Minorities and the history textbook,the point of view of Bahjat Rizk.


Minorities and the history textbook

By Bahjat Rizk 

On Wednesday, February 29 , L’Orient -Le Jour published two articles , one being an Alain Juppé article published by the French newspaper La Croix on the Christians of the East and the Arab Spring, the other giving an account Minutes of the press conference Samy Gemayel around the history textbook being developed in Lebanon. Certainly the two texts are not directly related but they approach from two different angles, the same issue of Christian minorities in the East , and specifically those of the Christian minority in Lebanon.

 The gallery of Alain Juppé addresses Eastern Christians as a whole, in their report to the Arab spring, highlighting their presence for 2000 years and today the close link between globalization ( globalized ) and the protection of minorities. She reviewed the Christians of Iraq , Copts in Egypt and Christians in Lebanon , a country of minorities. It recommends “the establishment of democracy and the rule of law in Arab countries ” and calls for ” a new democratic Syria” paying tribute ” to the grand imam of al -Azhar who published last January , a paper on civil liberties in Egypt. ” In his gallery , Alain Juppe says that it is possible ” to gather diverse societies around universal values ​​for all coexist harmoniously ” arguing that ” confidence in the revolutions of 2011 is accompanied by an absolute vigilance respect of human rights , particularly those of minorities. ” This forum reflects a humanist position that is rooted in the philosophical vision , culture and politics of France , the country of the first declaration of human rights and citizen cornerstone of French identity since the Revolution 1789.



The second article about the history book reveals the facts against Lebanon, the country ‘s premier cultural pluralism , religious and political , and where minorities are not always able to agree on a single version of the story , essentially the Lebanon war that has divided since 1975. This includes ” the Lebanese who have stood against the Palestinian armed presence in Lebanon and against the Syrian occupation . Those embodied Lebanese resistance formed by several parties with a Christian majority and who defended Lebanon whole . ” The partnership can not be real if we exclude their history manual. The ‘ideological’ manual approach being developed reveals the profound divergence of communities in relation to internal and regional war since 1975.

 If the gallery of Alain Juppé reflects values ​​consistent with the historical view of human rights , after the French Revolution and all other uprisings in the West between 1789 and 1989, when the fall of the Berlin Wall the press conference reveals Samy Gemayel difficulty after a civil war and regional meet different communities around a common national project of a unified history textbook . The Lebanese experience remains subject to cultural and political negotiations that hold , thank you to the national, regional and international developments. The Lebanese entity is still not independent and all Lebanese communities, including the Christian community, remain subject to conflicting currents that flow through them at the mercy of unpredictable or pathological choice of their leaders. Any community leader is structurally pathological since it is required to reconcile the Community dimension which it is derived , with the national dimension in which it accesses as expanding its own community vision, across the nation. The France itself formerly model of the nation- state could be called in the coming decades to know this confusion of Community and national , as it became pluralistic as all modern societies , due to the globalization. The political debate in France on national identity and history book is more topical. ( Crusades, colonial empires , foreign occupation , slavery, revolution, immigration , sexual liberation … ) .

 How should the question of identity? Herodotus, the father of history , defined there 2500 years settings identity (race, customs, language and religion) who continue to contribute in varying proportions to the building of any identity or rather, the identification process because there is no static identity, but a compromise that succeeds or fails , the identity between settings as the prevalence or significant opportunity for each of them . To coexist several religions, languages, races or morals is not easy. This can result in a facade of unity and community decline repressed, just waiting to resurface at the slightest crisis updating the past trauma . We have seen so many times , almost mechanically, since the beginning of the cultural history of companies ( 3000 years BC ) . Moreover, it is certainly a process that has accelerated enormously , with the recent globalization. No modern society is totally managed to erase cultural differences that are structural . Some companies have chosen to recognize to some extent the differences ( Anglo-Saxon model ) others to deny ( French integration model ) .

 Claude Lévi- Strauss was the first , after recognizing the equality of cultures (race and history in 1952 ) , to draw attention to their limited degree of permeability between them ( race and culture in 1971) . It also does not hesitate to speak of “biological threshold .” Every culture wants universal but must at some point accept its relativity and defend its survival against the “ideological” offensive to another culture.

 What is the best way to ensure the survival of a cultural minority ? Is this by establishing a common platform with a risk of being swamped by a demographic, economic and geographic expansion or is it in a closed space sanctuarisant risk to isolate and shut down its environment ?

 The Lebanese experience should be deepened to reach a realistic conceptual framework and cultural diversity. The Lebanese authorities while pursuing the project of a political compromise adapted should consider the objective evaluation of the experience of living together , its conditions and its chances of success. The history textbook (ie the common memory ) is par excellence the preferred indicator of the success or failure of such a project.

By Bahjat Rizk 



Translation in English by Google translate:

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