October 11, 2003

Maronites In The Crosshairs

This story in the Jerusalem Post tells part of the story of the Haifa bombing that hasn't really been stressed in the news much -- that the targets of the Haifa bombing were largely Christian Lebanese (Maronites). These people, are, ethnically "my people" on my maternal side.

Lebanese Maronites are descendants of ancient Aramaics, also known as Phoenicians. As a group, they have resisted the onslaught of the Arab-Islamic conquests for more than 13 centuries. Now, defeated in 1990 after a 15-year war with the PLO, Syria and the Islamists' network, the Christian community has fallen under occupation.

[UPDATE: If you don't want to sign up to read that story, get to it this way without signing up. The story is called "Stalking the Maronites."]

Posted by James at October 11, 2003 4:07 AM
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Comments

Now I'm thoroughly confused. My oldest (lifelong) friend is a Lebanese Christian. In Lebanon, her family were Melkite (Eastern Catholic) but when her grandparents came to America they went Latin Rite and then into a Maronite parish when it became available.

So in America, at least, there are Arab Maronites and I would guess the same would be true in Lebanon.

Posted by: Steve at October 11, 2003 9:36 PM

Steve is on the ball, but I am going to have to dig deeper to get him some details from my family, and hopefully enlighten both of us.

I was raised in a Maronite church, and ethnically I've always understood that my Lebanese ancestors were Aramaic descendants. However, my own great-grandparents were part of a Melkite church back in Lebanon. What you descibe of your friend's family is what happened to my family.

Both groups speak Arabic, but I'm not sure they consider themselves Arabs.

I will look into it and report back to you and try to get clarificaiton from my family members.

Posted by: James at October 11, 2003 11:08 PM

JP, this is fascinating to me. I'm going to look into it too.

My friend and her family always self-identify as Arabs but now I'm wondering if with time and distance they just lost touch with their original roots.

Is it possible?

Posted by: Steve at October 12, 2003 10:43 AM

There is definitely culture overlap and they basically share the arabic language. But I guess I need to find out a little bit on what it means to be an arab.

Posted by: James at October 12, 2003 11:00 AM

Ah. I see where part of the confusion was. My maternal grandmother's family were Maronites. My maternal grandfather's were Melkites. Neither of them self-identified as Arabs. My maternal-maternal (Maronite) great grandfather was adamant about it.

Posted by: James at October 13, 2003 10:33 PM

hey guys i am here commenting on whether lebanese are arabs or not. The term 'arab' today means anyone that practices speaks arabic culture and language. It is fase for the lebanese to claim that they are phonecians, they are a mixture of a number of cultures.

However many maronites particularly give themselves this title coz they associater arabness as being synonmous with islam

By the way i am muslim but my mother wass maronite,this goes to show that if the phonecian argument is justified i a lebanese muslim also have mixed hertitage

Posted by: hassan at December 5, 2003 6:36 PM

hey guys i am here commenting on whether lebanese are arabs or not. The term 'arab' today means anyone that practices speaks arabic culture and language. It is fase for the lebanese to claim that they are phonecians, they are a mixture of a number of cultures.

However many maronites particularly give themselves this title coz they associater arabness as being synonmous with islam

By the way i am muslim but my mother wass maronite,this goes to show that if the phonecian argument is justified i a lebanese muslim also have mixed hertitage

Posted by: hassan at December 5, 2003 6:36 PM

Thanks for adding your knowledge to the discussion, Hassan.

Posted by: James at December 5, 2003 7:20 PM

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