Editor-In-Chief: Charbel Baini

Reactions by Lebanese Catholics to World War I in the Middle East - Installment 1

            By Dr Dennis Walker,  Researcher,
   
                  Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, Caulfield 3145. 
                   Email: --- dennis.walker@monash.edu
                   Phone: 9540 8441 (mornings).

PERCEPTIONS OF WW1 CONFLICTS IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE _

1: THE WAR IN LEBANON.

   _The Functions of the Indigenous Martyrs_
            The formal execution or murder by some Turks of Catholic or Muslim Lebanese/Syrians soon before or during World War I could define in two ways the indigenous nation-community that the clericists would henceforth strive to achieve.  On one hand, if the items defined the Turks as Muslim and the victims as Christian, the events could alienate the Christian readership from not just the Turks but from Muslim Arabs of the Syrian interior and longer littoral.  In the other direction, if Muslim Arab victims were also perceived as covictims because of the literary Arabic they shared with the Maronites, then that could foster political community with wider Islamo-Arab populations --- and perhaps Lebanon’s affiliation to some pan-Syrian or pan-Arab entity.  
            Of the two possibilities, most items on pre-1918 Catholic victims that _al-Mashriq_ carried fostered Lebanonism, but sometimes in an incomplete way. _al-Mashriq_ published a retrospect in 1921 on the lives and execution of the two brothers Filib and Farid al-Khazin (from a feudal family).  It represented Filib al-Khazin (1865-1916) as from his youth having protested abuses of the Turks under the mutasarrif Wasa Pasha (governed Mountain Lebanon 1883-1892) from the Egyptian press.  Once the French Consul appointed Filib an honorary dragoman, the two brothers were emboldened to launch the newspaper _al-Arz_ (The Cedar) which fiercely defended not just Lebanon’s internationally-guaranteed autonomy but, perhaps equally, the ancient “sacred rights” (al-huquq al-muqaddasah) of the protector France in the homeland.   When Italy seized Libya from the Ottoman Empire, its armored cruisers sank two Ottoman torpedo ships in Bayrut harbor.  Filip’s lament at that time was that it had not been done by France, which alone among the Powers had the right to conduct such actions “in these lands”.  Clearly, the Ottoman central government one day might have more to fear from the pair than words or editorializing, but the early perspective of _al-Mashriq_ in 1921 was of a recent Ottoman system in which the printed page could muster immense political power in itself and thus had to be controlled or repressed.  The _al-Mashriq_ retrospect speculated that it was the publication by the brothers in several volumes of Arabic translations of the correspondence between the Powers establishing France’s maternal role and rights in Lebanon that made Jamal Pasha, the Turkish governor of Syria, decide to execute Filib and Farid.
            The martyrs who sacrifice their lives for the particularist homeland are simultaneously sustained by a Christianity acculturated to the Catholicism of Europe’s Latin peoples, eg. France.  The two brothers had expected from the first day of the sitting of the court that it would sentence them to death as it had all others. They were sustained in jail as they prepared themselves for their final journey to their Creator and that other “heavenly Homeland” by their regular reading of Thomas Akempis’ _The Imitation of Christ_, as well as prayer and meditation.  There was a touch of hagiography in some details of the last weeks of the al-Khazin brothers: for example their refusal to eat more than the needed minimum of the prison fare so that they could donate the rest to the poor.
              In regard to current political context and functions, the _al-Mashriq_ tribute was stylizing the death of Filib and Farid al-Khazin to make it of use in the mobilization of Maronite audiences to the side of France in the ideologically much less clear-cut situation that was developing as France’s imposition of her non-pious rule hit the Arabic culture, the political dignity and the solid, simple Christian religious values of the Maronites.  French mandatory rule was turning out to be not quite the expected liberation or Pan-Catholic conjunction with a Christian protector.  At least some Maronites had been showing signs since 1918 of now wanting to distance France by some sort of linkage to mainly Muslim Arabs in Syria’s littoral and hinterland with a polity to be centered around Damascus.  Ritual commemoration of model martyrs oriented to Latin Catholicism and to France could help contain such swings among _al-Mashriq_’s elite readership.
