Free «Identities in Lebanon and their Conflicts» Essay Sample

In Lebanon, there are seventeen identities, divided along religious lines. Among the seventeen identities, the major identities include the Maronite Christians, the Sunni Muslims, the Christian Greek Orthodox (Russian Orthodox Church followers), the Greek Catholics (followers of the Vatican), the Shi%u02CBa Muslims, and the Druze (offshoot of Islam). The Maronite Christians are the largest identity, constituting 32 percent of the Lebanon population, while the Sunni Muslims are the second largest identity (Zahar, 2011).

Over the years, the Lebanon identities have had conflicts continuously, based on political and religious affiliations. Conflicts among the Lebanon identities started in 1820, when the Emir imposed a taxation system on the Lebanonians, and a system of maintaining social order. This led to emergence of conflicts between the ruling class (primarily the Druze landowners) and the major identities (Zahar, 2011).. For instance, the Maronite peasants rebelled aainst the landowners using their identity to call into questioning of the relationships that inspired the social order. The conflict between the Maronite Christians and the Druze landowners attracted the Maronite Church in defense of the Maronite peasants. The Maronite Church was a big challenge to the lords. It used its dominance and wealth to advocate for establishment of a Christian emirate. However, in 1858, the conflict between the Maronite Christians and the Druze lords broke in the southern Mount Lebanon, after the Maronite peasants in the northern district of Kisrawan rose against their lords. The end of the conflict between the Maronite Church Christians and the Druze was marked by a victorious win of the Druzes, and eleven thousand deaths of the Maronite Christians (Zahar, 2011).

Once again, in 1864, a conflict broke between the Maronites and the Ottoman governor. The Maronites were opposing the power sharing arrangement, citing that, the arranged power sharing structure, among all the major identities of Lebanon on equal basis, was unfair. They wanted the power sharing structure to reflect their preponderance. The conflict was not as violent as the previous one, since the foreign brokers stepped in and redesigned the power sharing structure, which resulted to allocation of four administrative posts to the Maronites. In 1920, another conflict rose between the Maronites and the Greek Catholics, and the other major identities. This was after expansion of Lebanon territory during the French rule, which increased the country’s religious heterogeneity. The Maronites and the Greek Catholics supported the expansion, while other identities opposed the idea (Zahar, 2011).


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