The Day That Destroyed a Community, and Lost the Nation…
Dr. Walid Phares
Two generations of Lebanese, and particularly within the Christian community, may not remember a fatidic date 25 years ago, which led to the destruction of a community and gradually lost the nation for a quarter of a century.
he day a bloody civil war within what was known as “East Beirut,” or historically the “free areas” exploded for eleven months, ending in the loss of everything. Nothing defeated the “free areas” of Lebanon for 15 years, despite the enormous strategic mistakes of leaders and politicians.
Lebanon’s free areas created dozens of “Kobanis,” and resisted the Assad forces, Iran’s militias, the PLO (then) and a multitude of pressures from the outside world. Nothing brought that resistance down except the civil war of January 31.
It has no explanation, despite all the explanations given then, and since. History looks at results not at arguments. And the results are dire. The Lebanese Army is not free, the community is divided to the bones, and the future is bleak. That war could have been stopped, it wasn’t. The third generation is suffering from its results, even those who weren’t born then.
Years before, in many of my lectures in “free Lebanon” I warned audiences of the loss of liberty. I argued that Mount Lebanon’s Marada lost to the Mameluks in 1305 AD. It took them 300 years to recover. What is lost in one day may need years to be recovered. It has been a quarter of a century now. The blame-game can go for ever, and soon it will be one of historians. Lessons needs to be learned…but are they?.