Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The curse of the Phoenicians

My goodness.. Since the beginning of our history, we have just been our worst enemy. At every turn of millennium, of century, of decade, we make sure to destroy and clean up any trace of our previous achievements and any kind of contribution to human culture and heritage. We never cease to implode from within. We will never agree on anything from street to the next, from city to the next, from district, governorate, sect, orientation, media outlet to the next. We fight about our roots. From Canaanites to Phoenicians to Levantines, historians, anthropologists and scientists have not agreed on any kind of distinction within our race on the level of geography, religion or tribe. We do not accept that though. We are semites, or not, some came from the Agean sea, some derived from Hittites, from Mesopotamia, we mixed with Aramens, we were visited by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and we were once part of Hellenistic Greece and we interacted with Romans … That not to mention the traces of modern history, the Crusades, the families migrating from the Arabian peninsula, the Ottoman rule, the French… all are different waves of people that had built on the existing semitic race. There is no way to separate religion from another or sect from another, based on roots. Even family by family, the distinction is almost impossible to make. We are, as it turns out, the same race. This has been scientifically backed up. The paternal lineage in Lebanon and neighboring countries follows the same roots. That within Lebanon does not show any significant variation from one region to another or from one religion to another. We do show genetic traces of haplogroups that typically exist in modern European and Arabic populations, possibly due to migration to Lebanon and possibly due to migrations from Lebanon especially in Phoenician times during establishment of Phoenician colonies. The main issue is that all these haplogroups are equally represented in all the religious sects.
So as far as race goes, we are the same race.
But who cares? Right. Following one’s race is just another sorry excuse of bigotry and elitism anyway so there will always be alternative excuses for separation and self-righteousness.
We keep imploding from within.
The Phoenicians, as a culture, were as glorious as the Greeks and the Romans. In fact, at the time, those wondrous traders, writers, philosophers, and artists have given the competing Greek and Roman cultures the alphabet, their Gods (Aphrodite and Melqart), the name Europe (from the myth of Europa, the daughter of the king of Tyre). Politically speaking, if the punic wars have gone the way of the Phoenicians, the whole history of the western worl could have been very different today. Typical to our culture, however, the Phoenicians were city states. As a nation, they never called themselves Phoenicians. This was a name given to them by their neighbors. They called themselves by the city they belonged to and they acted upon it. Their loyalty was to their immediate business and their interest. They helped the invaders against their countrymen and they competed from one city to the next and from one harbor to the next. Due to invasions, all traces of that glorious culture are now gone. The Phoenician art mainly consisted of small pieces that were directed towards gain and of large vessels that were exported to Egyptians and other countries. The writings, the history.. all gone. How different the scenario would have been if the Phoenician had some perspective. If they would have worked together and built a strong nation. If they had focused on defense and if their colonies and trading posts were not autonomous. They could have at least lived more vividly in history books.

It is the curse of our fathers that we should never be together, that we should always be divided. That we should destroy everything we achieve. That we should work against each other. That we should always leave the next generation in dire despair and faced with the challenge of re-building a name for themselves and their country, until we ruin it all, all over again.

Feiruz is stuck at the airport!
Will we ever be taken seriously again, be respected again? When we do not trust ourselves, we exhaust ourselves, we self-destroy and we will .. inevitably .. implode from within!


Zee said...

Well written compilation. It is funny, or maybe not that funny, that I just was reading stuff about Lebanon and the Phoenician's history.
Eventually you will all get it together again, all the peaces that do need to be mended.

Zee said...

Oh bloody hell, I talked to you today and didn't even realize then that it was YOU who posted the history "lesson" and not Mar or someone else.
Shame on me!
I am going back to the the island this weekend before I completely loose my mind. My internet connection there will be sporadic. But I will still be able to reach you somehow.
I do have Skype and all that stuff...
Be well, yours Zee

Anonymous said...

"That within Lebanon does not show any significant variation from one region to another or from one religion to another."

I read this paper lately by Dr. Zalloua that Lebanese Christians descend from Crusaders and Lebanese Muslims from Arabs.

Mirvat said...

absolutely not anon, the AJHG paper did not draw a conclusion like that. the scientific conclusion is that both religions show a mosaic of Hgs, a very similar mosaic at that and many haplotypes of european, arabic etc. origins were indicated accross the lebanese sects and religions. what the paper is saying is that, as opposed to splitting the population region-wise, when you look at sub-populations region-wise you might find some significance of a slight increase in the western european haplotype. we should be very careful not to overstate when it comes to scientific papers. i can get Pierre Zalloua to email you and explain the paper to you if you care to send me your email.

Lirun said...

as a kid i remembre learning about the phoenicians.. i recall learning that they were fisherman and that they wore like a crimson colour :) thats all.. oh and that they lived north of us - of course..