              Greater political openness to Muslims in a context of the reaction against France after 1918 would be no new thing for Maronites or Melkites.  Before 1914, various secular-minded groups (and Maronite Patriarch Ilyas Butrus al-Huwayyik before 1908 and CUP rule) had at points sought closer political relations with Turks and/or Muslim Arabs in the sprawling, potentially lucrative Ottoman Empire.  Such subversive precursors of alliance with the Arab lands at expense of France had to be excised from Lebanon’s history.  The Francophile particularists mustered the strong narrative of suffering and martyrdom for God and Homeland to nullify the plurality of pre-1914 Lebanese Catholic history and ideologies that had to be dealt with covertly.  For a range of Catholics, martyrdoms during World War I finally showed the impossibility of affiliating to at least some Muslims in a political community, with distancing of the West’s Christian powers, which integrative Ottomanism by some Maronites had already tried.
            In the _al-Mashriq_ retrospect, those martyred under Turkish rule during World War 1 decide what had been a long-running struggle for power between two ideological categories of Maronites.  Thus, following the 1908 Committee of Union and Progress coup in Constantinople and the hopes that a parliamentarist Ottoman polity could get off the ground, “the Turks and their tools [=some establishment or secular Catholics] became more enraged than ever against the two brothers because they were so effectively obstructing their realising of their wish to completely annex Lebanon to the Ottoman Sultanate”.  The (pre-WW1) memory that enraged the writer most was “the day that Lebanese faction rose up in the wake of the proclamation of the Ottoman constitution [after the CUP coup of 1908] to insist that Lebanon had to elect representatives to represent it in the [restored] Turkish parliament” in Istanbul.  In this, the secularist-Ottomanist faction among the Maronites was being manipulated by Turkish officials and politicians to “deny Lebanon its independence and thereby prevent the European states from intervening in the affairs of this land/these lands” (_hadhihil-bilad_).  The two al-Khazin brothers blocked “those of the other doctrine” with the “unrelenting” (but not very physical) war they waged in their newspaper _al-Arz_.  Their “logical” territorial nationalism (wataniyyah) presented legally airtight refutations: sending representatives to Constantinople would have violated Lebanon’s autonomy ("self-independence") granted under a Constitution guaranteed by the great powers.
             The holy blood of the saint-particularists whom Jamal martyred opened the way to dismiss those who had worked for a humane political community with Ottoman Muslims as materialist opportunists in contrast.  Yet these very denunciations underscored institutions and processes that had been operating to integrate Muslim Turks, Muslim Arabs, and Arabic Christians prior to the War and the martyrdoms.  Archbishop ‘Abdallah al-Khuri’s 1921 elegy denounced “public posts (_al-waza'if_) that make people remiss from serious work, inclining them to prefer personal interest over the collective interest.  Everyone knows how widespread this disease became in Turkey and Lebanon, leading to the degradation of people’s souls and the violation of people’s rights”.  But, the pure love of the two brothers for their homeland had made them spurn all posts the government offered to win their silence about its evil deeds.  The two brothers’ construction of patriotism (al-wataniyyah) only allowed them to court the protection of France which alone would actualize the homeland’s interest. 
            _al-Mashriq_ imaged that the blood of the martyrs ended any possibility of some humane political community with Turks.  For this, the Archbishop defined the group the two martyrs defended as Christian --- yet it did not so fuse the Turkish enemy with Islam as to include Arab Muslims.  The sufferings of Arabic, Syriac and Armenian Christians during World War 1 could activate ideas that would polarize those all together against Muslims in general or Islam.  But the anti-Turkism of 1920s clericist-Catholic Lebanese writings that reconstructed memories of WW1 repression, martyrdom and suffering to fuel a new nationhood could keep up some affiliation to the hinterland’s Arab Muslims.  A sense that Syrian and other Muslim Arabs had been colleagues with Lebanese Christians in a joint linguistic-cum-ethnic coalition against the Turks in the wide Ottoman Empire was still vivid in _al-Mashriq_’s 1922 tribute to “the two martyrs of Lebanon.”
