I got into a debate with a friend who argued that the Christian parties of Lebanon, mainly the Phalangists and the Lebanese Forces, were sectarian in similar fashion to reactionary, opportunist groups such as Hezbollah and the rest of the political spectrum. While I do agree that every single political group in Lebanon is taking an exclusively sectarian approach to politics, and exploit the followers to serve the small group of leaders at the top of each Pyramid, the Phalangists and the Lebanese Forces in particular are not just sectarian, they’re actually fascists.
One of the prominent figures who is openly fascist is Etienne Saqr, who apparently lives in Israel now. He was, and seems like still is, considered a godfather for members of the Lebanese Forces. He was honest about his rejection to outside races:
The Lebanese Forces will argue that they put him under house arrest at at the end of the civil war, but that was only to please the Saudis who didn’t like his rhetoric. He fought alongside the Maronite in the Lebanese Front for years, and they never had a problem with him, until they turned against him after the war was completely over.
This first few minutes of this video summarize Etienne Saqr, and show that nothing has changed since 1975 and, in fact, his support for Israel is something shared by many Lebanese and that people should accept it:
Here’s a speech by Saqr that makes it clear that the Palestinians are NOT welcome anywhere in Lebanon, even though they would never make a similar claim to the Israelis (skip the first 4 minutes, and watch for a few minutes):
It’s interesting because when he talks about an ‘invasion’, he refers to the North being ‘occupied’ by Palestinians and Syrians, but never to the South’s Israeli presence.
This is a short documentary about the Phalangists:
- It tells the history of how Pierre Gumayil started it, modeling it after the Nazis
- Joseph Abu Khalil (who had appeared in the Civil War documentary by Al Jazeera), clearly states that Lebanon was created to be a Christian state, and that’s what the Phalangists want to achieve
- Karim Pakraduni from the Civil War documentary admits that he joined the Phalangists for sectarian reasons (even though it’s supposed to be national, not sectarian)
- In the second part of the video:
- Joseph Abu Khalil admits that he went to Israel seeking help. He claims that the Israelis were purely doing business and selling the weapons for cash, but I think it’s obvious that the Israelis expected much more from their support for the right-wing Christians
- Also in the second part, Sami Gumayil (son of Amin, grandson of Pierre) announces that his identity, and therefore that of that group, is Maronite, Syriac, Christian and Lebanese. This is extremely important because, besides the fact that no other party would say that, Sami is clear that Lebanon is NOT Arab, and that the Taif agreement only went through because the Syrian tanks were overlooking the referendum. But they reject foreign interference when it’s Arab, but never when it’s Israeli. And the difference is purely ethnic and racial, not political.
This is another short documentary by apparent pro-Zioinsts, and it talks about the relationship between Israel and the Maronites:
It includes a few gems such as how the right-wing Christians welcomed the Israeli commando and showed up around the battlefield (something completely unrelated to buying weapons). In the second part, Sharon explains how Israel collaborated with Bashir and the right-wing Christians, way beyond just weapons:
Sharon was blatant about the plan of the invasion, whereby the Israelis would occupy the entire southern part of the country until Beirut, and then the Phalangists/Lebanese Forces would do the dirty work in the city. This invasion had nothing to do with the sovereignty of the Lebanese state, obviously, it was clear that the problem was not with “foreigners”, it was with Arabs and Muslims. The documentary also talks about the siege of Beirut, and how the Israeli tanks were firing the Palestinian/Muslim areas.
This is a report from 1976 that suggests that the civil war was not a question of religions from the beginning, but actually, there was a rich/poor divide in Karantina:
Basically, the Phalangists were not attacking armed “enemies” as much as they were attacking the poor who posed a serious threat, which is exactly what defines fascists. This was a threat for the rich, and the unjustified hatred towards Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims was the way to declare the class of wars. As Camille Chamoun clearly states, the right-wing Christians were fighting to defend the rich elite of Lebanon. They weren’t fighting foreigners, they were fighting the poor who were threatening the rich, and this has nothing to do with their nationalist rhetoric. That is partly why they claim that the Muslims don’t work, suggesting the Lebanon should get rid of them to prosper.
Also in the report, Dani Chamoun – from the National Liberation Party that was founded by his father, Camile, and has always been in alliances with the Phalangists, and at points during the war under the direct command of Bashir Gumayil – openly asks for outside help to fight, even though they’re supposed to be getting rid of outsiders in Lebanon. But the fact of the matter is that they’re trying to destroy the poor and the leftists, embodied in the Muslims and Arabs.
In the 15th minute, the volunteers for the Phalangists say that they are fighting the “global left”, which is being financed by Libya! And then Dani Chamoun says “If Lebanon falls to the Left, then we’re really in trouble”.
To conclude, fascism is basically the Right’s method of defeating the Left and saving the capitalist system. In order to do that, fascism needs to direct hatred towards a certain race/religion which is blamed for all problems. And this hatred has to be towards people who, whatever they do, cannot change themselves and will always become enemies. That’s what happened with Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, etc.
In order to fight the threat of the rise of the Left in Lebanon (embodied in the Palestinian struggle by people of all races, and protests against the regime and the leaders), the Phalangists stepped up as the fascists to protect the regime, calling on the Lebanese Christians to hate the Muslims and Arabs, and calling on the international community (and Israel) to help them otherwise Capitalism might fail in the country. They are longing for a “prosperous” Lebanon where the rich made lots of money, and the poor were exploited with no opportunity ahead of them. What was most important for them was the destruction of the rising Left, and this was to be done via the destruction of the Palestinians and any sort of struggle.
Phalangists and Lebanese Forces’ supporters are sectarian just like any other party, but the party itself, and the prominent figures within the ranks, are actually leading a fight to destroy the revolutionary movements by killing anyone involved in emancipatory movements, and especially the Palestinians and the leftists. Those are fascists. They are the embodiment of the counterrevolution that come to life at times of revolutionary aspirations. Contrary to what they constantly claim, the last thing that they want is a Lebanon with some sort of social justice. In fact, the fascist party would have no problem in not taking power, as long as the capitalist structure is in place, and the threat of all revolutionary movements is diminished.
For that reason, fascism is much, much worse, and far more dangerous, than opportunism – even if, from a superficial standpoint, it all seems like sectarianism at the end.