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The Lebanese, Conqueror without Arms

 

 
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The Lebanese, Conqueror without Arms
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The Lebanese, Conqueror without Arms

Lebanon has not only its Cedars, its snow, its village belfries, its poetry, its fresh air and its weeping willows that plunges their roots into limpid streams. It is also the land where the water resources are organized to allow the creation of a vigorous industry, to promote tourism and particularly commerce, being above all commercial, and finally to strengthen our educational and financial policies.

But in my opinion we should do well to consider the saga of our Lebanese emigrants who have contributed so effectively to the socio-economic evolution of our country and who have conquered the four corners of the world without ever resorting to arms.

With half its children settled abroad, Lebanon stands in the first rank of countries that have been the sources of emigration. Following this intense migratory movement, the bridges stretching between the motherland and Lebanon-across-the-sea have become the means for an ever increasing movement of individuals, of goods, of ideas, and of sentiment.

Our emigrants are not at all what some people might believe them to be. Scattered around the entire world, they have not forgotten the land of their birth. This nostalgia for the homeland leaves no place for feelings of indifference in their hearts. Quite on the contrary, we recognize that the role played by our emigrant brothers outside Lebanon has done much to heighten its prestige within the International Community.

The extraordinary story of the conquest of the world by the Lebanese goes right back to the Phoenicians, ocean voyagers and navigators. For the Lebanese the sea has always been an open road leading to other regions of the world where there is building to be done, where there are places to be occupied and hopeful ventures to be entered upon – in Africa, in the two Americas, in Europe and in Oceania. The Lebanese knows how to make himself feel comfortably at home wherever he goes.

Let us not forget how our Phoenician ancestors launched out in their galleys to discover countries and promising places both near and far. They touched land along the coasts of Egypt, Crete, Asia Minor, Greece, Italy and Spain. Perhaps they were the first Etruscans. They founded Carthage, Marsiho and Carthagenia. Did they pass beyond the Pillars of Hercules to go round the Dark Continent and finally reach the Red Sea and its vanished ports? If one is to believe certain somewhat unlikely suggestions, they were even the first to discover America by going West.

In the 19th century

The adventurous individuals who in the 19th century inaugurated the Lebanese emigration across the world launched out on a considerable undertaking. Conquistadors without weapons, they left their villages with hopes of returning, but returning with glory, their pockets filled with gold. They bought and they sold, they took and they gave, they started in small retail and ended with great business houses and banks.

In the high mountain regions of Lebanon and in the towns, rumors would circulate about how some Lebanese emigrant or another had achieved success; inspired by such examples, young Lebanese were driven more and more to emigrate.

A Land of the Bible, Lebanon with its three million inhabitants has three million Lebanese dispersed all around the world, so becoming a Holy Land beyond compare.

Leaving their homeland under an autonomous regime that had given little satisfaction to their aspirations for independence, from the very beginning of the century the Lebanese entered into political activity that prepared the way for the emancipation of their motherland and for the effectiveness of its role throughout the world in cultural, economic, political and religious matters.

It must finally be said that the Lebanese, conquerors without arms, can be proud of the constructive international undertaking in which each has successfully played the role assigned to him.

William MATAR
Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:06 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
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