             As soon as their interrogation began, Archbishop ‘Abdallah al-Khuri wrote, Filib and his brother knew that they were heading for the same fate as “an elite of the [leading] men of Syria and Lebanon who were detained with them, and who were driven either to Damascus (al-Sham) or to Bayrut for sentences of execution to be carried out against them --- figures like Shafiq al-Mu'ayyad and ‘Abd al-Hamid al-Zahrawi whose bravery and preparedness to sacrifice their lives for the suffering homeland the Syrians will long remember.  By the blood of those heroes the land [or lands --- _al-bilad_] won title to be purified of the Turkish element” [=Ottoman phraseology] “and the corruptions it wrought”.  True, the Catholic writer remained aware of the separateness of faith of those recent allies.  However, he felt obliged to “richly praise the patriotism of our Arab Muslim brothers who  --- despite their religious bonds with the Turks --- were not deceived by their lying promises but kept up their fury at the injustices and terrible crimes they committed.”  Jamal Pasha’s ill-advised repression dug “a deep ravine that irreversibly separated the two [Ottoman] elements/ethnic groups (_al-‘unsurayn_)”.
             In this sector, the tribute to the two bearers of the standard of ultra-particularism and a sort of spiritual fusion with France, does have a sense of commonality in the face of the Turks at least that could blur the nation in Lebanon out into some wider Arab political nation.  The memorization of martydom here could activate the sense of al-‘Arab as a cherished wide classical community in which Father Luwis Shayku had stressed the membership and roles of many Christians.  This quicksilver margin of the tribute to the two al-Khazin brothers could veer either way --- to Lebanese particularism or to a wider Arab linguistic nationalism.  This was, though, a margin. FN[[Archbishop Abdallah al-Khuri, “Shahida Lubnan: al-Shaykh Filib wal-Shaykh Farid Qa‘dan al-Khazin”, _al-Mashriq_ June 1921 pp. 401-408.   There was a youthful radical, post-Christian element among the forces that called for Lebanon’s inclusion into Ottoman parliamentarism after 1908, but also “a group of the eminent/powerful/established figures” (_qawm min al-kibar_): see _al-Ahram_ editor Dawud Barakat’s obituary speech for Patriarch al-Huwayyik in _al-Huda_ 1 February 1932 pp. 4-5.  Thus, a section of the established Maronite feudal class was engaged with an Ottomanist integrationism which could slash the patriarchate’s power]]FN.

_Patriarch Ilyas Butrus al-Huwayyik versus Jamal Pasha_
                During his 1922 account of Armenian suffering and death that he witnessed, the Maronite Juzif Tawtal already termed Jamal, the Ottoman governor of Syria during WW1, as “Jamal Pasha the Murderer” ("al-Saffah"), the epithet that would henceforth accompany his name in Lebanonist and Arabist nationalist discourses FN[[Juzif Tawtal, “Hawadith Dayr al-Zur fi Zaman al-Harb” (The Events in Dayr al-Zur during the War), _al-Mashriq_ June 1922 p. 567]]FN.  
             During WW1, Jamal Pasha as governor of Syria was intent to modify procedures to symbolize a partial shift of power from the Maronite church and from Mount Lebanon’s autonomous institutions towards himself and the Ottoman central government. The Empire’s central Turkish authorities had abolished the capitulations; Jamal sent his troops into Mountain Lebanon and at one point imposed a blockade that starved many ordinary people there.  The food-blockade came at a high-point of a long personal trial of wills between him and the Maronite Patriarch Ilyas Butrus al-Huwayyik (appointed in 1899): Jamal’s troops were in the Jabal but he did not disarm the Maronite population, conscript them widely or prohibit them from leaving it: this suggests that he meant to let food flow in again if al-Huwayyik made some gestures of subordination, which the Patriarch inventively avoided as long or as much as he could.
