May 082009

All my friends and recurrent blog readers (all 20 of them) know that I am highly sensitive about my origin, and that I refuse to be called Arab(if you are new check previous posts). I love when people try to convince me otherwise by saying we have an Arabic culture (as Arabic as Greeks, I say…), but the most funny thing is when they dare to say that I am denying my origin (inkor asleh).

So this is a reply for them, how on earth I am denying my origin? Every Lebanese who says that we Arab is the one who is denying his origin. Not until the Taef agreement that we amended the Arabic adjectif to the constitution, mainly for political reasons (hey they were in taef after all, in the one of the few countries that I can call Arab). The people who say we are arabs, are denying thousands of years of culture and identity that were in Lebanon before any Arab stepped (read: invaded) into Lebanon. I will continue more about this into more details when I resume the “Pissing Everyone Off” series.

For now, I am sticking to my origins, Lebanese Arab wannabes…

 Posted by at 1:54 pm

  5 Responses to “Denying my origin…”

  1. Hmmm…. so what would you say you are?

  2. I would say I am Mediterranean Levantine.
    And just for the record, I am not saying that only Lebanon is not Arab. I am saying that the only Arabs are people from the gulf.
    Syrians, Palestenians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Algerians etc are not Arabs. They were invaded by Arabs but they have their original traits, races, habits, and cultures.

  3. I somewhat agree with you.

    I say I’m from the levant. Partly because the identity “Arab” is quite a meaningless one.

    I somewhat disagree with you though, because I don’t think there is such a thing as a “Lebanese culture” that has been carried down for centuries.

  4. Kodder theoretically. I agree with you 100%. At the moment, our Arab identity is based on socio-political grounds, i.e. the creation of Lebanon, the Mithaq, the different postcolonial nationalistic movements, the Taef, etc.

    Pre-Islamic Levant… Yes, I agree that *ideally* the people of the Levant should be able to trace themselves back to the Kanaanites and Aramaens not the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the impact of Islam on the Levant. The Arabs had been in the Levant for over 1500 years, let’s not forget the Europeans (Italians, French) and other miscellaneous groups. This is how the Arab culture of the Arabian peninsula was brought into the Levant. Therefore, whether culturally or genealogically, you cannot talk of particular physical traits that are traceable to pre-Islamic Levant because we are such a mixed people.

    Please read up on the National Geographic project conducted in Lebanon spearheaded by a Lebanese-American professor that worked on a study of the dna of a collection of Lebanese.

    Now whether you choose to call yourself Arab or not, that’s a matter of personal choice. Constitutionally and politically, Lebanon is part of the Arab conglomerate. I personally think that in terms of the present state of matters, identifying oneself as Arab makes sense. I personally find it easy nowadays when I am abroad to just introduce myself as an Arab, since many foreigners have not even heard of Lebanon.

    All of this is to say that you do make perfect sense somehow. But then again, what is an Arab and what is a Levantine? Both are identities with particular definitions in the broader sense and also definitions on more personal levels. Your definition of what Levantine or Arab may differ from mine and mine may differ from that of a sociologist or biologist, etc. Also, identities are constantly changing, being revisited and rewritten whether in the individual or collective mental state. Identities are more of mental constructs that draw from skewed realities. But, then again this issue of genealogy, bloodline, and nationalism is a very complicated one with all sorts of theories and understandings. It is somehow a problem without a solution.

  5. what difference does it make? our ancestors whether or not they came from other places eventually breed with arabs, and we are brown, and we speak arabic. if we weren’t arabs, we are now…

    and whether or not it is true, what do you gain or lose? like it or not you are associated with the retarded shit arabs do, cause westerns won’t tell the difference 😛

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