So why not? Is not a pig an animal like any other?
Is not its meat a delicious and tasty? Pigs are
easy to raise and they breed abundantly. Their pork
is of major importance in the agricultural economy,
providing protein in abundance for all, rich and
Most probably Kfarhazir is a name of Aramaic origin,
from kfar meaning village and hazir meaning pig.
Alternatively the name might mean the place under
the protection of the Egyptian god Osiris, or Ausire,
also known to the Phoenicians as Adonis.
Lying between one thousand and one thousand one
hundred feet above sea level, Kfarhazir should have
been included under the Batroun or Mount Lebanon
sectors, but administratively in comes under the
province of North because of the impassible barrier
of Shekka, which in the past had to be avoided by
going up through Kfarhazir.
Kfarhazir is a quiet, sunlit, dreamlike village
of great charm in the caza of Koura, nearly forty
miles from the capital Beirut and is a crossroads
between Tripoli, Beirut, the North, and the Cedars.
I knew it well during the nineteen-fifties, when
it was still necessary to pass through this one-time
sanctuary in order to reach the North, Bsharri,
Ehden or the Cedars. The natural scenery looked
as it might have been on the morning of Creation.
The hand of man had not yet started to systematically
scar this village.
From its hilltop, like some extended welcoming hand,
Kfarhazir would receive the passers-by with its
bitter-orange trees, olive trees, almond trees,
fig trees, vines, fruit trees of every description,
and coppices of woodland. There were stretches sown
with wheat along the terraces of the small plateau
and the village was full of activity all the year
round. For myself, it seemed to me as if a many-colored
rainbow had come to earth there. It was like the
villages we knew in our childhood,, when everywhere
there reigned charm, innocence and purity. Then
there was respect for Nature and one would be carried
away by its music, finding it a stage on the way
to Paradise. Now fifty years have passed: roadways,
the highroad to the North and the Cedars, the interior
streets, the power pylons, all the marks of infrastructure
have appeared and little by little all the natural
beauty is getting lost. At present, with the failure
to respect the laws, corruption is rampant. Recently
I passed by Kafrhazir and was flabbergasted, for
I could no longer recognize what had been so beautiful.
Day by day the environment is dealt mortal blows
and pollution reigns.
In Kfarhazir one can find remains that date back
to Roman times. Among monuments worth visiting are
Mar Youanna, St. Johnís, a historic old church;
the old village market, certain caves having a history;
basements hewn in the rock; and the churches of
Notre Dame, Mar Yaacoub or St. James, and finally
the very old church of St. Theodore. There are springs
of water such as the historic Ain Yugashi, oil presses,
and two large restaurants opened recently, the Octogon
and the Shamelon.
There is in addition an industrial zone, something
which should not normally be allowed inside such
a village. In all Koura there should be just one
such zone, embracing all the forms of industry.
There remains much to be done in order to avoid
the ravages of quarries for sand and stone appearing
here and there without control.
Recently with the Greens and other defenders of
the environment, there are hopes for some change.
There have been large public demonstrations and
on one occasion the village people held up seventy
trucks taking stones from the quarries to the Shekka
cement works, from where the smoke and general pollution
rise to invade the whole region. What is more, there
are certain industries which I feel I must consider
as criminal, such as the slaughterhouses and the
tanneries where the hides are partially treated,
leaving much of their filth before they are sent,
folded and cleansed, to Egypt, Turkey and elsewhere
to serve for the production of leather. These industries
give off a revolting stench and cause much pollution.
Now a committee has been formed to make plans to
save Kfarhazir from its imminent destruction. Kfarhazir
deserves our attention and is well worth a visit.
Matar and William Matar
Translation from the French : Kenneth Mortimer