constantly used as a scenario for what can happen when religion mixes with politics. It is time to put our narrow mindedness behind us, and prosper after thousands of years of suffering due to sectarianism.


(1999). Photographs in History (Arabic). In Photographs in History (Arabic) (p. 76). Beirut: Dar Al Nasher.
Atheist. (2011). Retrieved from The Free Online Dictionary by Farlex:
Sectarian. (2011). Retrieved from The Free Online Dictionary by Farlex:
Secular. (2011). Retrieved from The Free Online Dictionary by Farlex:
Life, T. P. (2010). U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Washington: PEW.
Mongabay. (1987, December). Lebanon - The 1958 War. Retrieved from Mongabay:
Sarkis, P. (2011, December 1). History Prof. at LAU. (R. Riachi, Interviewer)
SPILLER, R. J. (1981, January). Not War But Like War. Retrieved from Command and General Staff College:
UNDP. (2010). HDI Report 2010. Retrieved from
Wikipedia. (2011). 1860 Lebanon Conflict. Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Wikipedia. (2011). Lebanon. Retrieved from Wikipedia:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Conference: Healing the Wounds of History: Addressing the Roots of Violence

November 11–13, 2011

Lebanese American University
Byblos campus
This conference is proposed jointly by the Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS) at the University of Oxford and the Guerrand-Herm├Ęs Foundation for Peace (GHFP), in partnership with the Institute of Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation (IDCT) at the Lebanese American University (LAU). It will be hosted by LAU at its Byblos campus. The main aim is to explore the socio-psychological and deeper roots of violence in present-day Lebanon, and to identify new modalities in reconciliation and dialogue, between both individuals and groups.