             In early 1922, Archbishop ‘Abdallah al-Khuri published in the Jesuit-founded newspaper _al-Bashir_ a defence of stances that al-Huwayyik had adopted towards Jamal during the War.  al-Khuri conceded that a section of the Maronites felt that the Patriarch had shown weakness at one point of his protracted confrontation with the man who symbolized Turkish rule when in October 1916 he signed a statement to the effect that Jamal had treated the populations of Lebanon and Syria well, particularly the Christians.  [The well-attended demonstrations by Catholics after 1918 for a Greater Lebanon unit under French tutelage were in part upward pressure from Maronite populations that had been radicalized by the war-time suffering: it was not just that the Patriarch organized them].
             Yet, while ‘Abdallah’s 1922 memorization did not focus that aspect, it looks from his data that Jamal had been acting in geographical Syria without much control or monitoring from Constantinople.  ‘Abdallah, an intermediary for al-Huwayyik to Jamal, recalled the latter as seeking written statements from local Christian leaders to counter articles appearing in the French press in 1916 that “the Turks” were determined to starve the Christian people to extinction in Lebanon and Syria, “that he had set up gallows” --- the latter was the simple truth ---, “and that the Maronites were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the French so that they could join them and expel the Turks and turn their country into a French colony”.  Such international reports had apprised the CUP leaders away in the capital that Jamal had so alienated all the Syrians, the Muslims perhaps even more than the Christians, as to make their discontent threaten the Ottoman State’s hold in those lands.  Jamal Pasha’s repeated efforts to force Patriarch al-Huwayyik into rituals of respect towards the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Istanbul that all non-Maronite Christian clerics accepted were to assure his faraway CUP superiors that his provinces were non-rebellious and quasi-normal.
             Maronite clericist negotiators were concerned with their position and that of their populations before Turkish power.  During the discussions with Jamal on behalf of the Patriarch, ‘Abdallah replied that newspapers during wars strive to blacken the reputations of the enemy states.  But the numbers of Lebanese people really were falling because at least 50,000 had died in the famine and with Lebanon now on the threshold of winter much food would have to be brought in by its close or the country would lose half its population.  In al-Khuri’s narrative, the statement of good treatment from Governor Jamal that the Patriarch would now sign was the latter’s response to the existential crisis of Maronites in general that was now forcing him to negotiate and concede.
             None of the Catholic Lebanese sources in Arabic we scanned recorded that Jamal was rather pro-French culturally and that he may have regretted the CUP’s entry of WW1 on the German side FN[[Characterization of Jamal by liberal-Lebanonist historian Yusuf Mu‘awwad 21 May 2001]]FN.  For the Patriarch, and for his subordinate Archbishop ‘Abdallah in his 1922 commemoration, the connection with France was both a threat to the Maronites given the mood of the hard-pressed Turks, and a proud emblem of identity they flaunted in their face.  To aspersions of disloyalty to the Ottoman state, ‘Abdallah responded that France had out of “love” of the Christians established many institutions in Lebanon such as the theological college in which he had learnt.  The Maronites had duly loved her back, but, ‘Abdallah told Jamal, that love had far from fostered in him “any inclination on my part for my country to become a French colony”.  When Jamal voiced the same concern of loyalty to the Patriarch in a meeting on 21 July 1915, al-Huwayyik similarly put the relationship with benefactor France within a frame of the Maronites’ adhesion to the Ottoman State --- which may have been his real stance up to 1908.
