Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Lebanese Are the Present-Day Jews

In an earlier blog entry, I wondered out loud how the Lebanese people, despite the fact that their country has never experienced peace for decades, are still relatively properous as to afford Filipina maids (some 30,000 of them according to Philippine news reports). Now I know the answer: most of the Lebanese are also "OFWs" themselves and their dollar remittances fuel the Lebanese economy. According to the Lebanese consul here in the Philippines, most of their citizens have already left Lebanon to escape the periodic strife. A full 14 million Lebanese are scattered all over the world and only 4 million remain in their country. In an ironic quirk of fate, the Lebanese people have become the present-day version of the "Wandering Jew" for they have their very own "diaspora" going on in Lebanon.

The myth of the “Wandering Jew” has its origins in Christian folklore. According to legend, the “Wandering Jew” was a person who was cursed to walk the earth until the Second Coming because he taunted Jesus on His way to the crucifixion. But others see the myth as a metaphorical personification of the Jewish diaspora. The Jewish diaspora or the dispersion of the Jews throughout the world began during the 8th century B.C. when the Assyrians conquered Israel and continued when the Romans sacked Jerusalem. The Jews lost their state, Judea, and they were sold to slavery throughout the Roman empire. They were only able to return to their homeland in the late 1940s after the British “sponsored” the creation of Israel out of Palestinian lands.

In a way, the Filipino is very much like the Lebanese: both peoples are leaving their ravaged homelands en masse for greener pastures abroad. The Lebanese have just been at it for much longer. With 14 million Lebanese living all around the world, it is no wonder that our current Ambassador to Lebanon, Al Francis Bichara, has Lebanese blood. Ambassador Bichara, incidentally, is the brother of celebrity dance instructor Maribeth Bichara. I also read long ago that popular movie actress Dawn Zulueta is of Lebanese extraction. I would like to think that there are plenty of Filipinos out there who are of Lebanese ancestry. My heart also goes out to Ambassador Bichara because aside from ensuring the safe passage of our Pinays in Lebanon, I'm sure he is also concerned about the plight of his former constituents in Albay who are presently threatened by the Mount Mayon eruption. Bichara, you see, is the former Governor of Albay.

People might also find interesting this theory about the real story behind the current Israel-Lebanon conflict which goes something like this: the hostilities was sparked not because Hezbollah militants kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. The war is really about land specifically, that strip of fertile land known as the Shebaa Farms. Shebaa Farms used to be part of Lebanese territory but is now Israeli-occupied territory. Understandably, the militant Hezbollah group wants the land back and is said to have been planning to invade the oasis. Of course, Mossad (the legendary Israeli secret service) got wind of their plan so, using the kidnapping incident as an excuse, launched a pre-emptive strike on the Hezbollah to prevent them from executing their plans.

Given their history of always adopting a "hardline" stance towards Arab "terrorists" (watch the movie "Munich"), it was easy for Israel to sell to Western media their spiel that their main reason for attacking Lebanon was because two of their soldiers were kidnapped. But insiders believe the Israeli military has been itching for a war and they were just looking for an excuse to start one. They have been monitoring the Hezbollah for years and they knew that if they do not destroy it now, the group might become too powerful to crush later on. I simply refuse to believe that Israel would risk the safety of countless of their citizens just for the sake of two soldiers. There are other far better ways of solving the problem, like a surgical commando-type rescue mission for example (which the Israelis are reknowned for by the way, watch "Raid on Entebbe"). I also suspect the real reason behind this war is because someone will be making a buck out of it.


vic said...

Any theory that fuels the current conflict between the Israeli and the hezballah is feasible, considering that the in the middlle east, fighting and war is a daily staple. but the latest conflict is more of pre-emptive strike on the part of Israel with tacit approval of its allies and a wink,wink from some Arabs states who won't tolerate a Persian Iran dominate the political landscape and influence the events in the Muslim world. Also the Hezballah has stockfiled enormous quantity of offensive weapons that could be used for retaliotary attack on Israel if and when the U.S. or Israel in the future want to bomb out Iran's nuclear ambition. Just any theory is possible.

Anonymous said...

Lebanese people are probably migrants much like any other people who have lost hope in getting a gainful employment or doesn't see any business opportunity in their homeland.This is an arguable observation of mine, Lebanese, Indians, Chinese and others when they migrate to other countries they go for jobs or professions that will make them the boss.Most of them venture into business and become very sucessful.The wealthiest man in Mexico is of Lebanese descent, Carlos Slim.In some countries, businesses are dominated either by Jews or Lebanese.In the Philippines it's the Chinese.Most Filipinos who went abroad normally ends up in a dead end job.They are very much contented with few dollars that they earn on a daily basis.They always play it safe and very afraid to go into business.Filipinos normally doesn't trust anybody and in business it's a bad idea.Filipinos in short are not risk takers.Indians are doctors while Filipinos are nurses.Indians own the stores and Filipinos are their workers.Jewish owns the financial firms or institutions and their researchers or people they rely upon are Filipinos.We always wanted a white collar job, we are ashamed to get down and be dirty.We have the intellect or the brain power and we work hard, only that we have a different outlook on the future.As to the war, this is very complex issue of back and forth, it's very hard to put forward a solution to this cycle of violence.since the violence has become a cycle already its hard to to blame any of the parties.People in different georaphic locations has different take on the war.In the west people may balme hezbollah, people in the middle East would blame Israel and the West.The war or conflict in the middle east probably would not end even if we're long gone in this earth already.Arafat is dead, sharon is almost dead but the conflict that defined their lives still lives on.It's a conflict which boils down to the exclusivity being practiced by the religions involved in this conflict.