Friday, March 22nd, 2013

The Moderating Effect of the Lebanese

Congreso Mundial Juventud Libanesa – JUCAL 2012  [World Congress Lebanese Youth]
Juventud Unida Cultural Argentino Libanesa. [Lebanese-Argentina Youth Cultural Union]
Vivir el Libano en Argentina. [Living Lebanese in Argentina]
Buenos Aires Octubre 2012

That video was posted in October 2012.   This is the website of the Lebanese-Argentine Youth Cultural Union: (Click Here)

There are 1-1/2 Million Lebanese in Argentina. Most are Maronite (Catholic) Christians.  They have an enormously moderating effect in South America wherever Arabs have settled.

From what I have seen Lebanese Maronites are as not concerned about Palestinian issues as other Arabs are. They tend to be more concerned about becoming assimilated Westerners, differing only in a love of Lebanese cuisine, music, and dance.

There are chiefly eight (8) reasons for this:

1) Lebanese Maronite Christians were almost exterminated by Muslims in the 19th century. The French Army had to intervene to prevent a genocide

2) The Palestinians were a major cause of the Lebanese Civil War. They Lebanese Maronite Forces and the Palestinians both committed massacres against each other

3) Israeli intervention in 1982 may have prevented a genocide against Christians, again.  Some consider the Israelis to be savior of Lebanese Christians.

4) Lebanese Maronites do NOT consider themselves as Arabs per se – though they speak Arabic now. They consider themselves Phoenicians, who were overrun by the Arabs in the 7th century, but who remained distinct from the Arabs/Muslims.  (Click Here)


5) Until the 18th century, they spoke Aramaic – a language of the Bible – not Arabic, which indicates how distinct they were from surrounding Arabs.   Once they did learn Arabic, they spoke it better than the Arabs, by virtue of a Christian education.

6) Historically, the Maronite Church affiliated with Rome, not the Eastern Churches. Their religious orbit was to the West, not the East.

7) Their religious affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church, and political connections with the French gave them a Western mindset that was lacking in other Arabs.  Though Arabic speaking by the 19th century, many also spoke French.   For all intents and purposes, the Lebanese Maronites were Europeans with a funny language.   They were light years ahead, not only of the Muslims, but also of Syrian Orthodox Christians.

8)  They love wine/arak (alcohol), and will eat pork and shellfish.  They are not bound by Muslim, or Jewish food laws.   This further distinguishes them.

So the Lebanese tend to assimilate very well into the Western world. Almost seamlessly.

They tend to be moderate to Western in their views regarding the Mideast; and can, at times, be pro-Israel.  This does not mean they are necessarily thrilled with Israel; but they have enough bad experiences at the hands of Muslims that they tend to shy away from getting involved in the Palestinian cause.

Some are downright hateful of the Palestinians.  They consider the Palestinian refugees to have started the Lebanese Civl War, and to have destroyed Lebanon.

I have noticed that Argentina’s and Brasil’s Arabs tend to be less hostile to Israel than Chile’s Arabs.


Because Argentina’s and Brazil’s Arabs are top heavy with Lebanese Maronites, while Chile’s Arab’s are top heavy with Palestinians.

This is noticeable when studying the Arabs of South America.

To see this in effect, look at the Logos of two similar websites.

FEARAB – Argentina

FEderación de Entitades Arabes (Federation of Arab Groups) – Argentina

Notice the Argentine flag. Notice that one of the changing images is of a Gaucho

The Arab-Argentine society lays emphasis on the Gaucho. They are emphasizing assimilated Argentine identity.

Now look at the Chilean Site!

FEARAB – Chile

FEderación de Entitades Arabes (Federation of Arab Groups) – Chile

Israel is erased from the map!

The Arab-Chilean society lays emphasis on the struggle against Israel.

Why the difference?

Chiefly because 60% or more of the Arabs in Chile are Palestinian.

In Argentina, the opposite is true where half the Arabs in Argentina are Lebanese, and the number of Palestinians is far smaller.  The Lebanese also predominate among Arabs in Brazil.

So in Argentina, the Western leaning Lebanese set the agenda, while in Chile the Palestinians set a different agenda.

The Latin-Maronites seek assimilation, while the Latin-Palestinians seek struggle (even though the Palestinians in Chile are Christian).

This is all the more amazing when one realizes that Christian Palestinians have been in Chile in large numbers since 1890.   What distinguishes them is that Christian Palestinians tend to be Syrian Orthodox Christian, which is an Eastern Church, while Maronite Catholicism is affliated with Rome in the West.

Lebanese Maronites are wannabe Westerners.  From their insistence on Christianity, to affiliation with Rome (rather than Eastern Churches), to their friendly dealings with Israel,  the Maronites are so Western that their Muslim neighbors have tried to exterminate them on more than one occasion as traitors to the Islamic Ummah.

So Westernized Maronite Lebanese are NOT a Myth.

In Latin America, they blend in without a hitch.  Where Maronites predominate in the Arab community, they smooth the Westernization of the  Arab community.  In Chile, their moderating influence is weak, by virtue of a smaller demographic.