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Subject: soc.culture.lebanon FAQ, part 2/5
This article was archived around: 4 Jun 1997 22:00:47 GMT
11. What are the various Lebanese organizations and how can I contact
American Task Force for Lebanon
2250 M St., N.W., Suite 305
Washington, DC 20037
This organization publishes a monthly newsletter called "Outlook",
with Tanya Rahal (Exec. Ed.), and Deeb Keamy (Managing Ed.)
Centre for Lebanese Studies, Oxford, England
Address: 59 observatory street
Phone: 0865 58465
The Centre for Lebanese Studies is an independent academic
research institution. It was founded in 1985 in association with
the Middle East Centre at St. Antony's College, Oxford. Its
aims are to promote international understanding of the country
and issues facing it.
The Centre initiates and publishes research papers and books
on relevant historical, economic, political, sociological and
cultural issues affecting Lebanon. It also organises conferences
and seminars in order that ideas and views on the country's state
of affairs may be exchanged.
A registered charity, the Centre for Lebanese Studies relies on
the backing of individuals who extend their support while
preserving its autonomy under the supervision of an academic
(for details on books and publication read question 16)
The US Arab Chamber of Commerce publishes a directory of companies
in New York doing business in the Middle East.
Their offices in New York are at 420 Lexington Ave, Suite 2739, NYC 10170
THeir phone number is 212-986-8024. Good luck. david hirsch, ucla
12. What are the projects you can contribute to help rebuild Lebanon ?
There is a non-profit organization for Lebanese Academics and Professionals
that is working on development projects between Lebanon and North America.
It is called ALPA (Association of Lebanese Professionals and Academics)
to join or contact them, send e-mail to:
13. Are there any information about The Cedars of Lebanon and/or
organizations that deal with this matter??
There is two organizations that works on Cedars related matters, which
are the SPNL (the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon) and the
FCF (the Freinds of the Cedar Forest).
Following is the breif description of the FCF Comitee and it's activities
then a report of the SPNL about the cedar in Lebanon.
the friends of the cedar forest committee:
president: father george nakhle rahme
vice-pres: antoine gebrayel tok
treasurer: wahib keyrouz (who is also the conservationist
of the gibran museum)
official spokesman: bassam m. geagea
head of the ecological team: dr. henriette tohme
head of the phytopathology
and plant protection team: dr. khalil melki
head of the agricultural
and decoration team: wajdi geagea (engineer)
the committee has transformed el-arz kadicha into a natural
regional park, and their work is predominately in bsharee.
a good - though old- source for more info on the cedars
of lebanon is : "the remnant cedar forests of lebanon" by
e.w.beals of the aub, published in the journal of ecology -
volume 53, pages 679 to 694.
The following is a Report issued by the SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF
NATURE IN LEBANON, and posted by Kamel Saidi on SCL, for addresses
please read the end of the article.
Here is the preliminary report on the Cedars of Lebanon that
was prepared by the SPNL. I hope it helps some of you and I encourage
anybody who is interested in joining SPNL to do so. If you would like
more information about SPNL, I will be more than happy to send you
a full brochure about them.
CEDARS OF LEBANON
PRELIMINARY REPORT PREPARED BY SPNL
(SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATURE IN LEBANON)
Cedrus Libani is a native of Lebanon, hence the name. It also
occurs in Cyprus and Certain areas of Asia Minor. It is a tall
evergreen tree having short dark needle-like leaves and highly prized
fragrant hard wood.
Cedrus Libani has been known to survive for over 3000 years
and some of the existing Cedars of Lebanon are over 2000 years old.
However, the great demand for its famous wood since ancient times has
largely denuded most of the natural Cedar forests in Lebanon and the
King Solomon is said to have imported the fabled cedarwood
from Lebanon in biblical times to be used in the building of the
temple in Jerusalem. So have the Egyptians and Phoenicians before
him, as well as the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders and Ottomans
in more recent times.
During the first world war, the Turks decimated Lebanese
forests, including a good part of the remaining cedars, to provide
fuel for their railways in the area. Further damage took place during
the chaos of the civil strife in Lebanon between 1975 and 1991.
However, the present peace in Lebanon may cause an even
greater danger than the war to the remaining cedars of lebanon. These
dangers come from the following sources:
a- Atmospheric pollution caused by the coastal cement
plants in Chekka (which have been expanding their
production to help the reconstruction efforts after
the war), as well as other industrial air pollution.
Although the Chekka cement plants have now been
required to install anti-pollution equipment, more
stringent regulations against air pollution should be
b- An insect pest that has hit many of the cedars during
the last few years, specially the Bsharri cedars.
This requires further study and control.
c- Lack of proper protection and the consequent trampling
and abuse caused by goats and visitors to cedar
forests. The present peace has greatly increased the
number of tourists, both local and foreign to the
cedars, who are now able to venture to areas that were
not secure during the war. This endangers the
ecological balance in areas where cedars occur.
Despite the foregoing ravages, and the ravages of the past 16
years of chaos in Lebanon, Cedrus Libani still occurs in several
ranges of the western slopes of Mount Lebanon between 1400 and 2000
meters above sea level. Some of these forests have been relatively
well preserved while others, unfortunately, are still being abused and
are in danger of further decimation.
The areas in which the remaining cedar forests of Lebanon
occur are the following:
1- Chouf Mountains
a- Barouk Forest
This is probably one of the better preserved cedar
forests in the area and occurs on the western slopes
of the Barouk mountains. It covers an area of around
100 hectares, with several thousand ancient trees
b- Ain Zhalta Forest
Also in the Chouf mountains, this forest covers around
110 hectares. It is relatively well preserved and as
a result of this, we have noticed that parts of it
have started to regenerate themselves through the
natural growth of the new cedar seedlings over the
last few years.
c- Maasar El-Chouf Forest
This is the furthest southern distribution of Cedrus
Libani. It covers around 6 hectares and is well
preserved. This forest is fenced and guarded by
forest rangers who prevent any type of trespassing or
activity in its environs, except by special permit.
More work is required to protect and extend the Chouf
mountain cedars. The best way to do this, in our
opinion, is to declare them both national and
international wildlife reserves of great significance.
2- North Lebanon Mountains
Although this is the most famous of the ancient cedar
forests in Lebanon, it is not very well preserved,
with only 375 of the ancient trees still standing.
This forest has been recently reopened to visitors and
is used as a tourist attraction to the great detriment
of the trees themselves. Branches are still being
chopped off and used to make souvenirs to sell to
tourists, despite representations to the contrary.
These cedarwood trinkets can be readily bought off
street vendors around the Bsharri cedars.
The Friends of the Cedars Committee in Bsharri has
done some good work by planting several thousand new
cedar seedlings in the last few years, and by trying
to investigate the cause of the disease attacking many
of the trees. However, these efforts are still
inadequate to ensure the continued preservation of
this once great forest. This requires closing it up
to all visitors, except for special occasions, and
putting it under the strict control of experienced and
well trained forest rangers.
The land of this forest is the property of the
Maronite Church. However, a church is situated in the
midst of the forest and a main asphalt road passes
under some of the ancient trees. This situation is
also detrimental for the preservation of this
b- Ehden Forest
Also situated in north Lebanon, this forest has a
great number of Fir (Abbies spp) and several other
species of trees, besides Cedrus Libani. This forest
has been recently declared a protected area by the
Lebanese government, under law No. 121 of 9 March,
1992, as a result of pressure from several
environmental organizations, including SPNL.
3- Other Stands of Cedars
These are generally smaller and more scattered occurrences of
Cedrus Libani than the above mentioned forests:
a- Jeij, in Jubail mountains (central Lebanon).
b- Tannourine, in Batroun area of north Lebanon.
c- Wadi Jahannam, in Akkar area of north Lebanon.
All the above occurrences still need to be properly surveyed
in detail to determine their extent and present condition,
before any action can be taken to preserve them.
SPNL believes that, despite the many dangers still facing the
existence of the Cedars of Lebanon, if swift action is taken, the
species can still be saved and may flourish again. If we can get
these forests to be declared as protected areas and prevent both
people and goats from trampling around, together with continuous new
plantings of cedars around existing forests, then we may still be able
to make them regenerate themselves.
Efforts have increased in recent years to preserve and expand
the existing cedar forests in Lebanon. Among the most important of
these developments are the following:
1- The establishment of a new Ministry of the Environment in
Lebanon in 1993, as a result of pressure from many
non-government organizations (NGO's), is a good beginning. But
it is only a beginning.
2- A new association called the Society for Arz El-Chouf, whose
objective is to preserve the cedars of the Chouf mountains,
has been established in early 1994 by Minister Walid Junblat.
3- SPNL and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) have proposed, in
late 1993, a project to be funded by the United Nations
Development Programme's (UNDP) Global Environmental Facility
(GEF), in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment, to
establish a new department of wildlife and protected areas in
Lebanon. The objectives of this department will be to
safeguard biodiversity and natural ecosystems in Lebanon
through the establishment of a system of national parks and
Three areas have been selected to start this project, namely:
a- Barouk Forest
b- Ehden Forest
c- Palm Island (off the coast of Tripoli)
The Ministry of the Environment still has to make a decision
and take necessary action to make this project reality.
