The Shiis of Jabal Amil and the New Lebanon: Community and Nation-State, 1918-1943

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In , the village harvest was bad and an epidemic spread among the townspeople, lasting all winter and killing more than fifty people. By , Ain Ebel had a population of 1,, living in about houses. During the French Mandate , the network of paved road expanded, coinciding with the introduction of automobiles in Lebanon.

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The arrival of the first car in a village became a celebratory event, and this was true in Ain Ebel, where the inhabitants, dressed in their Sunday best, gathered in the church square to welcome the first car to drive through the village. The original plan was to build the road from Bint Jbeil via Yaroun and Rmaich , but the people of Ain Ebel protested, knowing the significance of such a road for the development of their town, and in the end, they were able to convince the French government to change the plan and have the road run through the village.

Australian Brigadier J. In the late s and early s, the village was often caught in the skirmishes between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Israel Defense Force. Christian militia arrived in Ain Ebel and neighboring Christian villages in August [38] to open a new line of confrontation against the PLO strongholds in neighboring villages, thus jeopardizing the very good relationships that Ain Ebel had with its Muslim neighbors [39].

Located in the mountainous region of southern Lebanon, known as Belad Bechara [45] in Jabal Amel , or the Lebanese Upper Galilee, Ain Ebel occupies several hills with elevation ranging from to meters above sea level. Deposits of bitumen , a black mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally, is found in Ain Ebel [47] [48]. Flint is also found; it was excavated and used to build tools by ancient dwellers of the region [49]. The main agricultural products are olives , almonds , chestnuts , pecans , grapes , figs , pomegranates , and apples.

Oak and pine woods can be found on the outskirts of the village. There are three historic churches, built in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and a convent that was built in Each summer, a grand festival is organized in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The festival culminates on the Assumption of Mary on August Outdoor events and open-air concerts are held in the village's square.

The festivities peak with a procession of the Virgin Mary icon. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses. Home FAQ Contact. Ain Ebel Wikipedia open wikipedia design. City in Nabatieh Governorate. I Epstein B. Lit Retrieved 3 May Archived from the original on Retrieved Copeland; P. Wescombe Retrieved 3 March London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.

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Burns, SJ. The Ottomans, through the two main feudal families, the Maans who were Druze and the Chehabs who were Sunni Muslim Arab converts to Maronite Christianity, ruled Lebanon until the middle of the nineteenth century. The Maans came to Lebanon from Yemen sometime in the 11th or 12th centuries. They were a tribe and dynasty of Qahtani Arabs who settled on the southwestern slopes of the Lebanon Mountains and soon adopted the Druze religion.

Their authority began to rise with Fakhr ad-Din I , who was permitted by Ottoman authorities to organize his own army, and reached its peak with Fakhr ad-Din II — The existence of "Fakhr ad-Din I" has been questioned by some scholars. They lost so many loved ones during that time. My father once said that the rich families survived as they were able to bribe and get supplies on the black market. It was the unemployed, the middle class and the poor that were dying in the streets. About half the population of Lebanon starved to death , killed out of , of the total populace throughout the years of — during what is now known as the great famine Mount of Lebanon.

Born in Baakline to a Druze family, his father died when he was 13, and his mother entrusted her son to another princely family, probably the Khazens al-Khazin. The alliance contained both a public economic section and a secret military one. Fakhr-al-Din's ambitions, popularity and unauthorized foreign contacts alarmed the Ottomans who authorized Hafiz Ahmed Pasha, Muhafiz of Damascus, to mount an attack on Lebanon in in order to reduce Fakhr-al-Din's growing power. Professor Abu-Husayn has made the Ottoman archives relevant to the emir's career available.

They succeeded in maintining most of the forts such as Banias Subayba and Niha which were a mainstay of Fakhr ad-Din's power. Before leaving, Fakhr ad-Din paid his standing army of soqbans mercenaries two years wages in order to secure their loyalty. Hosted in Tuscany by the Medici Family, Fakhr-al-Din was welcomed by the grand duke Cosimo II, who was his host and sponsor for the two years he spent at the court of the Medici. Fakhr-al-Din had wished to enlist Tuscan or other European assistance in a "Crusade" to free his homeland from Ottoman domination, but was met with a refusal as Tuscany was unable to afford such an expedition.

The prince eventually gave up the idea, realizing that Europe was more interested in trade with the Ottomans than in taking back the Holy Land. His stay nevertheless allowed him to witness Europe's cultural revival in the 17th century, and bring back some Renaissance ideas and architectural features. By , political changes in the Ottoman sultanate had resulted in the removal of many of Fakhr-al-Din's enemies from power, allowing Fahkr-al-Din's return to Lebanon, whereupon he was able quickly to reunite all the lands of Lebanon beyond the boundaries of its mountains; and having revenge from Emir Yusuf Pasha ibn Siyfa, attacking his stronghold in Akkar, destroying his palaces and taking control of his lands, and regaining the territories he had to give up in in Sidon, Tripoli, Bekaa among others.

