Greatness and decline of nations and empires:276 pages of the integration report

Lebanon was in the spotlight twice and during the same period, on two special programs on French television channels, as part of documentary series one on the original church and the other on the paths of beauty.

The first series, ‘‘Mes éthiopiques’, ‘ , conducted by Jacques Debs , was broadcasted on France 2 on the Lord’s day . It was held during the four Sundays of Advent and focused on covering the original Catholic churches of Armenia, Ethiopia, India (Malabar and Malankara) and the Lebanese Church (Maronite). ‘s Four episodes were also the subject of a book published by Albin Michel and describing in writing the story of these novel locations , carried out in four problematic areas of the globe:  one at the gates of Europe , the second in Africa , the third in the Far East and the last in the Near East. The four experiments, while having their specificity, share a checkered history of mysticism, persecution and contact with other religions; while expressing a deep sense of vocation, testimony and even of martyrdom. The documentary on Lebanon is called ‘ The Valley of reconciliation ‘ and happens in the holy valley of Quadisha , center of spirituality, hermitage and residence, being the refuge of the Maronite Patriarchate from 1440 to 1823.


The second series, entitled ‘ The paths of beauty ‘ (Arte on December 16 to 20) selected five countries in which the woman and her perception of beauty are described: Cuba, Cambodia, India, Lebanon and Senegal. In other words, an island country in Latin America, two countries in the Far East , a country in the Near East and an African country. In the five countries we have a description of the feminine universe and cultural code, which oscillates between tradition and modernity. Each experiment has its specificity but all five have in common the fact of identifying an area of femininity that is different from that of the male, creating two worlds that communicate but remain separate. It is of course about countries that are open to modernity but retain a strong link with the patriarchal system, with family and community values. The documentary on Lebanon is called ‘ The other side of the mirror ‘ and described the Lebanese woman in relation to her hair ( minimum two to three brushings per week, as much as Hollywood actresses, and the necessity to change hairstyles for weddings or  nights out ) , her nails ( manicure as a minimum of twice per week) her shoes ( high heels high and a slow gait) , her clothes (designer and modeling clothing), and plastic surgery ( a flattering static image and a deformed dynamic image). The documentary covers the urban communities, both Christian and Muslim, each competing in their own way and according to their own cultural code, liberalism and ingenuity; exalting a primary and sophisticated femininity at the same time.


In both series, released during the same week on two different channels, Lebanon appears as an area of ​​paradoxes and contrasts. It is mentioned for the first time in relation to faith and its roots, and a second time with respect to the image of women and its representation. Both series are filmed on the other four continents, with perennial, strong, exotic and contrasting images facing a West, which has long been freed from both the patriarchal system and gender differences. This also constitutes a huge step forward (equality and human rights) and a huge isolation (individualism and a loss of hierarchical and differential ratio) .


During the same weekend , French television broadcasted a documentary – a fiction novel , ‘ A woman in the revolution ‘ , which for four hours follows  a woman (Manon of Thatch ) of the French Revolution , with the declared or disguised aim to, recall the achievements and abuse of this event. Indeed, the French revolution is considered in both France and the West as the major event which brought the world into modernity, through the destruction of the patriarchal system (monarchy and religion) and the Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights (1789) .


Meanwhile, opinion polls in France defined Christmas as a holiday of family reunions, gifts and hearty meals (€ 1 billion spent by 14 million French in a day) . Gifts may be exchanged or refunded the next day on the internet. The religious side is practically not mentioned and an overwhelming majority of French define 2013 as the the year of the death of Mandela , marriage for all and revolt of the “bonnets rouges” in Brittany. In Parallel and almost within a general indifference , killings continue in Syria, the Near East and Central Africa and the struggle for human rights continues in China, Russia, Ukraine , Iran and the Near East.


As always, the world remains divided between East and West, between where the sun rises and where it sets. The East remains a prisoner of its archaism and tends towards modernity while the West, overwhelmed by its evolution, tries to find his roots. Every part of the world is trying to change, to preserve, to transmit values ​​and reconnect with the other party and with itself.


Two thousand years ago , the Magi ( mentioned only in the Gospel of Matthew ) took several months to go from Persia and Africa to Palestine, as Santa Claus to come from  the North Pole to Europe and the rest of the world . Now, trips happen simultaneously instantaneously, on site and on demand.

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