4- SPNL and the Lebanese government have requested the World Heritage
Committee (WHC) of UNESCO to nominate the main cedar forests
of Lebanon as historic sites of international importance. A
visit to Lebanon by Mr. Jim Thorsell of WHC was sponsored by
SPNL in April 1993 to study this proposal. But we still await
further action by The Ministry of the Environment to bring
this idea into actuality.
5- In the meantime, SPNL is conducting a campaign to plant new
cedar trees. To this end, SPNL welcomes financial
contributions for planting cedar trees in various areas where
Cedrus Libani already occur in Lebanon.
SPNL will plant one cedar tree in your name against a
contribution of only 30 U.S. Dollars.
Please contact us at the following address for further
P.O. Box 11-5665
Fax : (961-1)-603208
Telex: 20179 SARI LE
14. Are there any information about ski resorts in Lebanon ??
The following is an article from the In-flight Magazine of MEA Airlines.
"The Story of Skiing in Lebanon", in Cedar Wings, The In-flight Magazine of
MEA, issue 20 March-April 1994, pp. 6-12, 16.
People are often surprised to discover that sunny Lebanon is a great place
to ski. Six winter resorts operate in the high mountains, where from
December to April heavy snow covers the rocky massif. The variety and
accessibility of these slopes, ranging from the Cedars in the North to
Kanat Bakiche nearer Beirut, make skiing one of the country's natural joys.
The sport got started in 1913 when a Lebanese engineer, fresh from his
studies in Switzerland, introduced skiing to his native country. But it
wasn't until the 1930's that a group of French and Lebanese young people
began to ski in earnest. These were a hardy lot, who in the days before ski
lifts would spend many hours trudging up steep slopes for the joy of a
single run down to the bottom.
"We didn't know anything about skiing except that we wanted to do it,"
reminisces Dr. Emile Riachi, now president of the Lebanese Ski Federation.
"We rented wooden skis, old fashioned leather boots with simple bindings
and we walked up the slope. To keep from slipping we put fox skins under
These young enthusiasts went all over the country, starting out at dawn to
tramp up snowy slopes in the Cedars, Sannine, Barouk and Mount Hermon. It
was all adventure, but with no lifts, one or two descents a day was most
they could hope for.
A nucleus of more serious skiing began in 1935 when the French army
established a ski school near Bisharre, in the famous Cedars. Those were
the days of the French mandate and the army's idea was to train soldiers to
patrol the rugged mountains.
The army school's most enduring contribution, however, was the generation
of expert Lebanese skiers who formed the first Olympic team and later
helped spread ski fever throughout the country. Since 1948 Lebanon has sent
skiers to every winter Olympics and they have always made a good showing.
Unfortunately, the 1994 winter Olympics have not seen the Cedar flag.
According to the Ski Federation, new Olympic regulations have effectively
disqualified a number of smaller countries, including Lebanon.
One of the first ski lifts in the Lebanese mountains, a mechanical snow
climber, was built in the late 1940's on the slopes of Dahr al-Baidar.
Today travellers to Chtaura and Damascus can still see the remains of this
disused 370-meter tow on the high pass. In 1951 the big chair lift in the
Cedars was erected and tows and lifts began appearing in Laklouk and
Ouyoune es-Siman (Faraya-Mzaar).
With modern facilities available, Lebanon's skiers got on the fast track.
In the 1960's they organized a Ski Federation. Later a high level Ski
Committee was set up, headed by the Director General of Tourism. European
instructors were brought in and international competitions organized. The
annual Cedars Ski Week, listed on the International Ski Federation
Calender, attracted participants from many European countries. Tourists
also started heading for the snow as part of their packaged itineraries.
Energized by this success, ski developers and travel agents began to
publicize one of the country's greatest claims to fame - its weather. "Only
in Lebanon," they announced to the world, "can you ski in the morning and
go to the beach in the afternoon."
It's true that Lebanon's weather is crucial to its ski appeal. Investors in
one proposed winter resort observed the weather at the site for three
years. Finally they reported that it was almost possible to tell how many
days of powder, crust, boilerplate or corn snow could be expected. Other
planners compared conditions at 11 European ski locates with those in
Lebanon. Their conclusion? Lebanon looked good, very good indeed.
Once the Lebanese discovered the thrill of skiing, they stayed with it,
even during the civil war. In fact, according to the Ski Federation, the
sport has steadily developed at the rate of 15 to 20 percent annually, even
during the fighting. "This year", says Dr. Riachi "you can expect to see
some 10,000 skiers on the slopes on a god Sunday in March."
Despite his enthusiasm, however, Dr. Riachi is not yet ready to advertise
Lebanon as a ski paradise. "We are still feeling the effects of the war",
he admitted. "Telephone communications to the mountains are not good and we
need more facilities. Hopefully, we'll be ready for foreign tourists in a
Lebanon's Ski Federation and resort owners are gearing up to achieve this
goal. A mini-building boom is underway in the higher elevations as
investors and enthusiasts work to enlarge and improve their facilities.
This season will see three new ski lifts at Ouyoune Es-Siman (Faraya-Mzaar)
as well as improved snow maintenance equipment. New hotels and chalets,
restaurants and shops are in the works in most locations. Safety has also
been beefed up. The Lebanese Ski Committee is applying new measures at all
resorts. Flags and signs will warn of poor snow conditions or dangerous
areas. A rescue team will be stationed at each slope and all resorts will
be equipped with first-aid supplies, an ambulance and a medical team.
Ski competitions are in the forefront this season with a varied schedule of
national contests, including the first cross-country competition since
1975. Next year the Federation hopes to organize Lebanon's first postwar
Perhaps it's not surprising then, that Lebanon is such a great place to
ski. With stunning wide-angle views at every turn and slopes ti suit every
level, skiing becomes a special experience. But, like Lebanon itself, much
lies in its potential.
"We are ready to start moving on this", says Dr. Riachi, who, remembering
the time when there were no lifts at all, knows just how far the sport has
come in Lebanon.
The Cedars, 121 kilometers (75 miles) from Beirut, is perched on a platform
at 2,066 meters (6,300 feet) elevation in a great bowl scooped from the
towering peaks. Qornet al Souda reaches up 3,100 meters (10,135 feet)
offering a superb view of Qadisha valley to the south and the Bekaa plain
in the north. The ancient cedar trees, survivors of the magnificent giants
that nice covered the entire area, are both a land-mark and symbol.
As for skiing, the Cedars offers the most complete combinations of slopes,
valleys and exposures of any resort in Lebanon, most of them with an ideal
northwest exposure. But this natural ski paradise remains relatively
undeveloped compared with its rivals. Its 2,400-meter chair lift, built in
1951, has been out of service for two years, although four good T-bar tows
carry skiers up to 2,300 meters (7,500 feet). The Cedars has a number of
chalets and hotels, ski shops, restaurants and a varied night life.
Faqra, now a private club, is located south of Ouyoune as-Siman
(Faraya-Mzaar) at 1,750 meters (5,741 feet). Its ski trails overlook the
sea and the bay of Beirut. Facilities include a hotel, 200 private chalets,
restaurants, a heated pool, squash, sauna, tennis, and a fitness club. The
slopes are equipped with a chair lift, 2 ski lifts, and a baby lift. The
resort also features an international slalom track. Members only. Special
arrangements are available for tourists.
Kanat Bakiche, with an elevation of 1,990 meters (6,065 feet) is located on
Mount Sannine near Faqra. This centre, 48 kilometers (29 miles) from
Beirut, is known for the good quality of its snow. There are 2 ski lifts,
and hotels are available in the area.
Laklouk was established by banker Joseph Saab in the early 1950's. Set
among terraced orchards, its safe, gentle slope was dynamited out of a
nearby cliff. Known as a family resort, Laklouk is remarkable for the stark
beauty of its surroundings. Sixty kilometers from Beirut (37 miles), it is
1,740 meters (5,708 feet) high. It has three ski lifts, hotels, chalets and
Ouyoune es-Siman, generally known as Faraya-Mzaar after the nearby village,
was established by Sheik Selim al-Khazen, who early on saw the area's
potential. Mzaar is a region rich in natural curiosities, among them the 30
meter bridge carved from the rock by wind and rain. From Mzaar, one of the
finest views in Lebanon takes in the Bekaa, Mount Hermon, Laklouk, the
Cedars and the coast. Skiers are often able to see the sprawling city of
Beirut outlined below.
Fifty-four kilometers from Beirut (34 miles), Ouyoune es-Siman has an
elevation of 1,891 meters (5,763 feet). It is one of the best equipped and
maintained of Lebanon's resorts, with 11 lifts, including 2 chair lifts,
which connect trails ranging from beginner's to advanced. There are
chalets, hotels, ski shops and other facilities available.
Zaarour, 37 kilometers (29 miles) from Beirut, is a small resort on the
wester flank of Mount Sannine where a splendid panorama takes in the famous
Valley of Skulls ("Wadi el Jamajem"). About an hour's drive from Beirut,
the center is equipped with ski lifts and a snack bar, but lacks hotels and
other facilities. Elevation is about 1,990 (6,065 feet). Owner Michel Murr
plans to develop Zaarour as a private club.