            Jamal Pasha was concerned in 1916 with his deteriorating standing in Istanbul, or his place in world Francophone history or perhaps how he would fare before some trial by the Allies if they won.  He refuted at length images in the French press that could be construed to link him to an artificial famine.  He rhetorically asked Abdallah if he had sent the locusts in 1915 or stopped rain from falling in 1916 or organized the sea blockade by the Allied navies that cut off the flow of food and funds from the Syrian diaspora?   He now sounded eager to shower the Patriarch with grain, and did get the letter of commendation out of him that the Maronite side assumed would be understood in Europe and the Americas as having been coerced FN[[Archbishop ‘Abdallah al-Khuri, deputy of the Patriarch, “Safhah Ta’rikhiyyah Min Ayyam al-Harb” (A Page of History from the Days of the War), _al-Bashir_ 1 March 1922 pp. 1-2.  For al-Huwayyik on the Maronites’ loyalty before Jamal Pasha on 21 July 1915 see Yusuf Mu’awwad, “Exercise de dhimmitude: Patriarche Ilyas al-Huwayyik versus Jamal Pasha” (Paper: c. 2000) p. 8]]FN.
               ‘Abdallah al-Khuri in 1922 had characterized the non-Muslim Lebanese in religious terms as Christian vis-à-vis Jamal and the Turks. Going further, fairly secularist-liberal historian Yusuf Mu‘awwad (c. 2000) interpreted Jamal as motivated by a Muslim communalism seen as having persisted among elite Ottoman Turks amid sweeping Westernization: Jamal was trying to maintain the ancient pattern of relations of “dominant and dominated, people of the majority and those tolerated, Muslim and _dhimmi_” --- a late echo of themes in the Mandate-period early Kata’ib.  For Mu‘awwad here, the conflict was not originated by issues articulated by the two men such as new taxes or whether or not the Ottomans should disarm or conscript the Christians: rather, the Ottoman officer Jamal was mustering pressures and issues to bring the _dhimmi_ to heel and call him to order FN[[“Exercise” pp. 1-2]]FN.  Archbishop al-Khuri did not formally characterize Jamal’s maneuvers thus in 1922 soon after the events, but many Maronites in the 20th century saw such a dhimmifying ethos constructed upon Islam as determining the attitudes of Turks and Muslim Arabs to Lebanon’s Catholics.   Tendencies in early mandate-period Catholic memorization to denounce oppressive Turks in terms of Islam were contained by the sober al-Huwayyik’s lack of much animus against that religion, and by Lebanese Catholics and Muslims Arabs having faced Turkish ill-treatment together --- affinity that had to be highlighted to foster new Lebanonist or loose Arab political communities after WW1.  During his trials of will with Jamal, al-Huwayyik had tried to present himself as in some ways an intercessor-representative for Druze/Muslim Lebanese individuals as well as for the Maronite sect: the clerical archivist Fr Ibrahim Harfush retransmitted it in 1934, in a period in which Greater Lebanon’s Christians and Muslims had to be led to unifying images of their common past if the Lebanese state was to be viable in its coming independence.
                 But Jamal and his sometimes post-Muslim new Turkish elite had concerns apart from religions and sects.  Pro-France sympathies among a purposeful, compact population such as the Maronites amid a World War could provide a bridgehead against the Ottoman state.  His state-prescribed functions thus bound Jamal to find ways to contain Maronite clerical leaders, whatever the extents to which Francophone Turks of his type still believed in Islam.   One stake was the security, sovereignty and survival of a State that existed and was refusing to be dismantled.  No doubt, as a schizoid sadist, Jamal relished his power to exile the Patriarch from Lebanon at any time and harm humans who were Christian Lebanese.  On another plane, as an acculturated Muslim or post-Muslim, Jamal may have felt all he and his category of Turks had in common with Francophone elite Lebanese as against traditional Muslims.  After the suffering he had ran ordinary Lebanese through by manipulating the flow of food, a crestfallen Jamal --- so Fr Harfush’s 1934 memorization ran --- in a December 1917 meeting with al-Huwayyik confided his tensions with the German military, and seemed understanding of the Maronites’ preference for the French as mentors.   In this swing, Jamal was treating al-Huwayyik as a peer in a common Francophone culture that would promote modernity, and such a respect or admiration towards the Maronites may have always been latent in his pressurizing of their leader FN[[Yusuf Mu’awwad, “Exercise de dhimmitude” pp. 15-16.   Mu‘awwad based his analysis of the conflict between Jamal and the Patriarch on Michel Shibli’s biography of the Maronite Archbishop of Bayrut Mgr Butrus Shibli, _Tarjamat al-Mutran Butrus Shibli_ (Bayrut: al-Matba’at al-Kathulikiyyah 1929) which carried extensive passages from the Archbishop’s journals; and on church archivist Fr Ibrahim Harfush’s _Dala’il al-‘Inayat al-Samadaniyyah_ (Juniyah: Matba‘at al-Mursalin al-Lubnaniyyin 1934)]]FN.