Under his rule, printing presses were introduced and Jesuit priests and Catholic nuns encouraged to open schools throughout the land. In , the prince angered the Ottomans by refusing to allow an army on its way back from the Persian front to winter in the Bekaa. This and instigation by the powerful Janissary garrison in Damascus led Mustafa Pasha, Governor of Damascus, to launch an attack against him, resulting in the battle at Majdel Anjar where Fakhr-al-Din's forces although outnumbered managed to capture the Pasha and secure the Lebanese prince and his allies a much needed military victory.

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The best source in Arabic for Fakhr ad-Din's career up to this point is a memoir signed by al-Khalidi as-Safadi, who was not with the Emir in Europe but had access to someone who was, possibly Fakhr ad-Din himself. However, as time passed, the Ottomans grew increasingly uncomfortable with the prince's increasing powers and extended relations with Europe.

This time, the prince had decided to remain in Lebanon and resist the offensive, but the death of his son Emir Ali Beik in Wadi el-Taym was the beginning of his defeat. He later took refuge in Jezzine's grotto, closely followed by Kuchuk Ahmed Pasha. He surrendered to the Ottoman general Jaafar Pasha, whom he knew well, under circumstances that are not clear. He was then summoned before the sultan. Fakhr-al-Din, and one or two of his sons, were accused of treason and executed there on 13 April There are unsubstantiated rumors that the younger of the two boys was spared and raised in the harem, later becoming Ottoman ambassador to India.

Although Fakhr ad-Din II's aspirations toward complete independence for Lebanon ended tragically, he greatly enhanced Lebanon's military and economic development. Noted for religious tolerance, the Druze prince attempted to merge the country's different religious groups into one Lebanese community. In an effort to attain complete independence for Lebanon, he concluded a secret agreement with Ferdinand I, grand duke of Tuscany.

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Following his return from Tuscany, Fakhr ad-Din II, realizing the need for a strong and disciplined armed force, channeled his financial resources into building a regular army. This army proved itself in , when Mustafa Pasha, the new governor of Damascus, underestimating the capabilities of the Lebanese army, engaged it in battle and was decisively defeated at Anjar in the Biqa Valley.

In addition to building up the army, Fakhr ad-Din II, who became acquainted with Italian culture during his stay in Tuscany, initiated measures to modernize the country. After forming close ties and establishing diplomatic relations with Tuscany, he brought in architects, irrigation engineers, and agricultural experts from Italy in an effort to promote prosperity in the country.

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He also strengthened Lebanon's strategic position by expanding its territory, building forts as far away as Palmyra in Syria, and gaining control of Palestine. Finally, the Ottoman sultan Murad IV of Istanbul, wanting to thwart Lebanon's progress toward complete independence, ordered Kutshuk, then governor of Damascus, to attack the Lebanese ruler.

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This time Fakhr ad-Din was defeated, and he was executed in Istanbul in Fakhreddine is regarded by the Lebanese as the best leader and prince the country has ever seen. The Druze prince treated all the religions equally and was the one who formed Lebanon. Lebanon has achieved during Fakhreddine's reign enormous heights that the country had and would never witness again.

The Shihabs succeeded the Maans in after the Battle of Ain Dara, a battle that changed the face of Lebanon back then, where a clash between two Druze clans broke up: the Qaysis and the Yemenis. This has led to an enormous decrease to the Druze population in Mount-Lebanon, who were a majority back then and helped the Christians overcome the Druze demographically.

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This Qaysi 'victory' gave the Shihab, who were Qaysis themselves and the allies of Lebanon, the rule over Mount-Lebanon. The Shihabs originally lived in the Hawran region of southwestern Syria and settled in Wadi al-Taym in southern Lebanon.

The most prominent among them was Bashir Shihab II. His ability as a statesman was first tested in , when Napoleon besieged Acre , a well-fortified coastal city in Palestine, about forty kilometers south of Tyre. Both Napoleon and Al Jazzar, the governor of Acre, requested assistance from the Shihab leader; Bashir, however, remained neutral, declining to assist either combatant. Unable to conquer Acre, Napoleon returned to Egypt, and the death of Al Jazzar in removed Bashir's principal opponent in the area. The Shihabs were originally a Sunni Muslim family, but had converted to Christianity.

Born into poverty, he was elected emir upon the abdication of his predecessor, and would rule under Ottoman suzerainty, being appointed wali or governor of Mt Lebanon, the Biqa valley and Jabal Amil. Together this is about two thirds of modern-day Lebanon.