15. What are the various Lebanese magazines and newspapers.
Some of the newspapers are:
Al Hayat (published in London, New York as well as in Beirut)*
Al Nahar has a WWW site the URL is
* address of Al Dyar:
Fax: +1 212 478 2981 (the Fax is in Lebanon)
Tel: +961 1 427 202
* addresses of al-hayat:
66 HAMMERSMITH ROAD,
LONDON W14 8YT
Advertising: Media Force
London : tel: 071-6027383
Jeddah : tel: 02-6608458
Beirut : tel: 498967
Ryad : tel: 4640352
1185 National Press Building
Washington DC, 20045
Tel: 202 783 5544
Fax: 202 783 5525
New York office:
Press Room C-321
United Nation Bldg,
New York 10017
Tel/Fax: 212 486 0576, 212 963 7619
It is said to be available in the US and Canada (3 days delay),
Information: Nicolas Shahoud Tel: 1 314 772 7778
Pager: 1 314 582 2564
Al Nahar al Arabi wal Duwali
La revue du Liban
La revue du Liban, is weekly French speaking magazine, editor in chief
Milhem karam. It has a web site: http://www.dm.net.lb/rdl/
" Paul Salem, the assistant dean of Arts & Sciences at AUB has set up
(I think with the help of his father Elie Salem the ex-foreign
minister) the Lebanese Center for Policy Study, which deals with all
political, social, and economic aspects of the Lebanese arena with a
special emphasis on policy matters.
They produce a monthly publication called the Lebanon Report and a
quarterly journal (a la Foreign Affairs) called Middle East
Review. The office they have in the US is mainly for the circulation
of these publications. "
They provide the following addresses:
The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Lebanon: Tayyar Center
Box 55215, Sin Al-Fil
USA: P.O. Box 1377
Highland Park, NJ 08904
A very good source of information on economic developments in
Lebanon is the Middle East Economic Digest, which is published weekly,
in English. To subscribe, send a letter to the following address:
P.O. Box 14
Essex RM3 8 EQ
It costs 275 sterlings in the UK, 300 sterlings outside the U.K.
No special concessions are offered for students.
The AUB Alumni Science Subcommittee publishes a quarterly magazine
(Sci-Quest) that is distributed free of charge (in Lebanon--outside
Lebanon, you may have to pay a small amount to cover mailing
charges). To get on the mailing list, contact:
AUB Alumni Science Subcommittee
AUB Alumni Club
American University of Beirut
P.O. Box 11-0236
The Lebanon Report
Dicussing every thing of what happened in the last month in Lebanon
+ Pictures. People who read they found it extremly helpful and very
objective. It is written from a neutral point of views and does not
belong to any faction. It is centered in Sin-El-feal (east beirut). I
highly recommed it to anyhow how is interested.
there address is:
The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Highland Park, NJ, 08904
16. Where can I find Lebanese magazines and newspapers.
In NY/NJ, you can buy it in the World Trade Center, in Penn Station, Newark,
NJ, and in Arab shopping areas (see below).
In Boston there is the "out of town news" which sells them. It is located
Harvard square, right outside the "T" station.
It has several newspapers including "al hayat" and "al hawadeth".
In Norway, many big libraries have magazines and newspapers relating to
the Middle East. In Arabic there is the Ahram or the British based alHayat
or Sharq al-Awsat.
In Oslo the small Kiosk besides Saga cinema sells magazines and newspapers
that relate to the Middle East. The University of Oslo publishes a magazine
called Midtosten Forum that takes up issues related to the Middle East.
Most articles are in Norwegian, but there are some in English or other
Scandinavian languages. To get this magazine write to:
In Montreal, There are the "Maisons de la presses internationales", that
have a wide variety of Arabic/Lebanese newspapers and magazines. They have
the daily Al-Hayat (printed in NY), Al-Hawadeth, Al-Wasat, Al-Watan Al-Araby,
"Les Maisons" have three locations on St-Catherines st. in downtown Montreal.
Other downtown Kiosques and arabic food stores, get Al-Hayat and other papers
A couple of local Lebanese papers are issued in Montreal weekly or bi-weekly,
the most important are Al-Mustaqbal and Sawt-Canada. These papers contain news
from Lebanon and the middle-east as well as news of the Arab and Lebanese
communities in Canada.
17. What has been written by Lebanese and/or about Lebanon ?
What follows are titles of books by contemporary Lebanese writers available
in English.(They all deal with the war in one aspect or another).
Kamal Salibi, "A House of Many Mansions, The History of Lebanon
Emily Nasrallah, _Flight Against Time_ trans. Issa J. Boullata.
Charlettetown, P.E.I.: Ragweed Press, 1987.
This is a very touching depiction of an older man's inability to get
used to life in Canada, where his children live and where they want
him to move because of the outbreak of the war in Lebanon. The old
man's attachment to his Lebanese village is conveyed in a simple,
direct style, making his predicament that much more poignant.
Elias Khoury, _Little Mountain_ trans. Maia Tabet. Minneapolis: Univ.
of Minnesota Press, 1989.
What I find really interesting about this book is its post-modern
style. The narrative point view, speaker, time, place, all shift
without warning. It is almost as though Khoury is trying to re-create
stylistically the disjunctions and disruptions occasioned by the
civil war in Lebanon. (his representation of women, however, is
rather sexist in my view)
Etel Adnan, _Sitt Marie Rose_ Post Apollo Press, 1978.
In this work Adnan narrates the experiences of a Maronite woman who
falls in love with a Palestinian and is kidnapped by a group of men
(her co-religionists among whom is an old school friend of hers.
Her experiences are witnessed by her students who are deaf-mutes.
This is a very powerful and disturbing book.
Etel Adnan, "five senses for one death." The Smith Special Issue 18, 1971.
This is a long imagistic poem by Adnan.
Jean Said Makdisi, _Beirut Fragments: A War Memoir_ New York: Persea Books,
Makdisi is a Palestinian-Lebanese who describes her experiences in war-
torn Beirut. For her those experiences, which she retells in very
moving terms, and her determination to stay in Beirut make her a true
Beiruti. Her love for Beirut and her agony over what is happening to
it are quite clear. Employing different styles (chronicle, descriptive
narrative etc.) in different chapters, Makdisi ends her book with a
very moving poem.
Here's the poem :
"Is it possible to hope that from the rubble of war, which at certain
times seemed to haved ended civilization, a new form might arise and
permit future creativity? There is something of the alpha and omega
in this hope, is there not?
Zbale garbage surrounds us, everywhere we look, there are piles of
rubbish, debris, there is stench and ugliness, we
Yield always we yield to the force of things, we are in danger of
surrendering to despair, and to the ease of
there is always someone else to blame for what has happened to
us, it's never our fault, oh no, and meanwhile we are
Waiting always waiting, for the others, for the solution, waiting for
them to let the water come gurgling into our empty taps, waiting
for the walls to crumble
Weary of the never ending
War we listen, overwhelmed with sorrow and anger to the the empty
Words the endless empty rhetoric which has only brought more
Veneer of fashion glitters like a worthless, forgotten coin in a
mound of rubble as it catches the sun.
surrounds us, the ugliness of a broken city, ugly buildings
sprouting up everywhere, ugly streets, whole neighborhoods, the
beauty of mountains is destroyed by utilitarian ugliness, and
Time weighs heavily on us--our days are long, and we carry History
on our backs, an intolerable burden--but History gave us also
Sidon timeless relics from the past, ancient, beautiful, but
Scarred by war and the suffering of
We are a land of refugees, a people of refugees, coming from
everywhere, going nowhere.
make beautiful causes, but they are people--their trucks piled
high with the pathetic remnants of former lives, mattresses and
goats and children and stoves--they have found no
in which everyone sinks. We are in a
Prison of violence and forgotten ideals. Still,
Peace will come, and
will end, must end, and
Nemesis will come, but not with more
certainly not with more fighting men, nor with more
Lies the lies told by everyone to preserve the war and to preserve the
together of the unravelling whole.
Justice In war there is no Justice, and it is not from War that Justice
Jbeil ancient Byblos, and
Jounieh with its ancient harbors and stunning bay, emerald mountains
dipping into the blue sea and searching into the azure skies,
they are in danger of drifting away from us, but someday perhaps
there will be
when this war ends and the
butchery ends. They say
Hope springs eternal and so it does, in spite of the
Guns and the
Fawda the anarchy which threatens us at every turn, because
Earth around us is beautiful: the gray rocks on the sheer cliffs, the
shimmering silver leaves of the olive trees, the deep dark green
of the ancient cedars, the sweet smell of the pine forests, the
oranges dotted like yellow stars in the sparkling groves that lie
by the blue seas. Meanwhile, our
Days pass, drearily, with explosions shattering the stillness of the
nights. Our senses are dulled by the
that has been upon us here in
Beirut --poor, ugly, stricken Beirut, broken Beirut, unloved city, lost
Beirut, like the child in the tale, torn between two mothers, but
no Solomon here, no true mother.
Beirut pleads to be redeemed, but not by
(This poem is more effective as a culmination to Makdisi's memoirs. It
is reproduced here without permission.)