             When facing Jamal Pasha, in his untiring post-WW1 drive for a Greater Lebanon under French direction against resistance from some secularist Maronites as well as Muslims, and in the analytical sweep of his Arabic theological and political writings and addresses, Patriarch al-Huwayyik today bulks large in any memory of Lebanon’s history. The liberal Lebanese nationalist Dr ‘Isam Khalifah, a Maronite, in 1997 historiography he also tailored to help bring all Lebanese back together after their 1975-1990 War so that they could take back sovereignty, focused on al-Huwayyik’s “resistance” to the war-time famine.   Khalifah stressed the Ottoman troops’ [war-imposed] exactions of livestock, wood and money from the Jabal populations, that Enver Pasha set out to suppress the Lebanese by inducing famine as the Turks already had suppressed the Armenians with “steel”, that the Patriarch tried to intercede for and get relief to local Druze/Muslims as well as Maronites during the famine, that he associated non-Catholic sects with his lobbying for expanded Lebanon, separation from Syria and the French mandate after the War, and that he wanted to minimize France’s new control.   Khalifah traced the complexly-attuned political skills with which al-Huwayyik mustered non-religious as well as Catholic sectors of the French establishment, and the Vatican, to help persuade France and the Powers to impose Greater Lebanon FN[[Dr ‘Isam Kamal Khalifah, _Shakhsiyyat Barizah fi Ta’rikh Lubnan al-Mu’asir_ (Bayrut: np. 1991) pp. 6-13, 15]]FN.  Gouraud’s 1920 proclamation of that state was the first of two crucial turning-points for the construction of Lebanese sovereign nationhood, yet current inclusive Lebanonist intellectuals and academics do not then proceed to celebrate al-Huwayyik as an icon-founder of Lebanon: his clerical function, and his long relation with the French, rule out acceptance by descendants of the Muslim populations that were incorporated by his efforts abroad more than by choice from them.
             The sufferings of Mount Lebanon’s Christians during World War I in the aftermath fueled support among Catholics for a mandate by France.  In the first item of the first issue in which _al-Mashriq_ resumed publication in January 1920, Shaykhu argued for France as the coming mandatory with reference to the war-time sufferings of the Christians of Mount Lebanon.  The break of five years that “the calamities” (=war-time conditions) imposed upon _al-Mashriq_ had been borne by its editors with [religion-inspired] _sabr_ (patience/resignation/endurance/steadfastness).  Although a Christianity-inspired ethos, Shaykhu’s language here was certainly, as ever, tinted by Islam and its classical Arabs at every turn  (“_al-sabr ul-jamil li‘ilmihim ann Allah ma‘as-sabirin” --- a straight collage by Shaykhu of the language of Qur’an  2:249, 8:46, 8:66, 12:18, 12:83!).  Now, though, the aesthetic links to Arab Muslims were outweighed by the recent sufferings and the Francophone links as Shaykhu and his readers entered the new era of “hopes” that was transforming the world (“al-‘alam al-jadid”, “inqilaban ‘aziman”).  Shaykhu hailed the Allies for having “entered the havoc of the war to defend civilization and the rights of the weak peoples and to break the yokes holding down those that had been enslaved”.   France “in the time of its war did not lose sight of our experience” and had spirited through “vast sums that saved from death thousands of people who were tottering with hunger”.
