The Specificity of Lebanon

The Specificity of Lebanon

By Imam Mohamed Mahdi Shamseddine

Imam Mohamed Mahdi Shamseddine

One month before his death, Imam Mohamed Mahdi Shamseddine confided to the representatives of the Arab Press in Paris. He said: “ I was one of the first to recommend the abolishing of political sectarianism (…). I based my project on the idea of the democracy of the number, foreseeing the withdrawal of communities’ political existence; the adoption of the individual as the only political entity; and the refusal of community quotas which govern how to form the parliament and government. But, in these last years, I did much rethinking until I stopped to be of this opinion. I consider the sectarian regime as a fundamental formula for Lebanon provided it is cleaned up (…). I dropped the democracy of the number in favor of the sectarian policy but, as I have just said, the application of this formula is subject to corruption at present. It must be reformed. To would like to ensure to the Lebanese a wider representation; I would like to secure firm understanding that no community could complain of being crushed by the majority.”

Shamseddine’s faith in the specificity of Lebanon goes still further. “ As to the relationship between Lebanon and Syria”, he affirms, “ I said and I repeat that Lebanon is outside unionist projects for ever. Should a great Arab republic be formed extending from Tangers to Aden, Lebanon will still be the second Arab republic. It will remain another Arab country. No union. The nature of the Lebanese society needs that; and the interest of the Arabs requires it equally. It is preferable to Lebanon as well as to the Arab and Islamic environment that this country remains an independent and sovereign republic that do not unite with any other country; that collaborates with all without allowing its existence to be dissolved in any union.”

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