Hanan Al-Shaykh, -The Story of Zahra_ trans. Peter Ford. New York: Quartet
Zahra is a shia Lebanese living in Beirut during the war (though she also
goes to West Africa for a while). I won't give away the plot but only
mention that she has a very complex relationship with a sniper. I really
liked this book. It deals very frankly with sensitive issues such as sex
and politics, and especially with the struggles of women.
Other Lebanese writers I like but for whom I have yet to see anything
published in English are Ghada el Samman and Layla Baalbakki. Excerpts
of their works are available in English in anthologies such as -Opening
the Gates_ edited by Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke. Indiana UP, 1990
and _Middle Eastern Muslim Women Speak_ edited by Elizabeth Warnock
Fernea and Basima Qattan Bezirgan. Univ. of Texas Press, 1977. There
are several other anthologies out as well.
The University of Chicago library has an excellent collection of books
in Arabic. You might search there for what's available. UC Berkeley
also has a very good collection. There is at least one bookstore that
I know of in San Francisco called The Arabic Book Center that also
supplies books in Arabic as well as English. They will order books
for you as well.
If you want to read good books by Lebanese writers, Amin Malouf has
written "Samarcande", "Leon l'africain", and "Les croisades vues par
les Arabes". These books were best sellers in France.
(Samarcande in particular is HIGHLY recommended).
Amin Maalouf's books have been translated into English.
Here are the English titlesof two of them:
"The Crusades Through Arab Eyes" trans. Jon Rothschild. Schocken Books,
New York, 1987.
"Leon l'africain" has also been translated. The English title is
Le dernier roman d'Amin Maalouf s'intitule "Le rocher de Tanios". Ce dernier
roman a pris le pris de Gouncourt 1993 [le prix le plus important en France]
voici ce que dit le journal francais Le figaro dans son numero de 9 Nov 1993:
[debut le figaro]
Le FIGARO 9 Nov 1993
[Titre]: "Le Rocher de Tanios": contre tous le fanatismes
Par Laurence Vidal
Il n'a eu quelques jours pour devenir nerveux. Amin Maaalouf, il y a
une semaine encore, n'osait sans doute pas esperer le Goncourt. Depuis fin
aout, deja, tout le monde jurait un autre, Marc Lambron, favori des Academiens.
Ceux-ci ne dementaient pas. Il a fallu le coup d'eclat des dames du Femina qui,
devancant les Dix de trois jours, leur ont rafle leur candidat, pour la place,
devenue libre, commence a susciter de nouveaux espoirs. Dans la redistribution
des cartes, Amin Maalouf semblait le mieux dote. C'est chose faite. Le Rocher
de Tanios (1), Goncourt 1993: un prix merite. Un choix heureux, quels qu'aient
ete les aleas coups de theatre et jeux de massacres quil'ont precede.
Heureux, d'abord, parce que le romain, cette legende revisitee des
annees 1830 au mont Liban, a quoi charmer le public large sans demeriter pour
autant aux yeux du lecteur difficile(2). Heureux, ensuite parce qu'est
recompense un auteur, un ecrivain, qui, depuis dix ans, eleve inlassablement
le double de conteuret de foi d'humaniste andide.
Descendant d'une famille qui, depuis le XVIIIe siecle a donne au Liban
une vigntaine d'ecrivains, Amin est fils de Ruchdi Maalouf, journaliste et
ecrivain lui-meme, enseignant, peintre, poete et grande figure du Beyrouth des
annees 40 a 80. Dans le sillage de ce pere aime et respecte qui "revait d'une
democratie ideale et a beaucoup souffert de l'echec d'une republique
fraternelle", Amin Maalouf aprend tres tot le sens du mot "paix". Ce chretien
du Liban eleve par les jesuites a ete facone par la double culture, arabe et
francaise, par le gout des lettres et l'esprit e tolerance.
Diplome de sociologie et d;economie politique, Amin Maalouf, tres tot,
reprend l'un des flambeux paternels et devient journaliste. Il est a Saigon a
la fin de la guerre du vietnam. On le retrouve dans l'avion qui ramene en Iran
l'ayatollah Khomeini. Quant a la premiere fusillade entre Palstieniens et
Phalangistes, qui fitplus de 20 morts et mis le feu aux poudres de Beyrouth,
elle eut lieu sous les fenetres de son appartement familail.
L'annee suivante Amin Maalouf s'installe a Paris. Et c'est en 1983 que
parait son premeir ouvrage: Les croisades vuespar les arabes(3). Une vie passee
a jeter un pont entre ses deux meres, l'Orient et l'Occident, vient de
Car cet homme a vecu vignt-sept ans sur une terre dechiree par des conflits a
caracteres religieux, cet erudit souriant qui eclare parfois ecrire " parce que
j'ai besoin de reflechir sur ma vie, sur mon siecle", n'abandonnera jamais les
freres ennemis, qu'ils soient d'ici ou d'ailleurs.
C'est 1986, Leaon l'Africain (3), biographie tres romancee de Hassan
Al-Wazzan, alias Jean Leon de Medicis, ce musulman ne en Grecnade en 1488,
mort en Tunis vers 1555, et entre-temps baptise a Rome par le pape Leon X, dont
il fut le conseiller et l'ambassadeur. Portrait d'un homme qui resume en lui,
et reconcilie, toutes les contradictions, les dechirements et les affrontements
d'une epoque. Place ensuite a Omar Khayyam, poete, astronome et philosophe
persan. que l'on retrouve dans Samarcande (4). Une sceptique dans la lignee
d'Avicenne, un chantre du Carpe diem qui preferait les femmes et le vin au
fanatisme religieux. Puis toujours en quete de figures symboliques, Amin
Maalouf s'interesse a Mani.
C'est le jardin des lumieres (3) en 1991, ou se revele un prophete qui
n'a rien a d'un manicheen au sens ou on l'enetend aujourd'hui, mais qui
recommande, au contraire de nourir la lumiere qui se cache en chaque etre et
chaque chose; qui prone une foi reconciliee, melange de christianinsme, de
boudisme et de zoroastisme(les trois religions dominantes dans la perse des
Sassanides). Belle constate d'un ecrivain qui, dans le Premier Siecle apres
Beatrice (1), nous depins une humanite du XXIe siecle qi nous ressemble comme
une soeur, se dechire, et menace de se detruire.
Avec Le Rocher de Tanios, pour la premiere fois, Amin Maaalouf a rompu
la distance qu'il avit toujours maintenue vec ses livres. C'est le retour au
Liban, a Kfaryabda, village des ancetres, en un siecle ou deja les interets
etrangeres soufflent la tempete sous les branches du Cedre. La encore dans ce
roman ou plane " toute la subtile et trouble poesie du conte oriental"(2),
c'est le refus de se laisser entrainer dans l'enchainement des vengeances
qu'il illustre. Dans un monde qui "se bestialise", auand " les citoyens les
plus paisibles se transforment soudain en tueurs" parce qu'ils sentent leur
communaute menacee, c'est, encore toujours, la proffession d'une foi
inderacinable chez cet homme blesse a mort par tous les fanatismes: " Il n'est
qu'une valeur immuable: la liberte de la personne humaine".
Ainsi parle Amin Maalouf prophete dans le desert, prix Goncourt 1993.
(2) Figaro 17 Sep
(4) Latte`s, 1988 Prix de maison de presse
[fin le figaro]
un autre roman c'est "Les jardins de lumiere".
Il raconte l'histoire de "Mani", un oriental qui a vecu au 3eme siecle,
et fonde une nouvelle religion, le "manicheisme".
Son principe de base etait le respect de toutes les religions
(Christianisme, Boudhisme, ... l'Islam n'existait pas encore).
Apres s'etre repandu un peu partout (de l'Inde jusqu'en Europe, en passant
par la Perse, le Moyen Orient, l'Egypte ...) cette religion a disparu vers le
12eme siecle a cause des nombreuses persecutions de la part des autres
religions (Christianisme, Islam ...). Bref, le roman est une sorte
de biographie imaginaire qui constitue neanmoins une vraie lecon de tolerance
et pose beaucoup de questions sur l'interet des religions ...
Personnellement, j'ai lu les trois romans d'A.M. : "Leon l'africain",
"Samarcande" et "Les jardins de lumiere". Tous les trois sont excellents
(a mon avis) mais j'ai eu une legere preference pour "Samarcande".
En realite, je pense que ce qui plait aux occidentaux dans les oeuvres de
Maalouf c'est son style de "conteur" (Haqawaati), auquel ils sont peu habitues
(parfois il va un peu trop loin dans l'invraisemblance des coincidences...)
Robert Fisk,"Pity The Nation - The Abduction of Lebanon", Oxford Paperbacks,
1990, ISBN 0-19-285235-3, approx $16.00
Fisk is an AP correspondent who reported on the war in Lebanon *from*
Lebanon since its inception in the mid 70's. A devastating book.
'Required' reading for anyone interested in an unbiased account
of the wars in Lebanon. Covers events through the late 80's.
Thomas Friedman, "From Beirut to Jerusalem"
Jonathan Randall, "Going All The Way"
Title: Turmoil: Druzes, Lebanon and the arab-israeli conflict
Publisher: Quartet books (London)
ISBN 07043 7050 6 (hard back)
07043 0189 x (paper back)
Price: 14.95 (English pounds), hard back.
9.95 // , paper back.
The book has recently been published and it is useful to those interested
in the Lebanese politics and the history of Lebanon.