                Shaykhu’s editorial viewed Turkish repression and ill-treatment of his group during the war as a heightening of a long-standing struggle in which France had for centuries been the “refuge” of the Empire’s suffering [Christians].  France’s protection had won for “the remnants of Christianity in the [Ottoman] East” capitulatory privileges that reduced their sufferings but made the Turks envious.   Shaykhu here had half-insight that the relationship with imperial France itself sparked some repression from the Turks who wanted to maintain their state or empire, but he could not grasp the manipulative economic motives of France’s expansion when he depicted her as always shedding her blood “for every noble principle” in the “purity of her intentions”. 
             This editorial said that France offered relief from early after the Turkish collapse to “those in need from every sectarian group”.  But its overall presentation of France as acting in West Asia to promote as well as protect the Catholics there could alienate Muslim Arabs incorporated into the expanded homeland-unit from not just France but those Catholics who allied to her FN[[Luwis Shaykhu , “Tahiyyat al-Mashriq li-Qurra’ihi” (The Greeting of _al-Mashriq_ to its Readers), _al-Mashriq_ January 1920 pp. 2-3]]FN. 
             Shaykhu’s harsh binary oppositions here of (a) local Christians and a France that alone can modernize them against (b) Muslim Turks are intelligible in terms of the contraction of the Lebanese population during World War I, and the destroyed economy that that disintegration had bequeathed.  
             In one fleeting item, Shaykhu did connect “the famine [caused by] the Turks” and post-War clashes between some Shiite Arabs and some Maronite and other Christians in Southern Lebanon.  The wartime “famine has turned into the war of the sharp swords” of those shedding torrents of “the blood of our murdered Christian brothers” in Marja‘yun, Akkar, Tyre [all incorporated into Grand Liban] and the areas of Mar‘ash [Southern Turkey: massacres of Armenians 1890, 1917] and Cicilia.  This pan-Christian twinge at least of Shaykhu could conflate the Turks who systematically harmed his people and other non-Arabic Christians during World War I into various sets of local [Arab Muslims] who were more small-scale in the harm they did.  Shaykhu was disturbed, though, that the French “second mother” was taking a long time to crush these [Arab Muslim] enemies as a deterrent example FN[[Shaykhu, _al-Mashriq_ June 1920 p. 477]]FN.  This item fused France with Lebanon’s Catholics, and indeed a range of Christian populations scattered over the Middle East, but failed to name the enemies it lumped together as all “the Muslims”.
              The context of items after 1920 about Turkish or Muslim hostility or atrocities in WW1, and France as a consequent protector was the growing reaction against France and in favor of community with Muslim Arabs among educated Maronites.  Interpretations of WW1 were important motifs mustered in these disputes.  Some writers in the Catholic-clerical _al-Bashir_ itself, and in the quasi-secular _Lisan al-Hal_, were calling for the Arabic language to be given the central place in local administration and education, not French.  These calls fitted in with politicized attacks upon the French mandatory in the Lebanese parliament. The mandatory power’s imposition of French made Druze deputy Amir Fu’ad Arsalan characterize the overall French-Lebanese relationship as like France’s treatment of sub-Saharan Africans in her colonies FN[[“al-Majlis al-Niyabi: Muwazanat al-Dakhiliyyah” (Chamber of Deputies: Budget of the Ministry of the Interior) _al-Bashir_ 16 November 1922 pp. 1-2]]FN.   _al-Bashir_ countered with an apologia for France’s colonial administration in black Africa, citing (a) the consequent gratitude to France the Africans showed by their loyal combat in World War 1, and (b) the profits France permitted Lebanese traders in her sub-Saharan African colonies FN[[“Law Sa'al al-Amir Arsalan” (Had the Amir Arsalan Asked), _al-Bashir_ 18 November 1922 p. 3]]FN.  The total French empire community was the core of the humane camp of Entente nations that had been fighting in the macro-history of WW1.


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