For those interested in the affairs of the Arab world, especially, the issue
of identity, Xavier de Planbol offers his ideas in a new book in French.
The book :
Les nations du prophete, manuel geographique de politique Musulmane.
Author: Xavier de Planbol.
Evelyne Accad :
_Sexuality and War : Literary Masks of the Middle East_
New York : New York University Press, c1990
The topics in this book seem to include:
Arabic fiction--Lebanon--History and criticism.
Arabic fiction--20th century--History and criticism.
Lebanese fiction (French)--History and criticism.
Sex in literature.
Feminism in literature.
Violence in literature.
Sexual animosity--Arab countries.
Lebanon--History--Civil War, 1975-1976--Literature and the
Stefan Wild, Libanesische Ortsnamen, Typologie und Deutung, Beirut 1973.
(Lebanese place names: their typoligie and meaning). This books belongs to a
series called: Beiruter Texte und Studien, vol. 9
Wild's book is in German :(, yet he has an excellent summary in English.
Here is a quotation from the summary:
"A very interesting feature [in Lebanese place names] is presented by
sound-shifts due to an etymologizing tendency. This phenomenon was called in a
recent most illuminating study by Joshua Blau (On Pseudo-Corrections in Some
Semitic Languages) 'hyper-correction due to over self assertion'. In
correction with Lebanese place-names it means that an Aramaic place-name, when
taken over by an arabophone population may be changed in its consonantic and/
or vocalic structure in accordance with an etymologically related Arabic model.
We find Sibliin < Aramaic Shibbliin 'ears (of wheat)' an Aramaic plural form,
with its initial 'sh' shifted to 's' under the influence of the etymologically
related Arabic 'sabal' with the same meaning. Another example is Biskinta <
Aramaic bee Shkinta 'house of dwelling', under the influence of the Arabic root
'skn'. The etymology is, of course, not necessarily 'correct' from a linguist's
point of view. A name like Nakhli most probably derives from the Aramaic
'naHla' 'valley, waadi'. Since Aramaic 'H' frequently corresponds to to Arabic
'kh', the Arabic word 'nakhl' 'palm-trees' could easily but wrongly be
associated with the Aramaic form..." (p.327)
"It is reasonably plausible to suggest that similar developments took place
when the Canaanite-speaking population gave way to Aramaic speakers, and even
before, when pre-Canaanite (pre-Semitic?) place-names were molded into
Canaanite. BUt our data are insufficient to quote examples." (pp.327, 328)
"The great majority of place names in Lebanon, in fact about two thirds, is now
Arabic. The rest are chiefly Aramaic, some Canaanite (not more than 2%) and a
sprinkling of Greek names like Traablus < Tripolis, Turkish names like Qashlaq
< Kishlaa 'winter quarters', and French like Bois de Boulogne...."
"This clear cut division [of place names into Arabic, Aramaic etc.] is,
however, misleading. A large number of names must have shifted morphologically
from Canaanite to Aramaic and/or from Aramaic to Arabic. This is demonstrable
in cases like 'Jbail'. This name sounds now like a purely Arabic toponym, a
very common 'f@ail'-diminutive of 'jabal' 'mountain'. We happen to know,
however that the same place is attested as 'ku-ub-la' in Sumerian texts of the
third millennium BC., a time when it is impossible to think of an Arabic
origin. While the original meaning of the name is unknown, the structure
makes it highly probable that it was a Semitic name, and we may be justified
in calling it Early Canaanite. If we did not know the pre-Arabic evidence, and
this is the point, we should be obliged to interpret 'Jbail' as a quite recent
purely Arabic name. The only was to prove that an existing Arabic-looking and
-sounding name is in reality pre-Arabic, is of course to find an attested
pre-Arabic form. As the majority of Lebanese place-names which can be attested
at all before the 20th. century, are to be found at best in late medieval
sources, a pre-Arabic origin can normally be suspected [as Frayha does], rarely
proved. There is however one further piece of circumstantial evidence
indicating that the shift of place-names must have frequently. We may safely
assume that the general ecological conditions determining, why names were given
to places remained fairly stable from Canaanite times up to the beginning of
industrialization in the 20th. century. We are therefore justified in assuming
that the proportion of compound place-names like '@ain'... 'spring of' or
'bait'... house of' was in early times as great as it is now. The most
important of the appelatives used to form place names are the same in
Canaanite, Aramaic and Arabic: @ain, @ainaa, @ayin 'source'; bait, baitaa,
bayit 'house'; karam, karmaa, kerem 'vineyard'; tall, tellaa, tel 'hill'; and
many others. The close structural and etymological relation between place-names
the three languages involved has made the transformation of place-names very
easy, and conversely often renders distinction between place-names of
Canaanite, Aramaic and Arabic origin very difficult. The place-names which have
preserved their Canaanite or Aramaic character are the exception rather than
the rule." (pp. 328, 329)
"... Place names show the Lebanon as a resort of te pious, where Canaanite
gods, Christian saints and Muslim sheikhs mingle. Valleys and rivers, springs
and forests, peaks and mountain stamp the life of the people. Place-names, the
linguistically petrified remnants of cultural history, preserve the memory of
the cedar, where there are no more cedars, and recall roaming wolves and bears
where is today no more than the occasional fox. Generations of hunters and
farmers, shepherds and hermits have left their unmistakable imprint on Lebanese
toponomy. At a time where, in the Syrian desert, the Bedouin are beginning to
use place-names like ij-jfuur (the pump-station H4), and the industrial age in
Lebanon is dawning, the spectrum of Lebanese place-names shows us an
enthralling and extraordinary vivid picture of yesterday." (p. 330)
Here is a review that recently appeared in TIME magazine of Ziad Rahbani's
>From TIME Magazine (May 31, 1993)
SIGHTINGS by Emily Mitchell (p.61)
You Gotta Have Wasta
"Of Dignity and Stubborn Folk"
Written and Directed by Ziad Rahbani
ACT I: BEIRUT, 1998.
Syrian and Israeli troops have withdrawn from Lebanon, and the
country can determine its own fate. But greed is ascendant, and
mayhem is at hand. In kaleidoscopic scenes, belly dancers
alternate with news flashes and fake TV commercials, while people
boast of their "wasta" (connections). When an old Armenian is
electrocuted trying to repair a generator that is the only power
source, an announcement is made: " He was the last Armenian in
Lebanon - nothing technical will work again . "
ACT II: BEIRUT, 2003.
Though the country is in its death throes, sectarianism has not
expired. Animals join the few surviving Lebanese, and an
orangutan wants to vote. "What is your religion?" the humans
demand. Cannibals garbed in animal skin- and holding
walkie-talkies - proclaim a new credo:" We only eat our
In this bleak, gallows-humor play, Ziad Rahbani parodies Lebanese
society and evokes the pessimism of Orwell's 1984. The daily
"Hayat" notes that "Rahbani is like those animals that feel the
earthquake before it happens."
"Of Dignity and Stubborn Folk" is selling out in Beirut's
620-seat Piccadilly Theater, and audiences sense that the tremors
may already have begun.
There is Charles Glass's book "tribes with flags", an
account of his travels from Iskandaron to lebanon (i.e. until he was
there is one part of the book that you might enjoy, a brief
description of the Levant. (note: Levant are the eastern coasts of the
"The battlefields were also vineyards, and fruit trees sprouted from
ancient graves. Where men had drawn swords, hurled spears and fired
automatic rifles, children played. Rivers that armies had forged in
the night to surround an enemy provided family picnic sites. The sea
in which navies displayed their cannon was beautiful to look at and
cool to swim in. With what little there was from the land and sea,
the people made their lives rich and lavish. The divisions that
were a source of conflict also gave wealth...In a small area, there
seems to be the sights, sounds and smells of all the world"
another interesting quote
"A man may find Naples or Palermo merely pretty
but the deeper violet, the splendor
and desolation of the Levant waters
is something that drives into the soul."
James Elroy Flecker (British poet)
Beirut, October 1914
Another book is titled "The Struggle Over Lebanon" by Tabitha Petran. It
was published in 1987 by Monthly Review Press (New York). The book is
a well-written analysis of the making of modern Lebanon and chronicles
the war years. The analysis is particularly rich in identifying the
roles and actions of external actors and does a superb job linking
these outside interests with the local leadership that allied itself
The back cover holds strong recommendations for the book by three
authorities on the area. They are Rachid Khalidi, Edward Said, and
Noam Chomsky. Said calls it "an astonishing chronicle...a powerful and
magisterial narrative dense with human dram and political insight."
Petran is unique among westerners that have written about Lebanon in
that she was not an "in and out quick" journalist. Unlike so many who
wrote about the Lebanese war, she did not visit the country for a few
weeks, squeeze in a dozen interviews and then provide western audiences
with a shallow tale of how horrible life was at the Commodore hotel.
Petran lived in Lebanon from 1962 till 1986. She had a clear view of
the pre-war conditions and of the modern history of the country. She
lived through the crucial Lebanese history years of 1967-1975. Her
book is rich with deep analysis and a wealth of historical facts. Of
the 383 pages of text, she allocates over a hundred pages to a
wonderfully succinct summary of Lebanon's modern history. The rest of
the book covers the 1975-1986 period. There are 30 pages of notes
that would particularly useful for interested scholars.
from the Centre for Lebanese Studies, Oxford, England (address and info Question 11)
Theodor Hanf Co-existence in Wartime Lebanon: Decline of a
State and Rise of a Nation. Published by the Centre for
Lebanese Studies and I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. Oxford and
London: 1993. 512pp.
45.00 ISBN 1 85043 651 7
The subject of this book is the problem of conflict and conflict
regulation in Lebanon. How were conflicts regulated peacefully
in pre-war Lebanon? How did this country come to be the
battlefield of a surrogate war and, at the same time, a civil war?
How do the Lebanese political and military leaders on the one
hand, and ordinary citizens on the other view what has
happened to their country? What do they desire and what will
they settle for? Are there any prospects of re-establishing
This book attempts to show that although fear can produce a
vicious circle of hate and violence, it can also produce reason
and compromise _ that conflict can bring forth co-existence.
Leila Fawaz An Occasion for War: Lebanon and Damascus in
the 1860s. Published by the Centre for Lebanese Studies and
I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. Oxford & London: 1993. 256pp.
34.50 ISBN 1 85043 201 5
This pioneering study tells the story of the 1860 civil wars
which began in Mount Lebanon and spilled over into Damascus
to become the most severe sectarian outbreak in the history of
Ottoman Syria and Lebanon. The author's close analytical
narrative of the dramatic events of this year is set against the
background of broader themes of social, political and economic
change during the nineteenth century and explores the
interaction of local contexts with regional and international
Albert Hourani & Nadim Shehdi (eds.) The Lebanese in the
World: A Century of Emigration. Published by the Centre for
Lebanese Studies and I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. Oxford & London:
45.00 ISBN 1 85043 303 8
This book is a collection of essays based on papers delivered at
a conference on Lebanese Emigration organised by the Centre
for Lebanese Studies in Oxford. The chapters are written by
historians, economists, sociologists and political scientists,
coming from various backgrounds and disciplines. They attempt
to evaluate the impact of the emigrants from Lebanon on the
host societies, the process of integration, their economic,
political and cultural significance, as well as their relations with
the home country and their contribution to its development.
Engin Deniz Akarli The Long Peace: Ottoman Lebanon,
1861_1920. Published by the Centre for Lebanese Studies and
I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. Oxford and London: 1993. 372pp.
34.50 ISBN 1 85043 655 X
This book analyses the development of an autonomous political
regime in Ottoman Mount Lebanon known as the
Mutasarrifiyya. The book describes how that period was one of
reconcilliation and socio-political integration for Mount
Lebanon, and discusses the relevance of that epoch to later
periods of Lebanese history.
Leila Fawaz ed. State and Society in Lebanon. Published
by the Centre for Lebanese Studies and Tufts University.
Oxford and Cambridge, MA: 1991. 108pp.
14.95 ISBN 1 870552 23 7
This book includes a selection of the papers presented at the
conference on Rebuilding State and Society in Lebanon held in
Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1988. It analyses ways in which
the Lebanese state and society can be rebuilt and discusses the
future prospects of Lebanon.
Paul Balta & Georges Corm (eds.) L'avenir du Liban dans le
contexte regional et international. Published by Les Editions
Ouvrires, Paris: 1990
These are proceedings of a conference held in May 1988 at the
Centre de Formation des Journalistes. The book includes an
extensive chronology, a bibliography and documents.
Maghreb Machrek LIBAN: Les defis du quotidien No 125,
juillet-septembre 1989. Published by Documentation Francaise.
6.00 ISSN 03366324
A special issue of this French academic journal is dedicated to
the challenges of daily life in Lebanon during the civil war
written by authors who have lived through the situation. The
eight papers cover aspects of economic and social crisis,
emigration, internal population movements, education and the
relation between the citizen and the state.
Edited by Ghassan Salam in co-operation with and under the
sponsorship of the Centre for Lebanese Studies.
L.I. Conrad (ed.) The Formation and Perception of the Modern
Arab World: Studies by Marwan Buheiry. Published by Darwin
Press Inc. Princeton, NJ: 1989. 624pp. 49 plates Index
24.00 ISBN 0 87850 064 2
This volume presents a selection of 27 studies by the late
Marwan Buheiry who was the founding director of the Centre
for Lebanese Studies. The essays and articles fall under four
main themes: European Perceptions of the Orient; the
Superpowers and the Arab World; The Economic History of the
Middle East; Intellectual and Artistic History.
Nadim Shehadi & Bridget Harney (eds.) Politics and the
Economy in Lebanon. Published by the Centre for Lebanese
Studies and the Centre for Near and Middle Eastern Studies,
SOAS. Oxford and London: 1989. 120pp. Bibliography
13.50 ISBN 1 870552 18 0
This book examined current issues in the politics and economy
of Lebanon as seen through the eyes of nine prominent experts
in contemporary Lebanese affairs. It is the outcome of a one-
day conference organised in March 1988 by the Centre for
Lebanese Studies, Oxford, and the Centre for Near and Middle
Eastern Studies, SOAS, London, and does much to clarify the
prevailing complexities of the Lebanese situation both at the
regional and international levels.
Kamal Salibi A House of Many Mansions: The History of
Lebanon Reconsidered. Published by I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd.
London: 1988. 247pp. Cased Index Bibliography
26.95 ISBN 1 85943 091 8
Lebanon's leading historian examines the process of historical
myth-making to explain why at this time of unprecedented
internal dislocation, Lebanese nationalism has never been so
strong. This is a timely source of insight into both the Lebanese
conflict and the creation of nationalist sentiments.
Nadim Shehadi & Dana Haffar-Mills eds. Lebanon: A History
of Conflict and Consensus. Published by the Centre for
Lebanese Studies and I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd. Oxford and
London: 1988. 352pp Cased Index Bibliography
32.50 ISBN 1 85043 119 1
A collection of papers by a group of scholars and experts on
Lebanon covering a wide range of themes explaining both the
roots of the conflict and the basis for resolving it. The papers
were presented at a conference held at St. Antony's College,
Oxford in September 1987.
CLS Bulletin Vol. 2.
The CLS Bulletins report on the various conferences and
seminars that have dealt with Lebanon as well as list the
organisations interested in Lebanon. The Bulletins also have a
section on new books and articles on Lebanon as well as a
section on completed theses.
5.00 ISBN 1 870552 16 4
CLS Bulletin Vol. 3.
5.00 ISBN 1 870552 21 0
Papers on Lebanon
A series of analytical essays dealing with historical, political and
economic issues contributed by the Centre's staff and other
scholars in the field.
The following have now been published:
No.1 Albert Hourani Political Society in Lebanon: An
Historical Introduction 3.00 ISBN 1 870552 0 08
No.2 Ghassane Salame Lebanon's Injured Identities: Who
Represents Whom During a Civil War 3.00 ISBN 1 870552 0
No.3 Nasser Saidi The Economic Consequences of the War in
Lebanon 3.00 ISBN 1 870552 0 24
No.4 Marwan Buheiry Beirut's Role in the Political Economy
of the French Mandate 1919-39 3.00 ISBN 1 870552 03 2
No.5 Nadim Shehadi The Idea of Lebanon: Economy and
State in the Cenacle Libanais 1946-54 3.00 ISBN 1 870552
No.6 Miriam Cooke Women Write War: The Centring of the
Beirut Decentrists 3.00 ISBN 1 870552 05 9
No.7 Chibli Mallat Shi'i Thought from the South of Lebanon
4.50 ISBN 1 870552 07 5
No.8 Kamal Salibi Lebanon and the Middle Eastern
Question 3.00 ISBN 1 870552 08 3
No.9 Nassif Hitti The Foreign Policy of Lebanon: Lessons
and Prospects for the Forgotten Dimensions 3.00 ISBN 1
870552 10 5
No.10 Carolyn Gates The Historical Role of Political Economy
in the Development of Modern Lebanon 3.00 ISBN 1 870552
No.11 Michael Humphrey Islam, Sect and State: The
Lebanese Case 3.00 ISBN 1 870552 121
No.12 Farid el-Khazen The Communal Pact of National
Identities: The Making and Politics of the 1943 National Pact
5.00 ISBN 1 870552 20 2
No.13 Caesar Farah The Road to Intervention: Fiscal Politics
in Ottoman Lebanon 5.00 ISBN 1 870552 25 3
No.14 Judith Harik The Public and Social Services of the
Lebanese Militias 5.00 ISBN 1 870552 39 3 Forthcoming
No.15 Yezid Sayigh The Palestinians in Lebanon: Coming to
terms 5.00 ISBN 1 870552 49 0 Forthcoming
Prospects for Lebanon
A series of analytical essays dealing with policy aspects of
relevant current issues.
No.1 Nawaf Salam An Essay on Political Opportunities and
Constraints 3.00 ISBN 1 870552 06 7
No.2 Antoine Messara The Challenge of Coexistence
3.00 ISBN 1 870552 09 1
No.3 Samir Khalaf Besieged and Silenced: The Muted
Anguish of the Lebanese People 3.00 ISBN 1 870552 15 6
No.4 Joseph Maila The Document of National
Understanding _ A Commentary 8.00 ISBN 1 870552 24 5
No.5 Fida Nasrallah The Questions of South Lebanon 8.00
ISBN 1 870552 39 3
No.6 Oussama Kabbani The Reconstruction of Beirut
8.00 ISBN 1 870552 34 2
No.7 John Kolars Thomas Naff The Waters of the Litani in
Regional Context 8.00 ISBN 1 870552 19 9
No.8 Marianne Heiberg The Future of UNIFIL 8.00 ISBN 1
870552 44 X
In addition to an annual conference there are also workshops
and one day seminars.
Current Research on Lebanon
Oxford, September 1986.
Consensus and Conflict in Lebanon
Oxford, September 1987.
Politics and the Econony in Lebanon
Organised by the Centre for Lebanese Studies with the Centre
for Near and Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS. London, March
Rebuilding State and Society in Lebanon
Organised by the Centre for Lebanese Studies and the Fletcher
School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in co-
operation with the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at
Harvard University. Boston, October 1988.
L'Avenir du Liban dans le Contexte Regional et International
Organised by the Centre for Lebanese Studies and the Centre
d'etudes de l'Orient Contemporain (Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris
III) and the Centre de Formation et de Perfectionnement des
Journalistes. Paris, May 1989.
This conference was organised by the Centre for Lebanese
Studies and held at St Hugh's College, Oxford, September
The Lebanese in Africa
This conference was organised by the Centre for Lebanese
Studies and held at the Middle East Centre, St Anthony's
College, Oxford, September 1990.
State and Society in Syria and Lebanon
Organised in co-operation with the Centre for Arabic and
Islamic Studies. Exeter, September 1991.
Peace-keeping, Water and Security in South Lebanon
Organised in co-operation with the Norwegian Institute of
International Affairs. London, October 1991.
The Reconstruction of Beirut
Organised by the Centre for Lebanese Studies. London, March
Parliamentary Elections in Lebanon
Organised by the Centre for Lebanese Studies, in co-operation
with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and the
International Peace Academy. Oxford, May 1992.
Lebanon in the 1950s
Organised by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University
of Texas, in co-operation with the Centre for Lebanese Studies.
Texas, September 1992.
Professor Abdul Rahim Abu-Husayn, Dr Said Boumedouha, Dr
Carolyn Gates, Professor Irene Gendzier, Mr Fawaz Gerges, Dr
William Harris, Dr Kohei Hashimoto, Dr Michael Humphrey,
Mr Ignacio Klich, Professor Boutros Labaki, Mr R Rene
Laremont, Mr Michel Van Leeuw, Professor Neil Leighton, Dr
Mona Macsoud, Dr Fida Nasrallah, Professor Kamal Salibi,
Professor Radwan es-Sayyid, Dr Estela Valverde.
Archives and Library
The Centre possesses a body of archives and research material,
the most important of which are a collection of US government
documents on the 1958 crisis, collected by Dr Carolyn Gates; a
collection of material on the Civil War of 1975-6 collected by
Drs Ahmad Khalidi and Hussein Agha; a collection from the
Israel State archives; and a collection of newspapers on the
1982 Israeli invasion collected by the late Leigh Douglas.
A new book about islamic art and architecture has just been
published. It covers the era from 1250 to 1800, and examines work
in the area that extends from Morocco to India.
For the interested in the subject, the book is essential.
Title: The art and architecture of Islam 1250-1800
Author: S. Blair & J. Bloom
Publi: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0 300 05888 8
18. Where can I find works written by Lebanese and /or on Lebanon ?
Check your local or University Library, most of the books listed above can
be obtained in major bookstores or on special order from your local bookstore.
You can also see :
26 Westbourne Grove
London W2 5RH
vox 071 221 9347
fax 071 229 7492
They are bound to have it. They are specialists in Arabic language and
Levantine books. also you can try the following two that are on line :
Quantum Books, Cambridge MA
mail list: email@example.com
Computer Literacy Bookshops, Inc.
PO Box 641897, San Jose, CA 95164-1897
email orders: firstname.lastname@example.org
order problems: email@example.com
other into: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a company in Watertown, Massachusetts (USA) called "Beit Al-Fikr"
that sells a large collection of Arabic books, Arabic Compact Discs,
Arabic Calligraphy, Posters, Postcards at very reasonable prices.
If you are interested in getting catalogs of their products you can contact
the company at the following address:
Beit Al-Fikr Booksellers
Watertown , MA 02172
If you have any specific questions or comments you can send mail to:
Recently (late Oct 1994) a CD ROM about Lebanon was annouced on SCL here it
goes the annoucement:
Many CD ROMS for the Macintosh and for Windows are available here in the
US and Canada now.
here is a description of the SoftWare:
Lebanon - Pearl of the East CD: It is an exciting interactive encyclopedia
about Lebanon that covers History, culture, traditions, geography, economy
and much more. The CD features more than 500 photos, 200 movie clips, sound
and arabic music clips.
Retail price $69.95 Special $39.95
Arabic and English version available on both Mac & Windows
Syria - History & Culture: AN interactive encyclopedia about Syria, similar
to lebanon CD, it covers wide range of information about Syria. It include
hundreds of movies, text, speach and arabic musoc clips from Syria
Retail Price $69.95 Special $39.95
Arabic version available on Mac.
Views of Islam - A multimedia tour of the Islam religion. It covers history,
beliefs, traditions, arts and more. It features hundreds of pictures, movie
clips, speech and text from the Koran and more.
Retail Price $99.95 Special $54.95
English version available on both Mac & Windows
Also available other CD such as Lamp of Aladdin, and more...
Call 1-800-381-1242 or fax to 1-408-281-3666, or e-mail me back if you are
intersted. Visa, MC, and American Express are accepted for orders.
Future Publishers, USA
19. Are there Arabic word processors ?
Bassem Medawar has compiled a large FAQ on the subject of Arabic on
computers. It is very comprehensive and is available on the SoL archive
rama.poly.edu in /pub/reader/text/faq2 (notice the 2 in faq2)
There is Arab TeX. A message was posted about it on scl and Leb-Net
some time ago. It is public domain, based on TeX which is also public
domain. TeX is NOT user friendly -as compared to the Macs.
ArabTeX 3.00 is available by anonymous ftp from ftp.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de
The directory is /pub/arabtex, the "README" file gives details.
The identical package is also available from the CTAN server network:
Aston (ftp.tex.ac.uk, /pub/archive/languages/arabtex/),
Huntsville (ftp.shsu.edu, /tex-archive/languages/arabtex/),
Stuttgart (ftp.uni-stuttgart.de, /pub/tex/languages/arabtex/)
A new public domain release of my X-Windows based text editor
for arabic and any other Right-to-left language was recently announced.
The system was designed with flexibility in mind and ease of configuration.
Any one can configure the keyboard and font mapping to suit their language
and the keyboard they are used to.
The system can also be instructed to generate TeX files suitable for the
language in question. The System was tested on ArabTeX with
satisfactory results. The README file provides more information.
The archive containing all the source code needed is available from:
(it was not possible to find xaw.tar.Z on the two server mentioned above, maybe
the best way is to get in contact with the author directly)
If you have any problems or queries and suggestions please contact:
A M Shihab <email@example.com>
There are Arabic word processors. But the solutions are a little more
complicated than we would want them. There is one program
which runs on any Mac operating system, i.e. any language. I produces text
that can directly be pasted into other word processors. This program is
called AlKatib, but is very old and has very many restrictions. Don't
expect much from it.
Otherwise the way to go is to use the Mac's Arabic Operating system
(AOS). This system is designed to work with any program. Yet again this
is not completely true. Most programs that are worth their price, are not
compatible with AOS. Only very primitive programs that uses the editor
routines of the operating system correctly and are very limited in
their features. There are however a few programs that work correctly
with AOS. There are the products of a company called WinSoft
(based in France?). They have a word processor, WinText and a database
WinFile. I use the word processor and am sort of satisfied. It is not very
expensive either. On the other hand, there is an Arabic (and a Hebrew)
version of Nisus. I have not used it, but some colleagues who did are
satisfied. I am not sure of the price.
For those who need a useful and cheap database, you could opt for
FileMaker Pro. It is not completely compatible with the AOS (you can not
search Arabic text) but is useful and quite efficient. Another program
that I used earlier was SuperPaint 1.xx. It is a paint/draw program which
is compatible with AOS.
For those interested in Islamic studies, there is also Qoranic software.
The Alim is an "Islamic Study Toolkit". It offers the entire text of:
- The Qur'an in Arabic
- Transliteration of the Qur'an
- Yusuf `Ali's translation
- Yusuf `Ali's commentary
- M. Pickthall's translation
- All nine volumes of Sahih Bukhary
- Islamic Subjects Database
- Maududi Sura information
- Chronological History of Islam
- Biographies of Companions
- Islamic terms dictionary
The Alim runs a clean and powerful text based windowing system.
Several windows can be run at once. It also has a powerful pattern
The databases are cross-referenced. Separate modules can be
purchased, they include Sahih Muslim, Tirmizy, Al-Muwatta and Assad's
translation among other volumes.
The standard package has an introductory price of $99.00 and costs
$149.95 in retail. Macintosh, Windows, OS/2 and OSF/Motif support is
expected in the first quarter of 1993. I saw the package and it is
EXCELLENT. It is certainly worth the price. If were to buy the books
in paper form it would cost more than $100, plus you would not be able
to cross reference or search.
The current version is distributed on 7 high density DOS disks and
when decompressed takes 15Mb on a Hard Disk. You need at least 1.5Mb
on your Hard Disk to run the Software and you can decompress the
components you need. You also need EGA graphics or better. It also
runs on a Macintosh with Soft-AT.
The Software was developed over six years by a two person company
called ADVENT (800-397-5561). It is distributed by IQRA Bookcenter:
800-521-ICRA or 312-274-2665.
For users of Wordperfect, there is an Arabic module that can
be added to Wordperfect. The module enables one to write in English and
Arabic. It's extremely user friendly! The regular price is
expensive but the educational price is about $135 (with student or faculty
id). However that you need to have/buy the standard version
of Wordperfect in order for the module to run. So it's great for those who
already use Wordperfect, but it may be too expensive for those who don't
since they would need to buy both the standard version and the Arabic
Recently Arabic text editors for the Mac have undergone some major upgrades,
here is a critique of threeMac Arabic text editors that have recently
been published. These are: Tex-Edit, MuEdit and Style.
The problem with using Arabic on the Mac is that, while the Arabic system
itself is free and available, you can't use your standard word processor
properly with Arabic, and the Arabic-compatible programs like WinText and
Nisus Int. are expensive and always copy protected. The only alternative
has been to use small and fairly primitive "text editors", program-lets that
allows you to type text, but not very much more; not very useful.
However, recently some new text editors have appeared that makes this
option more attractive. How do they handle Arabic? I have looked at three
of these new text editors, Tex-Edit, mu-Edit (formerly Quill), and Style,
to check how useful they are for the Arabist Mac user. These are some brief
remarks, based mainly on typing, editing and printing a couple of pages in
A general remark first: These are still text editors. That means in
particular that they are limited in size, you can only write up to 32K
(about 10 pages) per document; any they may slow down when you approach
this limit. They do not have things like footnotes, style sheets, and
formatting beyond what is explicitly stated; none of them have rulers. But
they are free.
A capable text editor. Has standard text styles like bold, italics,
outline, shadow, condensed and extended, as well as color. You can freely
choose font and size and mix several in a document. All these three allow
multiple documents to be open at the same time.
Tex-Edit has find/replace, with functions for finding returns, tabs,
linefeeds, whole word only, match case, and Replace all.
Like Word, if you select a word by doubleclicking, it will include the
space after the word. Useful detail. Triple-clicking selects a sentence.
It can strip unwanted control characters, and can paste time & day and
page number. It does not have a ruler, but when printing will ask for
margin sizes and may include page numbers. This does not work properly,
however, if you try change the margins on a document about a page or two,
the program hangs, and then crashes on command-period.
You can justify left, right and center, but this will relate to the
whole document. Works under system 6.0.3 and newer, and with Macintalk will
read out typed text for you. (The name, incidentally, seems to refer to
Texas, not TeX.)
Handling of Arabic: Text entry and editing is acceptable, with a caveat
below. There are however some cursor problems with line breaks. Sometimes
when it should position the cursor at the beginning of a line, it is put at
the end instead. Eg: Moving back one step from the beginning of line 4 to
puts the cursor at the beginning of line 3; and typing will put new text
before the text in line 3.
You can set the justification to right-oriented, but this is not saved
and has to redone every time you open the document. All these three editors
link fonts and script, thus changing script also automatically switches to
the previously used font in that script.
Find/replace works with Arabic, but the dialog box shows only Chicago,
i.e. Roman characters (like Word would). However, what is inserted into the
text appears in the correct font.
Positive: You can set the default font to an Arabic one, like Geeza
12. The editor will then start up with the Arabic script active.
Negative: Actually, you have to do this. If the default font is a
Roman one, cutting and pasting will not work correctly. On pasting in the
middle of an Arabic block, the default will switch to Roman, and the Arabic
block will be split; the first part coming the left of the last. This can
be repaired, but is a nuisance. Also, if you write an English text, Arabic
is still default, so if you click somewhere in the English text, the script
often (not always) reverts to Arabic.
MuEdit appears to be designed for Arabic, thus it has a menu option for
"Orient left to right" and "Orient right to left". Generally, it has
capabilities similar to Tex-Edit: Multiple fonts and styles in a document;
multiple windows, text styles include extended and condensed; find &
replace. It has "find previous", but only options for whole word and case
sensitive searches. It allows changing case, has a word count, and can
strip/add linefeed and carriage returns, but not as Tex-Edit, all control
characters. Like T., it has color, but not "smart quotes". Print margins
are set in the Page Setup dialog box.
It works under System 7 only. Interestingly, cut and paste between
these two editors work better than between standard word processors:
Script, font and size information is remembered from one to the other. Both
read each other's files; Tex-Edit can read font and style (but not
justification) of a MuEdit document; MuEdit can only read the text of the
Handling of Arabic:
Typing and editing Arabic text is unproblematic. Selection, cutting and
pasting work as they should. Justification does not automatically follow
script, but both are saved with the document.
It has a couple of bugs, though:
-- When you open Mu-Edit by double-clicking on a file, the line
breaks do not appear properly. However, if you open MuEdit first and then
the document, they appear as they should. There is an option for "word
wrap", what happens is probably that it is improperly set "off" when you
open document and program together.
-- Find-replace does not work properly: It finds the Arabic, but the
"replace" string is inserted in Roman, i.e. as garbage characters; breaking
the line in two and reversing their order, in spite of the Right-Left
general orientation. Instead, you have to copy the correct text, and then
use Find-Paste instead.
-- Another peculiar bug when I use MuEdit with other text editors: If
right-left orientation is chosen in the MuEdit window; and I switch
directly to another editor, the text window there appears (incorrectly)
right-adjusted. Only by switching through the Finder is this corrected, and
the editor's window redrawn. This happens when I switch both to Tex-Edit
and to Eudora, but not to Word. Either it is problem in MuEdit, or in the
Arabic resources themselves.
Style, an Italian offering, is the least capable of the three, and is not
really adapted for writing Arabic. It has the standard styles, and
Find/Replace, but no options for setting page width in printing. More
seriously, the word wrap does not break at the edge of the window, but at a
predefined length that seems to be calculated from a 13 or 14" monitor.
Thus, on my SE/30, I cannot see a full line, and I have to scroll
horizontally manually in order to see what I am writing. This is clearly
not acceptable. You can, however, mix styles and fonts in a document. Style
does not save in TEXT format, as the two others do, but has an XTND file,
so you can use it with MacWrite and other XNTD-programs. In version b.3,
the Open command did not work, perhaps due to a conflict with Super
In handling Arabic, another problem is that you cannot set
justification; it is stuck on left-adjusted. Thus you are always writing
'backwards', as it were, and printing will also be left-adjusted. Also, I
have been unable to add anything at the end of a line. The cursor will
then, whatever I do, place the correction at the beginning of the line.
Further, the cursor moves incorrectly. The left-arrow keys moves the cursor
forward, as it should, but at the end of the line, it jumps up to the
previous, rather than down (and vice versa for the right-arrow key). I.e.,
as in Roman text.
Although Style handles Arabic text entry and editing, it is thus not
useful for Arabic; and hardly for for European languages, at least if you
don't have a 12"+ monitor.
I will not recommend Style in its current version. The two others are,
however, very useful contributions, although both have some drawbacks. Each
has a bug; Tex-Edit the incorrect placement of the cursor at the beginning
of the line; MuEdit defaulting to no word wrap when you open the program
with a document. You can live with both, however. Tex-Edit can be set to
Arabic as standard script, so you can open it and just start typing Arabic.
MuEdit has an orient right->left option that makes it apt for Arabic, and
which is saved with the document (unlike Tex-Edit's justification).
As it currently stands, I have problems choosing between them. If you
use System 6, you have to choose Tex-Edit, as MuEdit requires System 7.
Otherwise, the printing bug in Tex-Edit, if it is general and not just on
my machine, would tip the scales against it; I do not fancy being stuck
with a half-inch margin. On the other hand, the Find-Replace bug in MuEdit
is serious, but can be circumvented using Paste instead of Replace. Thus,
with the faults I have found to date, I would choose MuEdit; but both are
very useful, and to be recommended.
If you want to include Arabic in a major work, like a book, you must
still buy a commercial Arabic-compatible word processor. But for simple
things, these editors are now almost as capable as the standard word
processors; and they are free.
Tex-Edit 1.8.1 (8 April 1993). Freeware. Recommended memory: 390K
MuEdit 1.0d0 (9 May 1993, formerly Quill) Freeware.
Recommended memory: 360K
Style 1.1b3 (US) (5 April 1993). Freeware. Recommended memory: 256K
Tested on a Mac SE/30, 8 MB. All are on Sumex, in /info-mac/app.
end of part 2/5
Alaa Dakroub | 'al-'arD waTanI wa al-'insAnyah 'usratI
Sophia Antipolis | La terre est ma patrie et l'humanite' ma famille
France | The earth is my fatherland and humanity my family
| (Gibran Khalil Gibran)
------------------ http://www.eurecom.fr/~dakroub/ ------------------